So, you decided to buy your cat a water fountain, and unfortunately, they are uninterested. Maybe they are even frightened of the strange new device that has replaced their trusty water bowl. This can be concerning and frustrating for cat owners. You bought the fountain to help make sure they have the best water source available, and for some reason, they are unimpressed. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help your cat adjust to their new water source.
Continue reading for tips to train your cat to drink from a cat water fountain along with how they help.
How Cat Water Fountains Help Your Cat
As we all know, our cats deserve the best, and taking care of them is hard but rewarding work. One of the most important responsibilities we have as cat owners is to provide them with fresh, clean water at all times.
One way you can invest in your cat’s well-being and ensure they are properly hydrated is by providing them with a water fountain. According to PetSafe, cat water fountains are good investments for many reasons, including:
- They continually cycle the water through a filter which hinders bacterial growth and makes it easier to make sure their water is fresh and clean.
- Fountains encourage your cat to drink more because cats are naturally attracted to running water.
- They entice your cat to increase their water intake, which helps protect them from urinary or kidney diseases.
8 Tips for Training Your Cat to Drink From a Cat Water Fountain
1) Clean and Rinse the Water Fountain Before Use
Even though fountains come wrapped up in a box, it does not mean they are clean and ready to use. Wash the bowl out with soap and water, and make sure to rinse the filter. Rinsing the filter thoroughly helps get rid of loose debris before use. By rinsing it out, you help ensure the debris does not cycle through the filter and into the water, which could dirty the water.
2) Keep the Fountain Turned Off Until They are Comfortable
If your cat is cautious of the noise the fountain makes, keep it turned off until they are used to drinking from it. This can help them adjust to their new fountain slowly and help with potential dehydration from lack of drinking.
3) Allow Them to Investigate
Maybe your cat is too wary to come up to the fountain or doesn’t notice there is water in the bowl. While they are looking, place your hand or finger in the bowl and bring it up to their lips. This will let them know there is water in the bowl and help them understand what the new device is.
4) Keep Food Away From the Fountain
If your cat drinks from the fountain and it splashes on their food, they may be less interested in drinking from it for fear that it will wet their food wet. Luckily, some pet water fountains come with adjustable settings for the flow of water. However, if your cat is a messy drinker in general, it’s best to keep their water away from their food.
5) Keep Fresh Water Available in a Different Bowl
If turning on the water fountain did not go so well, have patience and continue to provide them with an alternate source of clean water. It is not a good idea to force them to drink from the fountain by removing other water sources. This could cause them to have negative associations with the fountain.
6) Reward Your Cat for Using the Fountain
When you see your cat drink from the fountain, even when it is turned off, give them a cat treat. This will let them know they are doing something good and will provide positive reinforcement for using their new water source.
7) Turn the Fountain On and Continue Rewarding Them
Once they have responded to the positive reinforcement and started drinking from the powered-off fountain more, turn it on and see if they drink from it. Remember to be patient and not to hover over them in anticipation, as it can make them nervous.
8) Slowly Remove Secondary Water Source and Taper Back on Rewards
When your cat starts drinking from the fountain, monitor how much water they are drinking. This will help you determine when you can remove the secondary water source. Remember, cats need one ounce of water per pound of their body weight daily. Once they develop a positive association with the fountain, you can slowly taper back on rewarding them with treats and verbally praise them instead.
Cat Water Fountain Upkeep
Remember to clean the bowl often and provide them with fresh water daily, just as you would with a normal water bowl. Also, be sure to change the filters as needed. Usually, this information is in the instruction booklet or by looking up the fountain’s manufacturer’s information online.
Unfortunately, these tips may not work for every cat. It is important to not give up and keep trying to find ways to get them to drink from their water fountain.
The journey to get your cat to drink from a water fountain may be difficult, but it is rewarding. After, you can rest easy knowing that you are providing them with a filtered, fresh, and clean water source.
Jeffers carries a selection of cat water fountains, many other PetSafe products, and cat supplies. For more information on tips to keep your pets hydrated, check out Jeffers’ blog 7 Tips to Keep Your Pet Hydrated This Summer.
The information given is meant to be helpful and/or educational. It is, in no way intended to supersede, challenge, or supplant the diagnosis, treatment, or advice of a licensed veterinarian.