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How To Keep Your Kitty Hydrated; Water Fountains For Cats

Gherkin & Water Fountains For Cats

We all know that drinking water is essential not just for us but for our best fur friends as well.  Pets should have clean water available to them at all times.  When I first brought Tinkerbell home, I made sure she had a dish for food and a dish for water.  As time went on and we added another kitty to the lineup, I thought maybe there was a better way.  After reading that cats are attracted to moving water because in nature stagnant water could harbor parasites and bacteria.  This is the reason water fountains encourage increased water intake and why I ventured down the rabbit hole of looking into water fountains for cats.

A Few Things…

Just a few things to keep in mind with all fountains.  First, they all require regular cleaning that takes a little more time and effort than just a regular bowl.  There are usually a couple pieces that come apart to be cleaned and then have to be put back together.  The second thing is that all of the fountains I’ve seen have a filter or two.  All of the below fountain have a charcoal filter that needs to be replaced regularly and some included a foam filter that can be cleaned are reused.  With that said, let’s discuss actual fountains.

Fountain #1

The first water fountain I bought was fairly inexpensive and made of plastic.  I think I spent around $30 and ended up returning it at least twice before returning it for good.  The pump was extremely loud and it generally didn’t do a great job.  Additionally, I don’t like drinking out of plastic, so why should my cats?

Fountain #2

Tdibit & Water Fountains For Cats

The second fountain I bought was a much nicer fountain.  I opted for the Petsafe Pagoda fountain which is made of ceramic, a larger size and a nice quiet pump.  This includes a charcoal filter and foam filter around the pump.  This setup is pretty straight forward and easy to clean.  I have also found the water pump online, so if need be, the only wearable part would be easily replaceable, which is a bonus.  Overall, the maintenance on this (filters, pump if needed) is fairly low cost so I expect this fountain to last a long time with minimal additional cost.

Fountain #3

The third fountain was the American Valley Nature Spa fountain.  I saw this advertised somewhere and thought it looked nifty.  This one had a separate reservoir to keep the fountain full and claimed to have UV purification.  It looked cool with the blue light and the sound of the water was very soothing.  After using this for a while, I took it apart and found it extremely difficult, essentially impossible, to clean and the UV purification (which I think is just an LED light) didn’t seem to help keep the internal tubing clean, that is inaccessible.  When we added Gherkin to our family, our third cat, the fountain just seemed to always be empty, despite opting for the larger reservoir.  Also, Tidbit would knock the reservoir off or into the fountain and end up getting water everywhere.  This fountain seemed like a great idea but for several reasons but just isn’t practical for us.

For All Water Fountains For Cats

With every fountain, I found the following:

  • Cats generally enjoyed it, sometimes playing in the water stream a little
  • The sound of the water running is relaxing
  • All fountains required some upkeep with cleaning and changing of filters
  • They volume of a water fountain was generally more water than an average water bowl
  • The fountain does seem to encourage more water intake

The Final Decision

In the end, I went back to our Petsafe Pagoda contain for a few reasons.  I like that it was made out of ceramic, versus plastic.  The fountain itself held a good amount of water and was relatively easy to clean, which was ultimately the deciding factor.  The fountain is just simple and straight forward to use and clean.  Of course the kitties all like it and continue to drink lots of water and dip their paws in the stream now and then.

Tinkerbell & Water Fountains For Cats

What To Look For

If you’re going to make the leap to get a water fountain for your cats, I would say to look for a few things:

  • good quality materials, for me this is ceramic rather than plastic
  • easy to take apart and clean
  • low maintenance cost of filters and possible parts
  • adding an absorbent mat under the fountain helps contain splashing from anyone playing in the water

The Pagoda cost a little more upfront but is worth it in convenience and knowing that I am able to give the whole fountain a good cleaning ensuring my kitties have fresh water, was ultimately the deciding factor.

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When Your Cat Has More Energy Than You; Toys For An Energetic Cat

I am a cat lover, no question about that.  I love my cats, however, when we brought home our sweet little Gherkin, we had no idea what we were really in for.  Perhaps it’s because it had been 6 years since we had a kitten or maybe it was because he had more energy than a nuclear power plant.  Seemingly, the only way to cope was to have a few toys for an energetic cat.

Mind you, I played and snuggled with Gherkin a LOT because he’s a kitten (and because that’s just what I do with kitties) and needs the extra love and attention.  Since I have a job, I can’t be with him all day, every day so I had to find some solutions to his endless amounts of energy.  This is how I dealt with an energetic little boy.

Toys For An Energetic Cat

Go Cat Teaser Wand – Our cats have had all sorts of teaser wands, feathers, plush, etc.  The kitty crew will play with them all but there is something about what’s at the end of this teaser wand.  There are a couples options; a bee or mouse and my cats love both.  They will play with the bee all by itself.  This is by far their favorite teaser wand!

Window Perch – This is great for even the laziest of cats.  All three of the cats thoroughly enjoy lounging on the cat perch.  They also like sitting on it to watch the birds or whatever else it is that they watch outside.  If you have the window space, you have to get one of these!

Feeder Ball – This is less of a toy and an interactive way to feed your cat.  This also slows your cat down from gobbling up food, so this too would be good for a larger or lazier cat.  The ball has a removable lid which makes it easy to fill with food.  The outside of the ball has holes that can be adjusted for the kibble size and to adjust the level of difficulty for your cat.  I advise making the feeder ball as easy as possible for the first few go arounds and increase the difficulty after your kitty has the hang of it.

Kick Stick – I was hesitant about this one but I gave it a try and bought a few kick sticks.  Their favorite kick stick, that gets a lot of attention, is a large durable denim kick stick with a pocket for catnip.  We tried microfiber and plush but it’s this denim kick stick that won them over.  Try different materials and see what works best for your kitties.

Automated Toys

Interactive Laser – Again, this is like playing laser with your cat without having to actually be there to play laser.  Hit the button, the laser turns on and after a while it automatically shuts off.  It also requires batteries but, they last a while.

Interactive Butterfly – Another automated toy that has the appeal of a fluttering butterfly going around in circles.  This one is pretty engaging and fun to watch the kitties play with it.  This model is nice because the base is wide enough that they can’t tip it over and you can turn it on with the tap of your toe. This toy doesn’t shut off on it’s own so you’ll have to stick around to turn it back off.

Mystery motion toy – This is a cute toy but you’ll need a hard surface, it won’t work as well (if at all) on carpet.  It has an arm with a feather at the end that rolls around under a piece of fabric, using random motions.  When Gherkin was a kitten he loved this toy so much that as soon as we woke up in the morning, he would run over to the toy and start crying until we turned it on.  It’s still a big hit to this day.  Yet another toy that could use an auto shut off feature but until they improve it, I will have to deal with it.

Flik Automatic Teaser – This is essentially like playing string with your cat minus the human element.  Most important, the cat actually plays with it!  You turn the toy on and the string flicks out at random times and has an automatic shutoff.  It requires batteries but they last a while so it’s worth it.  This is one of our favorites!

Other Strategies

As you can tell, my strategy is play as much as you can and in between distract, distract, distract!  I also rotate all their toys and put them away for a little while before bringing the toy back out for play.  This helps prevent boredom with any one toy.

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How to Make A Bed; A Cat Bed

Occasionally, in my spare time I enjoy a little knitting and might make myself or my husband a scarf or hat.  My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was young and then a little later taught me to knit.  (Her first attempt at teaching me to knit was a total failure because I just wasn’t catching on!)   I am by no means nimble with yarn and patterns are like reading Greek for me.   I can count on my hands the number of things I’ve ever knitted or crocheted.

With that said, every time I go to the craft store I see the over sized yarn and think ‘it’s so cool, what could I ever do with that?’  Then I saw a cat bed made from jumbo yarn, I had to make one too!

What You Need

I watched a number of YouTube videos and settled on this video.  The woman in the video is thorough and goes at a good pace.  Don’t feel bad about watching and re-watching the video, I did too!  I used two bundles of this yarn.  This is “arm crocheting” so no additional crocheting tools are needed.  I also used a binder clip to keep track of my beginning stitch, I found this extremely helpful in minimizing the confusion.

Ultimately, below is the “pattern” (using the term loosely since I can’t read patterns, I certainly don’t know how to write one) I used, consider them my notes, after using the video as a guide.  I made the bed larger to accommodate my bigger kitty, ~13lbs and possibly still growing.  The first version of the bed was way too small for Gherkin, luckily this is easy to unravel and try again.  Last thing anyone wants is a cat bed that no one can fit in!

The Pattern

  • Row 1 – 3 straight stitches
  • Row 2 – 3 double stitches (total stitches: 6)
  • Row 3 – 6 double stitches (total stitches: 12)
  • Row 4 – alternating 1 single stitch, 1 double stitch (total stitches: 18)
  • Row 5 – alternating 2 single stitches, 1 double stitch (total stitches: 24)
  • Row 6 – alternating 3 single stitches, 1 double stitch (total stitches: 30)
  • Rows 7+ – single stitch until desired completion

The whole bed took maybe 45 minutes and that includes starting over once to make the bed larger.  Once it was done, Gherkin could not wait to hop in and do what kitties do best, take a nap!  Tinkerbell and Tidbit also enjoyed the new nap spot!

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What To Do When Your Cat Won’t Listen To You; Cat Training

The argument of cats vs dogs is always a lively debate between the two populations.  No secret to my friends and family, I’m a cat person through and through.  Why are cats awesome?  Well, they don’t bark, jump on you, track mud through the house (my cats are indoor cats) and generally smell better, no one ever said “that smells like a wet cat,” amongst other things.  One of my favorite rebuttals is “you can’t train a cat!”

To that I would had to admit defeat.  They seem to be trained when they hear the refrigerator open or the crack of the cat food can opening but other than that I struggled with some ongoing behavioral issues.  Tinkerbell, my first and fabulous kitty (and you’ll notice, my sole problem child) had a bag of tricks that I couldn’t break her of.  Some of her favorite antics: scratching the couch and walking on the counters despite knowing only she found this acceptable.

After YEARS of cohabiting with my furry darlings, I have pain painstakingly tried a number of behavior modification tactics.

Tried (and failed) cat training strategies:

  • Repetition.  Where I say “no” (without yelling because that apparently hurts a cat’s ego and makes them act out more) and to stop the unwanted behavior.  Result:  A LOT of effort on my part, not a lot of results.
  • Water bottle.  After sweet, sweet Tinkerbell was well on her way to destroying couch #1, I tried spraying her with water.  Result: This worked exactly three times, after that she sat there and let me spray her with water.  There was also the constant worry that I may accidentally spray her face or eyes.
  • Deterrent sprays.  There are products out there that use scents to deter cats from scratching your furniture.  I sprayed this on my couch.  Result: Money wasted.
  • Tin foil.  This was used to keep adorable Tinkerbell from walking on the counter.  I would line the edge of the counter with foil.  Result:  She would jump over the tin foiled area.  So unless I was willing to live in a tin foil kitchen, this was not helping anything.
  • Loud Noises.  I read that making loud noises will act as a deterrent.  Result:  You can’t believe everything you read.

Then one day, while I was at work, on the phone with a coworker whose spouse is an animal behaviorist, she tells me that there is a gadget that is motion activated and will give out a puff of air when the cat jumps on the counter.  This supposedly scares the cat.  I think, is it really that simple?  My cats do not like when I clean my keyboard or my husband lets air out of his bicycle tire.  Will a regular can of air work?

Successful cat training strategy:

Can of air.  Whenever my kitties are acting out, I pick up a can of air and shoot air into… well, the air.  Result:  They immediately stop, drop and disperse.  This has been a life changer in our house.  I can use this tactic regardless of behavior, scratching, counter walking, in fighting and not worry about shooting water at their eyes, all my furniture smelling weird or covering all exposed surfaces in foil.  I don’t have to yell or be disruptive or rush over to stop them, I just calmly pick up a can of air (which I have a half dozen strategically placed throughout the house) and press the nozzle.  It has become so effective that most of the time I just pick up the can and they stop, proving that you can, after all, train a cat.

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Cat In The Hole; A Cat Door For Everyone!

When we recently moved into our new home and we knew that we wanted to put the litter boxes in the basement.  Not that we don’t love our furry girls, we just don’t love seeing the boxes, plus they get a little added privacy while doing their business (and who doesn’t want their privacy).  The new house has a door at the top of the basement stairs and obviously, our kitties (usually) can’t open doors for themselves, despite their best efforts (if they could, then I’d be writing a different story!).  I scoured the web for a solution finding a plethora of exterior pet doors.  Finally, I found the cat door by Cathole.  Reviews on a few websites only sang praises for this product, so I immediately added it to my online cart and within a few days, it was at my door.

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What To Do When It’s Hotter Than Hot; Keeping Your Cats Cool

During the summer months, keeping cool isn’t only a priority for us but also for our furry loved ones.  Since I currently don’t have AC, (gasp!) I do get a little worried for my girls when the temperature starts to creep up.  So, a few things that I found helpful for keeping my cats cool and comfortable:

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When The Couch Isn’t Good Enough; The Hepper Pod

As it normally goes, I was eyeing up the next feline-oriented purchase, trying to decide if it will be a major success or snubbed like the pile of orphaned toys it the cat toybox.  I don’t remember where I first saw the Hepper Pod but instantly thought it was awesome.  Any piece of cat furniture that’s aesthetic and functional is a win-win, so here’s our Hepper Pod review!

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Top Ten Must-Haves For New Cat Parents

As we know, with the warming temperatures, kitten season is around the corner!  Few things are more fun and rewarding than going to a shelter, knowing you are taking home a cute, little, energetic kitten or maybe a more mature, laid back (ie lower maintenance) cat.  This to ten must-have for new cat parents list goes beyond the basics food, water and vet visits.  These ten recommendations have been critically reviewed by Tinkerbell and Tidbit (aka the girls), who are different as a sleepy laid back night and a jittery, caffeine filled morning.

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When Cat Furniture Can Be Discrete; The Cat Crib

Ever find yourself sitting at your table to realize that your favorite feline is quietly sitting at your feet, perhaps one that sometimes imitates a clingy shadow?  I repeatedly find myself in this situation.  Ironically, my black cat is the one that lurks, lingers and silently sidles me, despite the bell on her collar.  As I often find myself trolling the internet for new and exciting cat products, I came across the Cat Crib!  No, it’s not an actual crib that you tuck your cat into every night.  This can’t be judged on its name alone!  This is a creatively designed product that, unlike some cat furnishings, keeps space and discretion in mind.  It’s a hammock styled cat lounge that attaches to the legs of a chair!  The best part is that it takes up no additional room and unless you know it’s there, most people wouldn’t notice it.   SOLD!

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When The Cat Grass Is Greener

Have you ever seen cat grass in the store and wonder if your cat needs it?  Or has your cat dashed out the door, when your hands are too full to stop them, just to nibble on the yard?  Does it make you think there is something essential missing from their diet?  Aren’t they obligate carnivores?

Although it’s not known exactly why cats eat grass, there are a lot of theories ranging from digestive aid (the most commonly accepted), hairball relief, they like the texture, to it adds nutrients to their diet.  We can speculate on why cats eat grass, however, the bottom line is that no one knows for sure.  It is typically safe to assume it is not due to deficiencies or health concerns.  If your cat is binging on grass, rather than nibbling, or having a lot of upsets afterward, then that may be a matter for your vet.  However, it is generally considered safe to munch on some greens now and then.

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