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Create a festive cat fountain display to enrich your cat’s senses

A festive water fountain with cat grass grown in water beads

Last updated November 6th, 2019

The holidays are upon us and most households are immersed in endless to-do lists, gift wrapping and decorating. Meanwhile back at the scratching post, your cat only has one item on his to-do list:

“Must climb Christmas tree and knock down the ornaments.”

But this year you’re one step ahead of kitties and opted for that minimalist Scandinavian-inspired wall Christmas tree hack that you think your cat wouldn’t bat a paw over. That’s well and good, but your cat still wants to participate in the holiday fun!

With no tree to desecrate, what exactly is a cat to do?

We have the perfect solution for bored kitties that is not only attractive but functional and good for your cats’ health! In this post, we show you how to create a fun and festive holiday watering hole that will attract your cats day after day during the holidays. It has all the ingredients that will most likely appear on your kitties’ shopping list: catnip, cat vine sticks, cat grass, and of course the centerpiece, a faucet-style drinking fountain.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Pioneer Pet, makers of the swan fountain. We are being compensated to share information about the Swan Fountain but Chirpy Cats only shares information about products we are confident our readers will love. All images, content and opinions are our own. This post also contains affiliate links; if you click on a link and make a purchase we make a small commission which helps maintains this blog, at no extra cost to you! Read my full disclosure here.

A festive water fountain with cat grass grown in water beads

Why create a festive fountain watering hole display?

Delightful spaces for kitty
The humans have their happy social spaces that are sometimes not always cat-friendly. Setting up an attractive watering hole in a safe nook complete with all the things your cat likes is a great way to create your cat’s very own social space to play and enrich his cat senses.

tuxedo cat drinking from the swan fountain holiday display

A fun pitstop for thirsty kitties
Hydration is important all year round and a fountain always wins in our house. We are little obsessed with water fountains because we know cats have a naturally low thirst drive. Running water encourages your cats to drink and adding other attractive cat-friendly options to the display may just prove irresistible to your cat. Go on, drink up kitty!

A fun family project
Enlist the help of the kids. This is a wonderful opportunity to teach kids about the importance of creating safe, enriching and fun spaces in the home for their cat companions and reinforces the idea of cats as part of the family.

It’s an interesting conversation piece with friends visiting
Your visitors will be amazed at the lengths you’ve gone to include your cat in the festivities by providing them with their own refreshment station. And that’s when you smile and tell them “Absolutely, yes! They’re part of the family!”

Stress-free holidays for your cat
The holidays can be a stressful time for people but oftentimes it’s quite stressful for your sensitive feline companions. New faces, voices, unfamiliar sounds, extended family out-of-towners staying over can be a little too much to take in. For cats who run and hide when guests arrive, a safe little nook is the perfect ‘getaway’ for your cat. Our watering station set up is right next to our cats’ bar stool in the kitchen where we always set up the kitty salad bar. If your cat is the run and hide type, it’s best to set up his festive watering hole in a quiet room away from guests.

How to set up your cat’s festive watering hole

The Swan fountain

The main feature of our watering hole is the Swan Fountain by Pioneer Pet. What I like about this fountain is the elegant design, quiet operation, ease of use, soft water flow, zero splash, and best of all, it mimics a faucet! A charcoal filter also ensures fresh water for longer. Ollie, our faucet-drinking cat gives this fountain his five paws stamp of approval.

To read more about the Swan Fountain pounce over to Pioneer Pet’s website

Click here to purchase a Swan Fountain 
Grow cat grass in glass bowls
growing cat grass using water beads and grow mats

In a previous post about growing a Spooky Haunted House of Grass for your cat, we demonstrated how to grow cat grass indoors using orange and black water beads. For our festive holiday fountain display, we use white, green and red water beads. Instead of sprinkling the seeds directly on the water beads, I used grow mats, which contain the seeds and roots much better.

NOTE: If you would like to use larger opaque white beads, such as the ones I have featured in my display, it’s best to get these exact white beads. The white beads from a previous batch I bought are smaller, even when fully ‘grown’ and they are translucent white. That is okay if that is the look you want.

I also used grow lights to speed up the greening of the grass blades. In our house, all the best sun puddles are occupied by curious paws so I have to hide the seedlings in a room that doesn’t get much light. Grow lights to the rescue!

Easy peasy DIY snowcat!
DIY instructions on making a cat snowman using felt and empty toilet paper rolls.

I really had fun making these. It was a bit difficult because the cats insisted on helping by sitting on all my supplies! But eventually, I managed to make three cat snowmen. I made these snowcat cartoon characters using empty toilet paper rolls, white and red felt sewn to make the cat ears and scarf. The arms are made of cat vine sticks and dried catnip stems, perfect for attracting playful paws. Remember, the end result is meant to be a cat toy so use materials that are safe for your cat and make sure that things like buttons are sewn securely. Scout and Sly Pie are quite smitten with these fellows and after many batting sessions, they still have not managed to remove the vine sticks or any other parts.

diy snowcat characters made from felt and empty toilet paper rolls
DIY Gingerbread Christmas tree

No watering hole is complete without a gingerbread Christmas tree! The main material for this is probably lying around in your house. Yes, it’s time to recycle that old tattered box in the living room! Cut out the shape of a tree and paint the little snowflakes with an old toothbrush using white acrylic paint. For the snow edging, I used my homemade cold porcelain clay to create the wavy lines.

Cardboard gingerbread Christmas tree for water fountain display

How to make a Christmas gingerbread tree

Arranging your festive fountain display

For the base of your watering station, create a sense of height and depth by layering floating shelves of different sizes. Ours is made up of one main white platform with a few Ikea Lack floating shelves left over from an old cat shelving project. The backdrop is made up of tall dried catnip stalks to mimic bare trees in snow and I can tell you this is definitely a huge crowd-puller and pleaser. Prop up the gingerbread tree as part of this backdrop. Arrange your bowls of cat grass at various levels around the fountain centerpiece but be sure to leave enough room for your cats to step onto the platform and explore and drink with ease.

Finish off with warm glow flickering LED lights placed at various angles around the grass bowls and cat snowmen for different effects. Change up the ambiance for day and night. Dress up the display with extra water beads in pretty containers and insert LED lights at the bottom. Layer the top of the container with extra water beads covering the light for a soft glow and garnish with some cat vine sticks.

After you’re done decorating your watering hole I can assure you your cats will not want to leave! Christmas tree? What Christmas tree?

Sit back and enjoy watching your cats exploring, munching on grass, drinking and playing with their new found toys.

cat drinking from the swan water fountain
“Oh water, what a beautiful stream you are! You are my fountain of youth!”
Tuxedo cat stares at a homemade cat toy at the water fountain
“I think I like you, Mr. Snowcat.”
Tabby cat hides behind the cat grass containers at the water fountain
“Hey Miss Snowcat, stop batting your luscious catnip lashes at me, you’re driving me wild!”
Tortoiseshell cat sits next to the swan fountain at the festive watering hole
“Um, listen, no matter what the others say, you’re mine. I will protect you from their clutches, deal?”
Ginger cat explores the festive water fountain with cat grass

A fountain fit for an angel cat

Senior cat drinks from the festive swan fountain water display

The video below is extra special to us. It features all the Chirpies drinking and playing around the fountain and one special angel cat who grew his wings recently. Many of you know that just a week ago we lost our ‘heart’ cat, Earl Grey. The last video footage of him, capturing him drinking from the fountain is bittersweet to watch. He won’t be here for Christmas but he got to experience the festive holiday spirit at the watering hole with his friends. Being blind, he relied heavily on sensory enrichment such as rubbing his head on a catnip toy, nibbling grass and listening to a gentle stream from a fountain. He adored the catio fountain and very easily adapted to drinking from the swan fountain too.

Earl Grey is the reason I am obsessed with having water fountains around the house because chronic kidney disease slowly took his life. Hydration for our multi-cat house is a top priority.

So when the humans are hanging around the Christmas tree or under the mistletoe hoping for a kiss, your kitties will have their own water cooler gossip.

Charlie: “Hey Baggie, don’t you think Torties think they’re know-it-alls?”
Baggie: “Yeah, it’s a bit annoying, isn’t it? Scout thinks she’s always right!”
Charlie: “So, what ya doing this afternoon?”
Baggie: “I dunno, do you wanna help me knock down a Christmas tree?”
Charlie: “Baggie, we don’t have one.”
Baggie: “Ya, I know, but a guy can dream, okay!”

So please tell us, do you have a Christmas tree and is it still standing? Would you like to make a Holiday watering hole for your cat?

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About the author

The Lady Cat

Whiskers make me smile.
Coffee is good for you.
And cats are for life.
Helping cats live enriched lives with their people.
(Yasaar Nakchbendi)


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