A water fountain that monitors you cat’s water intake (useful for health management)

Cat water fountain recommended by Ben the Vet on TikTok
Cat water fountain recommended by Ben the Vet on TikTok. Image: MikeB.
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In the video we see Ben the Vet on TikTok recommending a water fountain for cats which is very sophisticated. It’s worth a look at even if he is promoting it for a commission. Ben is now a social media influencer and he’s decided to make a bit of extra money probably because he was approached by the manufacturer of the water fountain. As a vet he has a unique insight into cat products. He sees them from the standpoint of feline health, the most important aspect of caregiving. And there are health advantages in providing a water fountain and some downsides. This one is quite techie and it won’t suit non-techie people.


Running water

The first point he confidently makes is that cats are ‘programmed’ to prefer running water as they see it as being more potable – less likely to be contaminated. Fair point although I think that is anecdotal. I am sure that the wild cat ancestor of the domestic cat also drinks from still ponds. But the point he is making is that as the water is running it encourages drinking and cats do need to be encouraged to drink. Or to put that in a more accurate way: domestic cats shouldn’t be discouraged from drinking water.

Cats can be discouraged by (1) the bowl being too small causing whisker stress or (2) chlorine or other purifiers in the water which leaves it with a distracting and slightly off-putting scent. Clear water bowls may encourage drinking.

Hard water

Ben does not mention it but hard and soft water is an issue. Hard water can clog up machinery and is more likely to cause urinary tract diseases. “Male cats specifically, living in areas given an ‘extremely hard water’ rating by the EPA, had a much higher incidence of urinary health issues.” – Catster.

Poor water drinkers

Domestic cats don’t actually drink a lot of water because of their inherited characteristics from their wild cat ancestor living in arid conditions. They will get a good amount of their daily intake from wet cat food – prey in the wild. This is an important reason why wet cat food is better than dry because cats don’t really compensate enough to make up water intake deficit from dry foods. It can leave them mildly dehydrated. This is not a severe problem but you don’t want it to occur as it may contribute to urinary tract diseases such as stones in the urethra.

Dockstream App Monitoring Automatic Water Fountain

That’s the name of it. A mouthful. It will record how many times your cat has drunk and the overall quantity. You can set targets. Ben recommends a general guideline of 50 millilitres (ml) of water per kilogram of cat weight per day. The cat in the video weighs 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds) and should drink around 150 ml per day.

The information can be seen on your smartphone. You can tell your vet about your cat’s water intake history when and if asked which may occur if your older cat has signs of diabetes or kidney disease for example. The latter is a very common disease in elderly domestic cats and high levels of water intake and urination are signs. Drinking more than usual can also be a sign of an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).

Some downsides

The app tells when to clean the fountain. This points to a downside for these sorts of devices: keeping it clean. They can harbour bacteria and slime if neglected. Biofilm can develop on them which is bacteria from the cat’s mouth adhering to the fountain’s plastic surfaces I am told.

They can get moldy too. They need maintenance. I think it fair to say that you have to be a reasonably diligent and organised cat caregiver to make this water fountain work for you and your cat. Cat water fountains don’t automatically benefit cats. There are potential downsides.

Conclusion

Overall, a water fountain like this one is a good idea especially for older cats prone to kidney disease where it is important that they maintain hydration. But it needs to be maintained. And you’ll need a smartphone and some knowledge on how to use it! I am thinking of an elderly person who might not be interested in smartphones. There are many elderly ladies living contentedly with their cat companion for whom this device is probably unsuited.

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4 thoughts on “A water fountain that monitors you cat’s water intake (useful for health management)”

    • Good question! Thanks for asking RM. Ben does not say which is why I (sloppily) did not say either. My research tells me that the manufacturer is Petlibro. Hope that helps. Stay well and the cats.

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