All creatures need water to survive, including your pets. However, cats are known for being especially finicky creatures, and this quality applies to their water as much as anything else.
In fact, this is why you may have noticed your cat drinking from a faucet when you turn it on. Not only is circulating water fresher and healthier, it instinctually attracts cats and entices them to drink–when they are not swatting at it.
Catering to this natural desire, many companies now provide cat water fountains. Of course, figuring out which water fountain best serves your cat can be a tricky. That is why we have put together a list of the 10 best cat water fountains. Then we offer a thorough buyer’s guide to help you make you choice.
Best Cat Water Fountain of 2017
PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum – Most Reliable Cat Fountain
The PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum provides numerous features that are generally seen as the most relevant for a top quality cat fountain. Moreover, the flaws of this cat fountain are generally relegated to human concerns or situational problems at best.
For instance, this cat fountain features one of the best water pump motors available with many customers reporting a four year lifespan or more. However, the health of the motor is often contingent on its cleanliness. While this is technically true for all fountain motors, it is even more true for the Drinkwell Platinum which has more moving parts than other motors.
Still, this fountain features on of the largest reservoirs and a broad basin. Combined, they make this fountain fairly stable and requiring fewer refills. Moreover, the motor can be set to three different speeds, though you must disassemble the fountain to do so.
Unfortunately, all of the different parts and the reservoirs design can make cleaning the Drinkwell Platinum a bit of a pain. This is also the second most expensive fountain on our list.
Catit Flower Fountain – Cutest Cat Fountain
The first Catit fountain we reviewed is also one of the more novel in terms of appearance. The water spout of this fountain is shaped like a flower. However, while that design may seem adorable to some cat owners, it can actually be seen as a toy to some cats.
Still, the flower design combined with pump options does provide a rare model. Specifically, this fountain can allow multiple cats to drink simultaneously without crowing and can feature different flow rates depending on the feline’s preferences.
Unfortunately, the Flower Fountain does not offer a basin to drink out of, which may limit certain cat’s desire to use it–so make sure your cat prefers a stream ahead of time. Another issue is that the water pump is not as powerful as with some other models and may struggle to push the water hard enough to do more than bubble over the surface.
Petmate Replendish Gravity Waterer – Best Gravity Water Bowl
This product is actually the only one on our list which is not actually a fountain. However, gravity water dishes do have some advantages, and this particular model has made it a point to take certain features popular with cat fountains and incorporate them into its design.
Specifically, this is one of the few gravity bowls that features a filter–this one made out of carbon. While this will clean the water from the reservoir and control the flow when it depressurizes, it does nothing to clean the actual basin.
Ultimately, you will be forced to clean the Replendish more often than the other products on our list for a couple reasons. First, this product does not feature a pump which means the water does not circulate. The stagnant water in the basin will suffer the same bacterial build up as stagnant water in a traditional water bowl.
Still, because of the gravity design, the bowl is one of the more stable dispensers on our list. Moreover, the reservoir is fairly large – the second largest on our list, though it can be difficult to clean depending on the size of your hands.
isYoung Pet Fountain – Most Stable Cat Fountain
The isYoung stands out on our list mostly because of its design. Unlike most other cat fountains which favor either a circular or semicircular design, the isYoung provides a cone shaped design. This cone shape allows you to position the fountain in the corner of a room.
By doing so, the isYoung fountain provides the most stable cat fountain in our list. Essentially, the cat can approach the isYoung from only a single direction, and any attempt to move the isYoung fountain is met with an immovable wall.
However, unless you have a rather energetic and rambunctious cat, the small reservoir and noisier isYoung may not be to your liking. However, the noise is a bit of a mixed bag. Basically, the waterfall dispensing is noisy, but the water pump’s motor is quiet, so it can be considered a wash.
Petsafe Drinkwell 360 Fountain – Most Variable Cat Fountain
Petsafe makes another appearance on our list, and this time it offers a drinking fountain that is fairly unique. For one, the 360 is designed to be fairly variable in a number of ways, so you can find the right arrangement that best suits your household needs.
First, this fountain provides different spouts, so you can control the number of water flows. The Drinkwell 360 can actually allow up to five cats to drink directly from spouts simultaneously. Moreover, this fountain also features different flow speed settings in case some are too quick for finicky felines.
However, this model can be a bit noisier than some of the others on our list–especially if you use the five spout attachment. Moreover, the design of this fountain can make it difficult to clean, a problem that is exacerbated by numerous pieces that can easily break if you are not careful.
Cat Mate Pet Fountain – Best Multi-Animal Cat Water Fountain
The Cat Mat fountain is a bit hit or miss. It does a number of things exceptionally well, but then it makes some fatal errors that seem strange. First, this cat fountain offers one of the best designs with a multi-tiered form that provides three different basin and uses a waterfall dispersion.
This gives your cat or cats numerous options when selecting a source and also works to keep the noise level down. The noise level is further reduced with an exceptionally quiet motor that is isolated from the water rather than immersed in it.
Unfortunately, the motor itself is not nearly as durable as some of the other models reviewed. Another odd design flaw is the use of only a single filter. This leaves the Cat Mate vulnerable to clogging more than other fountains and will also require you to deep clean it more often.
Catit Design Senses Fountain – Best All Around Cat Fountain
The Catit Design Senses is a bit of an odd-ball fountain on our list in that it does not function much like a traditional fountain at all. Whereas most fountains use either a waterfall or waterslide design, this fountain could be more accurately described as a bubbler–though it does not actually create bubbles.
Instead, this fountain pushes the water to the surface of a circular top and allows it to flow across. However, even though the water does then drop off–which creates even more water noise than most waterfall fountains, the design prevents the cat from drinking the falling water.
Instead, the cat is forced to drink the water as it trickles over the top. This could be seen as more similar to the basin method and may be a decent workaround to cats who are turned off by the motion of waterfall or waterslide fountains.
PetSafe Drinkwell Avalon – Best Ceramic Cat Water Fountain
Our third and final Drinkwell fountain is also the only fountain on our list that is not made from plastic. Ideally, you would look for a cat fountain made out of stainless steel, but this fountain is made out of ceramic instead. While ceramic and stainless steel both feature better antibacterial properties than plastic, stainless steel is more durable than ceramic.
Regardless, the Drinkwell Avalon still offers a solid product. First, this fountain provides two basins at different heights as well as two waterfall spouts. This provides your cat or cats numerous options to decide which source of water they prefer, though it will also add to the total noise that this fountain produces.
Unfortunately, unlike the other Drinkwells, this fountain does not feature one of the larger reservoirs on our list and instead heads the other direction with the smallest reservoir out of the models we reviewed. Moreover, because it is ceramic, this fountain is also the most expensive.
Petphabet Pet Fountain – Best Budget Cat Fountain
The Petphabet is the least expensive fountain on our list–not, the gravity dispenser is cheaper, but it is also not a fountain. However, a lower cost does not necessarily mean you have to give up quality across the board, though it does indicate that your expectations should be tempered.
Specifically, the Petphabet offers a water pump motor that is fairly weak when compared to most of the other models on our list. Even other fountains with lower powered motors, like the Cat Mate or Catit Flower, are still notably more powerful than this fountain’s.
However, this fountain does offer three different layers of filtration which is more than even the usual two layers. Basically, this fountain provides the carbon filter for bacterial agents and fabric filter for fur and debris you would expect, but it also features a plastic filter to catch any especially large pieces of debris without clogging the carbon or fabric filters.
Dog Mate Large Fresh Water Drinking Fountain – Largest Cat Water Fountain
The Dog Mate is fairly similar to the Cat Mate in many respects. Both products utilize a water slide distribution so as to cut down on the noise produced. Moreover, both products features a motor that is quieter than most other products on our list.
Of course, the motor for both products is significantly weaker than the others which can lead it to failing quicker as well. However, the design of the two fountains differs as well. For instance, the Dog Mate only provides two basins. This will limit the number of animals which can drink from the fountain simultaneously–though it is still superior to a number of other fountains on our list in this regard.
However, the Dog Mate also features the largest reservoir on list which means you will not have to refill it all that often. Unfortunately, like the Cat Mate, this fountain only uses a single form of filtration and will require more regular cleanings.
Best Cat Drinking Fountain – Buyer’s Guide:
Generally, the bigger the reservoir the better. The more water the fountain can hold, the less often you have to refill it. Aside from the convenience of not having to constantly refill the fountain, the water pump is less likely to run on low water levels for significant amounts of time which will prolong its life. The only potential downside of a large reservoir comes with the weight of refilling it–though you can always use a pitcher or other receptacle to add more water if desired.
One of the primary reasons to use a cat fountain is that the water remains fresher and cleaner. Of course, the type of filtration used will also heavily impact the cleanliness of the water. Most cat fountains feature at least a cotton filter to capture debris and fur. Some fountains opt for a carbon filter which removes bacteria and other micro-organisms.
This quality will affect both you and your cat. Many cats will not go near a fountain is the motor makes too much noise–and a loud motor can drive you crazy. However, the type of flow will also impact the amount of noise produced. A waterfall flow is louder than a waterslide, and some cats prefer the waterslide to the waterfall. If you cat drinks from a faucet, it is fine with a waterfall; if not, opt for the waterslide.
Ease of Use:
To make sure your cats stay as healthy as possible and to prolong your fountain water pump’s lifespan, you should clean the fountain and water pump once a week. Of course, some fountains make this easier than others. If a fountain has a number of angled edges or if the pump features numerous small components, cleaning the fountain will be more of a hassle.
The type of material used will impact both the durability and cleanliness of the fountain. The three materials most commonly used include plastic, ceramic, and stainless steel. If you get plastic, make sure it is BPA-free. However, both ceramic and stainless steel are cleaner than plastic. Though, stainless steel and plastic are more durable than ceramic. Ultimately, stainless steel is often seen as the best material for cat fountains.
Cat fountains offer a couple methods of water distribution, and no single type is right for all cats. In fact, unless you figure it out ahead of time, you may very well spend money on a cat fountain that your cat simply will not use. The two most common types are waterfall and waterslide. A waterfall fountain lets the water drop into a pool or onto a hard surface. A waterslide fountain allows the water to flow down a decline. Some cats are turned off by a water fountain’s noise of motion, but some are drawn to it instead. Test your cat with a faucet to which it prefers.
As we can see, the specific needs of your household will ultimately determine which cat fountain is the best cat water fountain for you. Depending on the number of animals you have and their disposition, there is no product which is simply better than all the others.
If you have multiple animals–and especially if those animals are different sizes or species–you may be better off with either the Cat Mate, Dog Mate, or the Drinkwell 360. All of these fountains either feature numerous spouts or multiple levels to cater to simultaneous drinking from different animals.
If ease is most important, chances are you will want a cat fountain that is both easy to clean and provides a large reservoir that you do not have to change often. Unfortunately, you will have to pick your poison as the cat fountains which are easy to clean do not provide sizable reservoirs.
If ease of cleaning is your priority, the isYoung, Petphabit, or Catit Design Sense are likely your best options. For larger reservoirs, the Dog Mate, Drinkwell Platinum, or Drinkwell 360 should be more your speed.