Many experts agree that using the best cat water fountains can be the most effective way to encourage a cat to drink more water. If you’re concerned about the amount of water your cat is drinking, then buying a water fountain can be a great option, since cats are attracted to running water. It’s also the best way to make sure your cat has access to clean, fresh drinking water around the clock. So, what type of water fountain should you get? What sizes are available? What makes one model better than another? What are the key features to look for?
As the owner of a senior cat, I know how hard it is to get a kitty to drink enough water daily. So, I made it my mission to find a fountain for cats that would be irresistible. I tried out several popular models and found seven that come loaded with all the key features that will help pets to stay hydrated, while giving cat owners more bang for their buck. I’ve also put together this buyer’s guide, based on my findings. It includes all of the information you need to know to choose a model that’s perfect for your pet.
Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that includes each fountain that made it onto my list, important feature information, and how each fountain rated.
Cat Water Fountains Comparison Chart
Best Water Fountain Overall-Petsafe Drinkwell Platinum
The Petsafe Drinkwell Platinum cat water fountain has a larger than average water capacity of 169 ounces. This makes it a great addition to a multi-cat household. The design of the free-falling stream makes this model very appealing to cats and dogs alike. Because of the increased size of the water reservoir, you won’t have to refill it as often. Additionally, the fountain’s stream is highly adjustable, so you can customize the flow of the water based on how many pets will be drinking from it at the same time. Since the Petsafe Drinkwell Platinum is made out of BPA-free plastic that’s dishwasher safe, you can give it a good deep clean once a week. The fountain’s carbon filter not only removes impurities from the water but it will also improve how the water tastes and smells. These filters are replaceable and can be reordered directly from the manufacturer.
- Carbon filter
- Adjustable stream
- Large water reservoir
- Made out of BPA-free plastic
- Difficult to clean
The Petsafe Drinkwell cat water fountain is a top pick for several reasons. Its key features include a durable design, large water reservoir, and an adjustable, free-falling stream that’s designed to entice even the most stubborn cat. The carbon filter will also work its magic, making the water smell and taste better, while the fountain’s pump constantly circulates the water keeping it cooler and tasting fresh.
High Water Capacity-Catit Flower Water Fountain
The Catit Flower fountain is one of the leading cat water fountains on the market. It offers a variety of important key features, including three different water flow settings, a high water capacity, LED lights, a triple action filter, and an energy efficient pump. The large water reservoir is designed to hold up to three liters of water, which means less refills. The low water indicator light will alert you when the water is running low. This is another key feature that only the Catit flower fountain offers and one that will prevent the pump from overheating, which can happen if you allow the reservoir to run dry. The flower on top of the fountain will allow a cat to continue to drink, even when the fountain has been switched off. The Catit flower fountain also comes with an LED nightlight that keeps the fountain well-lit, so your cat can easily find their way to their water at night. In terms of filtration action, this model comes with a triple action softening filter that’s designed to eliminate contaminants, while keeping the water tasting and smelling clean and fresh.
- High water capacity
- Easy to clean
- Free falling stream
- Eye-catching flower waterfall design
- Replaceable carbon filter
- Carbon water filter replacements are expensive
- Filters must be replaced once a month
The Catit Flower is one of the best models on the market for a variety of reasons. The flower on top of the fountain contains six water pockets that will fill up with clean water, so your pet will continue to have access to clean filtered water, even if you turn the fountain off. If a cat prefers to drink from the stream of running water, simply twist the flower and lift for precise water flow control. The Catit Flower Fountain comes loaded with all the bells and whistles you could want in a cat fountain that’s durable, highly adjustable, and easy to clean.
Most Adjustable Fountain for Cats-Pioneer Pet Raindrop Fountain
As you already know, circulating water is naturally appealing to cats. This model’s adjustable stream will entice even the most stubborn cat and is very appealing to cats of all ages. The Pioneer Pet Raindrop water fountain is made out of BPA free materials. While it may look as though it’s made out of stainless steel, upon closer inspection, you’ll find that it’s made out of porcelain. It comes with a replaceable charcoal filter, which removes impurities and improves the taste of your pet’s drinking water. The heavy weight of the porcelain will make it difficult for your pet’s to tip it over, keeping the fountain securely in place. This model is dishwasher safe and easy to clean and maintain. Inside, the water fountain contains a universal submersible pump that is designed to fit most models of water fountains made by this manufacturer. It also features water flow settings, so you can choose how slow or fast the water should move, based on pet preference. The charcoal filter is one of the key features and is also low-maintenance. The filter should be rinsed out under cool water weekly and replaced one to two times a month to maintain water quality.
- Charcoal filter
- Adjustable water flow
- Submersible pump
- Large water capacity
- Frequent filter changes
If your pet enjoys free falling water, and tap water that tastes fresh and smells clean, then they’ll fall in love with this top model by Pioneer Pet. This water fountain features all the bells and whistles most pet owners are looking for in a durable drinking station for their pet. It’s modern design also makes it a great addition to any room where it will fit right in with existing decor.
Best Water Fountain Filter System-Households-Wonder Creature Cat Water Fountain
This pet fountain is made out of stainless steel and comes with two brushes and three carbon filters. The cleaning brushes are designed to clean out the motor cavity and the intake tube, for a thorough, fast and efficient cleaning process. The submersible pump is virtually silent-running, with a decibel rating of under forty. To prevent the water fountain from running dry, you’ll notice the water level window that allows you to keep a close eye on the water supply. The pump itself is low-voltage and has an average lifespan of two and a half years.
On the top of the water fountain, you’ll find bright decorative LED lights that will keep the fountain well-lit at night, making it highly visible to your pet, while adding a little ambience to the room.
The circulating ion exchange filtration system is composed of several layers, including one that’s made out of cotton, ion exchange resins, and coconut shell activated carbons. This top of the line pet water fountain, with its powerful filter, provides plenty of key features and fresh clean drinking water for your pet, around the clock.
- Replaceable carbon filter
- Ion exchange filtration system
- Dishwasher safe
- High water capacity
- Made from BPA free materials
- If the pump breaks, pet cannot access water
If you have a hard time getting your cat to drink plain old tap water, then this drinking fountain by Wonder Creature is a great buy. The 360-degree multi-direction streams will encourage even the most stubborn pet to take a drink. The streams work to aerate the water, for improved freshness and taste. If your pet is a little skittish, you’ll also appreciate the three different drinking modes to choose from, so you can select the perfect water flow for your pet.
Best Drinking Fountain for Multi-Cat Households-PetSafe Drinkwell Pet Water Fountain
This cat water dispenser from PetSafe is one of the leading cat water fountains on the market. It has a higher than average water capacity of one hundred ounces and a design that’s perfect for cats of all sizes. One of the key features is the two tier design, which will allow your pets to drink from the lower or upper bowel. Pet water fountains for multi-cat households should feature this type of two tier design to ensure older and younger cats have easy access to water. The design can also prevent animals in the house from fighting over the fountain, allowing them to drink at the same time instead. The slow water flow will entice your pets to drink more water, while the water’s constant circulation prevents bacteria growth. The replaceable carbon filter removes impurities from the water, improving odor and taste.
- Adjustable water flow settings
- Replaceable carbon filter
- Low price tag
- BPA free
- Dishwasher safe
- High water capacity
- Pump must be replaced after a year
This pet fountain cat water bowl features an open design. This means, if your home loses power, your pet will still have access to fresh water. This is the best cat water fountain for multi-cat households, with a total of three open spots that allow your pets to enjoy drinking fresh clean water at the same time. Durable, easy to clean and featuring a high water capacity, this cat water fountain is designed to encourage your pets to drink more water, which is normally a big problem if you’ve only used a standard cat water dispenser in the past.
Budget-Friendly Cat Water Fountain-URPOWER Cat Water Fountain
There’s no doubt that adding a fountain to your home can offer a wide variety of health benefits. The key feature of any fountain is its water dispenser that constantly churns out fresh tasting water. This model holds fifty-one ounces of water, which is perfect for homes with one or two cats.
If you’re searching for durable pet water fountains, then this model by UrPower is right up your alley. This pet water fountain comes equipped with an adjustable water flow valve that allows you to control water flow for your cat. The carbon filters should be replaced one to two times a month, which can be a drawback for some pet owners, due to the ongoing cost. The filters themselves work well to remove any impurities from the water, which will improve both the odor and flavor. The modern design of this fountain cat water dispenser will complement any room, while the open design allows multiple cats to drink at the same time.
- Adjustable flow settings
- Free falling water will appeal to all pets
- High water capacity
- Low price
- Low water capacity
This fountain features a compact design, which makes it a top pick for pet owners with one to two cats. It’s also one of the best cat fountains on the market because of it’s low maintenance design that doesn’t require any special cleaning brushes like some competing models do. This drinking fountain is durable, well-built, low maintenance, and perfect for the pet owner on a tight budget.
Easiest to Clean Fountain for Cats-Cat Mate Drinking Fountain
This Cat Mate water dispenser is a top pick for any pet owner who is looking for a cat water fountain that comes with multi-height drinking stations. The different height levels makes this one of the most versatile cat water fountains on the market, allowing both younger and older cats to easily access fresh drinking water at the same time. This model also comes with a polymer activated carbon filter cartridge that’s replaceable and designed to keep the water free from odors and other impurities. The isolated pump is quiet-running and highly adjustable, so you can lower or increase the water pressure, based on your cat’s preference. The inclined water ramp is a nice addition and one that will minimize water loss and eliminate splashing, which can startle some cats and prevent them from using cat water fountains in the future. Cat Mate has created a unique water fountain that is covered by a three-year warranty and features the type of low maintenance design that all pet owners are looking for.
- Low maintenance
- Multi-height design
- Running water is adjustable
- Larger pets can tip this model over
This fountain features bowls that are dishwasher safe, a multi-height design that makes it a good choice for multi-pet households, and an energy efficient pump that consumes just two watts. This is a pet water fountain that offers excellent water capacity, an easy to clean design, and a three-year product warranty, which is something all pet owners are looking for.
Best Cat Water Fountains Buyer’s Guide
Pet fountains can provide a continuous, fresh water source for your pets. Cats are known to have a very low thirst drive, but a fountain can be a great way to entice your cat, since most cats are attracted to running water.
On your search to find the perfect model, you’ll find several different types and styles of water fountains to choose from, which can make picking the right one a challenge. Below, you’ll find information on all the key features to look for, how these water fountains can increase your cat’s daily water intake, and the general benefits that come with switching from a standard water bowl to a water fountain.
Benefits of the Best Cat Water Fountains
Cats often get the majority of their water from their cat food. However, if your kitty eats dry food, then you should be concerned that they’re not staying properly hydrated. As you know, dehydration, even mild cases, can be very taxing on the urinary tract and kidneys. Using water fountains can be the perfect solution since it can encourage your cat to drink more water daily.
Below, you’ll find a list of other important benefits that come with making the switch to a fountain.
- These water fountains will come with a built-in filter that’s designed to remove any impurities from the water, including parasites, heavy metals, hair, and debris. This will make the water taste better while also making it safer to drink.
- Water fountains will release air into the water, which creates bubbles. Harmful bacteria and certain microorganisms cannot live in the presence of air, so the bubbles will help to keep the water clean and get rid of harmful contaminants.
- Despite the common misconception that cats hate water, some love playing in it. Water fountains create moving water, which can make a kitty think its moving prey. They may believe that the ripples in the water indicate fish or another type of creature. This can wake up their predatory instincts and have them excited to watch water fountains work their magic. Basically, fountains can provide much-needed mental stimulation.
- Cats will also enjoy cooler water since circulating water keeps the temperature lower. The air bubbles in the water will also help to keep the water colder, which will encourage cats to consume more water.
- A fountain can be instrumental in ensuring your kitty always has access to fresh, clean water. This will significantly reduce the risk of health issues that are caused by bacteria in the water and other types of contaminants.
- This type of fountain will also encourage cats of all ages to drink more water daily, reducing their risk of dehydration, kidney infections, and UTIs.
- Most models are very easy to maintain, simply wipe out the main bowl or tiers, as instructed by the manufacturer. Models that are dishwasher safe are even easier to care for.
Cat Water Fountain Versus Water Bowls
Hydration is very important. A cat can function well in a mildly dehydrated state, but proper hydration is essential for digestion, energy, and metabolic health.
As a kitty gets older, they tend to experience kidney dysfunction, so proper hydration is crucial.
Unfortunately, a standard cat water bowl may not be appealing for most cats, since the water is warm, stale, and generally unclean.
A water fountain pushes through a continuous fresh water supply. Cats can be pretty fussy when it comes to their water. Water fountains in the home can ensure your cat stays hydrated, since cats love fresh water. Cats are also very sensitive to the smell of bacteria and often refuse to drink water that’s contaminated.
Since bacteria tends to grow in water after a cat has drank out of it, the water must be changed once or twice a day, otherwise a cat will not drink it.
With water fountains, you won’t have to worry about bacteria growth or refilling a water dish.
Must-Have Fountain Features
Getting your cat to drink enough water can be a challenge, especially if your cat is older. If you’ve tried using several types of water dishes with no success, then a fountain can be the perfect solution. The water fountain’s main feature is fresh running water, which is exactly what cats prefer. However, before you hit that buy now button, there are several key features that you’ll want to consider before you make your final choice.
Water Reservoir Size
Water capacity is important, and one of the key features to look for. A cat water fountain that has a high water capacity means you won’t have to constantly worry about refilling it. It also decreases the chance of the fountain running dry. But if you have only one cat, then you may want to go with a smaller reservoir, since the water sitting in the tank can become stale over a period of a few days to a week. Most models will constantly circulate the water to prevent it from becoming stagnant, however, the longer the water is allowed to sit in the reservoir, the higher the risk it can grow bacteria.
If you have an old cat, especially one with sore joints, mobility issues, and arthritis, then choose a model that’s elevated, so they won’t have to stoop over to drink. On the other hand, if you have a kitten, they may not be able to reach the bowl if you’ve chosen an elevated design.
If you have multiple cats in the home, then a model that features a multi-tier design can allow cats of all ages and sizes to easily drink from the fountain.
If you’re a one-cat home, then a single spout design should be sufficient. But what if you have several cats who all seem to want to drink water at the same time? If that’s the case, look for a fountain that comes equipped with several spouts. This will help prevent your cats from fighting, allowing them to drink together in total harmony.
These fountains are available in several material options including BPA-free plastics, ceramic, and stainless steel. Models that are made out of plastic are usually cheaper, easy to clean, but they are also much lighter than ceramic and stainless steel fountains. Ceramic models are dishwasher safe and easy to clean. They’re also heavy, and can break if they get knocked over. Models that are made out of stainless steel are durable and low maintenance, but the metal can have an impact on the taste of the water and may deter your cats from using the fountain.
Key features, such as filter type will also be important. Most fountains will come with some type of filter. Some filters will work better than others, but the ultimate goal is to remove impurities from the water to improve the taste and smell of the water. Many fountains have a two-stage filtration system that can get the job done well. The filter will remove microscopic impurities and large debris such as food, dirt, leaves, and hair.
There are four common styles of filtration systems to choose from:
- Ion exchange
UV filters work to eliminate harmful microorganisms in the water.
Carbon filters will get rid of contaminants such as parasites, heavy metals in the water, and pesticides. It can also improve the taste and scent of the water.
This style of filter will add solid minerals as it removes positively charged ions. Additionally, it can also soften water as well.
A pre-filter can keep hair and debris out of the pump, preventing the filtration system from working overtime to remove contaminants.
Most models will come with a standard carbon filter that should be replaced every one to two months, based on the manufacturer’s recommendations. Fortunately, these filters can easily be reordered online, directly from the manufacturer’s website.
Some brands will offer fountains that don’t have any type of filtration system at all. Some pet owners will prefer this option since they won’t have to worry about reordering and replacing the filter. Just keep in mind, fountains that don’t have filters will be more difficult to clean and maintain, while the fountain itself will not have much of an impact on the taste and odor of the water. If your cat is especially picky about the water they’re willing to drink, then purchasing a model with a filtration system will be your best bet.
You may also come across models that have LED lights. This will make the fountain highly visible at night, allowing your cat to easily and safely find their way to their water.
Water fountains are surprisingly affordable and can cost $24 up to $64. Plastic models are often the cheapest and will require the most care and maintenance, while ceramic and stainless steel versions are more durable and easier to clean and maintain. The size of the fountain, the number of tiers and spouts, and a top of the line filtration system will also have an impact on the overall cost. Considering how affordable these fountains are, purchasing a higher priced model will be an excellent investment for your pet, helping to prevent costly vet bills that are associated with chronic constipation, UTIs, and dehydration.
How to Get Your Cat to Drink More Water
Buy a water fountain. The combination of fresh smelling water, and water that’s constantly flowing will be irresistible to your pet.
While a cat doesn’t need to drink as much water as a dog, some are still at a high risk of dehydration, especially if you feed dry cat food, they’re over the age of seven, or they’re outdoor only.
Like their food, where they sleep, the condition of their litter box, and the toys they’ll use, a cat is also finicky about the water they drink. Most cats will refuse to drink water out of a bowl, since it’s more likely to carry bacteria. Cats will be more likely to drink from a water fountain because the water is clean and pathogen-free. Additionally, vets believe that cats prefer a water fountain over a bowl because a cat may feel more vulnerable to an attack when they bend over to drink from a bowl. Cats with arthritis or other types of health conditions may also find stooping over to drink out of a bowl uncomfortable.
Prevent Dehydration and Constipation
The biggest cause of constipation in older cats is dehydration. Older cats may not eat as much as they used to, which can lead to dehydration if they normally eat wet food.
If your cat is dealing with constipation or dehydration, using a fountain should be the first thing you try. Make sure you keep their fountain away from their food, since many cats prefer to keep their water and food sources separate so that their food will not contaminate their water.
How to Prevent Slime/Bacteria Buildup in a Pet Fountain
A slimy substance can grow on the bottom and sides of a fountain. It’s known as a type of bacterial biofilm that grows when bacteria attach to a surface and multiply. Bacteria will feed on the tiny particles that are released into the water from saliva and food particles. When inhaled or ingested, this substance can cause a wide variety of infections, including staph and E. Coli.
Cleaning the bowl regularly, at least once a week is the best way to prevent slime buildup in the fountain. Choosing a model that’s made out of ceramic is a good option since this material is easier to clean. Stainless steel is another good option since it’s less porous, although it can corrode over time.
How Do I Get My Cat to Use the Water Fountain?
In most cases, you should have no trouble making the switch from a standard water bowl to a cat fountain. However, if you end up with a low quality product, you can run into some issues. Like with any type of change, a cat may need to make the transition slowly, so don’t immediately ditch their water bowl until you notice they’re consistently using the fountain.
Below, you’ll find some common issues that can cause a cat to turn their nose up at their new fountain.
If you end up with a model that makes plenty of noise, then your cat may steer clear of it out of fright. Read cat water fountain reviews before you buy and pay close attention to how the product rated in terms of noise.
A model that’s poorly constructed can splash water everywhere. Some fountains can even shoot water out of the bowl. If that’s the case, then you can be sure your cat will never step foot near it.
Dirty Bowl/Strong Odor
As I mentioned earlier, cats are very sensitive to taste and odors. If it’s been weeks since you cleaned the fountain, your cat may refuse to drink from it. If your fountain possesses an odor, straight from the box, wash it and allow it to air out before introducing it to your cat.
If you’ve put the fountain in a busy spot in the house, or it’s located next to their litter box or food dish, then a cat may refuse to drink from it. For cats, location is very important, especially when it comes to their water source. Placing their water in a high traffic area in the home may make them feel vulnerable when using it. Putting the fountain too close to their food or litter box can easily contaminate their water source.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Water Fountains Good for Cats?
Yes. Part of a healthy lifestyle involves ensuring your cat stays hydrated. Having a supply of fresh water available at all times is important. Using a water fountain is a more practical, safer, and healthier option compared to a traditional water dish.
How Often Should I Change the Water in My Cat’s Water Fountain?
All animals need access to fresh clean water. For a fountain, since the water is constantly in motion and air bubbles are pumped into the water, the water stays fresher longer, making it more difficult for bacteria to grow. However, the water reservoir should be dumped out and the bowl should be scrubbed once a week. One of the key features in a fountain is the filter. Depending on filter type, your pet’s water may stay fresh for up to two weeks, without a change.
Do Cat Fountains Use a Lot of Electricity?
No. The amount of power used by a fountain in twenty-four hours is comparable to that of a sixty-watt light bulb turned on for one hour.
Can You Leave a Water Fountain on All the Time?
Yes. The pumps in these fountains are designed to run around the clock, daily on account of their low power needs. It’s actually harder on the pump’s motor if you constantly turn it on and off. As long as the water reservoir is filled with water, it’s totally safe to leave the fountain on 24/7.
What Water is Best for Cats?
The best option is giving your cat filtered water. You can easily accomplish this by using a fountain, which comes with a built-in filter, or you can purchase a filtration system for your kitchen faucet.
How Can I Keep My Pet Fountain Clean?
Wash it out once a week. If left to its own devices, the fountain can become slimy, developing a bacteria biofilm that can make the water taste terrible and can also make your pets susceptible to infections, diarrhea, and an upset stomach. When cleaning the fountain, avoid using the same sponge you use for your pots, pans, cutlery, and dishes. Have a sponge that’s specifically designated for cleaning the fountain.
The best cat water fountain can be a total game changer if you’ve been struggling to get your kitty to drink more water daily. The fountain’s design and built-in filtration systems will have your cat thinking they’re drinking from a fresh spring. Even the movement of the water itself, the air bubbles, and the ripples in the water will have your cat entertained. Overall, a fountain is a great addition to both single and multi-cat households and is one of the most effective ways you can use to keep your pet hydrated, while decreasing their chances of UTIs and kidney problems as they age.