Disclaimer: As a Chewy and Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This does not impact our reviews and comparisons.
Cats are desert animals and struggle to stay hydrated.
If cats don’t drink enough water they’re at risk of kidney stones and constipation.
Some cats prefer fountains, and they help keep prevent these nasty problems.
In this article, I’ll give you a buying guide and my best cat water fountain picks. Then I’ll answer frequently asked questions.
I am not a veterinarian and I recommend seeking the advice of a vet for any further questions. The advice in this article is not intended as medical advice.
Let’s go through things to look for when choosing a cat water fountain.
Here are things to look for:
- Water pump cord: How thick is the cord? Is it made in the USA? Does it have a UL label? Is the plug grounded (3 prongs)?
A 3 prong cord prevents against power surges that could damage your water fountain. 2 prong cords (non-grounded) are more for small electronics like phones.
- Bowl: Is it porous (will harbor bacteria)? Where is the cord coming out of (the bottom is more likely to leak)?
- Filter: Does it have an in-line filter (charcoal)?
Bottom Line: Check the specifications for the cord, bowl, and filter for safety features.
Choose a fountain bowl based on your cat’s size preference.
Some cats prefer a small diameter bowl (<15cm), but some prefer a wide shallow receptacle for drinking.
This is due to whisker fatigue, an irritation of the whiskers when rubbing against objects.
Bottom Line: Choose a fountain bowl based on your cat’s size preference.
Ceramic or stainless steel bowls are the best choice.
Stainless steel has the advantage of being durable and dishwashable.
Ceramic bowls with a lead-free glaze are another good choice for cats. This prevents bacteria from building up in porous sites.
Bottom Line: Glazed ceramic or stainless steel bowls are the best choices.
3 Best Cat Water Fountains
For this article I look for the following features:
- Material: Stainless steel and ceramic for ease-of-cleaning
- Filtration: Preferably with a carbon filter
- Sound: Lower decibel rating
- Adjustable flow: Can you adjust for your cats preference
- Reservoir size: A larger reservoir means more water
I sorted the best choices, however I haven’t as yet tested the products myself as yet.
Best Cat Water Fountains Overall
Why Do I Recommend This Product?
TOMXCUTE Cat Water Fountain is one of the best cat water fountains due to its sturdy stainless steel design and super quiet pump.
It’s got an activated carbon filter and a large capacity for holding water. The drinking basin is also wide and shallow to help reduce whisker fatigue.
The main downside is the power adapter is not grounded, which may result in safety concerns.
Best Cat Water Fountains Budget
Why Do I Recommend This Product?
I chose the Veken Pet Fountain because it provides the best value for money option.
The main benefits of this product are the quiet pump and large capacity. It also comes with a long lifespan.
What I don’t like is the use of plastic, which is prone to bacteria build-up if not cleaned regularly. The power adapter is not grounded, which is a possible safety concern.
Best Cat Water Fountains Ceramic
Why Do I Recommend This Product?
I chose the PetSafe Drinkwell Avalon Cat Water Fountain because it’s made from a reputable brand with a reputation for quality cat water fountain products.
It has a good capacity of 70 ounces and also helps senior cats access to water for drinking. The customer care of this company is very good.
The main downside is the price which is quite steep, especially if you aren’t sure whether your cat prefers a fountain.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Should I Get a Water Fountain for my Cat?
To help your cat drink more water.
Cat’s need 50mL of water per kg of body weight.
For most cats, this adds to one cup of water every day from food and/or water.
If your cat isn’t drinking this amount of water, they become dehydrated. Cats that don’t drink enough water can get uroliths (kidney disease) and cystitis.
Some cats prefer water fountains over a bowl, although this varies from cat to cat. Adding more than one source of water helps cats increase their water intake.
How do Cat Water Fountains Work?
Here is how they work:
- Water is put into a reservoir
- Fountain assembled and plugged in
- Water moves through the faucet into the holding tray
- Water filters through the filtration
The main trick to fountains is the filtration to maintain water quality and flow from the fountain.
Where Should I Put My Cat Water Fountain?
Cats prefer their water away from where they eat.
For best results set up multiple drink locations in separate rooms.
This will entice finicky cats to drink in the location they like best (you can stick to this location once you find the ‘sweet spot’).
As an example, my cat used to drink from the dog bowl even though it smelled like a dog (because it was away from the food bowl).
How do I Maintain a Cat Water Fountain?
Follow these tips:
- Clean reservoir once a week to prevent bacteria build-up
- Clean the pump per manufacturer instruction
- Rinse the filter and replace per manufacturer instruction
In short, follow the instructions listed for the best results (i.e. don’t toss it in the trash).
Are Water Fountains Only For Cats?
If you buy a water fountain or drink bowl it should serve only your cat for best results.
Although cats are social animals (contrary to popular media), they hunt alone. This means their food and drink are best kept away from other pets.
How Do I Get My Cat to Use a Water Fountain?
Here are some tips to improve your cat’s water intake:
- Try different locations to find a spot that your cat prefers
- Try different bowls to find what your cat prefers
- Try filtered tap water and clean rainwater to find which type of water your cat prefers
Can I Fill My Cat Fountain With Tap Water?
Cats accept and drink filtered tap water if offered.
If this doesn’t work, try rainwater to see if they prefer the taste.
Do Cats Prefer Water Fountains?
It depends on the cat.
In a randomized 2018 study, 16 cats got water from either a standard bowl, circulating, or free-falling water source. There was no difference in water bowl preference over a two-week period.
In a 2010 study, 13 cats were assigned a fountain or still water bowl for 24 hours. One cat fell ill and the remaining 12 cats had a preference for the water fountain. There was no significant change to urine osmolality which is a measure of hydration.
Some cats may prefer bowls over fountains.
Other factors may improve water intake:
- Changing location
- Adding meat broth to water
- Changing bowl size
Do Cats Get Dehydrated Only Eating Dry Foods?
In 2011, a study from the British Journal of Nutrition tested hydration in six healthy cats. Cats eating a dry cat food diet (only 6.3% moisture) drank 30% less total water than cats fed a 73% moisture diet.
This is despite cats having access to fresh water for drinking. In other words, cats do not compensate for a lower water diet by drinking enough water.
Wet canned foods are better at keeping your cat hydrated.
Bottom Line: Cats get dehydrated only by eating dry foods.
How Much Water Does My Cat Need to Drink?
Cats need about 200-250ml of water per day.
A diet of wet food (250-300g) helps get most of your cat’s fluid needs.
Small amounts of milk and meaty broths also help with water intake.
How do I Know if My Cat Prefers a Water Fountain?
Check your cat’s behavior around running taps.
Are they interested in drinking this water?
Every cat is different and there’s no ‘sure fire’ way to know whether your cat will enjoy a water fountain.
Other factors influence water intake including:
- Bowl size
- Bowl location
- Smell and taste of water (e.g. added meaty broths help)
- Other pets or people around
A water fountain helps cats drink more water.
Some cats prefer them, whilst others don’t. Check to see if your cat is interesting in running water sources like taps.
Other factors that influence drinking include location, bowl size, water type, and smell.
Look for grounded plug water fountains (3 pronged), reservoir size for your needs, stainless steel (or ceramic) and carbon filtration.