Why a cat drinking fountain instead of a bowl?
All today's domestic cats are descended from the same ancestor, the African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica), which was domesticated in Palestine and Mesopotamia around 6000 BC. The only source of germ-free water available in the savannah at the time was free-flowing water from springs, streams and rivers. Cats that drank clean, running water had an advantage over those that sampled standing water (which was generally brackish and contaminated). They survived and so passed on this drinking behaviour to the next generation. Even today, this innate preference for moving water is firmly entrenched in the genes of all cats.
Cats are naturally reluctant drinkers.
Cat owners are often surprised at how little their cats drink. The reason is that cats have a strong preference for running water. They dislike standing water, even if it's fresh, and so they often don't drink enough - which can have a dramatic effect on their health. Cat owners are familiar with the problem - they see their cats doing almost anything to get to running water from the tap, the shower or any other source for that matter! They'll mew for as long as it takes you to turn on the tap - but by that time they may already be dehydrated. So if you really want to fulfil your cat's needs, you should offer a source of running water day and night.
Cats will do almost anything for running water. :-)
Urinary tract disease caused by an insufficient intake of fluids.
Cats that are only given standing water often drink far too little. This may result in disorders of the urinary tract, including bladder gravel or stones and even chronic feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD). According to a recent study* carried out in the USA, one in three (approx. 35%) of older pet cats (aged 8 years and above) dies from diseases of the urinary tract or kidneys. In addition, if cats are given dry food (which is actually not a natural component of a cat's diet) and/or if they're kept as indoor cats so they can't seek out natural sources of running water outside, their fluid deficiency may get drastically worse.
(*Professor Gregory Grauer, Veterinary College of Medicine, Kansas State University)
What exactly happens when your cat has a deficiency of fluids?
If your cat isn't taking in enough fluids, he or she may develop disorders of the urinary tract. As a result, any existing small urinary crystals aren't completely flushed out and can develop into gravel and then larger stones (so-called struvite stones, for example). In severe cases, a urinary stone can completely obstruct the urethra, which means that urine - and hence the body's toxic wastes - can no longer be eliminated from the body and backs up into the kidneys. This blockage is life-threatening.
A sufficient intake of water can save a cat's life.
An increased intake of water - achieved when the cat is given permanent access to running water - leads to a greater volume of urine. This helps prevent urinary tract disease because the urine contains a lower concentration of the mineral substances that can cause these disorders. And a larger volume of urine makes the cat empty his or her bladder more frequently, which in turn means that the minerals responsible for forming urinary stones spend less time inside the body and the body's own toxic substances are successfully eliminated in the urine.
So how do you get your cat to drink enough water?
Just offer your cat a round-the-clock supply of running water, just as nature intended and as recommended by vets. Your best option is to give your pet the Lucky-Kitty Ceramic Drinking Fountain for Cats, which encourages cats to drink plenty of water - you'll be helping to safeguard the long-term health and wellbeing of your cat(s).