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The 5 Best Cat Water Fountains

Water is essential for all living creatures. This is especially true for cats. Without enough water, a cat can get easily dehydrated, a dangerous condition for any cat.
So why does your cats’ water bowl seems untouched?
To encourage your cat to drink more try a water fountain. To help you out, we’ve found the 5 best cat water fountain, plus 4 creative alternatives.

Top 5 best cat water fountains

Why you’ll want a cat water fountain

Unlike other animals, cats don’t have a naturally high thirst drive (1). A low thirst drive means cats don’t feel thirsty very often, no wonder the water bowl is always full! This is because, in the wild, cats get up to 80% of their water intake from the animals they prey on.

Most domesticated kitties eat a man-made diet which often includes dry cat food. This can be frustrating for pet-parents who are struggling to keep their cat hydrated.

Not getting enough water can result in various health issues for your cat. The most dangerous is dehydration. But your kitty could also develop urinary tract crystals or constipation. Among other complications (2).

So, why doesn’t your cat drink from its water bowl?

When looking at it from a cat’s point of view, water bowls aren’t that appealing. Instead of seeing a source of fresh, cool water, many see a bowl of bacteria—even if it came straight from a bottle.

In nature, cats see standing water as something that could make them very sick. This is why cats drink from streams (3).

A cat water fountain, with its flow of circulating water, is the perfect solution. It simulates moving water and oxygenates it. This refreshes the taste and encourages your kitty to drink from it. A pet water fountain also keeps water cleaner longer.

Will my cat drink from a fountain?

As amazing as a fountain is, it’s not for every cat. Some still prefer their quiet water bowl where they can drink peacefully. Cats who eat mainly wet cat food, such as canned and homemade diets, might not need one since they get most of their daily dose of H2O from wet food.

Signs that your kitty might enjoy a water fountain include; drinking from a faucet, the toilet, or licking the tub after you’ve taken a shower. Also, if your cat’s diet consists mostly of dry foods, a water fountain is a good way to entice them to drink more (4).

Do cat water fountains need filters?

Most cat fountains come with a filter. This is to keep the water clean and to remove harmful substances like chlorine. There are usually two types of filtration systems:

  • Chemical filtration: Often called activated charcoal, which consists of carbon. It absorbs impurities and toxins. A carbon filter is safe for your cat, even if they tried to eat it. This filter usually comes as papers that you must replace every week or two.
  • Mechanical filtration: This type comes as a sponge sitting around the pump where the water passes through. They’re available in various sizes. How long they last depends on the brand.

That said, not all water fountains need a filter. If there’s no filtration system, you should be mindful of the water you use—make sure it’s safe to drink.

Non-filtered water fountains need frequent cleaning. Even though the water continuously moves, bacteria will build up. Make sure to clean your fountain once a week.

Cleaning your cat’s water fountain

Maintaining your cat fountain is imperative. Bacterial biofilm is a real health hazard for your cat. This thin layer of bacteria, called a bacterial biofilm, will settle on the inside of the fountain. It’s a slimy layer that forms as bacteria attach to a surface and tries to protect itself from cleaning agents (5).

It’s almost impossible to avoid due to the constant flow of microscopic particles from your cat’s saliva. The only way to prevent it is by frequent cleaning. Here’s how:

First, remove any food deposits from the water. Whenever you notice pieces of your cat’s last meal, use a spoon or other tool to remove it. This prevents any food particles from feeding bacteria.

Second, change the water as often as possible. Some pet fountains claim you can go months between water changes. Avoid this! Change your cat’s water weekly.

If the fountain has crevices and corners, read the instructions on how to disassemble and clean it. Bacteria will settle in those nooks and contaminate the whole basin.

How to choose the best cat water fountain

Ready to get a pet water fountain? Wait! Review these important points before adding anything to your shopping cart.

Easy to assemble/disassemble

To make life easier, get a fountain that’s easy to assemble and disassemble. This type of water fountain usually has fewer moving parts and is safer for your cat. Look for a simple design and make sure it comes with instructions.

Ideally, fountains should be dishwasher safe. This way you’re sure it’s really clean. This also makes clean up less time-consuming.

Fountain size

Size is another essential consideration. How much water does your cat need? How big the fountain should be will depend on how big your kitty is and what their main diet is. If your cat needs more water, choose a bigger size.

For multi-cat households, you should buy larger fountains or more than one. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself refilling it several times daily.

Hygienic materials

Some materials, like plastic, are notorious for collecting bacteria. Plastic fountains require more frequent cleaning (6). The best water fountains to look for are those made from stainless steel or ceramic. These are easy to clean and bacteria are less likely to settle.

Quality filters

High-quality water fountains come with a carbon filter. These are the best to look for since they capture small particles as well as trap odors (7).

You may also consider a prefilter. This is a small screen filter before the carbon filter. It captures large debris and prevents it from clogging up the pump. Prefilters extend the life of the water dispenser.

Quiet

Motor noise can deter a timid cat from drinking from a fountain. Look for a quiet motor that can still provide a decent flow of water (8).

The best cat water fountains

Now that we’ve reviewed what to look for in a cat water fountain, it’s time to reveal our choice for the best cat water fountain.

1. Flower Pet Fountain by Catit

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The Flower Pet Fountain from Catit is as cute as can be. It’s designed with a green base and flower fountain where the water streams from. It’s an innovative design that should encourage your feline friend to rehydrate more.

One of the best things about this fountain is that it doesn’t make a lot of noise. When full, it sounds like a bubbling brook. It’s also customizable—you can choose between three settings. These range from a gentle flow or bubbling stream to a faucet-like run. This makes it perfect for just about any cat preference.

Keeping the water clean is a triple-action filter. This filter removes a variety of impurities, including calcium, magnesium, debris, and odor. What’s more, because of its bowl-less design, there’s less chance of bacteria accumulating at the top.

What attracted us to this fountain (besides the adorable flower design), is that it’s easy to assemble and disassemble. You can quickly take it apart to do a thorough cleaning. It’s made from BPA-free plastic and stands steadily on the floor.

Pros

  • Eye-catching design.
  • Three water flow settings.
  • Triple-action filtration system.
  • Bowl-less, so less chance of bacterial buildup.
  • Easy to assemble and disassemble.

Cons

  • Plastic.

2. Cat Mate Pet Fountain

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The pet fountain from Cat Mate is a carefully designed option. It comes with a quiet I.P.S. (Isolated Pump System) motor to maximize its appeal. This option can hold approximately 70 fluid ounces of water.

With an impressive multi-level design, this fountain has several drinking spots for picky cats. As the water flows through to the top, it’s naturally oxygenated, supplying your kitty with cool water all day.

Cleaning this fountain is a breeze—but you need to do it regularly since it’s made from plastic. The materials are dishwasher safe (follow the dishwasher instructions). You can quickly take it apart to ensure every nook and cranny gets clean.

Included is also a polymer-carbon filter cartridge, which purifies the water from debris and odors. Cat Mate makes sure that replacement filters are easily available.

Pros

  • Naturally oxygenates the water through its multi-level design.
  • Materials are dishwasher safe.
  • Straightforward to disassemble.
  • Polymer-carbon filter.

Cons

  • The pump creates a hum, which may annoy some people.
  • Plastic.

3. Drinkwell 360 Stainless Steel Pet Fountain

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For larger cats or multiple-cat households, consider the Drinkwell 360 pet fountain from PetSafe. This is significantly larger than the two previous ones. It has a water capacity of 1 gallon and is recommended for several cats under 60 pounds.

This fountain is stainless steel and comes with a submersible pump that’s whisper-silent. The outlet at the top provides a calm stream that your kitties have access to from all angles.

The stainless steel makes it easy to keep clean. Bacteria find it harder to settle and create a biofilm. Plus it is dishwasher safe. All you do is remove the pump, disassemble the fountain and place it in the machine for a thorough cleaning.

On the fountain, there’s a receiving ramp and adjustable flow control. This reduces splashing—unless your cat decides to bat at the water! Rubber feet prevent it from sliding across the floor.

Pros

  • Large water capacity—excellent for several cats to share.
  • Easy-to-clean stainless steel.
  • Adjustable flow control.
  • Dishwasher safe.
  • Rubber feet to prevent sliding.

Cons

  • Includes several parts, which can be time-consuming to clean.
  • The high pump speed is loud.

4. SmartCat Pioneer Pet Stainless Steel Drinking Fountain

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If you’re looking for something subtle and unique, the Pioneer pet fountain from SmartCat is worth a look. This is a raindrop design that’s pretty compact but can hold a lot of water. It’s available in two sizes: 60 or 96 ounces, which should be enough water for one or two cats.

Made of stainless steel, this fountain minimizes bacterial buildup and biofilm from accumulating. It has a small pump that continuously supplies your cat with fresh water. You can clean the fountain in the dishwasher, just remove the pump beforehand.

One of the best parts of this fountain is the replaceable charcoal filter. SmartCat makes it easy for your cat to get clean uncontaminated water. The filter removes minerals and odors from the water. This improves the taste and may encourage your cat to drink more.

The fountain includes a power cord. SmartCat recommends you use an electrical outlet that’s higher up than the bowl. This will reduce any hazards.

Pros

  • Unique raindrop design.
  • Compact with a high water capacity.
  • A breeze to clean and keep sanitary.
  • Replaceable charcoal filter.
  • Made of stainless steel.

Cons

  • Could be more durable.
  • May emit a plastic-like odor—clean thoroughly before use.

5. Drinkwell Pagoda Pet Fountain by PetSafe

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Last, we have a ceramic cat water fountain from PetSafe. This futuristic fountain looks like a UFO. It’s capable of holding up to 70 ounces of water and comes with a low-voltage submersible pump. It will continuously pull the water through, encouraging your cat to drink.

The water continues to circulate through a carbon, coconut shell filter. This protects the pump from debris and pet fur, extending its lifespan. This filter also removes impurities and improves the taste of the water.

A great aspect of this fountain is how quiet it is. Not only does it look serene, but it produces a soothing whisper-quiet sound, like a small stream. You can choose between four colors, depending on your home decor.

Because it has two drinking areas it’s suitable for various kitties. Appealing to young kittens and senior cats.

Pros

  • Contemporary design—4 colors available to choose from.
  • Includes a low-voltage pump.
  • It comes with a carbon, coconut filter.
  • Multiple drinking areas.

Cons

  • May be too loud for some.
  • Hard to assemble.

Cat drinking from a cat water fountain.

The best cat water fountain

Like people, cats need lots of water. In the wild, felines get most of their daily water intake from their diet. At home cats need encouragement and helpful tools. Cat water fountains are a fantastic solution to this issue as they continuously circulate water and keep it oxygenated.

The best cat water fountain, we’ve found so far, is the Flower Pet Fountain by Catit. Even though it’s plastic, it’s easy to disassemble and clean. There are minimal parts to worry about, and you can adjust the flow according to your kitty’s needs. It filters the water through a triple-action system, keeping it fresh for longer.

Sources:

  1. https://www.cathealth.com/behavior/how-and-why/2598-thirst-drive-in-cats
  2. https://www.nap.edu/resource/10668/cat_nutrition_final.pdf
  3. http://www.vetstreet.com/dr-marty-becker/why-does-my-cat-drink-from-weird-places-like-the-faucet-or-the-bathtub
  4. https://www.cathealth.com/cat-care/nutrition/1229-cat-wet-dry-food
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2890205/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3733390/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK234593/
  8. https://www.petmd.com/cat/general-health/5-things-stress-out-your-cat
Alina Prax
Latest posts by Alina Prax (see all)
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