Pool Safety For The Pet Lover

By Guest Author (internal links added by Michael)

cat drinking water from a swimming pool

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

So you finally got Mr. Fluffy Wiskerkitten home and set him up with his embroidered bedding, gourmet food and twice-filtered natural spring water only to find him sleeping on your dirty clothes, eating something unmentionable, and drinking from the pool by the end of the day. Cats are, to say the least, funny creatures. This is part of their appeal. But for the pet owner with a swimming pool, there are some safety questions that need to be answered. Like a child, we want our pets to be safe around the pool.

We Does My Cat Drink From The Pool?

The simple answer is that it tastes good. Pure water does not have a flavor or odor. It is the minerals in the water that give water its taste. Most pools use chlorine to keep bacteria from forming in the pool. The chlorine penetrates the cell wall of the microorganism and renders it inactive. The chlorine also has a very distinctive taste which some cats prefer over their drinking water. What is the best water for cats?

Is Drinking Pool Water Dangerous?

Photo by Brocken Inaglory via Wikimedia Commons

The Center for Disease Control recommends that a pool has a chlorine concentration of 1 to 3 parts per million of water. Fluoride, which is in the same chemical category as chlorine, has been added to our drinking water at levels around 4 parts per million, according to the EPA. So the tap water actually has a larger chemical concentration than the pool water. Don’t think you are keeping your pet safe by omitting chlorine from your pool maintenance routine. As a matter of fact, not having the chlorine in the pool could be more dangerous for your pet. If the pool is not maintained, certain harmful bacteria can develop. Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that is often introduced near stagnant water. It causes liver and kidney damage as well as death. It is also zoonotic which means that your cat can pass these parasitic bacteria on to humans. Keep your pool sanitized and buy a kit so you can test the water often to keep your cats safe.

Are There Benefits To Having A Pool?

It is a myth that cats do not like water. In general, tigers love water. Teaching your cat to swim can have numerous benefits, the least of wish being that the training may save his life if he ever accidentally falls in. If your cat slips while getting a drink from the pool, he can drown. To teach your cat to swim, Natural Awakenings suggests slowly bring him into the water while you hold him in your arms. When he gets comfortable let go and guide him to a place in the pool where he can get out. Do this several times until he figures out he can pull himself out.

kitten kiss
Photo by MELISSA MATHIES via Flickr

There are great cardiovascular benefits to having a daily swim, and your cat may even grow to enjoy it. So let Fluffy be your new pool partner and don’t worry if they drink a little bit of the water during the swim.

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