Did you know kidney disease is one of the biggest ailments that takes the lives of cats? Cat experts say most cats will either succumb to kidney disease, cancer or an infectious disease like feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) if they make it to an older age. Two of my now-deceased feline siblings died because of these health issues. My oldest brother Elton Scoobie was first diagnosed with cancer at the age of 19, but it was kidney disease that took his life at 25. My sister Archie died of kidney disease at the age of 12.
When I came along in 2015 as an eight week old kitten, I was diagnosed with idiopathic cystitis, which is basically a bladder infection. One day I just started straining to pee and blood came out everywhere. Once I was rushed to the doctor, they also found crystals in my urine. My veterinarian immediately told my mom to switch me to a very expensive, wet prescription food and make sure I drank a lot of water. Since I am food motivated, I loved the wet food because it was so much tastier than the dry food. (I guess this is unusual because most cats absolutely hate the taste of urinary prescription food.) I eat everything that looks like food so it doesn’t bother me.
My human noticed that I wasn’t drinking any water. She would put water in front of my face but I wanted nothing to do with it. It tasted boring and just did not look appealing, besides my dog sister would often drink out of it and there was always slobbery goo in it. Finally, my mom got an idea… how about adding warm water to my wet food? That worked! It was like a soupy stew and I would just slop it up. She also heard cranberry was good for pets with urinary issues so she added some cranberry powdered supplement to the concoction as well. That worked as well… I slopped up everything.
Fast forward about two years later and I am still eating the stuff. But recently my mom noticed some scabbing and irritation underneath my mouth. She figured out it was from me cleaning myself after eating the slobbery stew. I would often stick my whole face in the bowl and I would get really messy. I would use my paw to clean myself but I think I must have rubbed my chin too hard… as there was no fur growing and it was scabbing. When mom started cleaning me with a pet wet wipe after I eat, she noticed there was a little blood as well.
She consulted a veterinarian, who told her to make my food less soupy so I wouldn’t get so messy. She also suggested I get a water fountain. In a weird case of deja vu, the Petmate Company sent me an email asking me if I would review their new Fresh Flow® Rain Fountain for cats. Of course I said yes and within a week, a complimentary one was at my front doorstep.
Mom unpacked it and it came in seven parts. The only tool needed was a Phillips head screwdriver. It took my human about 15 minutes to put together. It was pretty easy for the most part but some of the parts were stiff and took a bit of an effort to piece together.
When she had it put together it looked quite interesting. It was completely battery operated, requiring four D-Cell batteries which did not come with it. Petmate describes their product like this:
When the pump begins to run, water is drawn from the bowl up through the tube and filter to the top of the lid, creating secondary drinking locations. Once water reaches the top, it “rains” down the inside of the water chamber. As the water fills the water chamber, the water streams from the front nozzle and refills the bowl creating a rain like flow that is naturally appealing to cats and will perk your pet’s interest. The water reservoir and pump are self-balancing allowing gravity to constantly flow water, allowing the pump to run half of the time. No more cords, outlets, or limitations on where to place your pet’s water fountain. Modern design fits well with any home decor.
Unlike my now deceased cat siblings, I am not water motivated. I don’t really like to hang out in the bathroom or kitchen sinks. I really just want food. But when mom started the contraption, it did look interesting. The water began pumping to the top. That caught my attention so I started drinking from the top of it.
After a few minutes, the running water just came out in a little stream to the bowl at the bottom and I pretty much walked away, because to be truthfully, it didn’t seem all that interesting. After reading the instructions thoroughly, mom threw two treats into the water. That’s when I went in after them and started drinking from the bowl.
Mom has had two water fountains in the past but both broke after about a month or two of use. That’s why she never bought one again. She bought both fountains because they had great reviews but ended up being duds. This fountain is still going strong after two months so she’s pretty happy thus far. At a retail price of $49.60 on Amazon, it is by no means the cheapest and my human was surprised the reviews were fairly negative. It’s interesting because the two previous fountains she purchased before had great reviews on Amazon but they didn’t work out for her. Mom is thinking perhaps the product got redesigned? So, when it comes to buying products like this, to each, his own! But here are a few things you should know:
- It doesn’t continually run. Since it’s battery operated, the motor and the stream start and stop. (Since my previous fountains made loud noises continually when they were near dying, I don’t mind this at all.)
- You do need filters for this fountain that have to be replaced every 30 days for every animal that uses it. You can get a pack of them on Amazon for $7.49.
- It’s main attribute is the fact you don’t need to plug it in to a wall. I like to chew on cords so Mom is really happy about this.
I would urge you to try out this fountain if you are looking for one, as most retailers will replace it or give you your money back if you are not happy. It’s worth it to try it out. My shy and fearful canine sister Josie now uses it as well, but only when the pump is not running because the pumping of the water freaks her out. Eventually, if this water fountain works well, Mom is hoping to permanently replace our water dish with it. (Right now we have two water outlets, the fountain and our regular bowl of water.)
Water is crucial to a cat’s health so no matter what you do, find a way to incorporate more fluid to your kitty’s diet. Years of dehydration will definitely impact the health of your feline. Whether you use a fountain, let them lick water from the faucet or add more water to their food, there’s nothing better knowing than you are doing everything you can for your cat to live a long, happy life. That of course, is Whisker Fabulous!