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What to Look for in a Cat Fountain

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What is a Cat Fountain?

Think of this little contraption like an office water cooler…for cats! The water tank is turned upside down. It continually refills a bowl at the bottom as your cat consumes water.

Why Buy a Cat Fountain?

Cat drinking fountains aren’t just cute little inventions. There are several reasons to purchase a good water fountain for your cat.

Cats drink incredible amounts of water—particularly if they have kidney problems or diabetes. It’s an inconvenience to be filling water dishes constantly.

If you are not at home all day your cat or cats may run out of water before you get home. A water fountain gives your feline friends a constant supply of water.

When water comes from a fountain, it is always clean and fresh.

You don’t have water bowls to worry about constantly cleaning.

If more than one cat is drinking from the same water source, a cat drinking fountain prevents cross contamination.

Cat drinking fountains actually encourage cats to drink more water.

Cat Fountain Types

Cats can be finicky about the kind of water fountain they drink from. Some prefer stainless steel. Others like ceramic or plastic bowls. You can get a cat water fountain in any of these materials.

There’s also a difference in widths of bowls. This too is important. Some cats don’t like their whiskers to touch the sides of the water bowl.

Next, consider how much the fountain will hold. If you have several cats using this water fountain you will want one with larger capacity.

Finally, consider the types of cat fountains. Some operate on gravity. Others have charcoal filter systems. You can also get a cat fountain with a multi-stage filtration system.

Cat drinking systems come in fountain types and bubbler types. The latter have an air pump that oxygenates the water.

Taking Care of Your Cat Fountain

There’s a trick to keeping your cat water fountain clean and well running. Try these tips:

When cleaning the drinking dish and mechanism of your cat fountain use soapy water with a tablespoon of bleach. This gets rid of bacteria.

Don’t put the cat fountain near food dishes. It will stay cleaner.

Pets—including cats, dogs hamsters, rats, mice—may chew cords on an electric cat fountain.

If there’s a filter, change it at least monthly.

Forget cleaning kits! A good tool is a brush you’d use for baby bottles or use old toothbrushes.

If you’ve got a kitchen sink sprayer it works well to wash and rinse your cat fountain.

Look for a cat drinking fountain with a removable bowl that is dishwasher-safe. Good choice: stainless steel bowls unless your cat doesn’t like them.

Cat Water Fountain

Things to Be Wary of:

1. Gravity Cat Fountains

While gravity type cat fountains seem to make sense, they are noisy. They make a burbling sound not unlike the office water cooler. Gravity cat water fountains can messy. If you’re not adept at turning that water container upside down without a valve to stop the flow then forget this one.

2. Charcoal Filter Water Fountains

Some cat fountains with charcoal filters are hard to clean. It takes time to rinse black charcoal from the cat fountain. The filters have to be replaced frequently. This is costly and time-consuming.   These fountains can also make whining moans when they reach a certain level.

3. Bubbler Cat Fountains                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

These are not popular with some pets. The “blub, blub” noise scares some cats. On the upside, they are lots easier to clean than filter systems.

And the Winners Are:

  • Pet Safe Gravity Cat Water System

This fountain is simple and easy to clean. It has a removable dishwater-safe stainless steel bowl. It doesn’t leak nor need a filter. The reservoir locks easily onto the unit. The system comes in three sizes so you can get one big enough for several cats.

  • Pet Mate Bubbler Style

This cat fountain constantly aerates the water. The 1 ½ gallon water reservoir is automatically refilled. The cat fountain plugs into an electrical outlet so there is a cord to contend with. This one encourages cats to drink more water. The downside? They love to play in this cat fountain. Pieces are easy to disassemble and everything is dishwater safe. 

  • Petmate Deluxe Pump Style Cat Fountain with Charcoal Filter 

This is a good charcoal filter drinking fountain. Water runs down a ramp. It’s quiet and water doesn’t splash when it hits the bowl. There is a fifty-ounce water reservoir but you can also get one that’s over twice this capacity. When you’re cleaning it there are some hard-to-reach spots. There’s a flow valve that makes it tidier to use. The bad news? The dish is plastic. This makes it harder to clean than stainless steel or ceramic dishes. If your cat has a plastic allergy this is not a good choice.

Read more:


There are lots of choices in types, sizes, and costs of cat fountains. You need to decide before you shop:

  • What type of cat fountain do you want/need?
  • What material best suits your schedule?
  • How big does your cat fountain need to be?
  • How much money do you have to spend on a cat watering fountain?

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