24/7 Cat Fountain. Is It Safe to Leave On All Day?

Introduce Cat Fountains

Cat fountains are drinking systems designed specifically for cats to provide them with a constant source of clean, circulating water. They typically consist of a water reservoir and a fountain/waterfall area where the water flows continuously. The moving water encourages cats to drink more since stagnant water is less appealing to them. Cat fountains filter and aerate the water to keep it fresher for longer compared to traditional water bowls.

The benefits of cat fountains include:

  • Increased water intake – The flowing water motivates cats to drink more, which is important for urinary tract health.
  • Cleaner water – The filtration system removes debris, dust, and sediment.
  • Less contamination – Circulating water inhibits bacteria growth.
  • Convenience – Fountains can hold a larger water capacity, requiring less frequent refilling.
  • Customization – Many fountains allow you to adjust water flow levels.

Overall, cat fountains provide a healthier and more appealing water source to encourage proper hydration. Their filtration and circulation features keep the water fresh and mimics natural drinking sources. For convenience and health, cat fountains are an excellent investment for cat owners. More details on the advantages and considerations around cat fountains will be covered in the following sections.

Reasons to Leave Fountain On

Leaving a cat fountain on all day long provides fresh water for your cat to drink throughout the day. As noted, running water helps keep the water fresh and discourage bacterial growth. Stagnant water can start to develop biofilm, algae, and other contaminants that can make the water unpalatable for cats. A constantly flowing fountain circulates and aerates the water to prevent this.

Additionally, the sound and movement of flowing water encourages cats to drink more often. Cats have a low thirst drive and can be prone to chronic mild dehydration. According to a study by Dr. Michelle Meyer, providing water in a fountain increased daily water consumption in cats by up to 60%. Leaving the fountain on continuously maximizes this benefit by stimulating cats’ interest each time they pass by it. Adequate hydration is essential for urinary tract health and kidney function in cats.

Reasons to Turn Fountain Off

While leaving a cat fountain on all the time provides cats with constant access to fresh, running water, there are some reasons you may want to turn the fountain off occasionally:

Saves electricity

Cat fountains require electricity to power the pump and filtration system. Keeping it running 24/7 uses more electricity than only having it on when needed. Turning it off when you’re not home or at night can help reduce energy costs.

Reduces noise

The sound of running water from the fountain can be bothersome for some cats or humans when trying to sleep or rest. Turning it off at night eliminates the ambient noise so your home is quiet for sleeping. You can easily turn it back on in the morning.

Overall, it’s a personal choice whether to leave a cat fountain on all the time or turn it off periodically. Consider your cat’s preferences, energy costs, and noise levels in your home when deciding what works best.

Factors to Consider

When deciding whether to leave a cat fountain on all day, there are a few key factors to take into account. First, consider your cat’s preferences and drinking habits. According to The New York Times, some cats prefer to drink from a flowing water source and will drink more when provided with a fountain. Other cats may not care either way. Observe your cat’s interactions with the fountain when it’s on versus off to determine if having it flowing all day makes a difference.

The capacity or size of the fountain is also an important consideration. As recommended by Thirsty Cat Fountains, a single cat needs a minimum 5 cup capacity fountain, while a two cat household should opt for 9 cups or more. A larger capacity fountain can stay on all day without running dry as quickly. Make sure to select an appropriately sized fountain before deciding to leave it on 24/7.

Monitor Water Level

It’s important to monitor the water level in your cat fountain and refill it when it gets too low. The water level can drop quickly, especially in multi-cat households. According to experts, you should check the fountain at least twice a day – once in the morning and once at night.

Cats are at risk for dehydration if the fountain runs dry for an extended period. Dehydration can lead to serious health complications like kidney disease and urinary tract infections. By keeping a close eye on the water level, you can ensure your cat always has access to fresh, clean water.

Look at the water level from all angles when checking the fountain. Cats may drink from particular spots, creating an uneven water line that could hide the fact it’s running low. Refill the fountain whenever the water goes about an inch below the highest fill line. This provides a buffer so it won’t go dry if you happen to miss a check.

Get in the habit of topping off the fountain during your morning and evening checks. This helps prevent the water level from ever getting critically low. With a consistent refilling schedule, you can keep the fountain filled with cool, appealing water that entices your cat to drink up.

Clean Regularly

It’s important to clean your cat fountain regularly to keep the water fresh and prevent bacterial growth. The general recommendation is to wash all parts of the fountain thoroughly at least once a week (Source).

Be sure to wash the pump, filters, bowls, lids, tubes and any other parts that come into contact with water. Use mild soap and warm water, rinse thoroughly. You can also use a solution of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water to help descale and disinfect (Source).

The filter is especially important to change regularly as it collects hair, dirt and other debris. Most filters should be replaced every 2-4 weeks. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for your specific fountain.

Taking the time to regularly wash and change the filter will help prevent slime buildup, bad odors and keep the water tasting fresh. This encourages your cat to drink more and stay hydrated.

Use Filtered Water

Filtered water is the best choice for cats when filling their water fountain. Using a basic water filter like Brita removes chlorine, minerals, and sediments that can give water an unpleasant taste. This makes the filtered water more palatable and enjoyable for cats to drink, as noted by Cat Health (CatHealth.com). Filters also eliminate heavy metals and other unhealthy contaminants, resulting in cleaner and purer water.

With improved taste and reduced impurities, filtered water can encourage cats to drink more. Staying well hydrated is important for your cat’s health. More frequent drinking can also help reduce the risk of urinary tract infections and blockages. For the cleanest, tastiest water to fill your cat’s fountain, invest in a basic water filter.

Location Matters

When placing your cat’s fountain, it’s important to put it in an optimal location. According to expert advice, the fountain should be positioned away from your cat’s food bowl and litter boxes. Cats prefer their water source to be separated from areas where they eat and eliminate waste. Place the fountain in a quiet corner of the home that your cat frequents.

The fountain should also be easily accessible to your cat. As recommended by this guide, ensure your cat has enough room to move around the fountain without knocking it over. Don’t place it up high or in a crammed space. Opt for an open, ground-level location that allows your cat easy access to fresh flowing water throughout the day.

Get the Right Fountain

When selecting a cat fountain, it’s important to consider your cat’s needs and choose one made of durable, high-quality materials. Cats prefer running water, so look for fountains with multiple flow options. According to Reddit users on r/BuyItForLife, ceramic fountains like the Catit Flower Fountain are best because they don’t harbor bacteria like plastic models. The Catit fountain also features a charming daisy design cats love playing with.

Opt for stainless steel models like the Pioneer Pet Raindrop fountain if you want maximum durability. The stainless steel won’t crack with age and is easy to clean. Just be aware that some cats dislike the metallic taste of stainless steel. You can find a high-quality plastic fountain like the PetSafe Drinkwell Pagoda, but these need replaced more often than ceramic or stainless versions.

Think about your cat’s age and abilities too. Senior cats benefit from a lower water dish while kittens enjoy fountains with gentle streams. Ultimately the fountain needs to entice your cat to drink more to support their health. Focus less on maximizing features and more on finding the right fountain your cat will use and enjoy.


Whether to leave your cat fountain on all day comes down to several factors. You should monitor the water level and clean the fountain regularly to keep the water fresh. Using filtered water can also help reduce contaminants. Consider the fountain’s location – high-traffic areas mean more dirt and hair can get into the water. Investing in a quality fountain with a good filtration system allows it to run safely for longer periods.

The main benefits of leaving it on are ensuring your cat has constant access to fresh, flowing water. However, potential downsides are higher electricity bills, more frequent cleaning, and possible motor burnout. There are reasonable arguments on both sides.

In summary, it is usually fine to leave a fountain on all day as long as you check the water level frequently, change the filter regularly, wash all parts thoroughly, and ensure the fountain is designed to run continuously. But also consider your cat’s needs – some drink more than others. Shutting it off at night allows the motor to rest. Finding the right balance for your cat and fountain model provides optimal hydration.

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