One of the first rules of caring for a cat or dog is that you should always provide them with fresh water alongside their daily meals, but you may find that your pet rarely drinks from its bowl! A properly hydrated pet has a lower risk of kidney or urinary infections (especially prevalent in older cats), so it can lead to health problems when your cat or dog refuses to drink, in spite of your best efforts to provide clean, fresh water.
Cats are notoriously fussy in many aspects of their lives, and this includes their choice of drinking water. Many cats will prefer to drink from a running water source, rather than a bowl. There are evolutionary reasons why cats behave in this way: running water is likely to be fresher and harbours fewer bacteria than water that has been sitting for a while, so your kitty is instinctively going for the option that is less likely to cause illness.
Both cats and dogs often like to drink from puddles or containers of rainwater. Their delicate sense of smell can easily pick up the scent of chlorine in tap water, leading them to choose rainwater as an alternative.
If your pet is a reluctant water drinker, or you would like to offer a healthier alternative to a standard water bowl, then a water fountain may be the answer. Special cat water fountains, such as the Drinkwell Platinum, provide a moving water source for your cat. They also filter and oxygenate the water, so it is cleaner than it would be in a standard bowl, and less likely to smell unpleasantly of chlorine. There are many other cat fountains available, including the Catit Design, which gets some great reviews from zooplus customers, and is also suitable for small dogs:
“Our cat used to constantly ignore his water bowl and instead jump up on to the sink to drink from the taps – not particularly hygienic or pleasant when you’re trying to wash up! He now drinks happily from the fountain and I’m confident he’s getting a lot more water than previously.”
The Freshflow Deluxe (pictured at the top of the page) not only filters the water but also dispenses it lightly chilled, which some cats prefer, especially in warmer weather.