If you’re a cat owner you’ll probably know that it can be quite difficult to make sure your pet drinks enough water. If the internet is to be believed, many of these stubborn beasts are wandering about chronically dehydrated.
Help is at hand from Sure Petcare, owned by pharma giant MSD, who has launched Felaqua Connect, the first-ever water delivery and drinking monitor system for cats.
Developed in collaboration with leading veterinary behaviourists, Dr. Jon Bowen and Dr. Jaume Fatjó, the device connects to the Sure Petcare App which shows what time each cat drank, and how much on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
Felaqua Connect works by dispensing a small amount of water each time the cat is nearby, ensuring the water dispensed is fresh to drink. By reading the cat’s microchip, the dispenser records in the app each time kitty takes a sip and identifies each individual feline in a multi-cat household.
I have three cats and live in a ground floor flat in South Norwood, Croydon. To give the Felaqua a fighting chance with my much-loved moggies, I tested the device for six weeks.
First, a quick introduction to my four-legged friends:
Bella: aged five is all-white with tabby ears but no tail - lost in an injury. She’s cute, but will fight, as she does not like being touched.
Missy: is four, a tuxedo, and a loyal, clever girl and chief mouser.
Cali: is the oldest at 13. A tortoiseshell, she is nervous and a prolific dribbler, on account of having few remaining teeth. She is an expert sofa cuddler who demands attention with gentle headbutts.
I rehomed mother and daughter duo Bella and Missy from Croydon Animal Samaritans in 2017. Then a street-cat stray, Cali spent a summer meowing at the back door before eventually getting her paws under the table as a permanent member of the family in autumn 2018.
The dispenser takes four of the big C-type batteries which were not supplied. The parts are well designed, fitting together satisfyingly well. The dishwasher safe flask and serving tray are easy to clean and the app reminds you to do this regularly.
The hub needs to be plugged in and connected directly to the router via an ethernet cable (supplied). This took me about 30 minutes to figure out, but most of that time was spent rearranging wires and plugs behind the sofa to get everything connected. Pairing the hub with the dispenser worked seamlessly and was all explained in easy-to-follow steps through the app.
Clever girl Missy was the first taker. Quick to adapt, Missy also drinks the most water of the three as she has a dried food diet. She first used the dispenser two days after set up, and was sipping frequently by day three. But Bella, always a little slower on the uptake, took around a week to become interested.
I thought I’d have difficulty getting Cali to use it, something about teaching old cats new tricks. But I shouldn’t have worried; she was happy to use the dispenser as early as day four.
The app (available in the Apple Store and via Google Play) allows you to add each cat’s details and of course, upload a cute picture. It’s a real flourish with great features and super cute notifications that ‘meow’ - well worth taking your phone off silent-mode for!
There are partner products from Sure Petcare including food dispensers and catflaps and these can all be connected via the same hub. I think with several paired products, the system would really come into its own and be helpful for owners on short trips away without a cat-sitter.
This product is puuurrrfect (sorry) if you have any concerns over your cat’s hydration levels, especially with a heatwave on the way. Otherwise it’s a fun gizmo to have, rather than an essential.