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Cat drinks from fish bowl.

Species: Cat
Breed: somali
Age: 2-5 years
Hi!

My cat isn't(as far as I can tell) sick at all, but rather I'm wondering about if something can be potentially problematic or not. You see I have a fish tank, and it seems Felix would rather drink from the tank than his own water bowl. I have read something online about cats preferring running water that seems plausible, but I wonder if the fishtank water (or bacterea in it) can be harmful to Felix in any way. I live in Norway and the water here is untreated for the most part exept for the occational chlorinization treatment. I do not use water conditioners in the tank.

regards
Martin


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi Martin,

This is definitely a unique question!

My main concern in your situation is for your poor fish! I would imagine it is a little nerve racking to have a cat drinking your swimming water. :)

Is it possible to give Felix his very own fish tank to drink from? Some cats are very particular and love to drink from a certain type of material so perhaps if you had a duplicate tank for Felix he would drink from that one? Or, you could try one of the commercially available water fountains that always keep fresh water circulating.

With that being said, it is very unlikely that drinking this water is going to cause any harm. There are no known diseases that fish can transfer to cats. Similarly, if the chlorinization is at levels that are safe for fish to live in then it's extremely unlikely it is going to cause the cat any harm.

In theory, if the tank got really dirty there could be a buildup of nitrites and ammonia, but again, if the environment was safe enough for the fish to live in then it is extremely unlikely to be harmful to Felix.

Thanks for the interesting question!

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Hi again, and thanks for a informative answer:-)

Regarding the fish being scared, I think it'll be just as bad when Felix is sitting in front of the tank looking at the fish. You see I borrowed a small water proof film camera and lowered it into the tank once, and you can actually see just as well out of the tank as you can in:-P

Nitrite levels is something I regularly check so that shouldn't be a problem.(my shrimp are extremely sensitive to nitrites, and die from very low concentrations of it)

The problem isn't as serious yet, since the tank I have does have a closed top, and Felix has to open the lid to get to the water, but I'm planning a open tank and wanted to know if I had to let go of those plans or not.

I guess knowing his tendensy to drink from the tank I can be more thorough with water changes and perhaps having a over-sized biological filter in it to be sure that there won't be any nitrite spikes in it.

Thanks again for your help, It's good to not have to worry about Felix getting sick from the tank water:-)


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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.