Updated - May 25th, 2022
Not sure if your cat is drinking enough water? When your veterinarian asks about water intake, are you left scratching your head?
It’s not uncommon for cat parents to miss how many times their kitty visits the drinking bowl, causing us to wonder if our cats are properly hydrated.
Interestingly enough, cats instinctually avoid stagnant water because it can either smell funny, or they sense it harboring bacteria. That’s why you may find your cat ditching their water bowl and opting for sips from your kitchen sink.
If you don’t think your cat is drinking enough water, cat drinking fountains are an excellent way to encourage hydration by providing a constant stream of fresh water.
We narrowed down our favorite cat drinking fountains to help you find the best fountain for your feline friend.
Let’s dive in.
How we chose our top picks
Pet drinking fountains come in many designs and materials. We looked for fountains that met the following criteria.
Quality material: A sturdy fountain will hold up well against bumps and daily use. Materials and weight play a factor in a fountain’s longevity. You don’t want a fountain that’s flimsy and easily breaks!
- Plastic fountains may be lightweight, durable, and easier to move, but can crack or break and develop bacteria on its surface.
- Stainless steel fountains are lightweight, very durable, and dishwasher safe. Sometimes, it can give filtered water an off-taste, but is overall a very hygienic choice.
- Ceramics are heavy, and can break easily, but are also dishwasher safe and easy to clean. Ceramic or stainless steel are good choices if you want a fountain that is higher in the hygiene category.
Easy to clean: Pet drinking fountains need cleaning regularly. They shouldn’t have a lot of parts to disassemble each time, and should be dishwasher safe. The materials should be non-porous to avoid buildup of bacteria.
Filtration systems: Clean flowing water is key. Some of the smart cat fountains have triple filtration systems, but most have one activated carbon filter and a pre-filter to protect the submersible pump.
- Carbon filters remove odors and particles from the water
- Pre-filters extend the life of the dispenser pump and carbon filters by removing larger debris from the water.
- Triple or quad filtration systems have a third ion exchange resin filter to reduce minerals and additional chemicals from tap water.
Noise level: Some fountains are whisper quiet, while others are louder or make water sounds from the free-falling stream of water.
Maintenance costs: Manufacturers recommend replacing filters monthly, and some recommend it more often. Filters that come in multiple inexpensive packs are preferable and should be easy to order from Amazon, Chewy, or the manufacturer’s website.
Resevoir size: Households with multiple cats, or dogs drinking from the same water fountain need larger capacity reservoirs. You don’t want to be refilling the fountain constantly, but you also don’t want it to be too large, either. Water that remains in the fountain for longer periods of time can collect bacteria, even through the filters.
Bowls and spouts: Some cats will prefer a bubbling brook water flow, while others will drink more often from a spout or waterfall. Remember that cats don’t like their whiskers to touch the sides of the bowl, so a bowl large enough to avoid that is preferable. Multiple spouts allow for more than one pet to drink at the same time.
Now without further ado, let’s look at our picks for the best cat water fountains.
Our choices for best water fountains
Catit Flower Fountain
This is a smart compact fountain that harbors an LED night light and a water level indicator, holding up to 3L of water in the reservoir. The petal top has six small water pockets to allow drinking, even when the fountain is off. The flower raises and lowers to adjust water stream height, and there are three adjustable different flow settings to ensure your cat’s preferences are met.
The operation is quiet, and a triple filtration system ensures your cat is drinking the cleanest water with every lap of their tongue. The nested drinking components make this one easy to clean and if your cat is sensitive to plastic, there is a stainless steel top available.
Replace parts and filters are easy to order and filters come in multiple packs.
Pioneer Pet Raindrop Stainless Steel Fountain
The raindrop design of this sturdy, easy-to-clean fountain allows for a continuous trickling of water rather than the waterfall design many fountains have. It’s very quiet, with a wide base and 60-ounce water capacity. This is a magnificent fountain for single cat households or cats who shy away from waterfall water streams.
Pioneer made this no-frills, no-fuss design from high-quality stainless steel. The fountain is dishwasher safe with a single activated charcoal filter system. The Raindrop is more expensive, but its two-part design makes it easy to assemble and clean.
Pet Pro Tip: When shopping for products for your cat, make sure to also help protect your kitty with a best-in-class cat insurance or kitten insurance plan for accidents & illnesses!
PetSafe Drinkwell Pagoda Drinking Fountain
This is a ceramic fountain designed with two water streams for multiple pets at the same time. The ceramic construction makes it heavier, but the open bowl design pleases most cats. The carbon and foam filters keep the water fresh from debris and hair and protect the pump.
The ceramic coating provides excellent hygienic protection and scratch resistance, and all parts except the submersible pump are upper shelf dishwasher safe.
This cat drinking fountain may be pricey, but its beautiful design and color options might make it worth it.
PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum
The PetSafe Platinum model has a large reservoir holding 168 ounces of water suitable for multiple pet households. It’s made of durable, sturdy plastic with a dual filter system to keep the water crystal clear.
The water flow is a waterfall design controlled by the flow valve, allowing you to match your cat’s drinking preferences. This fountain is inexpensive, and filters come in multiple packs. The fountain is top-shelf dishwasher safe as well. The company also offers all replacement parts for this model on Amazon.
The cons of this drinking fountain are the multiple parts, making it not as easy to clean. The price is on the high end of basic fountains, and the pump can be noisy. A waterfall stream can sound noisier when the water hits the bowl.
PetKit Eversweet Water Fountain
There’s a lot to like in this smart fountain’s design. Equipped with LED indicator lights to alert you to low water level and when to change the filters in the quad-layered filtration system. The filters layers are cotton, coconut shell and activated charcoal, along with an ion-exchange resin for clean purified water every time your cat needs a drink.
The motor is almost noiseless with energy efficient operation. Monitor your pet’s daily water intake from the side of the reservoir and the pump shuts off when the water gets too low.
Made from quality plastic, this fountain has an anti-bite cord for the cat fascinated with electrical cords.
For all its benefits, you would think this was an expensively priced fountain, but it’s very reasonable in cost, and all filters and replacements parts are available on Amazon.
Cat Mate 3-Level Cat Fountain
With triple action water levels, this plastic BPA-free fountain is perfect for older cats who may not be feeling comfortable crouching down for lower bowls, or with kittens who will need to reach over a high reservoir. The water capacity is 70 ounces, which accommodates a two-cat household, but probably not multiple pets without daily refills.
A three filter system keeps the water purified and oxygenated with replacement filters easy to order and the whisper quiet pump keeps noise down.
The CatIt fountain is inexpensive, easy to assemble and clean, and is a brilliant choice if you’re looking for a basic water fountain for your cat.
PetSafe Drinkwell 360 Pet Water Fountain
The Drinkwell 360 is a pedestal waterfall design with several options for water stream control. My dogs used this large fountain, but thought it was a sprinkler, flooding the kitchen, playing in it until we found the right setting for them. The cats loved waterfall flow too, and the large 128 ounces of water held in the reservoir was enough for all the animals’ daily water needs.
The fountain was easy to clean but had a lot of parts. It is dishwasher safe, and offers plastic or stainless steel construction, with a basic replaceable charcoal filter system and quiet pump operation. The filters and replacement parts are available on Amazon.
Pioneer Pet Swan Fountain
The pretty swan design of this fountain closely mimics drinking from a faucet. It’s my cat’s favorite so far, and they’ve tried many! It holds 80 ounces of water and the pump is so quiet you have to be on top of the fountain to hear it. The waterfall flow is also quiet, dropping into a deep bowl with no sound unless the bowl is getting low.
The water capacity is 80 ounces, and the water bowl is wide enough for their whiskers to clear the sides. The fountain is easy to assemble and clean, and dishwasher safe.
Now that you know about fountains, and the best choices out there, you may wonder why cat parents are always worried about their cat’s hydration. Here’s why your cat doesn’t drink as much as your dog does.
Why do we worry about cats drinking enough water?
Domesticated cats evolved from desert felines who rarely had clean water sources. These desert-dwelling kitties adapted to receiving their required moisture from just their food sources (for instance, mice are 70% water). So basically, cats have learned over the ages to eat their water rather than drink it.
House cats who prefer a diet of kibble (10% moisture) risk chronic dehydration and the health risks associated with it. They may suffer from urinary tract infections or crystals, or kidney issues. Cats on wet food diets receive more moisture from the wet food (75% moisture), reducing the incidence of those health issues.
Water is important for all mammals. It keeps our organs functioning properly by circulating oxygen and minerals and aiding in digestion. Water dissolves the crystallization of minerals in your cat’s urinary tract and flushes toxins from the kidneys.
With cats having low-thirst drive, many live their lives in a state of chronic dehydration. Pet fountains provide purified, oxygenated cool water and encourage cats to drink more often, taking in the required amount of water they need on a daily basis.Pet insurance can also help keep your cat healthy by helping you pay for veterinary care should the unexpected happen. Pumpkin Pet Insurance plans help cover 90% of your cat’s eligible vet bills, so you can focus on getting them the best care possible.