Have you ever noticed that your cat wants to drink water from almost anywhere BUT his water bowl? Perhaps your feline friend eagerly awaits your exit from the shower so they can lap up the puddles, or leaps up to the faucet to drink from the tap. Some desperate cats even opportunistically drink from the toilet bowl!
If you’re looking for a solution to help your cat drink more, you’ll need to find the best cat water fountain to suit you and your moggy’s needs.
While cats are famed for being fussy and at times seem to enjoy making life difficult, in this case, it’s more about those sharp feline instincts.
Your domesticated furball retains the knowledge of their ancient ancestors, who avoided still, stagnant water in favor of running water, knowing it was less likely to make them sick.
With a reduced thirst drive in comparison to dogs, cats need a bit of extra stimulation to drink. Without adequate hydration, they can develop a range of health problems over time.
Cat water fountains provide fresh, filtered, running water to arouse your kitty’s natural play and predatory instincts, keeping them hydrated and healthy.
Our cat water fountain reviews and buying guide will tell you everything you need to know to find the best hydration solution for your kitty.
What are the advantages of getting a water fountain for cats?
- Cats need stimulation to remind them to drink
- Filtered water keeps your cat safe from bacteria and mold
- A good water fountain will offer your cat a variety of choices to satiate his thirst
- Hydration is essential for optimal cat health
- Drinking fountains are stimulating and entertaining – for owners and cats!
What might happen if you stick with your cat’s water dish?
- Your kitty could develop urinary tract issues or kidney disease
- Environmental contaminants are more likely to enter a bowl of still water
- You’ll miss out on the super cute fun of watching your cat play with her water fountain
- You’ll spend more time refilling a water bowl every day to keep it fresh
- Your cat will continue to stalk you and drink your soapy shower water – or even worse, dirty toilet water!
|Name||Image||Weight||Dimensions (inches)||Color||Capacity (fl. oz.)||Material|
|Catit Flower Fountain||1.32 pounds||9.0 x 8.3 x 7.7||White/blue or White/Green||100 ounces||BPA-Free|
|iPettie Tritone||7.1 pounds||10.7 x 10.7 x 5.5||White/Blue||71 ounces||Ceramic|
|PetSafe Drinkwell Pagoda||7.05 pounds||10.6 x 12.2 x 8.4||White/blue/red/taupe||70 ounces||Ceramic|
|PetSafe Drinkwell Stainless Steel||4.2 pounds||14 x 14 x 9||Stainless Steel||128 ounces||Stainless Steel|
|Pioneer Pet Raindrop||2.65 pounds||11.5 x 9 x 2.65||Stainless Steel||60 ounces||Stainless Steel|
|PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum||4 pounds||10 x 15.75 x 10.5||Light grey||168 ounces||BPA-Free Plastic|
|Cat Mate||1 pound||6.8 x 10.5 x 8.8||White||70 ounces||n/a|
|Petmate Fresh Flow||2 pounds||12.9 x 9.2 x 10||White||75 ounces||Plastic|
|Beacon||1.5 pounds||7.5 x 7.5 x 6.3||White||81 ounces||Plastic/stainless steel|
|Pioneer Pet Swan||1.2 pounds||12 x 8.7 x 9.7||White||80 ounces||BPA-Free plastic|
The Best Cat Drinking Fountain
Cat drinking fountains come in an enormous range of colors, materials, shapes, and sizes to suit even the fussiest feline (and most discerning owner!)
However, not everyone needs the fanciest, prettiest, or most extravagant accessory. If you’re a one or two cat household looking for a well-performing, popular fountain that doesn’t break the bank, then here’s our top pick:
This pet water fountain is one of the most popular available and also one of the most affordable. Its simple design is cute without being garish, with the white plastic shell (BPA free, of course) giving way to either a blue or green dish at the top.
The little daisy in the middle allows for three different water flow settings, so you can experiment to see which one your cat responds to.
Choose from a gentle water flow, a bubbling surface, or small streams.
✓ Easy to clean
✓ Compact, so doesn’t take up too much room
✓ Generous 3-liter capacity
✕ May be too low for larger cats to use comfortably
✕ The filters tend to develop mold rapidly and need frequent changing.
Ceramic Cat Water Fountains
If you want to be extra cautious with your cat’s hygiene, you should consider a ceramic cat drinking fountain. Ceramic is much less porous than plastic, which means it is less likely to harbor bacteria that can make your cat sick.
Ceramic pet fountains are more pricey than other versions, but they are generally far more attractive and may suit the style of your house more than a bulky plastic option.
This ceramic cat fountain is so pretty it wouldn’t look out of place in a rose garden.
Shaped somewhat like an open lotus flower, the water bubbles out from the raised center and trickles down in three streams to the circular bowl below.
Because of the 360-degree design, this is an excellent multi-cat drinking fountain, and the 2-liter capacity will keep everyone thirst-free for days on end.
Although ceramic is more fragile than other options, the iPettie Tritone is a solid 7.1 pounds, so not easily slid around by an energetic kitten!
✓ Super quiet operation
✓ Easy to clean
✕ More fragile than other materials
✕ The pump hums audibly
✕ The weight of this bowl may make moving and cleaning challenging for some.
This is a super stylish option for the discerning cat-lover. The PetSafe Drinkwell Pagoda fountain is available in white, taupe, red, or blue, so can fit into any décor.
The reservoir holds 2 liters, and the water cascades out on two sides. Your cat can stand up while drinking from the top level as it bubbles up, lap at the stream itself, or duck down to partake in the fresh water in the base tier.
✓ Dishwasher safe
✓ Hygienic design
✓ Square design can snugly fit into corners
✕ At 7 pounds, may be a bit tricky for some users to handle
✕ Splashing water is quite noisy
✕ Water flow isn’t adjustable
Stainless Steel Cat Water Fountains
Stainless steel is an ideal option if you want to avoid plastic but ceramic is too fragile for your liking. It’s also great if you’re aiming to match all the shiny appliances in your kitchen!
Unlike plastic, stainless steel doesn’t affect the taste of the water, so it’s a great option for very fussy drinkers.
Here are our favorite stainless steel cat drinking fountains:
If you love cats so much that you couldn’t stop at just one, this 3.7-liter fountain has got you covered. You can customize it to have from 1-5 streams of water, and the flow is adjustable.
There are plastic parts included, but all are BPA-free.
The 360 design is ideal for nervous felines. When placed away from the wall, your scaredy cat doesn’t have to turn their back to the room and feel vulnerable when taking a drink.
✓ Easy to clean – top shelf dishwasher safe
✓ Large capacity so infrequent refilling
✓ Quiet operation
✕ The space between the rim and the center is quite small, so larger cats might have trouble drinking from the pool of water
✕ Difficult to see the minimum and maximum water levels
Large Cat Water Fountain
A standard pet drinking fountain just isn’t going to cut it if you have an oversized moggy or a multi-cat household. And if you add dogs to the mix, you’ll need to look for a larger, higher water capacity fountain to keep the water coming for all those thirsty mouths!
You’ll need something that provides a variety of options for different sizes.
Look for a large pet fountain, so you don’t have to fill it up every few hours.
Here’s our top pet water dispenser for large cats or multiple pets.
The Drinkwell Platinum pet fountain is one of the highest-capacity water fountains on the market, holding almost 5 liters of filtered, fresh water to keep your pets hydrated.
The sturdy design means that it won’t be easily displaced due to a curious kitty or boisterous pup.
Using the pump, you can adjust the water flow to suit your pets.
✓ Stable even when low on water, so not easy to push over
✓ Clear reservoir lets you monitor the water level
✓ Water falls onto a ramp, so no noisy splashing sounds
✓ Generous capacity, so less refills needed
✕ Only one stream to drink from
✕ Might be a bit low for taller cats
✕ Cleaning is time-consuming and complicated, with lots of nooks and crannies
✕ Quite bulky
Best Cat Water Fountains to Enrich Your Cat
Choice is something we humans often take for granted but is an invaluable way to enrich your pets. Rather than a boring bowl of water that your cat is forced to crouch over, give your cat a drinking fountain with options!
Maybe your discerning cat wants to stand upright and drink directly from the stream, or perhaps they prefer to crouch and lap at the pool underneath.
Or maybe they just want to bat at the cascading water and make a mess. Either way, at least they get to decide how to best spend their time.
Here’s our best pick for a water fountain with lots of options:
Your kitty will be spoiled to choice with this beauty, which looks like a miniature waterpark. There are no less than three separate pools to lap from and two cascades.
Each pool moves differently and is on varying levels, so your cat can drink while standing, sitting, or crouching.
The 2-liter capacity and continuously running water through a carbon filter keeps the water fresh and palatable, if your cat can stop gazing at it for long enough to drink!
✓ Ramps reduce the amount of splashing, keeping your floor drip-free
✓ Generous 3-year guarantee on the fountain (the pump only has a one-year guarantee though)
✓ Lengthy 10-foot power cord detaches from the plug
✓ Easy to clean
✕ To adjust the flow using the pump, you need to take the fountain apart
✕ The wall plug is quite chunky and may not fit all outlets
✕ Quite light, curious pets may be able to topple or dismantle it.
Battery-Operated Cat Water Fountains
For those that don’t want to be restricted by messy power cords, a battery-operated fountain seems like a no-brainer. Your cat can still quench her thirst during a blackout, and you can place it wherever you like.
The downside is that batteries don’t come cheap, and you may end up replacing them frequently.
At present, there is only one battery-operated cat water fountain available.
The Petmate cat fountain holds just over 2-liters of water, and it’s nowhere near as fancy as the others reviewed here.
In a simple cycle, water is pulled up from the bowl and naturally flows back through a small hole at the base of the water tank.
To save your battery life (4 D-sized batteries), the water does not flow non-stop. It turns off and on automatically, so your cat might not be stimulated to drink as much as with the other models.
Unfortunately, while the concept for a battery-operated fountain is fantastic, this model seems to have a number of design flaws that may not make a purchase worthwhile.
✓ Placement is not restricted by outlet position
✓ Naughty cats have no power cord to play with/chew on
✕ The small outlet hole may become clogged, particularly if you use “hard” water.
✕ Difficult to put together
✕ Water is not filtered adequately
✕ Louder than most other models
LED Cat Drinking Fountain
While our eagle-eyed felines don’t need help to see in the dark, humans certainly do! A cat water dispenser equipped with a light will prevent you from tripping over your cat fountain in the middle of the night.
Here’s our top pick:
Even without the LED, this is a great buy. Holding 2.4 liters, and featuring a stainless steel drinking area, the Beacon dispenses water from a central “flower” in five streams, with adjustable water flow in three different strengths.
It even comes with a silicone mat to catch errant drops of water courtesy of a playful cat.
That handy light changes color too; blue indicates a full water reservoir, while red reminds you to add more.
Any plastic components are BPA-free.
Unlike many other models, the pump automatically shuts off when the water level is too low, so no risk of running dry and damaging the motor, one of the most important fountain features for safety-minded pet owners.
✓ Whisper-quiet operation
✓ Easy to set up and clean
✕ Automatic shut down for low water
✕ LED indicator
Most Faucet-Like Cat Water Fountain
If your cat is a passionate faucet-fan, they may still prefer that free falling, heavy flow of water over a more gentle fountain.
In that case, you need something with a stronger flow of water. Giving your cat his very own faucet might just stop him from leaping onto the kitchen bench every time you’re preparing a meal!
This simple, elegant design gives your discerning feline friend the full faucet experience. The water reservoir holds 2.4 liters – enough for a multi-cat household.
✓ Dishwasher safe
✓ Choose from a USB connection or standard wall plug
✕ May not be suitable for large cats to drink from the bowl without getting their head wet!
✕ Not suitable for cats who are nervous about water, as the flow is quite powerful.
Cat Water Fountain Buying Guide
As all cat lovers know, felines are remarkably complex animals. Wrapped up in those squishy, purring, softly-furred bodies are centuries of instinct that just won’t quit.
Understanding your cat’s physical and behavioral needs is the best way to ensure they have a long, happy life – and consuming water is an essential part of that!
If you’re still confused about what the best pet water fountain is for your fur-baby, find the answers below.
What is the best material for a cat water dispenser?
Plastic is the most common material used in cat bowls of all descriptions, but it does have its downsides. While it’s cheaper and can come in a variety of hues, it is prone to scratching more easily than other substances and may need replacing more frequently.
Those tiny nicks and cracks in plastic can end up housing bacteria and mold. If you do opt for a plastic cat fountain, ensure you choose one that is bpa free.
Another downside is that many cats have an allergy to plastic, which presents as acne around the chin.
Ceramic or stainless steel are the top choices. Both are more hygienic, but ceramic is more fragile.
Does the shape matter?
Placement and size are more important than the shape of a pet water fountain – but the shape may affect both of these aspects.
Have you heard of whisker fatigue? Cats’ whiskers are super sensitive; your furry friend can feel stressed when they are touched or overstimulated. A bowl that is narrow or deep that squashes your cat’s whiskers may make them uncomfortable.
Placement can be important, depending on the temperament of your cat. While some cats appear fearless and are happy to eat and drink anywhere, others feel more comfortable drinking in a quiet, private place, and don’t want to have their back to the room while they do so.
How often do I need to clean it?
Most manufacturers recommend a full clean every two weeks, but it’s best to check the instruction manual for your product. It also depends on the quality and type of water and filters you’re using.
Filters should be changed at least every month, but check them once a week to make sure they’re still doing a good job.
We recommend keeping a close eye on the fountain when you first get it, and open it up every few days to check for mold spots, blockages, or any other nasties.
Do I need to use filtered water in a cat fountain?
Most of our reviewed water fountains come with a replaceable carbon filter, but it’s up to you whether you would like to use it or not. While a basic filter is needed to keep hair and debris out of the pump, the charcoal filters may be optional, depending on the quality of the tap water where you live.
Remember that cats are very sensitive to tastes and smells. If your cat doesn’t seem keen on the tap water that you drink, you may want to try offering filtered water instead. Most of the pet water dispensers reviewed here offer replacement filters online.
If the water is safe for you to drink, it’s likely safe for your cat.
How can I get my cat to use a pet water fountain?
Adventurous cats may dive right into an exciting new fountain (hopefully not literally), while stuck-in-the-mud or nervous kitties might need a bit more time to adjust.
Regardless of your cat’s personality, you should leave their old water source around until you’re sure that they are drinking from the new fountain several times a day.
Put the new fountain in a spot where your cat often passes by or hangs out, but nowhere too busy. In most cases, you won’t have to do much to get them interested, the fountain does all the hard work; but if they aren’t taking to it, you might need to try a few different locations.
Why do I have to encourage my cat to drink?
Pug-nosed Persians, vocal Siamese cats, and your run-of-the-mill moggy all descend from a desert-living feline species.
Because of this common ancestry, cats have a suppressed thirst response, meaning they can be dehydrated without feeling the drive to drink.
While wild cats get most of their liquid from their prey, many domesticated cats are fed a diet high in dry food, meaning they miss out on this natural hydration.
Over time, dehydration can have roll-on effects leading to urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and more.
This is why owners need to try a little harder to urge their cats to drink.
Because cats are efficient hunters, they are easily stimulated by movement and sound more than sight. That bowl of water is as boring as paint trying to your moggy. But try wiggling your finger in it and watch them respond!
Cat water fountains trigger the play and hunt response, getting your cat interested and keen to drink.
Plus, just like us, they’d rather enjoy a gulp of fresh, cool water than swallowing some dusty old fluid that’s been sitting around all day!