Top 6 Best Cat Water Fountains [2020 Buyer’s Guide & Reviews]
What's the best taste in the world?
Fresh water when you're thirsty.
As humans, we all know what it's like to have a cold sip of H2O when we're feeling parched—and we're pretty sure our feline friends know how satisfying this is, too!
Of course, as a pet owner you don't ever want your sweet cat to feel thirsty. But what happens if you're out of the house a lot, you have multiple kitties (or just one who likes to drink a lot of water), and you're worried about her water bowl lasting the day?
In severe cases, a lack of water could put an animal at risk for dehydration. And aside from being uncomfortable for her, cat dehydration can also lead to some serious signs and symptoms including lethargy, loss of appetite, dry mouth, elevated heart rate, panting, sunken look eyes, and decreased skin elasticity.
So, whether you're around the home frequently or out of the home a lot, it's important to make sure your little one always has access to fresh clean water.
What we mean is: a Cat Fountain is Wonderful for your Kitty, you, and anyone else in the household who has to share pet chores.
In this review, we're going to go over the benefits of some of the best cat water fountains, tips for selecting the best one for your furry pal, and the top 6 options out there based on price, effectiveness, user-friendliness, and customer reviews.
- Best Cat Water Fountains
- A Review of the Best Cat Water Fountains
- Cat Health and Water
- What Do Cat Water Fountains Do?
- Does your Cat Get Enough Water?
- How Water Fountains Benefit Your Cat
- What to look for?
- Where to Put?
- How Often To Change The Filter?
- Are water fountains better for cats?
- How often should you clean cat water fountain?
- Are cat water fountains any good?
- Do cats like water fountains?
Best Cat Water Fountains
Catit Flower Fountain
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PetSafe Drinkwell Pagoda Pet Water Fountain
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PetSafe Drinkwell 360 Pet Water Fountain
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IPETTIE Tritone Ceramic Pet Drinking Fountain
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Pioneer Pet Raindrop Drinking Fountain
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YOUTHINK 2L Pet Drinking Fountain
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A Review of the Best Cat Water Fountains
Now let's take a look at the comprehensive reviews of the 6 best cat water fountain options currently available on the market. And if you are interested to learn more about the benefits of cat water fountains and why we recommend them for households with kitties in them you can read all about it below the reviews.
- Catit Flower Fountain
- PetSafe Drinkwell Pagoda Pet Water Fountain
- PetSafe Drinkwell 360 Pet Water Fountain
- IPETTIE Ceramic Pet Drinking Fountain
- Pioneer Pet Raindrop Pet Drinking Fountain
- YOUTHINK 2L Pet Drinking Fountain
1. Catit Flower Fountain
This fountain comes with three different flow settings so you can customize it to your specific animal's preference. It works well at oxygenating the water, keeping it fresh and tasty for your little one (or little ones).
Perhaps the most surprising thing about Catit flower fountain is that it's pretty tiny yet has a relatively large capacity. It can hold 3 liters of water but its dimensions are only 9.0 x 8.3 x 7.7 inches. This means it's easy to put in a corner somewhere in your home without looking like a total eyesore. After all, the design is kind of cute, too!
- Pros: three different flow settings for customizability and encouragement for your cat to drink more water, doesn't take up a lot of room (even though it contains 3 liters of water); adorable and unique design; whisker-comfy; effective at making clean and tasty water
- Cons: made with plastic so might stain or crack (but it is BPA-free); will make a loud noise if the water level is low (fortunately this is an easy fix); may be too tall for kittens; even the highest flow setting may be too low for some kitties
2. PetSafe Drinkwell Pagoda Pet Water Fountain
This versatile fountain is actually able to be used for cats or dogs (so if you have a multi-species home, your animal children may even be able to share!). It can contain an impressive 70 fluid ounces of water that will get fully oxygenated, which encourages kitties to drink more (because YUM). It comes in four different colors—red, taupe, blue, and white—and has a surprisingly elegant design, so it'll fit right into your decor.
It's also top-shelf dishwasher safe and even has two levels of water height so your animal can choose from high or low for drinking.
- Pros: stylish and subtle design, can easily fit into a corner space; made with high quality ceramic; large capacity reservoir; multi-level drinking height makes it great for animals of various ages, heights, and health statuses (e.g., arthritis, blindness); quiet motor
- Cons: can make a mess with messier cats or kittens; expensive; pump isn't durable according to some owners (leading to low flow)
3. PetSafe Drinkwell 360 Pet Water Fountain
This filtered cat water fountain is a great option for people who may be gone for a weekend and can trust their kitties to an occasional check in from a neighbor. This is because the fountain holds an incredible 128 fluid ounces!
Additionally, the free-falling streams give a lot of auditory and visual appeal and attracts kitties to the device so she'll be more likely to actually drink more water out of it. The 360 design makes it easy for multiple cats to drink from it at once (although this means you probably don't want to shove it all the way into a corner). Also comes in plastic variant.
- Pros: very large water capacity; great for multi-cat households or pet owners who are gone for long periods of time; adjustable flow settings
- Cons: finicky and picky animals may not adjust well to the high free-flow design; plastic may scratch, fracture, or stain with extended use
4. IPETTIE Ceramic Pet Drinking Fountain
Promising to be “way better than plastic,” this pet water dispenser has a 71 fluid ounce capacity and is made with eco-friendly, non-toxic ceramic. It features both a mechanical filter (with a soft foam) as well as an activated charcoal filter to keep out hair balls, shedding, dust, drool, andimpurities which could mess with taste and odor.
- Pros: classic and elegant look; higher edges prevent spillage and leaks; dual-filtration system; quite pumping action; many users find that their cats like it
- Cons: a bit heavy so can be harder to clean for some people; replacement filters are pricey
5. Pioneer Pet Raindrop Stainless Steel Pet Drinking Fountain
If you want a stainless steel bowl for your kitty to drink out of, pioneer pet raindrop drinking fountain will be the perfect choice. As far as looks go, it's definitely one of the most unique, chic, and stylish—so if your decor is particularly fancy and put together, this little watering set-up will probably fit seamlessly into your home. Definitely the most futuristic of the bunch!
Most users have found that their animals (even 20-year-old cats!) love it. Pioneer pet raindrop has a really quiet motor so won't scare away jumpy animals. It's also very easy to clean. But there's one major problem pointed out by at least one user: the way the electrical wire is housed in the device puts a hard bend in it, which overtime can pose an exposed wire risk since the wire insulation can break over time.
- Pros: Pioneer pet raindrop is dishwasher safe; high quality charcoal filter PLUS stainless steel makes for great clean water; affordable; cats find it fun and interesting
- Cons: relatively small capacity at 60 fluid ounces; has a risk of wire exposure due to odd bend in the wire near the motor housing (so may require more frequent checking and replacement)
6. YOUTHINK 2L Pet Drinking Fountain
This water dispenser from YOUTHINK features a unique double filtration system and carbon filter that offers your kitty extra protection against bacteria and contaminants that could cause urinary tract diseases and other issues. You can set the fountain to dispense water in one of four different ways, so even the pickiest kitties will likely find a flow they love! With a two liter capacity, this automatic cat fountain is big enough to offer water for multiple kitties. But with an appealing compact design, it doesn't take up a lot of room.
- Double filtration system for extra protection; versatile water flow design with anti-overflow feature for fewer spills; silent and powerful automatic pump; sturdy and hard to knock over; made with BPA free plastic
- Pump and carbon filter can get clogged (but usually an easy fix with proper and regular cleaning); pricey
Cat Health and Water
A popular piece of “common knowledge” is that cats don't like water. And you know what? It's probably true your feline doesn't love the idea of going for a swim.
Interestingly, your cat also may not be super interested in drinking water very often. This is because felines naturally have a low thirst drive. Because of this, she may be at risk for certain feline urinary issues related to decreased water intake and dehydration. These include:
- Chronic kidney disease (CKD): also known as chronic renal failure, CKD occurs when chronic damage to the kidneys stops them from working properly (the kidneys normally help excrete waste from the body via urine)
- Urinary tract infection (UTI): signs of this in your kitty include bloody urine, straining to urinate, or pain vocalization while attempting to urinate.
- Cystitis: bladder inflammation
What Do Cat Water Fountains Do?
A water fountain for your cat filters water through a filter. This constant movement keeps water aerated, clean, and in motion—plus it prevents you from having to constantly refill the bowl, since virtually all cat water fountains come with a special reservoir for containing extra water.
This way, your animal has a consistent level of water in the part of the cat water fountains where she'll actually drink out of (until, of course, you have to refill the reservoir—which won't be as often as a regular water dish).
This really matters to most kitties, who tend to be literal creatures of habit and don't do well with change…even a change as simple as water levels in her dish.
Does your Cat Get Enough Water?
Generally speaking, cats need around 3.5–4.5 ounces of water per 5 pounds of body weight per day. It may not be realistic to sit there and measure your kitty's water intake, and besides—she'll already be getting some water through wet food (assuming you give her any).
So how else can you tell if she's drinking enough?
Look for signs of dehydration. These include:
- Dry tacky gums
- Loose skin that “tents” up when you gently pinch it between your fingers
- Loss of appetite
- Depression or decreased energy
- Sullen or drowsy looking eyes
- Decreased urination (you'll find fewer clumps in her litter box!)
How Water Fountains Benefit Your Cat
Just about all animals have the protective instinct to feel thirsty when they are nearing true dehydration. But interestingly, cats actually have a relatively low thirst drive. A little history should make this clear:
You see, cats evolved in the wild as carnivores. Wild cats eat all meat—all the time. The meat they consume is naturally moisture-rich, so they get a lot of their water from their food and generally don't feel thirsty—or at least not as often as domesticated cats do.
Why do domesticated kitties have an extra hard time staying hydrated? Well, even the highest quality cat food brands aren't made exclusively of meat. They contain vegetables and other ingredients which may reduce the overall moisture content of the food. But if your domestic four-legged pal hasn't fully outgrown her natural thirst signaling, she may not always know to drink enough water.
This background tells us why encouraging your animal to drink water from her bowl is so important. Now let's look at a few reasons why getting the best water fountain (rather than a water bowl) for your companion is particularly helpful for hydration:
Water stays cleaner and fresher
Cat water fountains can prevent bacteria and microorganisms from growing. Running water that's processed through a kitty fountain will be filtered, clean, and fresh.
And because the water is fresh, filtered, and constantly running, microorganisms will have a much harder time growing. This helps the water taste better and remain safer for your little four-legged cutie—helping her avoid urinary tract infections and other problems.
It arouses the natural instincts in cats.
Have you ever noticed your kitty dipping her paw into her water bowl before she drinks it? This is because cats don't like drinking from stagnant water sources. Fortunately, cat water fountains provide continually running water—which is uber-conducive to your feline's natural instincts. This makes the pet fountain much more appealing to drink out of.
By the way:
One of the reasons why cats don't like drinking from stagnant water is because it's harder for them to see still water—and it can make them feel vulnerable sitting there with their back to the world. A fountain of running water gives better visual and auditory cues to help her see what she's looking for, drink what she needs, and then get back out there ready to pounce, play, and protect herself.
Cat water fountains entice your cats to drink more.
Cat fountains are often wider than regular water dishes, making it easier for your animal to dip her head in for a drink without brushing her whiskers against the edges of the container. This isn't a detail worth overlooking, since kitty whiskers are super sensitive—and could be what's driving your animal away from your current set up.
By creating a comfortable and accessible environment with a fountain, you'll help encourage your kitty to drink more often…and drink enough.
The water tastes better!
If you have dogs and cats co-habitating in your home, you might scoff at the idea that water needs to “taste good” in order for your pet to drink it. After all, dogs seem to have no problem slurping straight out of the toilet bowl!
But our beloved and somewhat temperamental cats tend to be a bit more finicky. Fortunately, a pet fountain provides running water regularly, and the filter can keep out particles commonly found in regular tap water—so the water will indeed taste better. Hopefully, this will encourage your animal to imbibe in a cool drink a bit more often.
It's convenient for you and your cat.
Many water fountains for cats are designed to prevent excessive spillage and mess, unlike a regular water dish—which translates to less clean up for you. Plus, you don't have to worry about constantly checking and refilling your pet's water, and she won't ever have to be without her supply of hydration, either.
What to look for?
Need a checklist handy when looking for the best cat fountain for your home? Keep the following characteristics in mind:
Good water fountains for animals will have a filtration system. This takes out any impurities from the tap water you're pouring into the fountain. (We assume you aren't giving your animal exclusively Evian or some other type of bottled water).
There are two main types of filtration systems you can look for:
- Mechanical Filtration: this is desirable in multi-cat homes or homes with high-shedding cats because it can prevent kitty hair, drool, dust, and other debris from getting into the device, which will make the water more appealing to your animal and prevent jams and other issues with the device. Most cat fountains should have at least a mechanical filter.
- Chemical Filtration: this is generally done with activated charcoal, which is safe, natural, and effective. If you have a Brita filter or something similar in your own fridge, then you already know how good water tastes when it's been filtered through activated charcoal! Some but not all cat fountains have chemical filtration in addition to mechanical filtration.
Not all fountains come with a filtration system, but in our opinions the best ones do. It just makes your device longer-lasting and it makes the water taste better, which is better for your kitty.
Durability and Quality
It's no real surprise that a mechanical/motorized water fountain will cost more than a regular water dish. If you're going to invest a little more money into a contraption like this, then clearly you want one that'll be durable and high quality. Otherwise, you may be literally pouring you money down the drain!
There are three main different materials to choose from when looking at a fountain for your kitty:
- Ceramic: while it may be a bit more delicate than stainless steel, ceramic won't stain like plastic does and it won't scratch either.
- Stainless Steel: a lot of water bottle manufacturers these days are picking up on the fact that stainless steel is a hot purchase for consumers. It's hygienic and easy to clean. In fact, a lot of stainless steel cat fountains are dishwasher safe. How convenient is that?
- Plastic: even BPA-free plastic can leech into the water source, so of all the possible material types this probably is the least desirable option. That said, there are some brands that use as high quality plastic as possible that's easy to clean and durable.
If you have just one kitty in your home, if you're gone for longer periods of time, or if you have a large cat that actually likes to consume a lot of water, then you'll probably want to find a water fountain that contains a larger volume of water. Capacities range from 40 ounces to 90 ounces, or more or less, depending on the style. The trick is to find one that works for your household.
Ease of Maintenance
Let's be clear about one thing:
Kitty fountains really DO save you time. You won't have to refill their water as often since you can pour in a lot more water than what would normally fit inside a bowl. And because it's so much more hygienic, you won't have to clean it as often either.
That said, any fountain will require occasional maintenance—whether that's a full scrub down, a filter change, or some troubleshooting. In these cases, you want a device that's user-friendly so you don't have to waste too much time fixing it up. You'll also want one that has affordable and easy to replace filters, because chasing those important attachments down can be a hassle otherwise.
This last piece is often overlooked. After all, we do so much for our cats' well-being—isn't it easy to forget about what'll make us happy?
Cat fountain designs come in a wide range of designs, styles, colors, material, and sizes. There's absolutely nothing wrong with choosing one that'll fit your personal style! Some pet owners even like fountains with square-shaped bases so they can fit it flush against a corner…but honestly, your choices are virtually endless.
Where to Put?
The best place for your cat water fountain is away from your cat's food dish.
This may sound incredibly counterintuitive. But the truth is wild cats instinctively prefer to keep their food away from their water source.
So, if your vet has told you that your older cat needs to drink more, or if you're simply concerned about her water intake, then try moving the fountain away from where her food is put out. This should naturally encourage her to be more interested in her water…especially if it's bubbly fresh from a fountain!
Outside of being away from her food, your cat's water fountain should be somewhere in the home where
a) it'll fit into your decor (if that particularly matters to you) and
b) is easy to access for whenever you need to refill the water or change the filter.
Pro-tip: if your cat is particularly timid about the new fountain, try setting it out for a couple days without actually plugging it in and turning it on. This way, she'll get used to the fountain before it starts making noise. If it has a low flow setting, try using that initially.
And if worst comes to worst, you can add a little flavor to the water (try a bouillon cube or yummy tuna juice) until she's used to the fountain—but be sure to remove the filter during the days you do this.
How Often To Change The Filter?
The filter change frequency for your filter should come in the directions with your device. In general, however, your pet water fountain filter should be changed about once or twice per month—at least if it's an activated charcoal filter. Mechanical filters probably need to be assessed cleaned out at least monthly, but they don't need to be actually replaced as often.
You can make your filter last longer by:
- Cleaning your fountain at least once per month
- Occasionally refilling the fountain with a fresh supply of water in between cleanings
- Using pre-filtered water in the fountain (maybe those bottles of Evian don't sound so unreasonable after all!)
- Do cats prefer water fountains? Most cats prefer running or falling water. Still water supply is unappealing to most of them (which makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint, since stagnant water in the wild is often home to contaminants, parasites, bacteria, and so on). This is why you'll often notice kitties swat at their water bowl before taking a sip. Kinda cute, right?
- How often should you change the water in a pet fountain? In order to keep pet water fountain filters clean and free from debris, as well as to avoid the risk of water contamination, you should change your pet's water supply every 2 to 4 weeks. You may need to do this more often if you have multiple kitties in the house.
- Are water fountains better for cats? Pet water fountains may seem like a luxury. But if you want to encourage your cat to drink more, you might be way more success if you offer her a free flow water fountain. The appeal of bubbling fresh water can increase her interest in staying well-hydrated (since cats naturally have a low drive for thirst).
- Is tap water OK for cats? Maybe, although it depends on several factors unique to your home and your fluff ball. One of the issues about water from your tap is that kitties can be picky about what they drink. Tap water sometimes has odor or taste that can be off-putting to your persnickety pet! Luckily, a cat water fountain featuring a high capacity and good quality filter from the water fountain for cats can remove a lot of the contaminants, dissolved compounds, and odors from tap water, which will make it more palatable for your four-legged sweetie.
- How long can cats go without water? Kitties can survive at most for up to 7 days without water. But we certainly don't recommend testing out this theory for yourself! Keep in mind that factors like her age, overall health, activity level, and diet will affect this number. You should offer your kitty access to fresh and clean water continuously. Using a water fountain will entice her to drink every day, which is especially critical if she only eats dry cat food.
We've all heard the tale about how cats hate water. This may be true…sort of.
Sure, your cat might not want to hop in the tub. But she probably wants to have access to fresh clean water all day long—and especially when you're gone for a longer period of time.
If you've been looking for a solution to your water worries, then it's probably time to consider getting some of the pet water fountains for your household. Your little one will love the moving, clean, odor-free, and fresh water at her disposal…and she'll be more likely to hydrate herself adequately.
Cheers to that!
- Performance of Activated Carbon in Water Filters by Y. K. Siong a, J. Idris a, M. Mazar Atabaki a,b Department of Materials Engineering, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310, MalaysiabInstitute for Materials Research, the School of Process, Environmental andMaterials Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK
- Ashbolt, Nicholas J. “Microbial Contamination of Drinking Water and Human Health from Community Water Systems” Current environmental health reports vol. 2,1 (2015): 95-106.
- Activated carbon adsorption at www.lenntech.com
- Why Does My Cat… Paw at Her Water Dish? BY DR. PATTY KHULY VMD
- Why are cats so quirky about drinking? by MARY JO DILONARDO
- Setting Up the Environment for Your Cat Written by the Wayside Waifs Animal Behavior Team
- How Appealing is Your Cat’s Water? at www.catbehaviorassociates.com
- What You Need to Know About Cats and Drinking Water Article by: Leah_Pet
- Water – An Essential Nutrient for Our Cats' Health at foodfurlife.com
- Importance of water at petmd.com
- How Much Water Cats Need & Dehydration Prevention at preventivevet.com
- Importance of Giving Your Cat Clean and Fresh Water at cathealth.com
Are water fountains better for cats?
In nature, standing water is an excellent breeding ground for nasty bacteria that could make a cat violently ill. Running water, on the other hand, is much safer which is why many domestic cats still prefer running water.
How often should you clean cat water fountain?
The filters do not purify the water. Change them every 2-4 weeks, depending on how many pets use the fountain, to keep the fountain water fresh and clean.
Are cat water fountains any good?
Dehydration in cats can lead to serious health problems if not treated, so it's essential that your cat has a source of fresh water at their paws on a daily basis. Water is best kept fresh using automatic pet water fountains because they use filters to make the water pure, dirt-free and better-tasting.
Do cats like water fountains?
During their evolution, cats probably learned that stagnant water sources were more likely to make them sick. Our house cats still have this innate knowledge, so drinking out of a water bowl is not ideal for them. Cats are extremely sensitive to tastes and odors, and that can negatively impact how much water they drink.