what-is-the-best-cat-water-fountain

What is the Best Cat Water Fountain?

If you're looking for a cat water fountain, you must understand that not every cat water fountain is created equal. These devices are constructed from different materials, usually plastic, ceramic or stainless steel. However, every pet water dispenser is designed to solve a common problem: a cat's unwillingness to drink from a water bowl.

There are many benefits of buying a cat fountain. First, most cats are rather picky by nature and don't like to drink water out of a normal water dish. That's not to say they won't drink out of a water dish even if they're really thirsty, but if you were to give them a choice between drinking from a faucet and drinking from a water bowl, they would go for the faucet. Cats are attracted to running water because they know it's fresher. Your cat will be more apt to drink from a water fountain because the aeration and recirculation simulate running water.

Second, since your cat will be drinking more water, your friend will become happier and healthier as well. Besides the obvious dehydration, there is a wide array of health problems cats can get from not drinking enough water. For example, a dehydrated cat will be at increased risk of developing kidney problems.

Third, and most importantly, pet drinking fountains are designed to continually aerate and filter the water in the trough. A water pump sends water through a filter (or series of filters) to be cleaned. The filtered water exits from an opening at the top section of the fountain and is then sent down a ramp or through a spigot back into the trough, and the process starts over again. This ensures your cat has fresh water at all times. You won't even have to refill the bowl but once a day.

Types of Cat Water Fountains in the Market Today

There are different types of cat drinking fountains available on the market. First, there are circulating water fountains, which have a top section and a trough where the water goes. These fountains use a water pump to move water through a filter to the top section of the fountain. The filtered water goes down the ramp and back into the trough, and the process begins again. This ensures that your cat always has a fresh drink of water.

The second type of water fountain is the gravity-fed fountain. This type of fountain works much like the water cooler in your office. A large plastic bin attaches to a spout on the back of the water trough to automatically refill the trough as the water is consumed.

Next are the bubbler-type fountains. In a bubbler fountain, a water pump continually aerates the water, which gives the illusion of "running" water that cats like so much.

Last are the multi-stage filtration fountains. These consist of a carbon-based filter that's designed to eliminate bad smells/tastes from the water and an additional foam filter that's designed to keep out hair and other debris. The filters will need to be changed periodically.

Additionally, most pet fountains are made of one of three materials: plastic, stainless steel and ceramic. Plastic is the most difficult to clean, while ceramic is the easiest. Stainless Steel tends to collect lime deposits over time, especially if it isn't cleaned regularly.

So What is the Best Water Fountain for Cats?

That depends on the needs of both you and your cat (or cats). We've compiled a list of ten of Amazon's best-sellers. Every cat drinking fountain on this list is worth looking at. They are as follows:

#1. Pioneer Pet Raindrop Stainless Steel Pet Drinking Fountain

Main Features:

  • Stainless steel teardrop design
  • Charcoal filter
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Ultra-quiet water pump
  • 96-ounce capacity

The Pioneer Pet Raindrop cat drinking fountain features a water pump that maintains consistent water cirulation and oxygenation, as well as a charcoal-based filter that eliminates dust, debris and other contaminants present in regular tap water. Its unique stainless steel design prevents spillage while producing the illusion of "running" water that encourages your cat to drink. The unit is also dishwasher safe.

However, this pet water dispenser has a couple of design flaws. First, the wiring inside the motor housing is bent in a 90-degree angle. As a result of this, the insulation may wear away over time, exposing the wiring inside. If you notice this happening, we recommend replacing the motor. Second, we noticed that the impeller beneath the motor housing is held in place by a weak magnet. The impeller can sometimes be thrown off balance, which may cause the pump to stop functioning. Although the manual has an easy fix for this issue, it is still rather annoying because you will need to take the pump apart to fix the impeller. Information on how to do this can be found in the manual.

Overall, we feel that the Pioneer Pet Raindrop is a good, low-cost option for those who have problems getting their cats to drink from a normal water bowl. The motor is whisper-quiet, so you will barely notice it at night, and trickling is kept at a minimum as well.

What we liked:

  • The bowl is easy to clean. Just a little soap and water will do the job.
  • The fountain is gentle and doesn't splash too much.
  • The motor runs quiet, which is a godsend at night.

What we didn't like:

  • The impeller on this pet water fountain sometimes goes off-balance because of being held in place by a magnet. Although there is an easy fix for this inside the manual on pages 9 and 10, it is still rather annoying.
  • The insulation on the wiring inside the motor housing may wear away over time, exposing the wiring. Be careful not to touch the exposed wire while the dish is powered on.

#2. Pioneer Pet Raindrop Ceramic Drinking Fountain

Main Features:

  • Charcoal filter
  • Dishwasher safe
  • 60-ounce capacity

The Pioneer Pet Raindrop Ceramic Drinking Fountain continuously circulates clean, filtered drinking water, making sure your furry friend always has fresh water handy. The simple design is easy to assemble and disassemble for cleaning.

At 4.25 pounds, this pet water fountain a bit on the heavy side as far as water bowls go, but the bowl is also more durable than plastic bowls. If you don't like the weight, there's a stainless steel version that's a bit lighter. Another thing that might be a problem for some people is the trickling noise the bowl makes, which makes the fountain sound similar to a leaking toilet. Last, there might be some slight splash-over, which may be a problem for those with wood or carpeted floors, as water is known to cause mold and mildew on carpet and may make wood floors warp slightly. This can be corrected by placing a mat or pad underneath the bowl to catch the water.

Despite these shortcomings, we feel that the device performs its task admirably. It creates the illusion of "running" water, which draws cats to drink from it. If you can get past these minor inconveniences, you'll really love the convenience of this device.

What we liked:

  • This bowl is easy to assemble.
  • The pump is silent.

What we didn't like:

  • There may be some slight splash-over, which may not be desirable if you have wood or carpeted floors. A silicone mat will solve this problem.
  • The water produces a slight trickling noise. Some people find it soothing; others are annoyed by it.

#3. PetSafe Drinkwell Ceramic Pagoda Fountain for Pets

Main Features:

  • Two drinking areas
  • Easy to clean
  • Charcoal filter
  • Made from high-quality ceramics
  • 70-ounce capacity

The PetSafe Drinkwell derives its name from the design of the fountain at its center, which is reminiscent of a Japanese pagoda. Water jets on either side of the "pagoda" tells the cat that this bowl is a water source. The ceramic design inhibits the growth of algae, lime deposits, bacteria and other contaminants that stick to the side of other water fountains, and the 70-ounce capacity is ideal for small to medium-sized cats.

The only negative we could come up with is that the water is much noisier with this bowl than with the Pioneer Pet Raindrop Ceramic Drinking Fountain mentioned earlier. Again though, some people find the noise of water running relaxing. It really comes down to preferrence.

If you want a water fountain for cats that looks really fancy to boot, the PetSafe Drinkwell is where it's at! This beast has a high capacity, is easy to clean and is dishwasher-safe, plus we found it to be a stylish piece as well!

What we liked:

  • Made from high-grade ceramic, which inhibits the growth of waterborne contaminants.
  • Large 70-ounce capacity is perfect for small to medium-sized pets.
  • Made by PetSafe, a leading manufacturer in the pet supplies industry.

What we didn't like:

  • The water noise is definitely noticeable and will annoy some people.

#4. Petmate Replendish Gravity Waterer w/ Microban

Main Features:

  • Charcoal filter
  • Made from BPE-free plastic
  • Made in the USA
  • 4-gallon capacity

This is a gravity-fed watering bowl with a small filter located at the mouth of the container. The container is made from polyethylene terephthalate, a type of plastic that contains no BPA. BPA, or Bisphenol A, is a chemical that was once commonly used in almost all plastic products. Some experts expressed concern that BPA's ability to bind to certain hormones, especially estrogen, triiodothyronine and thyroxine, could adversely affect the growth, cell repair abilities and energy levels of young children, as well as their fertility once they reach puberty.

There are some drawbacks to this device. First, the filter doesn't seem to last very long. Second, the container is quite heavy when full, making it difficult to connect the container to the dish properly and may result in leaking.

However, the container's large water capacity makes this pet water dispenser ideal for those who make short trips. There's enough water in the container to supply most cats with fresh water for anywhere between a few days to a week.

What we liked:

  • This pet water bowl keeps your cat hydrated during short trips.
  • High-capacity tank lasts between a few days and a week, depending on your cat's drinking habits.
  • Comes with a filter

What we didn't like:

  • The included filter doesn't seem to last very long.
  • The container is quite heavy when filled, and may leak when trying to reassemble the device.

#5. PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum Pet Fountain

Main Features:

  • Built-in reservoir
  • Dual filter
  • Made from BPE-free plastic
  • 168-ounce capacity
  • Free-falling fountain
  • Adjustable water flow

The PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum is a true water fountain in every imaginable sense of the word. This device is made from BPA-free plastic and features a free-falling water supply that's easy for cats to reach, a sleek design, adjustable water flow and best of all, a staggering 168 ounce water capacity!

There are a couple drawbacks. First, the motor hums loudly when the water level is below a certain point. Although we feel that this could be a useful feature because it reminds you to refill the water fountain, it might be too annoying for some people. Furthermore, since this cat fountain is made from plastic, it's a bit harder to clean than it would be if it were made from stainless steel or ceramic.

When it comes to quality though, the PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum simply can't be beat. It's a great water dish that offers fantastic value for its price point.

What we liked:

  • It has a huge capacity with its built-in reservoir.
  • It has a free-falling water supply.
  • Carbon filters perform better than charcoal.

What we didn't like:

  • The motor will hum loudly when the water is below the minimum level.
  • It takes a bit more effort to clean.

#6. Drinkwell 360 Pet Fountain

Main Features:

  • Dual filter
  • Made from high-quality ceramics
  • 128-ounce capacity

The Drinkwell 360 does have a large 128-ounce water capacity, it's much harder for mischievous cats to knock over and the motor runs quiet. One unique feature is the 360-degree spigot that shoots water in all directions. This unit comes with two filters: a carbon filter that eliminates bacteria and other contaminants that cause water to taste bad and a separate foam filter that removes hair and large debris.

However, if you decide to purchase this fountain, be prepared to buy filters often. The filters will typically last 2-3 weeks before they need replaced, and you can only find packs with 1 or 3 filters, so your choices here are very limited.

The Drinkwell 360 Pet Fountain was designed with multi-cat households in mind, and is a good option if you have multiple cats in your home. Up to three cats can drink from the spigot and there's the large trough capacity as well.

What we liked:

  • It's easy to clean.
  • The motor is very quiet.
  • Large capacity makes it suitable for multi-cat households.

What we didn't like:

  • The filters don't last very long, and you don't get very many in a pack.

#7. Pioneer Pet Big Max Ceramic Drinking Fountain

Main Features:

  • Two drinking stations
  • Dual filter
  • Made from high-quality ceramics
  • 128-ounce capacity

The Pioneer Pet Big Max is a unique water fountain that features two drinking stations. Water in both stations is constantly aerated and filtered for great-tasting water for your furry friends. Its ceramic design is easy to clean and dishwasher safe. Let your cat drink in style with this 128-ounce drinking fountain.

The pump has a tendency to get clogged with hair very easily, causing diminished water flow. However, this can be prevented by rinsing the pump during your bi-weekly cleaning.

Altogether, this is an extremely reliable drinking fountain that's also very silent.

Its 128-ounce capacity and dual drinking stations make it great for multiple-cat households.

What we liked:

  • The unit has two drinking stations and a large capacity.
  • Easy to clean
  • Extremely quiet

What we didn't like:

  • The water pump will sometimes get clogged with hair easily, causing low performance.

#8. PetSafe Drinkwell Ceramic Avalon Fountain for Pets

Main Features:

  • Two drinking stations
  • Dual free-falling water streams
  • Carbon filter
  • Made from porcelain
  • 70-ounce capacity

The PetSafe Drinkwell Avalon is made from very high quality porcelain, and is an artsy piece in itself. Dual free-falling water jets ensure your cat remains hydrated and maintains their urinary and renal health.

Some buyers have reported that the water pump on this product burns out easily. However, it has not been confirmed whether this was simply caused by neglect or a faulty device.

Aside from this issue, we would recommend this product to either single-cat or multiple-cat households.

What we liked:

  • This fountain is an art piece in itself.
  • The motor is very quiet.
  • Can buy filters in bulk.

What we didn't like:

  • The water pump may clog prematurely. Buyers should be advised.

How to Choose the Right Cat Drinking Fountain?

There are a number of factors to keep in mind, including:

  • Your budget - This should be your number one concern. How much can you afford to spend on your cat's water fountain?
  • Your cat's preference - Cats can be picky about what materials they will drink from. For example, some cats won't drink from stainless steel bowls because of the lime scale that sometimes collects in stainless steel bowls can make the water taste different.
  • Does your cat prefer to drink right from the faucet? - If so, you might want to consider a fountain with free-falling water streams. Your cat will appreciate the running water that comes from the spigots.
  • Number of cats in your home - Some of the fountains on this list are better for households with multiple cats, while others will give good value to travellers.

Final Verdict

Today we've taken a look at ten of Amazon's best-selling cat fountains. But which is the best cat water fountain? If you want something for multiple cats that's also easy to clean, the Drinkwell 360 is a good choice. However, if you don't have the budget for it, the PetSafe Drinkwell Ceramic Pagoda Fountain is a good choice. If you like to travel a lot, the Petmate Replendish Gravity Waterer provides good capacity for short vacations. It really depends on your needs and your cat's preferences. There's no point in buying a specific water fountain if your cat won't use it.