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Why Is My Cat Afraid Of a Water Fountain?

In this post we’ll talk about cat’s and having a water fountain. A lot of times cat’s become afraid of their bowl or pet fountain for no good reason. Let’s dive in and answer “Why is my cat afraid of a water fountain” give you some tips on how to overcome your cat’s fear.

why is my cat afraid of a water fountain

Cats are fascinating in the way that they behave and what can cause them to become frightened. But sometimes even the simplest everyday things can cause them to get frightened or scared.

Getting To The ‘Why’

Yes, it’s an odd thing, something not every pet owner would expect a cat to steer clear from. But some cats do, as made evident from the many cat owners having problems getting them to drink from either their water fountains or bowl.

Consider this;

Unlike other animals, their personality ventures off into their own world, where they enjoy chasing, playing, and interacting with other cats and animals. There are few things that cats seldom run away from, and most are open to seeing new faces around.

Did you Know? In the U.S. 50 – 60% of cats are allowed outdoors. In the United Kingdom the majority of cats are allowed outdoors [1].

However, things like vacuums, annoying sounds, and odd gadgets might keep them at bay. Sometimes, the devices could be the source of their nourishment, like the cat trays that automatically dispense food into a bowl. But water sources can be the same, namely fountains.

Your cat must be trained (or learn) when new items bought for them are used. This also goes for food if your try something new like mixing wet and dry cat food together.

If you’re having issues getting your cat to drink from such an appliance, check out the helpful tips below to boost their confidence.

Why Is My Cat Afraid of a Water Fountain?

Due to the odd shape, smell, and sounds that fountains make, some cats are unabashedly afraid of them.

Unfamiliarity is a primary cause of fear in cats. Most cats get their water from a bowl, where the water isn’t moving. All pets, including dogs, must sometimes be gradually introduced to new appliances that you bring inside. It could be the scent that’s picked up by the cats when approaching the water fountain, the noise that it makes, or them seeing the water flow unnaturally.

Do you have other pets? This can also cause them to ignore the fountain, especially if it’s used by animals other than cats. Cats can have a difficult time concentrating on drinking in areas that they feel are unsafe, such as an exposed space that’s in your front yard.

Nevertheless, any cat can be taught to drink from one, regardless of how often you avoid it.

Keep This In Mind: Cats are naturally drawn to running water. However, you should not use decorative fountains not meant for pets.

Do Cats Like Fountains?

Yes, cats can be trained to like most appliances you buy for them, including fountains. It’s the appliance’s mechanisms that scare them most of the time.

Most pet fountains operate the same way that a water fountain does. On the typical fountain, water comes from the top of an appliance and falls into a basin with the help of gravity.

The basin holds the water, where it’s either recycled or stays at the bottom. They’re usually made of BPA-free plastic or stainless steel, good materials for reducing the growth of bacteria.

Most of today’s fountains sold have a body that resembles fountains commonly found in shopping centers or sculptures, where water is constantly pumped up to a centerpiece that pours it back down. Cleaning is easy and operation is through wireless charge or AC power.

How To Train Your Cat To Use a Pet Fountain

Just like teaching your cat to use a cat hammock, you can train cats for fountains, you should isolate the fountain and ease them into it by switching it off until they’re adjusted. Treats are a good idea, as is buying a fountain with a silent operation. Below are details to do each of these.

1. Separate the fountains from your cat’s food source

Some pet owners may feel the need to keep both the cat food and water in one easy-to-fill spot. But this might not be a good idea. Although they would probably drink immediately after eating and vice versa, having both close together could create problems from contamination.

If food gets into their water, it may not only spoil it quicker but lead to odors that you don’t notice. No one cat is the same as another. A subtle change in the water source may have them ignore it completely. So keep food and water at a distance, which also helps them to distinguish hunger from thirst.

2. Make a safe space for your cat’s drinking needs

Where does your cat spend most of its time? Is it in the hallway, dining room, or front entrance? Knowing this will give you a good indicator of where you should place the fountain.

Having the fountain in the area where they’re most at peace from threats can help them get comfortable with fountain drinking.

Think of it as eating at a campsite in the woods. Before chow commences, the area must first be learned and made livable to become relaxed enough to sit down and enjoy a meal. Even if where you place the fountain seems awkward to you, it might be the perfect spot for your cat.

3. Let them drink with the fountain turned off

For cats that are afraid of the fountain, this might be the trick that’ll ease them into it.

Pour water into the basin, yet leave the fountain turned off. This will help them view the fountain as just another quirky-looking water bowl. Let them use it for a spell, one or two weeks might be enough.

When you do turn it on, do so only after they’ve completed their drinking session.

Cats are naturally inquisitive but are quick to view items once feared as ordinary as tame after getting them into a habit. And if the routine of drinking from a fountain begins without water flow, stopping when the pump is activated won’t likely happen.

When going this route, you must clean it out frequently to avoid bacterial growth from stagnation.

4. Give them their favorite treat after drinking

This works better when your cat is hungry. After they have a nervous sip, encourage it again by tossing them a morsel of their favorite snack. If you do this immediately after they’re done, they’ll quickly catch on to the routine and drink up, no matter how scared they were to approach it before.

5. Purchase a fountain that makes little noise

Cat drinking fountains have a reputation for being incredibly loud. The motions of water passing through the pumps emits a whirring sound, one that could be heard in rooms near to the one where the fountain’s located. Of course, not every fountain is loud, particularly those with more stainless steel components.

The more plastic within the interior of the fountain, the more noise it’ll emit. Failure to thoroughly wash the fountain can result in a higher decibel level as well. Don’t forget to wipe down the pump impeller to reduce squeaking.

Give Them a New Normal: Cats like to have an environment that helps to ensure simple normalcy and predictability. Create a living space that keeps your kitty free from fear and distress that provides the cat with some routine. [2]

Why Is My Cat Afraid of Their Water Bowl?

The scent, taste, and shape of the bowl can shy cats away from drinking water in them.

Even humans can be a bit nervous when handling new utensils brought into living quarters. In the eyes of a cat that must use a new water bowl, getting close could be akin to having an intrusive object in their space that shouldn’t be there. The bowl might also need cleaning.

Use bowls that have a rudimentary shape and design. Stainless steel or hard plastic is recommended. If you go with plastic, wash it out to get rid of any chemical scents the material may have.

A cat’s sense of smell is more sensitive than humans. They’ll pick up chemical odors before you notice anything.

Scrub any bowl that they drink from well, preferably every one to two days. It’ll prevent bacterial growth from developing, which is off-putting to house cats.

Why is my cat scared of a water fountain… Summary

Just like getting them used to their cat tree, with a little patience, careful preparation, and reward, you can help your cat get attached to a new bowl or fountain in as little as a month or less. If your cat is afraid of a water fountain or water bowl you can take some basic steps to help them overcome their fear. 

Soon your cat will drink without thought, which could open you up to more automotive food dispensers they wouldn’t have touched prior. Try out each tip, one is certain to work for your pet cat.

Related Article: Why Does My Cats Water Bowl Get Slimy?

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