Yes, you read that right. A cat fountain.
It’s not news that cats love running water. Check out your social media platform of choice and chances are you’ll be able to find a video of a cat being an absolute dork around a faucet in 30 seconds or less. It’s an instinctual drive—running water is fresh water. Cats are also kinda dorks, but that’s another article.
So, then, cats are drawn to running water. That’s fine, but why do we have to provide it for them 24/7 when a bowl on the floor will suffice? The problem comes in when you consider how cats in the wild get the majority of their hydration: from prey animals they kill. Your average domestic house cat gets their food in the form of dried pellets that, by their very nature, have practically no water content.
So house cats can develop issues like urinary tract infections or kidney issues when the only water they have available to them is from a still bowl of water that’s most likely been sitting out for a day or more. They’re not drawn to it and end up not drinking less water than they need.
Enter cat fountains. While seemingly ridiculous, they help solve a very real issue for our furry little predators.
If only they weren’t such a pain to maintain.
Your typical cat fountain has a wired or unwired pump with multiple filters. That pump has to be broken down and those filters cleaned or replaced at least once a month. Then the whole interior has to be wiped down to prevent bio-film buildup. You also have to keep a close eye on wired pumps to make sure there are no breaks that could potentially electrify the water fountain (something that got a lot of attention on social media earlier this year and was never quite proven but still, electricity + water = bad). Plus the pumps in general like to just fail altogether with little or no warning.
Why is Elfin Fountain Better?
Elfin Fountain started their crowdfunding campaign with a fountain that reduces the complexity, improves reliability, and generally makes for a better experience for cat and owner alike.
At a glance, the Elfin Fountain looks like pretty much any other wireless cat fountain on the market. There’s a charging base, a reservoir, a tower to push water to the top, and a coconut and carbon filter to keep it clean as it cycles back into the reservoir.
But pop that tower open and you’ll be surprised to find that there’s nothing there except a little widget. That’s because Elfin Fountain isn’t just a wireless cat fountain, it’s a pumpless cat fountain.
How’d they do it? Anyone who took a chemistry class in high school (or, y’know, works with chemicals now) will be familiar with the concept: it’s a magnetic stirrer. The base contains a magnetic spinning component that makes a widget in the fountain reservoir spin. Put a plastic tower over the spinning widget and water is forced up. It’s a shockingly simple concept that relies on physics rather than electronics.
It makes for a practically maintenance-free fountain as well. You still have a filter to replace every month or so, but all the other components break down quickly and easily. A quick scrub in hot water and you’re back in business.
The battery in the base lasts for up to 30 days, depending on what mode it’s in. You can set it to manually cycle every 15 minutes for 20 seconds or have it triggered by your cat’s presence (or anything else that gets in the way of the motion sensors). There’s no continuous mode, which makes the fountain a little less attractive to my pet, in particular, but the sensor mode runs the fountain enough that, when he’s in the room with it, Loki will check it out.
The one thing that’s different with a pumpless fountain is the sound. It clatters just the tiniest bit as opposed to nearly-silent pumps. While it shouldn’t be enough to scare skittish pets it may take them a little bit to get used to the new sound. My cat had his doubts at first before he adopted it into his routine.
The Elfin Fountain campaign has greatly surpassed its funding goal and is in its last hour over on Kickstarter. Their website will have links for components like filter replacements and, I assume, a portal for late bids. They plan on shipping fountains out next month and will have components available on Amazon as well once production is in full swing.
That said, if you want the best price on the fountain, the Kickstarter campaign is the way to go. An Elfin Fountain, plus 4 filters is $65, while MSRP will be $109. It’s a substantial deal for something that will substantially improve your cat’s health.