Best Water Fountains for Cats
Cats can be finicky–but any of these water fountains for cats will entice them into drinking more water.
For animals that have a reputation of hating water, cats sure are obsessed with it. Just think about it. How many times have you found your pampered feline trying to drink water from the faucet? Or maybe your kitty has an unhealthy obsession with the toilet bowl? Or is it stalking you while you try to take a shower that gave it away? Either way, there’s no denying that the relationship cats have with water is a complex one, and that’s especially true when it comes to drinking it.
Some cats will turn up their nose to any drinking water that doesn’t come straight from the tap, others avoid plastic or steel bowls in favor of ceramic ones (or any other combination of likes and dislikes), and some felines seem disinterested in drinking water whichever way you serve it to them. There are many factors that could influence your pet’s relationship with water, from instinctual to behavioral. However, what remains true for most is that running, fresh water is the coveted ideal and often preferred over any other, and that’s exactly what water fountains for cats offer. A hassle-free, tidy, and practical way to provide fresh water for your feline, water fountains for cats can make even the finickiest of felines happy to gulp- and this list includes the best ones you can get on the market.
Editor’s Choice:PetSafe Drinkwell 360 Pet Water Fountain
If you have more than one cat in your household and don’t want to buy a water fountain for each of them, Drinkwell 360 will solve the sharing issue. Designed to offer up to 5 free-falling streams of water from the center pillar, it will accommodate a few thirsty felines at the same time- no one will have to wait in line. The water is run through filters from activated carbon that’s made from coconut shells, for better taste and healthier drink. As for the capacity, it’s 128 oz, so you won’t have to worry about your pets running out of fresh water while you’re at work. The water fountain and the drinking bowl are made from BPA-free plastic and are top-shelf dishwasher safe.
In the age of connectivity and smart devices, why not opt for a cat water fountain that’s up to our tech standards? This smart water fountain for cats works in three different modes: infrared induction mode, continuous mode, and intermittence mode. The first uses infrared technology to detect your cat approaching and start circulating water at that moment. The continuous mode, as the name hints, keeps water circulating at all times, and the intermittence mode circulates water for an hour, and then makes a 30 minute pause. You’ll know which of the program is currently in use thanks to colored LED lights, which will also signal if it’s time for a refill. Since this water fountain for cats has an 88 oz capacity, though, it won’t be too often you see the red blinking light.
Budget Choice: isYoung Cat Fountain
Made from finely polished, BPA-free PP resin, this charming water fountain for cats is one of the most popular among pet pawrents, and mostly due to its unique design. Your kitty might not appreciate the floral theme, but you definitely can! On the other hand, cute design is not all this water fountain has going for it. The 56-ounce fountain boats noise-canceling automatic water dispensing operation, so you won’t be bothered by the motor sound if you sleep in the same room where the fountain is. The multiple streams of water that come through the flower are filtered through activated carbon, so your cat(s) can enjoy the fresh taste for longer.
While BPA-free plastic is the most common choice for water fountains for cats as it is the less expensive option that’s still safe for pets, it’s not a good match for sensitive or allergy-prone cats. Lighter-haired cats, in particular, can have an adverse reaction to drinking water out of plastic and develop feline acne as a result. Luckily, there are stainless steel and ceramic drinking fountains for those special kitties. The Tritone is a beautifully designed, hypoallergenic ceramic water fountain that will not irritate your cat’s skin. Triple free-falling design is suitable for multiple cats, as well as the 71 oz capacity. As for the filtration, the Tritone boasts a particularly effective system that combines both a foam filter and active carbon filtration for a truly superior taste.
Durable, eco-friendly, and great for sensitive cats, this stainless steel water fountain will last you for years to come. Pioneer Pet Raindrop Fountain is available in 60 oz and 90 oz capacity, and with its carbon filters, it will keep the water circulating and fresh for days. As a result, your cat will be enticed to drink more water: the flowing, constantly fresh water is hard to resist to any feline. Choose the size of the water fountain depending on your cat’s size and the number of pets in your household- the smaller one is best suited for up to two cats (that don’t mind sharing).
As the stainless steel is anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic, it’s an ideal choice for all cats, but especially those that have feline acne or allergy issues. This material won’t harbor microbes and will last much longer than some cheaper alternative- not to mention that it is fully pet-safe. To boot, the raindrop design is elegant and modern, so this water fountain doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb in your home.
If you want your cat’s water fountain to have some flair while offering a perfect performance, this ceramic fountain is the best choice. Not only that the choice of material makes it a great choice for every feline, but the unique design really makes it stand out among the competition. The ceramic swimming fish on the bottom of the bowl are a cute touch and will certainly pique your kitty’s interest. The circulating water falls from the lotus shaped bowl in a single stream to the bowl below, where it doesn’t sit, but circulates again, ensuring that the water is fresh and appetizing at all times. Also, it doesn’t hurt that this water fountain has an ultra quiet motor.
In case you’re on a budget and can’t afford a pricier water fountain for cats, or simply don’t want to splurge until you’re sure your cat is interested in a fountain in the first place, this is a perfect alternative. Cheap but sturdy, this BPA-free plastic water fountain holds 40 oz of water, so it won’t run for long before needing a refill. Nevertheless, the circulating water inside it will always taste fresh as it is filtered through an activated carbon filter. This water fountain is also safe for washing in the dishwasher.
Dual free-falling streams would entice the most indifferent feline, and the oxygenated water they produce will satisfy anyone’s taste for freshness. To boot, this ceramic water fountain for cats also has a carbon filtration system to remove any odor or substances that cause bad taste before the water gets to the streams in the first place. The unique design gives your pet two tiers of drinking space, as kitties can choose from drinking from the bowl or directly from the pillar. In addition to the striking red, this ceramic water fountain for cats is also available in white.
Is your feline a faucet fiend? In case your kitty is one of those who have an obsession with sinks and faucets, it might be smart to “wean” them off by offering them the next best thing: a water fountain in a shape similar to a faucet. While the Swan hints at an elegant bird shape, pet parents couldn’t help but notice the faucet similarity–which does make this fountain more appealing to some cats. The Swan has an 80 oz capacity, it’s made from BPA-free, dishwasher-safe plastic, and it comes with a replaceable charcoal filter.
Instead of using free-falling streams of water to entice your kitty, the Catit Fresh & Clear opts for a more bowl-like approach. The water is in a recirculating flow, though, so it won’t be still- just what your kitty likes. In addition to the oxygenation that comes from water movement, the taste will be improved by a dual filtration system. The capacity of this water fountain is 64 oz.
Why Are Cats So Weird With Water?
You might have noticed that your cat won’t drink water unless it’s freshly poured into their bowl. (That’s why they’re trying to lick the faucet, in case you didn’t get their hint.) Contrary to popular belief, it’s your kitty being spoiled or fickle- this preference is actually due to their innate instincts to be wary of still water, as in the wild, a stagnant water source is rarely good news for an animal. Still water in the wild is far more likely to be contaminated, and it’s why animals prefer running water as their source of replenishment. So, your pet’s ancestors would avoid puddles in favor of streams, and some experts believe that this instinct remains in cats to this very day, which they express by turning up their nose over bowls and going for the sink instead.
On the other hand, it might not be just the remnants of the ancestral instincts that make your kitty disinterested in their water bowl. Some experts say that it’s just about the taste, as running fresh water is more appetizing than the one standing in the bowl for hours. And it does make sense–you’d always go for a freshly poured glass of cold water rather than something that’s been standing long enough to become lukewarm.
Either way, one thing is crystal clear: cats favor fresh running water over standing water, and they’re not shy about it. That’s why water fountains for cats are so popular- both with felines and their pet pawrents.
How Much Water Cats Need?
Water drinking quirks aside, do you know how much water your cat actually drinks? Unlike dogs, who often drink a lot of water throughout the day, felines can seemingly go on mere drops. But it’s only seemingly–an average pet cat of 10 pounds needs at least 7 to 9 ounces of water. And having in mind that you rarely spot your pet at the water bowl, it’s likely that they need better hydration.
You see, in addition to being particular about their drinking habits, cats are not big on drinking water in the first place. The reason for this, again, lies with their non-domesticated fellows. Cats who are not pets and thus eat their natural diet, get the majority of the moisture content need for functioning from their prey. Raw meat, organs, and cartilage that an average ancestor of your tabby would consume is made up from 60 to 75 percent of water content. Needless to say, this type of diet and an occasional trip to a stream would keep a cat of ye olde perfectly healthy and hydrated, but what’s the case for our domesticated household lions?
Most cats eat kibble and little else, and this drastically changes the water content they can get through food. Dry food for cats contains only about 5 to 10 percent moisture content, which is drastically lower than felines are used to getting from their meals. By default, cats are not used to drinking a lot of water to compensate for lack of moisture in food (they never had to), so if you are feeding your cat kibble exclusively, getting them to drink more water is a must if for their health and wellbeing.
That’s why all the fuss about cats drinking or not drinking water and if they favor bowls, sinks, or something else altogether. Drinking enough water is important for everyone, but kitties are especially vulnerable. There are different ways you can get your pet to up the moisture content in their diet, but not all of them are universal solutions. Each pet is different!
How to Get a Cat to Drink More Water
To start things off, you don’t always have to increase water intake to meet your cat’s moisture needs. For instance, if your cat’s health and diet allow it, substituting a part of their dry food meals for wet food can help. Wet or canned food, as well as frozen or freeze-dried meals for cats, contain a moisture ratio more similar to their original diet. Sometimes, the minimal water intake plus a high moisture diet make sure your cat is in top form. Of course, not all cats can (or will) eat food other than kibble, so completely overhauling your pet’s diet might not work for you.
For most pet parents, the easiest and most convenient way to get a cat to drink more water is to get a water fountain. The prices are reasonable and there are water fountains to meet every budget from tight to lax, and they’re not a hassle to set up or take apart. Essentially, you won’t have to go through any kind of ordeal to meet your kitty’s needs. Score! But why are water fountains for cats a solution? Will a fountain really get your cat to drink more water? The short answer is YES.
The long answer is that water fountains for cats play into their base instincts and universal preference of running water over still one. By relying on a pump to circulate water, fountains make sure your kitty always has fresh water at the tip of their whiskers, without having to resort to sitting in the sink for it. Many of the water fountains also have a filtration system that traps debris and removes odors, making the water more palatable. And yup, the fresher and cleaner taste really matters to finicky felines. What can we say- cats are peculiar and we love them for it.
And it’s not just about indulging whims with this one, as it’s important to meet your cat’s needs on this matter. Proper hydration is one of the foundations for overall good health and can help prevent or improve kidney and urinary tract issues- and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Cats who are not drinking enough water are susceptible to a whole range of health issues, not to mention they are simply not enjoying the best quality of life for it.
What to Look for in Water Fountains for Cats
Each cat has unique needs, and what works for some felines won’t work for others. However, there are some general guidelines you should be aware of when choosing a water fountain for your pet.
The first factor is the material of the water fountain. Most come in plastic (the cheapest option), but stainless steel and ceramic are also popular options. The non-plastic materials are popular because they can’t cause feline acne or harbor bacteria like plastic does if not cleaned regularly. The stainless steel water fountains are the most durable and pet-friendly option, but if you’re not worried about breaking it, a ceramic fountain for pets is certainly the prettiest and healthiest option for felines. Plastic’s main advantage is that it is budget-friendly, but beyond that, there isn’t much this material offers. Cats that have sensitive skin or those prone to allergies might develop skin conditions as a result of drinking from plastic bowls, and if not cleaned regularly and properly, plastic can become a breeding ground for nasty microorganisms.
Another important factor is the capacity of the water fountain. After all, it’s not the same if you live with a single feline or have multiple cats or other pets in the household. The container capacity of water fountains for cats can range from 40 oz all the way to 200 oz, so there are options for every family’s needs. Of course, in this case, the bigger the better adage rings true. Too small for your household’s needs, and you’ll have to add water every couple of hours which defeats the purpose if you’re getting the fountain for its convenience or simply to make sure water your cat is drinking is always fresh. No one wants to have to refill a fountain every couple of hours, and it can be impossible to do so when you work long hours to begin with. A good rule of thumb is to go for a size up than what you think you’d need. Better safe than sorry!
As for the design itself, the possibilities are almost limitless. Raised or low, for one cat or multiple cats, with one or two streams–there’s a style for any cat’s needs. The versatility is so impressive that you can find just about anything you need, whether it’s a functional fountain that happens to match your kitchen tiles or an engaging design meant to further entice your cat into drinking. In the end, design is an individual preference and you’ll have to be the one to gauge what your kitty needs, as well as what works for you and your budget.
Of course, having in mind how finicky and spoiled cats usually are, it can be hard finding the perfect water fountain to suit their refined tastes. You can never know what reaction you’ll cause with a new kitty gadget: they can either be thrilled with the novelty of it or ignore it completely out of feline spite. However, with most water fountains for cats, success is guaranteed- no matter what design or materials you end up going for, rare is the kitty that would be fully immune to the enticing splish and splash of fresh running water.
We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works.