Having a cat water fountain can be a great way to encourage your cat to drink more water, but it can also result in a pesky problem — algae. In this article, we will go over a series of tips that will keep you keep your cat fountain free of algae growth. These tips are:
- Change the filter of your cat fountain every 2-4 weeks
- Keep it away from sunlight at all times
- Clean your cat fountain effectively once a week
- Change the water at least once every other day
- Use baking soda for tough algae build-up
- If possible, use a stainless steel or glass bowl
Tip 1: Change the Filter of Your Cat Fountain Often
Most cat fountains come with a filter. This filter’s purpose is to keep detritus such as cat hair and dust particles from getting into the water.
While your fountain will most likely come equipped with a filter, it is important that you keep your water as fresh as possible by changing out your filter often. Most manufacturers recommend that you buy a new filter every 2-4 weeks, but you probably want to err on the more frequent side of things if you have multiple cats or a house that quickly gathers dust bunnies (no judgment here!)
Tip 2: Keep Your Cat Water Fountain Out of Sunlight At All Times
One of the key factors that contribute to algae growth is the presence of sunlight.
In order to discourage the growth of algae in your pet’s water fountain, you should do the best to position the bowl somewhere away from windows and skylights. This can be a challenging position to find, as most cat fountains require a socket to function, as their pump needs to be plugged in.
If you can’t find a position that’s out of direct sunlight completely, indirect sunlight is better than direct. However, your best bet is to put the fountain in a dark place where the sunlight cannot reach it.
Tip 3: Clean Your Fountain Frequently
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it deserves to be said. Frequent cleaning of your pet’s water fountain is one of the best ways to guarantee that you are following effective hygienic practices and reduce your chance of a harmful algae growth.
To successfully clean your pet’s water fountain, make sure that you have first unplugged the pump from the wall. Most models of fountains allow you to detach the pump in the middle, which makes it less cumbersome to pick up the fountain.
To clean your fountain by hand, use soapy hot water. Some pet fountains can safely be put in the top rack of the dishwasher — read up on the guidelines for your particular model before you do this.
You can use a bottle brush or a scrub with a long handle to effectively reach areas of your fountain.
Tip 4: Remember to do Water Changes
Just like you would an aquarium, it is important that you perform water changes on your cat’s fountain, as well.
It may seem overkill, but it is recommended that you change your cat’s water around once a day — or once every other day, at the very least. After all, you wouldn’t want to drink stale water, would you?
Your cat likely feels similarly (after all, cats themselves can be obsessively clean animals). If your water has been contaminated with algae (look for a slimy film in the dish), you should pour it down the drain.
Tip 5: Use Baking Soda to Fit Harsh Algae Build-up
Earlier, we mentioned the magic of using soap and water to wash your cat’s water fountain. However, if you are dealing with a particularly stubborn build-up, there is another hero to deploy: baking soda.
Baking soda is an effective cleaning agent that can fight scum build-up, and is a natural deodorizer.
Tip 6: Avoid Plastic Bowls
If possible, you should avoid water fountains that are made out of plastic. It may be more expensive to invest in a stainless steel or porcelain cat fountain, but your investment will pay off in the long run.
The reason behind this is that plastic is on average much more porous than other materials.
I hope that these tips will help your cats drink well for many years to come. Giving your cat access to a fresh and clean water bowl is one of the most important parts of being a great pet owner, and you can be sure that your cat feels thankful for your diligence.
Why Does Algae Form in My Cat Fountain?
If you’re wondering why your cat’s fountain has suddenly turned into a pond-like environment, you’re not alone. Many pet owners are surprised to see green growths in their fountain, although the reason for the build-up of algae is easy to explain, and the presence of algae is common.
Much like the environment of an aquarium for fish, algae easily forms in a cat fountain because it is formed by a variety of particles that are present in the water. Because your cat licks a variety of items around the house or outside, bacteria can quickly accumulate in the bowl. The bacteria is then fed by sunlight, and algae forms.
Unfortunately, algae is poisonous for your pet, and can cause health problems such as diarrhea and vomiting. If you suspect your cat has symptoms of algae poisoning, it is important to contact your vet immediately.
In the meantime, keep these best practices in mind to prevent the build-up of harmful algal blooms in your pet bowl.
The Benefits of a Cat Fountain
If you’re reading this, the chances are that you’re one of the growing number of pet owners who have traded in the traditional water bowl for a “cat fountain.”
Good move. There are multiple reasons why cats prefer running water to still, one of them being that their instinct tells them that still water may be less safe and possibly contaminated. Another reason may be that running water simply tastes better to your cat — it likely tastes fresher and even cooler.
You may have also run out to buy a cat fountain because you had a cat that was drinking from the tap or the toilet. If this is the case, we hope that the new purchase has served as an effective deterrent for your furry friend.
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