Do Cat Fountains Become Bug Magnets?


Cat water fountains provide a continuous supply of fresh, circulating water for cats. They offer several benefits over traditional water bowls such as encouraging increased water consumption, filtering out hair and debris, and reducing bacteria growth. Keeping cats hydrated is extremely important for their health, and water fountains help promote adequate water intake. With a constantly flowing stream, the water stays cooler and more appealing to cats. The circulating water also inhibits bacterial growth which can occur in stagnant bowls. Most fountains include replaceable filters to catch hair and particles. Overall, cat fountains provide a healthier and more convenient water source over standard bowls.

Do Bugs Get Attracted to Cat Fountains?

Yes, certain types of bugs can be attracted to cat water fountains, especially those with standing water. Mosquitoes in particular are drawn to standing water to lay their eggs. The eggs then hatch into larvae, which are commonly known as “wrigglers.” These mosquito larvae are often found swimming in cat water fountains (Source).

Other bugs like drain flies are also attracted to the moist environment created by cat fountains. Drain fly larvae feed on debris and algae that accumulate in stagnant water. They thrive in the slimy film that builds up in fountains that are not cleaned regularly (Source).

The standing water,nutrients from cat food/saliva, and warmth from pump motors make cat fountains an enticing breeding ground for certain bugs. This is why regular cleaning and maintenance is so important for fountains.

Types of Bugs

Standing water is attractive to a number of bugs that seek out cat water fountains as a place to lay eggs or drink water. Some common bugs attracted to cat fountains include:

Mosquitoes – Female mosquitoes are attracted to standing water and will lay their eggs in cat fountains. The larvae then hatch in the water. Mosquitoes can transmit diseases to both cats and humans, so it’s important to prevent them from breeding (Source).

Flies – Flies like fruit flies and drain flies are attracted to the standing water and organic matter in cat fountains. They lay eggs that then hatch into larvae in the water. Flies don’t directly harm cats but are a nuisance (Source).

Gnats – Small flying insects like gnats may congregate around cat fountains. They are drawn to the moisture and standing water. Though harmless, gnats can be annoying for both cats and owners (Source).

Preventing Bugs

There are a few key things you can do to help prevent bugs from infesting your cat’s water fountain:

Location – Place the water fountain in an open, well-ventilated area away from plants and compost piles where bugs may congregate. Keep it away from walls and corners.

Cleaning – Stick to the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning schedule, which is usually weekly for plastic fountains and monthly for ceramic. Take the fountain fully apart and wash all components in hot, soapy water. Rinse thoroughly. Here’s a helpful video on cleaning cat fountains: [1]

Adding Ice – Putting ice cubes in the fountain creates an inhospitable environment for bugs with the cold temperature. Just make sure your cat doesn’t try to chew on the ice!

Overall, diligent cleaning and good location are key for keeping bugs away from your cat’s fountain. Maintaining fresh, flowing water deters bugs. If issues persist despite your best efforts, it may be time to call in a professional.


Using Filters

Filters can be very effective for repelling bugs in cat fountains. Here are two types of filters to consider:

Charcoal filters – Many cat fountains include charcoal filters that sit in the water reservoir. The charcoal absorbs impurities and odors that could attract bugs. Activated charcoal filters should be replaced every 2-4 weeks to keep working effectively. Using a high quality charcoal filter and changing it regularly can help prevent bugs.

Foam barriers – Some cat fountains have foam filters that create a protective barrier between the water and the air above it. This foam prevents bugs from accessing the water to lay eggs or drink. Look for fountains designed with an integrated foam filter or add a foam insert yourself for an extra layer of protection.

Cat-Safe Insecticides

When trying to prevent bugs in cat fountains, it’s important to use cat-safe insecticides that won’t harm your feline friends. Some good options include:

Natural Oils: Certain natural oils like peppermint, citronella, and eucalyptus have insect-repelling properties. You can apply these oils around the base of the fountain. Just be sure to keep them away from areas your cat may lick. Start with small amounts to ensure your cat doesn’t have an adverse reaction.

Non-Toxic Sprays: Look for EPA-registered, non-toxic sprays made with food-grade essential oils, like lavender, lemongrass, and rosemary. Carefully spray around the edges and base of the fountain, avoiding any surfaces your cat may touch. Only use sprays deemed safe for cats.

When using any insecticide for cat fountains, be sure to thoroughly rinse/wipe down the fountain before your cat uses it again. Monitor your cat closely and discontinue use if any concerns arise. With the proper natural products, you can safely repel bugs from cat fountains.

Fountain Design Tips

The design of your cat fountain can play a big role in preventing bugs. Here are some tips:

Covered Reservoirs

Fountains with fully covered water reservoirs are less likely to attract bugs than open bowls. The cover blocks access to the standing water, keeping flying insects away.

Circulating Water

Running water is less appealing to bugs than stagnant water. Fountains that keep the water moving with pumps and filters will be less of a bug magnet.

Opt for a fountain designed to stay filled and constantly circulating. Reservoirs that only refill when your cat drinks can allow small pools of standing water.

Daily Maintenance

To prevent bugs from accumulating in a cat water fountain, it’s important to thoroughly clean and change the water daily. This routine maintenance will help reduce places where bacteria or insects can multiply.

Each day, empty out all existing water in the fountain reservoir. Use mild soap and warm water to wash the fountain bowls, ramps, nozzles, and any other removable parts. Rinse thoroughly to eliminate soap residue. Wipe down the fountain base and reservoir with a damp cloth.

Once all fountain components are clean, refill the reservoir with fresh, clean water. Check that the pump is circulating water properly through all fountain bowls or streams. Replace any filters as needed per the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Daily cleaning and water replacement is the most effective way to prevent bugs or algae buildup in a cat fountain. Maintaining this routine maintenance will promote proper hygiene and keep the fountain working efficiently.

When to Call a Professional

In most cases, you can manage mild bug infestations in your cat fountain with regular cleaning and maintenance. However, if you notice a major bug problem that doesn’t seem to go away, it may be time to call in a professional pest control company.

Signs that you need professional help include:

  • Swarms of bugs around the fountain, even after cleaning
  • Bugs coming up through the fountain motor or base
  • Bug eggs or larvae in the fountain water
  • Bugs spreading to other areas of your home

For severe infestations, pest control treatments like intensive cleaning, steam treatments, or targeted insecticide application may be needed. Professional exterminators have the proper tools and training to fully eliminate fountain bugs at their source and prevent reinfestations.

When hiring pest control, look for companies experienced in dealing with household bugs and safe treatments for pets. Be sure to follow any prep instructions to limit your cat’s exposure during treatment. With professional help, you can get your cat fountain back to a clean, pest-free state.


To recap, while bugs may occasionally be attracted to cat water fountains, there are many steps you can take to prevent infestations. Perform daily cleaning and maintenance, use filters, select insect-resistant fountain materials, and apply cat-safe insecticides when needed. With proper care, cat fountains can provide fresh, flowing water without becoming a haven for pests.

When shopping for a new cat fountain, look for ones with enclosed, housed pumps, smaller reservoirs, and smooth surfaces. Ceramic and stainless steel models tend to deter bugs better than plastic. Place your fountain in a sunny area away from pet food. With diligent care and smart design choices, you can let your cat enjoy clean running water without the worry of attracting bugs.

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