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- The Felaqua Connect is a smart water bowl that tracks your cat’s water consumption with a handy app.
- It was easy to set up, but it took some time acclimate my skittish cat.
- The system works well, but the app cannot provide clear data if two pets drink together.
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Cats are said to be arid, able to thrive in dry environments, but they need to drink water every day: about 4 ounces (around 118 milliliters) per 5 pounds of lean body weight, according to the Feline Health Center at Cornell University.
It’s easy to help your cat stay hydrated when you are home to track consumption — just check the level in the water bowl and replenish it daily. But tracking intake when you are away from your cat is no easy feat, especially if you have multiple pets drinking from the same sources.
A “smart” water bowl for cats, the Felaqua Connect from Sure Petcare uses
to monitor your cat’s drinking and sends you updates via an app on your smartphone. We tried it out for a month with our 4-month-old kitten, who shared the drinking fountain with our dog and an older cat.
Our review of the Felaqua Connect cat water bowl
The Felaqua Connect has three main components: the Bluetooth-enabled, battery-powered, inverted water reservoir which attaches to a shallow bowl, the Hub (sold separately) that connects to WiFi, and the app that you download on your phone. Sensors in the water reservoir detect when the cat visits it, how long they stay there, and much water they drink each time. All this information gets relayed to the app.
What it’s like to use
Setting up the Felaqua was the easy part. It took about 20 minutes, from downloading the app on my phone, unboxing and connecting the Hub to my WiFi, registering my kitten’s microchip, and getting it to “talk” to the Bluetooth.
The hard part was getting Mr. Kitten to warm up to using the fountain. He just seemed wary of it, similar to how our tester cats reacted when trying Sure Petcare’s Feeder. A FAQ on the Sure Petcare website notes that the fountain makes a noticeable bubbling, blurping sound when the reservoir dispenses water into the bowl, which startles some cats. It suggests filling the shallow bowl manually for a few days before using the reservoir, sidestepping the blurping noise while habituating your cat to the fountain.
When our kitten began drinking from the fountain, the readout on the Felaqua app noted the 15 to 20 milliliters he consumed each time, displaying his picture (which we’d uploaded) and microchip number. But then, after a few days, the app readout showed that the kitten had downed 52 milliliters of water in one visit. Since he weighed just 6 pounds, it seemed excessive. The next day, the app recorded that he consumed 58 milliliters; again, a big gulp for a little guy. Was something wrong with him, or was it the device?
A day or so later, we saw our dog, who is not micro chipped, drinking water from the fountain while the kitten was using it. The dog also apparently drank from it on her own, which we deduced from the readout on the app that occasionally showed 60 to 70 milliters of water being mysteriously “removed” from the bowl (next to a question mark on the timestamp).
Since only the kitten was microchipped, whenever they drank water together, the readout displayed the kitten’s picture and gave him all the “credit.” While it is possible to link an RIFD tag (sold separately and attached to the pet’s collar) in lieu of a microchip, I had some doubts as to whether that would help me track my cat’s water consumption. This is because the Sure Petcare website notes that the Bluetooth cannot identify who drank what amount, whenever pets drink together or even when they “gather round the water cooler” at the same time.
What makes it stand out
With just two parts to unscrew, the reservoir on the Felaqua was easy to set up, clean, and refill. It holds 1 quart (946 millileters) and sends a notice to the app when the water level is low. As for setup of the whole system, I liked that the cat “ears” on the Hub flashed red to alert me to a WiFi connection issue, which I resolved quickly with help from the Sure Petcare website’s troubleshooting guide.
Other water dispensers for pets use carbon filters and battery-operated pumps that move the water like a fountain. However, very few track a pet’s water consummation. There is the Pawbo Spring Dog and Cat Fountain that offers readouts on a pet’s water consumption via a tracker that affixes to the pet’s collar. It also filters the water and costs about the same as the Felaqua. While we have not tested it, it has very mixed reviews.
Having a small skittish kitten warm up to drinking from the Felaqua took some time, since noise from water dispensing from the fountain’s reservoir into the bowl startled him. Even with that issue resolved, the Felaqua is not a good choice for households with more than one pet who drink from it simultaneously. The Sure Petcare website gives tips for troubleshooting this problem, such as positioning the feeder at an angle to allow only one pet to visit it at a time or buying a second device. Neither option is ideal and may be cost prohibitive for some.
The bottom line
If all your pets are microchipped or paired to the device with an RFID tag, the Felaqua has potential to accurately track their water intake, an important aspect of your pet’s well-being. It’s easy to set up and fun to use, with the app giving detailed readouts alongside your pet’s photo. But unless all pets are also trained to wait their turn at drinking from it, the readouts will cause confusion. Those who live in single-pet households, however, will find it very useful for keeping tab’s on their cat’s health.
Pros: Easy to set up and troubleshoot, useful app
Cons: Reservoir is small and needs frequent refilling, reservoir noise puts off skittish cats, cannot record accurate data for pets who drink together