Cat Water Fountain. On or Off at Night?

Benefits of Cat Water Fountains

Cat water fountains provide several benefits for feline health and wellbeing. One of the main advantages is that running water encourages cats to drink more, preventing potentially dangerous dehydration. Cats often prefer the taste and freshness of moving water compared to stagnant water in a bowl. Drinking more water can help reduce the risk of urinary tract infections, bladder stones, and kidney problems in cats[1]. The flow of water also helps minimize bacteria buildup, providing a cleaner drinking source.

Additionally, drinking from a flowing fountain helps improve cats’ dental health by reducing plaque and tartar. The act of lapping at moving streams of water helps clean their teeth. Proper hydration supports saliva production, which contains antibacterial compounds to keep the mouth healthy.

Reasons to Turn Fountain Off at Night

There are some valid reasons you may want to consider turning your cat’s water fountain off at night:

Conserve electricity – Keeping the fountain motor running all night uses extra electricity. Turning it off while your cat sleeps saves energy.

Avoid spills and leaks – Cats may bat at or play with the fountain at night, which could cause water to splash out. Turning it off prevents possible leaks.

Reduce noise – The motor and flowing water can make noise that disturbs your cat’s sleep. Turning it off eliminates this potential disruption.

However, there are also good reasons to keep the fountain on 24/7, which we’ll explore next.

Reasons to Keep Fountain On at Night

Cats tend to be crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk. As a result, cats often drink more water at night when they wake up to hunt, play, and explore (Source). Keeping the water fountain on overnight ensures fresh, circulating water is available when cats naturally seek it out.

Leaving the fountain on can help prevent dehydration in cats that may not drink enough water during the day if the fountain is off at night. Cats that only have access to water during the daytime may not be getting adequate hydration. Having water available around-the-clock is ideal.

Some cat fountains are designed to be ultra quiet, so they can run 24/7 without disturbing humans. Models with a low “purr” or gurgling sound are great options for overnight use. As long as the fountain doesn’t make loud pumping noises, it’s reasonable to leave it on at night for cats’ benefit (Source).

Tips for Nighttime Use

When using a cat water fountain at night, there are a few tips to make the experience better for both you and your cat:

Place the fountain on a mat to catch any spills or splashes. Even a small towel under the fountain can help absorb water and prevent messes on the floor (

Opt for a quiet, energy-efficient fountain model. Some fountains can produce noise from the pump and filter that disturbs you or your cat at night. Look for a silent fountain designed for quiet operation.

Elevate the fountain slightly to prevent splashing. You can place it on a small stand or blocks to raise it up a few inches. This will help contain the water and reduce chances of your cat playing and making a mess.

Consider turning the fountain off at night if the sound is disturbing your cat or you. While some cats may wake up thirsty, you can always turn it back on in the morning. Pay attention to your cat’s habits and sleep to decide if turning it off is necessary.

Cats’ Nighttime Drinking Habits

Cats tend to drink more water at certain times of day or night. Many cats will drink soon after eating, as the food stimulates their thirst. Cats are also prone to drinking after activities like playtime or using the litterbox, when their bodies need rehydration.

Increased thirst and excessive drinking can also be a sign of medical issues like diabetes or kidney disease, especially in older cats. These conditions may cause cats to drink more water overnight. If you notice a sudden increase in your cat’s nighttime water consumption, it’s a good idea to monitor their intake and consult a vet if the behavior persists. Dehydration in cats can quickly become dangerous.

In healthy cats, monitor if your feline friend seems to prefer drinking more during the day or at night. Cats who drink primarily at night may benefit from having their fountain left on overnight. Just be sure the fountain is working properly and is filled with fresh, clean water daily.


Signs Your Cat is Dehydrated

Dehydration in cats can become life-threatening quickly, so it’s important to watch for early signs. According to WebMD1, some key symptoms of dehydration in cats include:

  • Dry mouth – One way to check for this is to lift your cat’s lip and feel their gums. Healthy gums should feel moist.
  • Sunken eyes – Dehydration causes the eyes to appear more sunken in and the skin around them to feel doughy.
  • Loss of appetite – Dehydrated cats often lose interest in food.
  • Lethargy – Lack of fluids causes weakness and fatigue.
  • Reduced skin elasticity – Gently pinch the skin over the shoulders and see if it snaps back quickly. Dehydrated skin is slower to bounce back.

According to PetMD2, other symptoms can include dry nose, weakness, vomiting, and constipation. If you notice any of these signs, contact your vet right away, as dehydration can quickly become an emergency.

When to See the Vet

If signs of dehydration persist even after increasing water intake, it’s important to take your cat to the vet. Dehydration can quickly become dangerous if left untreated. According to PetMD, you should contact your vet if symptoms last more than 24 hours.

You should also take your cat to the vet if they are drinking more water than usual but still seem dehydrated. Increased thirst could signal an underlying medical issue causing dehydration, like kidney disease or diabetes. As noted by WebMD, increased water consumption is one of the key symptoms of dehydration in cats.

Recurring UTIs may also be a sign of inadequate hydration, so consult your vet if your cat has frequent infections. Staying hydrated can help flush bacteria from the urinary tract. Discuss any UTI recurrence with your vet to identify and treat the underlying cause.

Finally, if your cat is older or has exhibited possible signs of kidney disease like increased thirst or urination, get them checked for dehydration. Kidney disease impairs the body’s ability to concentrate urine, leading to dehydration. Early diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease can help manage dehydration.

Choosing a Quiet Fountain

When selecting a cat fountain, the noise level is an important consideration, especially if it will be running at night near your bedroom. Look for fountains with quiet motors and noise dampening features like ceramic construction.

Read through customer reviews on sites like Amazon to get a sense of real-world noise levels for different models. Many reviewers will comment on how audible the fountain is. Models like the Drinkwell Original and Drinkwell Platinum frequently get positive feedback for being quieter than average.

If possible, visit a pet store to see and hear fountains in person. This will give you the best sense of the noise produced. Bring your cat too – their reactions can help determine if a fountain will work well in your home.

With some research and testing, you can find the right low noise water fountain to let your cat drink peacefully day or night.

Fountain Maintenance Tips

To keep your cat’s water fountain functioning properly and the water clean, follow these maintenance tips:

Change the filter regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The filter collects hair, food, and other debris that can contaminate the water. Replacing it ensures a steady flow of clean water.[1]

Thoroughly wash the entire fountain weekly using hot water and soap or vinegar solution. Take apart all removable pieces and clean each thoroughly. This prevents buildup of slime and bacteria.[2]

Use filtered or distilled water rather than tap water to fill the fountain. Tap water contains minerals and contaminants that can leave buildup.

Check for leaks and make sure the pump is functioning properly each time you refill the fountain. Look for condensation or water underneath that signals a leak. Replace faulty parts right away.

The Bottom Line

When deciding whether to turn off your cat’s water fountain at night, it’s important to consider your cat’s needs as well as potential issues like noise and leaks.

Monitor your cat’s water intake during the day versus at night to get a sense of their drinking habits. If your cat tends to drink more during the night, keeping the fountain on may be beneficial.

Take steps like providing additional water bowls around your home to prevent dehydration if you do decide to turn the fountain off at night. And watch for any signs of dehydration during the day like lethargy, dry gums, or skin tenting.

If you have concerns about your cat’s hydration or health, it’s always best to seek advice from your veterinarian.

Overall, know your cat’s needs, take precautions, and monitor their water intake and health. With some adjustments, it may be possible to keep your cat properly hydrated even with the fountain turned off at night.

Scroll to Top