Keeping a pet water fountain in your home just for your cat to enjoy is a great way to make life enjoyable for them, and offers a fresh supply of water at all times. Not only that but keeping a drinking fountain in your home can also enrich your cat's life as it meets a need they have to seek out running water or at least water that isn't stagnant and possibly contaminated. Offering a fresh supply of water for your cat to enjoy helps maintain hydration, and can be a very helpful option for felines with urinary tract or kidney disease, which often require more water intake. Water fountains come in a variety of materials, including plastic, stainless steel, and ceramic, rely on a motor to operate, and usually come with a filtration system. Finding the right cat drinking fountain for you will depend on how many cats you have, the size of your space, and your budget.
What to consider when purchasing a cat water fountain
Material: Fountains are typically available in three types of materials: plastic, stainless steel, and ceramic. Plastic fountains are a good option for anyone looking to spend relatively little money on their fountain but can break easily and may even harbor bacteria. Many people like stainless steel fountains as they are easy to clean, are more germ-resistant than plastic and don't break easily. Ceramic fountains look the nicest (and cost the most) and are bacteria-resistant. However, they are prone to chipping or breaking.
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Household: Finding the right water fountain for your cat, or cats, will all depend on what goes on in your home and how it's set up. A fountain should always be durable and hard to knock over, even more so if you have more than one cat who lives with you. A home with more room can accommodate a larger fountain that can likely be a bit heavier as it will probably rest on the floor. A smaller space, like an apartment or studio, would probably do better with something smaller and lightweight that could even rest on a counter or tabletop if needed.
Noise: Water fountains run constantly, either with a battery or via an outlet or USB connection, all thanks to a pump that keeps water moving. Some fountains are designed to be quieter than others, so if you need to keep your cat's fountain near you or in your room, this is something to consider. Small fountains are usually quieter than larger models, and low voltage options around 12 volts will be your best bet.
Filter: Most cat water fountains come with a filter to ensure that your cat's drinking water is clean and free of harmful chemicals and contaminants. Filters are usually made with carbon, or sometimes a charcoal filter is used and may include a second filtration method like a sponge or foam filter, which will remove larger particles from water, like hair or dirt. Some fountains may not come with a filtration system, in which case, you can always fill yours with pre-filtered water.
The best overall cat water fountain
If you're shopping for a high-quality hydration system for your cat mate but don't know where to start, finding something on the moderate side that's filtered and easy to clean is your best bet. This fountain has a 50-ounce water capacity, which gets filtered through a three-part system—a sponge layer to trap hair and dirt, an ion filter to soften tap water, and an activated carbon filter to remove harsh chemicals. Not only does it provide clean water, but it also has a clean look, allowing you to see through it completely. Plus, it offers a running stream of water for your cat to enjoy, much like a faucet in the kitchen or bathroom sink. This one is made from nontoxic plastic so it's lightweight and easy to clean, and it's quiet, making it a great choice for apartment dwellers. This fountain is available in three options, the least expensive of which does not come with an adapter, however, all come with a USB cord for power.
The best budget cat water fountain
A drinking fountain for your cat can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be. This 60-ounce fountain is a great option for anyone looking to spend under $20 on a fountain that offers clean, filtered water with an adjustable flow rate. Made with BPA-free plastic, the top tier of this fountain is dishwasher-safe (however, the pump is not, so be sure to wash that by hand when needed). Another great thing about this fountain is the flow-control knob, which adjusts the flow coming from any of the four streams and the water level, which rests in a collection bowl below. Like most fountains, this one is also filtered, using both a foam filter and a carbon filter.
The best stainless steel cat water fountain
If plastic isn't your preference, you can opt for a stainless steel drinking fountain, which tends to harbor fewer bacteria. A dishwasher-safe variety, this fountain is quite large, holding up to 128 ounces of water, and is a great option for anyone with multiple pets in the home. The easy-to-disassemble pump circulates fresh water for your cat to enjoy and should be cleaned about once a month for optimal performance. Additionally, this fountain does use filter cartridges to purify water, which should be replaced every two to four weeks.
The best ceramic cat water fountain
In addition to plastic fountains and stainless steel fountains, you can also offer your cat a ceramic drinking fountain to sip from. This particular fountain holds 70 ounces of water, which runs through a carbon filter that is replaceable. The structure allows your cat to drink from two places—a free-flowing stream at the top, or a standing bowl of freshwater that rests at the bottom. The top part of this fountain is dishwasher-safe, and the low-voltage (12-volt) pump makes for a quiet device that you can keep running 24/7 from just about any room, depending on your noise tolerance.
The best plastic cat water fountain
Plastic fountains often get a bad rap when compared to stainless steel and ceramic varieties, but they can still do a great job at offering fresh water to your cat or small dog, assuming the plastic is quality material. This fountain, which is made from BPA-free plastic, holds 64 ounces of water and uses both a foam filter and a carbon filter to make the cleanest water possible for your cat to enjoy. It's easy to assemble and clean as many of the parts are dishwasher-safe. This is the same brand as another fountain featured on this list, but the design here is different, offering just one running stream of water into a deep, standing dish, so it's perfect for cats who don't like to sip from a thin stream.
The best cat water fountain design
Some pet owners look for function in their fountains, other people find the design element that will complement their home decor to be the most important, and this option offers both at a great price and size for just about any home. Designed to mimic a faucet, this fountain holds 80 ounces of water in a plastic body and sends water throughout in a free-falling stream that collects in a dish at the bottom. This is powered through a USB connection and is completely dishwasher-safe. One replaceable carbon filter comes with this option, and filters should be cleaned and replaced every two to four weeks for optimal performance.