It is now widely accepted that cats crave moving water and this is why veterinarians recommend cat water fountains – to ensure they drink enough because without moving water they may very well not drink enough. In the wild, and cats are still very much ‘in the wild’, moving water is safest. Standing water harbors countless bacteria that can be lethal. This is why cats are naturally attracted to moving water and will, in almost all cases, drink more when flowing water is provided. Many cats paw their water, want the faucet turned on or drink from the moving water in the toilet because they crave moving water.
And this is why cat water fountains are so important. Drinking a sufficient amount of water is vital to a cat’s health and cat fountains are almost guaranteed to get cats to drink more water. Most people don’t think of water as a nutrient but none of the nutrients a cat ingests will get to where they need to go without water, so in a very real sense, cats water intake is at the foundation of all their nutrition.
Water also transports oxygen through the blood stream and into the cells, it moisturizes the lungs, regulates body temperature and helps eliminate waste products of metabolism through the kidneys and gastrointestinal tract. Cats’ water intake, when sufficient, contributes to elastic skin and a shiny coat; signs of good health.
What are the actual physical ailments that insufficient water intake can cause and a cat water fountain can prevent?
There are several kidney and urinary tract diseases to which cats are prone, associated with insufficient water intake. One of the more serious diseases to which cats and other pets are subject is called Urethral Obstruction. Many cats are prone to a blockage in their urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder, which can lead to a very serious condition and can, and often does result in death.
The obstruction is a thick, pasty substance called Urethral Plug, or Matrix, but how and why some cats produce it is not known. It is thought that diet is a factor, as can be stress but what is known to prevent the disease is increased water intake. That is also part of the cure.
If there isn’t enough water available, or no attractive sources of water a cat may not drink enough. This leads to a very concentrated urine and it is in this that the matrix tends to develop. Sufficient water intake – i.e., a water source to which cats are attracted and from which they’ll drink can prevent this. This is the primary role a cat water fountain plays.
Symptoms to be aware of with urinary blockage are:
- Straining repeatedly in the litter box (often mistaken for constipation)
- Crying or howling for no apparent reason or other expressions of distress
- Licking in the vicinity of the genitals or below the base of the tail
- Unusual anti-social behavior
In advanced cases when the cat has not been able to urinate for twenty four hours or more, he will be in extreme pain, clearly ill and close to death. Get him to a vet immediately.
Veterinarian Dr. Lynn Bahr of the Cat Clinic in Roswell, GA has this to say: “Cats lack depth perception when looking at a bowl of water and it may be difficult for them to detect how much water is in the bowl at any time. They keenly hear the sound of running water which attracts them to it and allows them to gauge exactly where to drink from and the moving water is much easier to see. Instinctually, cats sense that standing water could be contaminated making running water a safer alternative. Finally, moving water is oxygenated and may even taste better. Cats are complicated creatures and not always easy to understand but we do know many don’t drink enough water, especially if fed a dry only diet. Anything that encourages them to drink more and stay properly hydrated will improve their health and water fountains are a great way to entice them to do so.”
Guest Post By Keith Davitt