Put the water fountain bowl in the dishwasher!

quasifishAugust 26, 2010

One of the biggest complaints on those water fountain bowls is what a pain they are to clean- I know it's been said on this forum more than once. We have a petmate and I've never though it was too bad to clean- 10 minutes with a big soft bottle brush, though I've never been able to effectively clean the reservoir without soaking it in a mild bleach solution.

Yesterday I decided to take a chance and put all the parts in the dishwasher (without the pump, of course). Worked great! The clear plastic reservoir looks like it might have clouded slightly, but I'm more interested in cleanliness and function. I don't know why I hadn't thought to try this earlier.

I don't know about other brands structures, but this one sure cleans up well this way, and while the cats were without their precious fountain for about 2 hours, it took all of about 30 seconds to take apart, put in the dishwasher, and clean the pump. I will never clean this thing by hand again.

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I have been thinking about getting a water fountain for my cats and was curious about what the maintenance entailed. The dishwasher sounds like an easy solution. How often do you have to change the filters on the fountains?

One of my major concerns was what happens to the fountains if they are plugged in and run dry? Is there any chance of a fire hazard if the thing is running with no water? My Bengals love running water and I can envision them playing in it and splashing all of the water out when I'm not home.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 11:54AM
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I gave up on the plastic cat fountain and got a ceramic bowl and put an airstone attached to a cheap aquarium pump in it. It gives gentle bubbles and the bowl can be easily cleaned in the dishwasher. I don't like plastic dishes/fountains for long-term use. They can get bacteria growth in the tiny scratches that cannot be cleaned out.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 12:08PM
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Oh, I like that idea better for my situation. I agree with the plastic, too. That was another reason for selecting a ceramic bowl. Can you tell me more specifically what I should buy (I'm not familiar with fish stuff)? Do I need filters for the air stone or pump to keep out contaminates? How deep of a dish do you use? thank you!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 12:33PM
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Sorry it took me so long to answer - I have been busy. All you need is a fairly deep ceramic bowl - a dog bowl works well. Just don't tell the cat it is dog bowl!! Mine is about 4 inches deep and 8 inches in diameter. Then get a cheap aquarium pump - should be less than $10. Get some plastic aquarium tubing that will reach from the pump to the bowl. The pump can go anywhere as long as you can get the tubing to the bowl. Last, you need an airstone. They sell those in the aquarium section by the tubing. Cost about a dollar and last a long time. Connect the tubing to the pump, run the tubing to the bowl and connect the airstone. Put the airstone in the bowl of water and turn the pump on. They also sell a little kit that has connectors and a valve that lets you regulate the air pressure if it gets too bubbly or if you have more then one bowl. The cat gets gentle bubbles to play in and you get an easy to clean bowl. Dump it out every day and refill it then put it in the dishwasher every week or so. Everybody's happy!

Good luck with your bowl!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2010 at 3:02PM
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Okay, I just went out and got what I needed to give this a try. My one cat is way too frisky for this, darn! She was dunking her paws in to catch the bubbles - yeah - good time!! But, then her interested completely turned to the tubing. She was chomping on it, trying to drag it around. Then she started on the electrical cord for the pump- oh no! I think she's going to make a game out of all the equipment.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2010 at 8:54PM
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I've got a plastic line chewer too. I bet mine would love the bubbling effect of the airstone, if only I could figure out how to keep the tubing off limits. Electrical cords have proven somewhat controllable by just taping to the floor or the baseboard if necessary.

Oregpsnow, I am not a huge fan of plastics, but the water fountain bowl has proven to be a boon where my CRF cat is concerned. It encourages her to drink a great deal of water that she would not drink otherwise, so the trade off is worth it. I'd occasionally do a light bleach soak on all the pieces as a means of disinfecting them, but the dishwasher also sterilizes as it washes so I no longer have to do that.

Kittens, I'm told by an electrician that the pumps are designed to be safe if they run dry- I can't remember the exact terminology used with it though. Mine runs dry from time to time, though when the water level gets low, the pump gets noisy as it starts to pull air. That said, I don't think I would take a chance of it running dry if I were going away on vacation or travel for a few days. As far as the filters are concerned, I have found them to last several months each, IF they are rinsed with hot water each time and set outside in full sun to dry completely before replacing in the unit. I put the entire bowl on an old bathmat to catch any water that gets flipped out. I use to have an orange tabby who loved to play in water and I'm not sure the bowl would have worked well for him- I suspect he would have emptied it in no time flat and that would negate the intention of encouraging them to drink more water throughout the day.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 10:27AM
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I wish everyone success with whatever water choice they make. Cats are very odd creatures and what works for one may not work for another.

When I first adopted my cat I didn't know about them liking bubbling water and since she was still eating dry food at that time I tried to get water into her every way I could. She started sitting on the bathroom sink, waiting for me to get her a drink of fresh water from a Dixie cup. Good grief! Talk about spoiled. Well, that stopped when she moved to canned food and I got the original cat fountain. Now instead of serving her water I serve her fresh food 3-4 times a day. I am such a pushover.

Best wishes for all of your kitties.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 10:41AM
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