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Water Fountains for Cats

Grant DC: Effect of water source on intake and urine concentration in healthy cats, J Feline Med Surg 12:431, 2010.

Lower urinary tract disorders account for about 1.5% of primary care veterinary visits for cats. One strategy to prevent the recurrence of urolith types in cats is to maintain dilute urine. Dietary methods used or recommended to increase water intake and promote urine dilution have included feeding canned food, high sodium diets, and the addition of water to diets. Water fountains have also been recommended to increase water intake. This study evaluated thirteen cats assigned to have 24 hour water intake and urine osmolality measured when water was offered from a bowl or a fountain. One cat refused to drink water from the fountain and developed barbering of hair and vomiting and was removed from the study. Results indicated that offering water from a fountain led to greater water intake in cats compared with water offered from a standard bowl. Yet, when urine osmolalities were compared, there was no significant difference.  This suggests the accuracy of the intake volume from the fountain was falsely elevated. The results here do not support replacing a cat’s water bowl with a fountain to achieve increased water intake and production of dilute urine. However, the results did suggest water fountains might provide a source of enjoyment for some cats though not all. [VT]

Related articles:
Xu H, Laflamme DPL, Long GL: Effects of dietary sodium chloride on health parameters in mature cats, J Feline Med Surg 11:435, 2009.