We all want things that make our lives easier. We like easy. We like simplicity. I recently discovered something that made my life and the lives of four animals easier and less complicated. This new ‘thing’ came in the guise of something that I used to laugh at. I would see this item and think to myself, “Who on earth would buy something like that for their pets? How pretentious and what a waste of money.”
Well, I recently ate those words.
I can’t even remember where I saw it, or how it was suggested to me, but I did my research, received recommendations from both of our veterinarians, took a chance, and invested in a product that I hope would help all of us. I bought a pet drinking fountain. Don’t laugh. It is a m a z i n g.
I am the guardian of three cats and one dog. Please note: I am not an “owner”. Just ask the cats; I don’t own any of them. We used to be the guardian of 6 animals, but one recently passed and the other decided he would rather be a wild turtle. There is a lot to be managed with multiple animals of varying species, ranges of age and health issues. I spend a lot of time making sure each one has exactly what they need, especially when it comes to nutrition and hydration. I spent over decade doing this kind of thing with a myriad of animals at a zoo, and another decade of this at nature centers, vet school, and other animal facilities. I guess you could say that it’s now in my DNA to be so focused on these matters.
As heartwarming as all of that may sound, it’s kind of a huge pain in the butt sometimes. I find myself spending copious amounts of time and energy making sure that each animal has exactly what they need. That sort of diligence is a normal job detail for a zookeeper and animal husbandry specialist, but I began to notice that I do it at home 24/7. This was not the best use of my time. However, keeping them healthy and hydrated will always be critical. So I really needed to find a better way to improve all of our lives.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Water Is Essential for Health and Longevity
Water is a source of healing and prevention. Every life process relies on water. Studies show that drinking more water is one of the best ways to improve an animal’s health! Water is essential for dissolving body chemicals, supporting cells and circulation, and removing body waste. Cats must drink a required amount of water essential for good kidney and urinary tract health. Without sufficient water to dilute a cat’s urine it can become concentrated, leading to urinary tract infections, crystals in their urine and kidney disease. A dog’s water intake is directly related to their health. It prevents illness, and ensures proper hydration. Not getting enough water can lead to dehydration, kidney stones, organ failure, and even death.
Many people are under the false assumption that cats don’t need water or that they’re afraid of it. Unfortunately, many house cats eat mainly dry food which has very low water content (about 10%) so they need an adequate water supply. Water bowls are often not appealing enough for cats (and some dogs) to drink the required amount; a source of fresh water or running water provides this encouragement. This is where we come in as conscious animal guardians!
Two of the cats in our home are geriatric, and the youngest had crystals in his urine. The dog will only drink at certain times of the day. This is why I spent so much of my energy making sure everyone is happy and hydrated.
To help you understand what exactly I was doing for the animals of our menagerie, (and since they can’t type) I’ll explain it from their perspective:
CLICK ON THE IMAGES TO READ DETAILS.
I’m sure you can imagine how much time I spent (multiple times a day) making sure everyone has exactly what they need to stay healthy and hydrated! It was exhausting and very frustrating.
Recently I was planning to leave town for a couple of weeks and was genuinely concerned that Beaux was not going to drink any water unless his Almighty Flowing Water Source was available. When you hire a pet sitter, it’s kind of embarrassing and ridiculous to expect them to turn the faucet on and off when a certain cat needs it. Also, the advice from our veterinarians (about getting a water fountain) kept ringing in my ears, so I invested in a pet water fountain hoping that Beaux would willingly drink from an alternate flowing water source. I also wanted to ensure that Albert and Knox would drink enough to prevent health issues.
The package arrived two days before I left town. I knew I was cutting it close, and was expecting a lot of change fairly quickly for these creatures of habit, but I took a chance. I set it out one night before we went to bed, to let them become accustomed to the sound and sight of this new, strange thing in their territory. This is how it went down:
CLICK ON THE IMAGES TO READ DETAILS.
Albert is the boldest of the crew. Although he was a bit wary, it didn’t take him long to investigate it. I rewarded him with treats when he came over to it. Many animals learn from watching others, so after Knox saw King Bear go up to the Scary Noise Monster he figured the kitty coast was clear. I gave him treats as well. You can see Knox watching the water fountain as he eats his treats.
TIP: If a cat (dog, or other animal) is reluctant to use a fountain at first, this is very normal. They just need time to inspect it and grow accustomed to it. Within a few days, (or sometimes a week/so) it will become their preferred water source.
You can learn more about feline hydration here and you can learn how much water dogs should drink per day here.
So what was the outcome? Well, a month later this was how far we came:
- After each meal they all seem to line up and wait to have their turn at the flowing water goodness station.
- Every time the cats come inside from the porch each one of them stop at the fountain for a drink before they lay down to cool off.
- The fountain is the first place Hocus goes to whenever we arrive home from a car ride or from puppy playcare.
- I have only filled up Albert’s chalice twice!
- Knox drinks from the fountain regularly.
- Hocus only drinks from the fountain now (Which was never a goal of mine but hey, at least she’s drinking water on a regular basis now)
- Beaux drinks from it several times a day. He has only asked me to turn on the faucet three times! And he’s only doing it at bedtime when I’m at the sink. He has not broken one item or knocked anything off the bathroom sinks. I thought this day would never come!
- I have yet to walk into a bathroom to find a running faucet left on (yes, that happened a lot). No more water wasted! Oh happy day!
- My time is now spent on more productive things (like writing this blog and sharing my experiences with all of you).
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW!
Animals love running water. It’s instinctive.
It’s quite common for a cat to go out of their way to drink from a flowing or dripping faucet rather than drink from a water bowl. Cats instinctively recognize running water to be fresher than still water; feral or exotic cats will always choose a clear, running stream over a rain puddle. Pet water fountains filter and aerate water with movement. Similar to water in nature, the fountain moving water is much fresher than stagnant water. Movement constantly breaks the water’s surface tension and draws oxygen from the air into the water. The moving water from the pet water fountain mimics nature and entices animals to drink more.
A pet drinking fountain is one of the best investments you can make in your cat’s health. Cats find cool, running water to be appealing — it’s a natural behavior, because stream water is less likely to be contaminated than a stagnant pool. Cats tend to be chronically dehydrated, and feline fountains are proven to get cats to drink more water. Many feline health problems can be aided with proper hydration, and it’s more efficient than leaving a faucet dripping to entice your cat to drink.
~ Dr. Marty Becker from his book, Your Cat: The Owner’s Manual
Cats are prone to a condition called feline acne on their chins. This is caused by a bacterial infection. The bacteria harbors unseen in scratches from the daily wear and tear of plastic bowls. Our vet explained that ceramic or stainless steel water fountains can remedy this.
An Investment for The Animals and Myself
I am so incredibly pleased and amazed at the results. Taking a chance and getting a water fountain for the animals was one of the best $50 investments I’ve ever made. Every one of them drinks more, they enjoying watching it and listening to it – which is great enrichment. The sound is actually quite soothing to me, and I don’t spend my valuable time having to turn on and off faucets, change and fill water bowls, or clean up countless messes around the clock! It was worth every penny.
Check out this video of the Ceramic Raindrop Fountain from Pioneer Pet. It’s the water fountain that I decided to buy (the one that’s officially cat & dog tested and approved). If you are interested, you can purchase one here. We bought ours through our amazon for a little bit less. The ceramic ones are very attractive and there are a few colors to choose from, depending on where you buy it.
You can watch Beaux drinking from water fountain here. He loves it! This is now his preferred method of drinking water!
So often we don’t want to spend the money or the energy on something new when we don’t know what will happen, but I can tell you from my experience that this was a wonderful investment, and it changed five lives for the better (six lives will be changed when my husband comes home from deployment)! My time and energy can now be focused on other things that matter just as much, and now the animals have a healthy, fresh, fun water source to keep each of them well hydrated year round.
If we really look, we will see that there are ways to simplify our life when we live with animals. And the best part is that you can simplify while enhancing their lives and yours!
Are there things in your life that you can simplify while improving both your life and the lives of your animals?
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein
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