My cat has a drinking problem.
August 14, 2007 11:19 AM   Subscribe

My cat has a drinking problem. He is incapable of drinking water out of his water dish without making an extraordinary mess. My husband & I are trying to come up with a solution so that we can either contain the mess or stop it altogether, and we need your help!

One of my cats, Smacky, just loves his water bowl. He loved his old water bowl and he really loves his new water bowl, which is actually a Drinkwell fountain.

He drinks the water, sure. His method for drinking water involves dipping his paw in, and then licking the water off of each individual "finger", rinse, repeat.

However, his love of his water bowl goes far beyond just quenching his little feline thirst.

Sometimes he just sits near it, gazing lovingly at the little stream of water trickling into the bowl. Sometimes he will pretend he is a mighty grizzly bear, and swipe at invisible salmon swimming by (getting water all over the kitchen in the process). And sometimes he just needs to make sure the water is still wet, so he dips his paw in and then shakes it out all over. We have tried reverting to a less FUN water bowl, but he makes his own fun. If it's wet, it's fun.

Because of this, the kitchen floor is often wet, with puddles around the water and food bowls and little wet pawprints everywhere else. In our old apartment, he managed to splash water on to the cabinets so frequently that it actually caused the veneer to start to peel off.

We have always kept the water fountain/bowl in a plastic tray with a wide lip to catch drips & spills, but his splashing goes WAY beyond that.

The thing is...we can't scold him or make it less appealing to drink water because he has had repeated problems with FLUTD with a severe urinary tract blockage in his past. So the more water he drinks, the better. But the water he's splashing all over isn't really helping his urinary tract or the floor in our new house.

We've had a couple of ideas as to how to contain the mess, but we have doubts about each one. Two of the ideas are: (1) Getting a large covered litterbox and putting the water fountain in there, to contain the splashing. (Doubt: Don't want to cause litterbox confusion, also don't want to encourage mold growth.) (2) Limiting access to the water so that he can only drink from the stream (Doubt: Don't want to restrict water intake, plus I don't see how this would work.)

Has anyone come up with any solutions to a similar problem? Any other ideas? It's a plus if it's inexpensive and not too much of an eyesore.
posted by tastybrains to Pets & Animals (19 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Put the water bowl in the bathtub or shower.
posted by agent99 at 11:29 AM on August 14, 2007

Response by poster: Agent99, we only have one bathtub, which is in its own separate room from the rest of the bathroom and has no outlet. So that would just be a logistical nightmare.
posted by tastybrains at 11:33 AM on August 14, 2007

Put the water bowl on one of those dish rack drain plates. You may have to buy the whole dish rack (which I am sure you can find for under $5 - Check your local dollar store), but what you are after is the bottom piece that contains the water that the wet dishes produce.

Another idea might be a cookie sheet. You could put a towel in it to sop up the water, just remember to change the towel a couple times a week.
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 11:33 AM on August 14, 2007

A boot tray like this??
posted by beccaj at 11:33 AM on August 14, 2007

This seems too obvious, so you've probably tried it or there's a reason why it won't work, but what about a fairly large rug underneath the fountain?

That would contain his splashing, and help dry his wet feets.
posted by altcountryman at 11:35 AM on August 14, 2007

Have you thought of using a water bottle?
posted by squeak at 11:37 AM on August 14, 2007

A water bottle a la rodent pets?

On preview... seconding squeak :)
posted by at 11:39 AM on August 14, 2007

Best answer: I think you might be onto something with the covered litterbox idea, but in order to avoid confusion for your cat why not make it a medium sized dog kennel (or something similarly covered, but different shape/size). If you get a normal one with the vented windows everything should dry just as quickly as your kitchen walls would. Put the water fountain at the back of the kennel and then put down a thick, no-nonsense rug so his feet dry as he walks out (and so the water won't accumulate on the plastic).
posted by warble at 11:45 AM on August 14, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions so far!

The problem with the dish drying tray, boot tray, rug are that we've already put the water dish in a tray with a 3" lip around it, and he STILL gets water everywhere! With regards to a rug, because of the sheer amount of water he gets all over, we'd either have to run it through the dryer every night or deal with a very moldy situation.

I swear, it's like we have a miniature elephant. I don't know how he gets the range he does. He's got superpowers, I'm telling you.
posted by tastybrains at 11:49 AM on August 14, 2007

Best answer: Your Smacky sounds just like my Squishy.
I solved his waterbowl antics by getting a catit fountain.
Thanks to the wonders of surface tension, he can whack at invisible salmon all he wants, and barely a drop gets on the floor. And the placemat catches any that does! (It has also encouraged my other cat to, you know, actually drink water).
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 11:50 AM on August 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Have you considered putting glass pebbles in the catchbasin of the fountain? I've known folks with similar problems, and for some utterly unknown reason the glass pebbles (too big to eat, mind you) always seem to help.

...maybe it's some kind of depth perception/where-is-the-water thing?
posted by aramaic at 11:51 AM on August 14, 2007

Aww that sounds like such a cool game.
Machine washable bathmat? That way when it gets soaked you can wash it or hang it out.
posted by media_itoku at 12:26 PM on August 14, 2007

Questions about cats are required to have a link to pictures of said cat.
posted by desjardins at 1:29 PM on August 14, 2007 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: My husband and I decided to try aramaic's suggestion of using large aquarium glass pebbles in the basin of the Drinkwell fountain FIRST...this will at least hopefully eliminate splashing from the basin. If we then find out that he is still making a mess from the water stream, we'll then switch to a Catit fountain (with the pebbles in the basin).

Thank you guys for your great ideas!
posted by tastybrains at 1:30 PM on August 14, 2007

Response by poster: Here you go, desjardins!
posted by tastybrains at 1:32 PM on August 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

Ah, I see the problem now. You should get a second all-black cat to balance out your bad luck.
posted by desjardins at 1:57 PM on August 14, 2007

I have the same problem with my messy dog. I tried the plastic mat, towels, the raised drainer, and still the floor and wall were getting damaged. Finally we just moved it into the bathroom, where the floor is still wet but there is no damage.
posted by sLevi at 2:10 PM on August 14, 2007

Try placing a XeroStar Dental SuperVac Unit next to the water dish. You may wish to purchase an optional filter for cat hair, and for cats.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 3:56 PM on August 14, 2007

Try a bathmat near the waterbowl. Works for people.
posted by tehloki at 7:27 PM on August 14, 2007

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