Cat Water Fountains Without Filters
Many people ask about running their cat fountains without filters. Before addressing the use of cat fountains without filters, an explanation of the filters cat water fountains use is in order. Virtually every brand of cat water fountain comes with filtration devices. There is both mechanical filtration and chemical filtration. Don’t let that last term scare you.
is simply activated charcoal, or carbon, which absorbs impurities, helping to eliminate unpleasant odors and tastes. Because activated carbon is so good at absorbing toxins and impurities of all sorts, and ingesting it is free of risk, it is found in the emergency rooms of both veterinarian medical clinics as well as human hospitals. It’s a good purifier.
is simply a way of preventing pet hair and other debris from entering the pump. It is put in the flow of water between the main reservoir and the pump. In some fountains this is just a plastic grid between the pump and the reservoir from which the pets drink. In most brands of cat fountains, including ThirstyCat fountains, (the author of this post), the filtration device is a sponge filter which sits around the pump, virtually eliminating the possibility of any large material from entering the pump, thus contributing both to the pump’s longevity and decreasing the need of internal pump cleaning. In most brands this must be replaced fairly often – every few week for most brands. (A ThirstyCat fountain foam filter lasts from one to two years, depending on number of cats and frequency of cleaning.) As mentioned, some brands don’t use a sponge filter but instead have a plastic screen between the reservoir and the pump which is supposed to catch the debris, and does, until it becomes clogged and then must simply be cleaned. These are the least effective.
Most brands of cat water fountains include the carbon filters and the manufacturer recommends replacing them about every two to four weeks. That’s because those filters have such a small amount of carbon. ThirstyCats does not include a carbon filter because many people simply don’t need or want the carbon, which adds to the cost of the fountain. The carbon filters ThirstyCats offers for those who wish, cost about three times more than most brands and last eight to ten times longer. They contain a much greater quantity and a higher grade of carbon – pelleted, high density, phosphorus-free.
Running a fountain with no filter
But the question that sparked this post is about filter-less cat water fountains. All cat fountains will run without the filters. They do not assist in the mechanics of running the fountains. However, if the fountain has a lot of nooks and crevices in which debris can collect it will definitely want some sort of mechanical filtration to prevent this material from entering the pump. However, these fountains will become filled with biofilm (slime) and other undesirable materials difficult to clean from the fountain and no filtration, either mechanical or chemical will prevent that.
A Thirstycat fountain is simply designed, has no nooks and crevices and is easy to clean and runs perfectly without either the sponge (foam) filter or the carbon filter. Not using the foam simply means you need to clean inside the pump more often, but in any case, it is included with every fountain. If you don’t want to use it, you don’t need to. And as said, you may or not need the carbon filter. If you have a lot of chlorine or other taste-affecting minerals in your water or if your cat is frequently bringing food or other organic matter into the fountain you will probably want it.