Tired of leaving the faucet running for your cat? Are they ignoring their boring old water dish? Are you worried that they don't drink enough to prevent health problems? You are not alone! And this is why cat drinking fountains are increasingly popular and becoming seen as a necessity for households with cats.
There are a lot of models to choose from, from simple streams of water to digital gadgets with special features. We've looked at them all and chose the ones we think will make you and your feline happy. Our favorite is the Ultimate Cat fountain from Theos Fountain Works because they really have thought of everything in its design, from safe materials to customizable spouts. But there are nine other great options on our list, too! Check them out, as well as our buying guide reviewed by a professional pet care provider.
You might be thinking, "Isn't a drinking fountain a luxury that my cat doesn't really need?" In fact, a fountain can actually improve their health and prevent future problems!
Most cats don't drink enough water. Their ancestors were desert dwellers who primarily got their hydration from their prey. With their modern domestic lifestyle, and especially if your cat eats dry food, they can be prone to chronic dehydration. Of course, that comes with a host of health issues.
So how can a fountain help? Many cats are attracted to the sound of running water and also seem to prefer the taste. So to encourage your kitty to drink more and reduce their risk of kidney and urinary problems, try a fountain.
Like their ancestors in the wild, cats are naturally attracted to fresh, flowing water sources. Water fountains offer a constant supply of filtered and oxygenated water. Research indicates that most cats do not get enough hydration throughout the day, and it's vitally important to make sure your cat has one of two fresh water stations available, at all times.
The gentle splashing sound will attract their attention and encourage them to drink. A self-waterer decreases the amount of time pet owners spend washing and refilling water bowls. Many cats may view a still water bowl as an unsafe option, especially if the bowl is not cleaned and refilled frequently.
Check out the material a fountain is made of and how easy it will be to clean. Some come with multiple spout options and extra features, too.
You'll find cat water fountains come in three materials for the body: plastic, stainless steel, and ceramic. However, we recommend avoiding plastic.
Plastic has many drawbacks as a material for pet water dishes. It will develop tiny scratches over time, and these can harbor bacteria. This can lead not only to digestive issues but may contribute to cat chin acne. Veterinarians believe bacterial growth on plastic dishes could be one of the triggers for acne breakouts.
Plastic can also retain odors, and this might discourage cats from drinking from the fountain. The lightweight also makes plastic fountains easier to knock over, and many are not dishwasher-safe.
Stainless steel, on the other hand, is easy to keep hygienic. It's dishwasher-safe and naturally resistant to bacterial growth. It also won't retain odors. However, it's light and could get knocked over by rowdy pets.
Ceramic has similar benefits to steel as far as cleanliness, but being heavier has both pros and cons. It makes ceramic fountains stable, but big ones can weigh a lot when they're full of water, which could be an issue when you need to clean them. Most are dishwasher-safe.
Make sure to choose a self-waterer that is made of a less porous or non-porous material. Fountains are available in many materials, but the most common are stainless steel, ceramic, and plastic.
While all waterers should be cleaned on a regular basis, certain compositions, like plastic (because it's more porous), may require more frequent cleaning to avoid build-up on the unit or icky stuff in the water. A spotless cat water fountain will keep bacteria and any subsequent health conditions at bay.
Most pet fountains will come with filters, and they may seem like a great idea. But they aren't as necessary as you might think, and can even make your cat's water dirtier! There are two types used: mechanical and chemical filters.
A mechanical filter is a physical trap that keeps out larger particles like hair and pet food. They usually come in the form of a sponge, fibers, or a screen. These are used to keep foreign objects out of the pump for as long as possible. Some can be rinsed and reused, and others will need replacing every few weeks.
Chemical filters for pet fountains are usually activated charcoal. They're designed to remove odors, chlorine, and impurities like pesticides. If you fill your cat fountain with clean tap water, the use of a charcoal filter is totally optional.
You may find that your cat prefers water filtered by charcoal, but in fact, the chlorine in tap water is there for a reason, after all; it keeps water cleaner. Charcoal filters also need to be rinsed thoroughly before putting them in to reduce dust.
They need frequent replacing, too. Many manufacturers say to switch them every two to four weeks, but in practice, a lot of pet owners notice a correlation between charcoal filter use and faster biofilm, or "slime," buildup, and have to change them more often.
If you buy a fountain that comes with filters, you can absolutely use it without them! Taking away the mechanical filter may mean you'll need to disassemble and clean the pump more often, but you should do that every week regardless of whether or not you use a filter.
If you do opt for filters, make sure you maintain them and replace them on schedule to avoid allowing bacteria and mold to grow and get your cat sick.
Many cat water fountains offer a filter and often a prefilter option. Just like a filtered water bottle for humans, the filter helps sweep out unpleasant odors and trap microscopic particles. Some of our cat clients designate a filtered pitcher for their cats and keep it in the refrigerator.
Carbon filters are widely accepted and used frequently in superior waterers. Review your available options and determine which is best for you, your budget, and your cat's needs.
Any nooks and crannies inside a fountain are perfect spots for bacteria and mold to thrive. Slimy biofilm will also collect and need to be washed away. So, a simple design with few surfaces will be easier to keep clean.
Depending on how dirty the area where the fountain is kept is, the temperature, and other factors, you'll need to take it apart and clean it every few days to a week.
Check how much of it comes apart and how many pieces there are. The pump should be able to be disassembled as well, so you can clean the intake and impeller (the magnetic part that looks like a fan). If you don't keep it free of debris and slime, it will start to make noise or stop working.
Good construction with a simple design generally means fewer parts and easier maintenance. Look for models that are easily disassembled and dishwasher-safe.
A sampling of our cat clients indicated that they wash their fountains in the dishwasher, using the top rack only. Manufacturers provide simple designs in stainless steel, plastic, and ceramic. Choose a design that is easy to clean and maintain while blending seamlessly into your decor.
A simple design may be easy to keep clean, but there are still some great features you can find among cat drinking fountains.
An adjustable flow rate on the pump allows you to increase and decrease the strength of the flow to find just the right one for your cat. Some come with multiple fountain head types, so you can try out different streams, trickles, bubblers, or waterfalls.
Some pumps come with auto shutoff, so if it runs dry it won't burn out the motor. Others have a battery backup that can keep water flowing if the power goes out. It's always good to look for one that has a pool of water, so it's still available in case the fountain stops working.
You should also consider the capacity, especially if you have multiple cats or dogs who will use the fountain, as dogs generally drink a lot more water than cats. Most vets recommend cats get between three and a half to five and a half ounces of water per pound of body weight each day.
There are a lot of variables, like evaporation, other pets, and the weather; so it may be easier to check how much they're urinating as opposed to how much they're drinking! Either way, having water sources in various locations around the house, and in places your cats like to spend time, will be the best way to ensure they get enough fluids.
Consider all your options. What will encourage your cat to drink more water? Consider a model with a quieter motor to prevent spooking your cat or keeping you awake at night. Make sure to choose the right capacity for your household and lessen the number of refills needed.
Cats don't like getting their whiskers wet. Look for a bowl that has a smaller surface area and more depth so that whiskers extend over the rim of the bowl. LEDs, day/night sensors or other light displays may or may not appeal to your cat. Look for an automatic shut-off feature when the waterer runs low or dry to avoid motor burnout.
You can go as high-tech or old-school as you choose when selecting your cat's water fountain. Make the watering station a positive experience so your feline friend visits often.
Tired of your cat begging for you to turn on the faucet or drinking out of the toilet? Here are 8 great fountains that your cat will love. We made our choices based on the points listed in the buying guide below, as well as reviewer comments when available.
*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Sheri Rydyznski. For more on our selection process, check out our editorial policy. Prices were gathered from respective EC sites on July 11, 2022.
Perfect Cat Fountain
Cat Water Fountain
Tritone Ceramic Water Fountain
Stainless Steel Flower Fountain
Ceramic Cat Water Fountain
Seaside Stainless Pet Fountain
Spectrum Cat Fountain
Sleek Design That's Easy to Keep Clean
All-Steel Fountain With a Gentle Jet of Water
Extra Pump as a Backup or DIY Option
3 Different Drinking Spout Options
Multiple Tiers to Please Multiple Cats
Features to Ensure Safe and Secure Operation
A Flowing Volcano of Refreshing Water
Simple, Effective, and Clean
|Materials||Ceramic||Stainless steel||Ceramic||Stainless steel||Ceramic||Stainless steel, plastic||Stainless steel||Ceramic|
|Capacity||1/2 gal.||1/2 gal.||1/2 gal.||3/5 gal.||1 gal.||1/3 gal.||1/2 gal.||1/2 gal.|
|Features||Mechanical and carbon filters||Mechanical and charcoal filters, locking lid, cleaning brushes, silicone mat||Mechanical and carbon/charcoal filters, extra pump||Mechanical and carbon filters, LED light||Adjustable water flow||Mechanical and carbon filters, auto shutoff, battery backup||Mechanical and carbon/charcoal filters||Mechanical filter, charcoal option available|
|Features||Mechanical and carbon filters|
|Features||Mechanical and charcoal filters, locking lid, cleaning brushes, silicone mat|
|Features||Mechanical and carbon/charcoal filters, extra pump|
|Features||Mechanical and carbon filters, LED light|
|Features||Adjustable water flow|
|Materials||Stainless steel, plastic|
|Features||Mechanical and carbon filters, auto shutoff, battery backup|
|Features||Mechanical and carbon/charcoal filters|
|Features||Mechanical filter, charcoal option available|
Our customers like the Catit Flower Fountain because it's affordable, durable, quiet, and easy to clean. Part of our services includes maintaining cat water fountains. While most of them are low-maintenance, we've found the Catit is superior in that it holds a good amount of water for multi-cat households, has a small number of parts, and is easy to clean and reassemble. It's one of the cutest designs, too!
Cats are well-known for being possessive creatures who assume everything belongs to them. And why would we try to change that? Indulge your kitty with this other great stuff!
This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.
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