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Anyone who’s ever shared their life with a Maine Coon knows about the breed’s love of water. The day we brought our two kittens home, it took them about fifteen minutes to drum up the courage to venture out of the carrier, and the first paw had been dipped into the water bowl less than two minutes later.
We progressed from putting a couple of inexpensive carpet squares under the bowl in an attempt to protect the carpet from splashes, to putting the bowl itself inside a large oven rack soaking tray.
That solved the problem of water on the carpet, but it was awkward to clean and empty, a daily task due to the amount of water splashed out.
And it didn’t solve the problem of the debris left in the water after a wading session, which was our main concern. At the time, we were using a clumping clay litter, so there was a constant supply of semi-dissolved clay being washed off their paws. We didn’t like the idea of them drinking that water.
We looked at cat water fountains, but were hesitant about that whole “water & electricity” thing. And most of the fountains looked as if they’d invite lots more splashing play – which would probably be great fun for the cats, but hardly manageable with carpeted flooring.
Then our male kitten was diagnosed with feline asthma, and we became even more concerned about possible ingestion of any clay or other debris in the water. I began a serious search for a solution. We needed something that would keep their drinking water clean, while at the same time keeping the carpet as dry as possible. We live in a cool, wet climate (Scotland), and we didn’t want mold developing in the carpet, especially now that we knew we had a cat with respiratory problems.
When I saw the Cat-it fountain, it seemed perfect. It had a filter, and the flow downward over the outside of the fountain reservoir might make it less likely that the water would find its way all over the carpet. So we got them one for their first birthday present.
I think the sound of the motor, although not loud, was enough to make the cats a bit hesitant at first. But they were drinking from it within a day. We don’t use the food bowl that came with it, because we figured it would only encourage soup-making.
We got around the “water & electricity” problem easily. The cord is enclosed in a curved, rigid plastic tube about a foot long. It can be slid underneath the unit so that no cord is exposed within a foot or so of the fountain. We placed a couple of carpet squares over the other end and ran the rest of the cord under them to the socket.
At first, the water only flowed down one side of the reservoir. Then my husband discovered that the pump moves a bit in the base of the unit, and if it’s not positioned centrally, the reservoir sits slightly lopsided and causes the water to run down only one side. You can unscrew the plastic flower-shaped handle and look inside the intake to check the pump positioning. Once it’s in the right place, the reservoir sits flat and water runs smoothly all around the circumference after the handle is screwed back in.
The water lasts a couple of days; possibly less in warm weather. There is a fair amount of evaporation due to the increased surface area. The pump gets louder as the level gets lower. We usually change it when there’s about an inch or so left around the base of the reservoir.
The Catit fountain filter lasts 3 weeks, and changing it is straightforward. Changing the water, however, is a bit fiddly. You need to turn the reservoir upside down and rotate a small plastic spring valve tab, opening a small hole in what is normally the reservoir base. Then you turn it upright to drain the water out, and turn it over again to refill it. Too much water pressure in the tap means the water doesn’t flow into the hole, so it takes a couple of minutes to fill. I usually fill it halfway, twist the valve closed, then shake the reservoir to “rinse” the inside walls. I empty that water completely and refill the reservoir with fresh water. The next step is to replace the reservoir. This is where you have to make sure the pump is sited correctly underneath it, else the reservoir will rock slightly and the water will not flow smoothly.
We’ve had this Catit drinking fountain about four months now. The cats seem to like it. They tend to lap the moving water as it flows, rather than drink the water from the dish. And we like knowing that they’re drinking cleaner water and the carpet is staying drier.
Pros: Filter helps ensure cats are drinking cleaner water; flow of water close to the reservoir helps diminish splashing.
Cons: Changing the water is fiddly.
Would we buy it again, knowing what we know about it now? Absolutely.
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