We naturally think that by providing our cats with the purest water possible we are doing the very best possible thing in helping our cats to stay healthy. That is, healthy water = healthy cats. The premise is sound – if we can keep the water healthful the cats will benefit.
However, with filtered, bottled or purified water, exactly the opposite happens. Why? Because the problems with water don’t come from the water. They come from the cats, and purified or bottled water does nothing to counteract the de-purification that can result from cat/water contact.
Think about it. Your cat eats his food, licks his fur, his paws maybe, his tail and every other part of his body, then goes to have a drink from his water source. Every living bacteria on his tongue gets into the water and because there are no inhibitors in purified, filtered or bottled water, the unhealthful organisms thrive. They multiply and the water, very quickly, becomes fouled.
This is why ordinary tap water, which contains chlorine, is best for cats drinking facilities. Chlorine reduces the threat of nearly all types of waterborne microorganisms. That is why it is used in drinking water. It helps purify the water and greatly reduces the harmful microorganisms that can live there.
Besides using chlorinated water, there is more that we can do to make our cats’ drinking experience healthful. The first of course, recommended by Veterinarians around the globe, is to use a cat fountain. But not a plastic fountain.
Nothing so encourages a cat to stay healthfully hydrated like a fountain, and especially a ceramic fountain which does not become scratched or harbor bacteria. The reason cats are so attracted to a fountain is that in nature only moving water is safe. Stagnant water harbors all manner of potentially deadly bacteria and cats, still being very much ‘in the wild’, are instinctively aware of this. This is why so many vets and cat owners testify to how much better their cats are hydrated when they are given a fountain.
Another way to help improve the quality of cats’ drinking water is to use activated charcoal, offered in various filter mediums for most cat fountains. Activated charcoal, or carbon can interact with and absorb a range of toxins, drugs, viruses, bacteria, fungus, and chemicals found in water. It is used in emergency rooms of both hospitals and veterinarian clinics for this purpose. Even ingested it has no negative side effects and can be very beneficial in removing toxins.
Whether or not you need a carbon filter for your cat depends on your situation; the nature of your cat, his habits, how many cats you have and how often you change his water. Many households with a single, tidy cat don’t need carbon filters. Many others would benefit from using them. If your cat turns away from his fountain soon after cleaning and refilling, there is a good chance you need a carbon filter.
The other device that can help keep your water healthful is a pre-filter or sponge or foam filter and most cat fountains provide this in one form or another. This prevents solid matter such as cat hair or food particles from entering the pump and recirculating into the water. When the filter is rinsed thoroughly that organic matter is removed from the system without ever having become much of an active part of it.
Your cats’ water source is possibly the most important part of their digestive hygiene. Chlorinated water, a ceramic cat fountain, possibly a carbon filter and a sponge filter will all contribute to your cats’ health.