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The 7 Best Cat Water Fountains

May 5, 2020

The 7 Best Cat Water Fountains

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The best cat water fountains are strong, sturdy, and smooth-running to help your cat stay hydrated day after day. By using smart filtration systems and elegant designs, great fountains quietly bubble away impurities for a week or more before it’s time for a refill. They’re easy to assemble, easy to clean, and don’t require much maintenance.

That’s why we recommend the Petkit Eversweet 2 as the best cat water fountain on the market. This smart fountain is thoughtfully-designed for quiet, effective, and efficient operation.

At a Glance: The Best Cat Water Fountains To Buy

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Three-level filtration system extends the longevity of the fountain
  • Runs in two modes for lower power consumption and longer filter life
  • A sleek, attractive fountain
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  • Has a generous water capacity, reducing the need to refill
  • Adjustable flow cap allows you to accommodate various drinking styles and preferences
  • Has a playful-looking flower design
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  • Stainless steel is generally considered more hygienic as a fountain material than plastic
  • Can be difficult to assemble
  • Has a prefilter and carbon filter to capture particles
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  • Has both a free-falling stream and freshly-aerated bowl
  • Features a dual filtration system
  • Adjustable flow control allows you to give your pets a customized drinking experience
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  • Features an effective dual filtration system
  • The fountain’s straightforward design makes it easy to assemble, take apart, and clean
  • Dishwasher safe
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While its smooth-operating design puts it ahead of most other cat water fountains on the market, the Petkit Eversweet 2 isn’t perfect. Its capacity might not satisfy in a multi-pet home and its bubbling bowl might not appeal to cats who prefer a free-flowing stream.

After researching the whats and whys of water fountains, studying the types of filters available, reading customer reviews, and trying a few fountains in my own home, I’ve chosen these 7 cat water fountains as the best you can buy.

Keep reading to learn all about water fountains and get the details on our top recommendations.

Here’s What We Looked For In The Best Cat Water Fountains.

The best cat water fountains are robust, stable, and well-built.

Cat water fountains should last for years, not months. Great water fountains are made from strong materials, well-designed, and have a reputation for long-lasting performance.

It’s hard to know exactly how strong and well-made a water fountain will be until you’ve used it. That’s why we spent hours reading customer reviews and, when possible, performing hands-on tests. Almost all of the products listed here have outstanding performance records and reputations for longevity.

They feature strong filtration systems that keep your cat’s drinking water clean and fresh.

A good filtration system is at the heart of most good water fountains. Filters remove impurities, helping to keep the water palatable and the fountain itself clean. A good filtration system makes water welcoming to even the most sensitive cats while also cutting back on the amount of time you spend cleaning the fountain.

Water fountains may contain a variety of filters, with some containing up to three different filters intended to capture different types of particles.

Carbon Filters

Carbon filters capture and neutralize odors and small particles. While almost every water fountain has one of these, its performance will vary depending on how the filter is constructed, where it’s placed, and which types of other filters accompany it.

Prefilters

Prefilters are more porous than the carbon filter and they have a very important job—capturing large particles and debris like hair, dirt, and dust. Not only does the prefilter keep the water clean, but it also helps to protect the pump and increase the unit’s longevity.

When choosing the water fountains for this roundup, I looked for products that employed well-designed multi-filter systems that effectively capture particles, neutralize odors, and support the efficiency and longevity of the fountain over time.

Great Water Fountains Are Easy To Assemble, Take Apart, And Clean.

Water fountains require routine maintenance. You’ll have to replace the filters every few months and wash the fountain every couple of weeks. A good water fountain makes that maintenance straightforward and simple.

When evaluating the products for this roundup, I paid attention to the products’ ease of assembly, looking for products that didn’t have a lot of fiddly parts, snapped together easily, weren’t too bulky, and which were dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.

Although stainless steel and ceramic are the cleanest water fountain materials, plastic fountains are more popular and most are easy enough to clean that their porosity isn’t an issue. Unless your cat is acne-prone or you just prefer the look and feel of these materials, well-designed plastic water fountains are both affordable and effective.

Good Water Fountains Operate Quietly.

When choosing the water fountains for this list, I looked for units with a reputation for quiet operation. When possible, I tested the fountains out in my own home, running each of them one-by-one to evaluate their noise levels.

We Also Considered Cost. Great Water Fountains Are A Good Value Over Time.

Most water fountains cost something between $25 and $70 upfront, but that starting cost says little about how much the unit will cost you over time. Because most households will have to replace the carbon filter once a month, filter replacement adds up to the most expensive part of buying a water fountain.

Depending on the efficiency of the purifier, how many cats you have, and the type of filters your unit uses, your filter replacement costs range from around $10 to $80 per year.

To find water fountains that were a good value over time, I studied filter replacement costs, evaluated the effectiveness of the units’ filtration systems, and read customer reviews. Not all of the products on this list are cheap, but they represent a balance of quality and price that should make them a good value over time.

The Best Cat Water Fountains: Our Top 7 Picks

Overall Best: Petkit Eversweet

Product Info:

  • Weight: 2.2 lbs
  • Dimensions: 6.3 x 7.7 x 7.7 inches
  • Water Capacity: 68 oz
  • Filtration System: Prefilter, carbon, foam
  • Price: $56.53

Pros:

  • Three-level filtration system extends the longevity of the fountain
  • Runs in two modes for lower power consumption and longer filter life
  • A sleek, attractive fountain
  • Filter replacement and low water lights tell you when it’s time for routine maintenance
  • Whisper-quiet operation makes this a subtle addition to your home

Cons:

  • With a 68-ounce capacity, this water fountain is among the smaller ones on the market
  • Doesn’t give you adjustable flow control or flexible water movement

Billed as a smart water fountain, this product has a thoughtful design that promises to make it quieter, longer-lasting, and more cost-effective than most other fountains on the market.

It has two operating modes, allowing you to choose between constant bubbling—Normal Mode—and intermittent movement. When you’ve switched the unit to Smart Mode, the fountain will no longer run constantly. Instead, it uses a light detector to identify when the room is dark. In Smart Mode, the fountain has a higher circulation rate in the day and circulates intermittently at night. This extends the life of both your pump and filters while helping to cut back on energy consumption.

According to Petkit, using Smart Mode allows you to change the carbon filter every three months instead of once or twice a month.

Even if you don’t use Smart Mode, the Petkit fountain has a few forward-thinking features that set it apart from the crowd. Its sleek, boxy design fits in well with a minimalist modern decor scheme, while indicator lights tell you when the water is low or you need to change the filter. I particularly like that the indicator lights don’t just appear on the front of the purifier—they light up the bowl, making the alerts both pretty and impossible to ignore.

The water fountain has a three-level filtration system including a plastic screen built into the bowl, carbon, and ion exchange resin primary filter and a foam filter that protects the pump. This system allows the fountain to capture any particles that might contaminate your cat’s water or wear on the pump.

All of the parts of the water fountain nest neatly—no small parts to lose or pieces that don’t align quite right. It’s made from sturdy ABS plastic and is dishwasher-safe. The pieces of the water fountain have clean lines and are easy to fit into your dishwasher.

It’s a low-profile, gentle babbler of a fountain—more bubbling mudpot than geyser or waterfall—so it’s a good option for cats who like to drink out of the toilet and other gently-shifting sources. If your cat prefers free-flowing streams, this water fountain may not have the movement he’s interested in.

And in addition to subtle water movement, this water fountain is a quiet, subtle addition to your home. The pump is carefully cradled in the body of the fountain, reducing operating noise and making this one of the quietest fountains on the market.

Runner Up: Catit Flower Fountain

Product Info:

  • Weight: 2.2 lbs
  • Dimensions: 9 x 8.3 x 6.2 inches
  • Water Capacity: 100 ounces
  • Filtration System: Carbon
  • Price: $25.03

Pros:

  • Has a generous water capacity, reducing the need to refill
  • Adjustable flow cap allows you to accommodate various drinking styles and preferences
  • Has a playful-looking flower design
  • One of the cheapest and most accessible water fountains you can buy
  • Dishwasher-safe and easy to clean

Cons:

  • Has a simple filtration system that gets dirty quickly and demands frequent replacement
  • Not the most sturdy or stable water fountain

While this water fountain is far from perfect—it’s made from relatively flexible plastic, can be a little bit tricky to assemble, and lacks a strong filtration system—it’s earned its place as one of the best-loved cat water fountains on the market. The Flower Fountain’s strongest point, perhaps, is its’ flexibility and ability to appeal to a wide variety of cats.

By removing and adjusting the center flower, you can choose from a range of flow patterns, with options ranging from a smooth flood that gently spreads over the top of the fountain to discrete streams that splash over the flower head like threads of water from the faucet.

With a 100-ounce water capacity, this fountain contains plenty of water and won’t run out quickly. Though it has a high water capacity, this isn’t the most robust water fountain you can buy. The top of the fountain sits lightly on top of the body and, if you have rowdy cats or dogs, they might topple the fountain and cause a spill.

At under $25, this water fountain is affordable upfront, making it an appealing and accessible option. But it’s not the most cost-effective long-term choice. Because it lacks a good prefilter, the primary filter tends to get dirty and wear out fast. This leads to higher costs over time. In fact, according to my calculations, this fountain could cost you at least $30 and as much as $62 per year in filter replacement costs.

Best Stainless Steel Water Fountain: Pioneer Pet Raindrop Stainless Steel Pet Drinking Fountain

Product Info:

  • Weight: 2.5 lbs
  • Dimensions: 11.5 x 9 x 4.5 inches
  • Water Capacity: 60 ounces
  • Filtration System: Prefilter, carbon
  • Price: $40.49

Pros:

  • Stainless steel is generally considered more hygienic as a fountain material than plastic
  • Can be difficult to assemble
  • Has a prefilter and carbon filter to capture particles
  • Dishwasher-safe and easy to clean

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive compared to similarly-sized fountains
  • Tends to show smudges and dirt quickly

If you want to prevent acne and reduce your cat’s exposure to bacteria, stainless steel water fountains are the best option. In contrast to porous plastic, stainless steel is smoother and less prone to buildup. For some, stainless steel also looks better than plastic, lending a more polished look to your home.

Though stainless steel promises better hygiene, the reality of this water fountain is that it’s smudge-prone and gets dirty quickly. Especially if your cat shares his water fountain with dogs, you might have to clean the fountain more often than one made from another, less smudge-prone, material.

This water fountain has an elegant raindrop shape that allows water to flood down a curving ramp, then cascade back down into the main bowl. The water fountain features a carbon filter and prefilter that fits into a compact cartridge that, with the help of suction cups, attaches to the bottom of the bowl.

Though this design initially looks convenient and streamlined, things can get a bit messy in practice. Ensuring that the pump cartridge lines up with the top of the water fountain and then securing the suction cups in just the right spot is a tricky process. Though assembly can be a bit of a hassle, the Raindrop fountain is easy to take apart. Because it’s dishwasher safe and doesn’t have a lot of small parts, it’s also a cinch to clean.

Best for Multi-Pet Homes: PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum Pet Water Fountain

Product Info:

  • Weight: 4.3 lbs
  • Dimensions: 15.9 x 10.6 x 10.5 inches
  • Water Capacity: 168 ounces
  • Filtration System: Prefilter, carbon
  • Price: $32.15

Pros:

  • Has both a free-falling stream and freshly-aerated bowl
  • Features a dual filtration system
  • Adjustable flow control allows you to give your pets a customized drinking experience
  • Large water capacity accommodates multi-pet homes

Cons:

  • One of the loudest water fountains on the market
  • The fountain’s plastic construction rattles and feels cheap

If you’re buying a water fountain for a full house of multiple cats and a dog or two, you’ll want to choose one that satisfies all of your pets’ needs and provides plenty of water without constant refills. With a 1.3-gallon reservoir, this fountain can contain weeks or months of water for a multi-pet family.

With a large bowl and adjustable free-flowing stream, this water fountain gives you plenty of drinking options and can appeal to a wide variety of pets.

In terms of filtration, this water fountain has all the basics. It features a plastic prefilter for large particles and a carbon filter that purifies and deodorizes the water.

Though it’s large, this water fountain isn’t the brawniest product you’ll buy. Its construction feels lightweight and flimsy and, with a host of small parts to snap and slide together, its assembly process is the most time-consuming of the fountains on this list.

The fountain is dishwasher-safe, but you’ll want to reserve your entire top rack for cleaning it. It’s big and oddly-shaped, demanding plenty of dishwasher real estate.

Best Budget: Cat Mate Pet Fountain

Product Info:

  • Weight: 1 lb
  • Dimensions: 6.75 x 10.5 x 8.75 inches
  • Water Capacity: 70 ounces
  • Filtration System: Prefilter, carbon
  • Price: $29.99

Pros:

  • Features an effective dual filtration system
  • The fountain’s straightforward design makes it easy to assemble, take apart, and clean
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Has multiple drinking areas to satisfy different preferences

Cons:

  • Relatively small compared to some other water fountains

If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll want to choose a fountain that’s both affordable upfront and a good value over time. That’s why we recommend the Cat Mate Pet Fountain as the best cat water fountain for people on a budget.

It’s not the cheapest water fountain on the market, but it offers a combination of outstanding performance, efficiency, and affordability over time. Unlike some other economical water fountains, this unit has a robust filtration system that promises to cut back on replacements and increase overall longevity.

The prefilter and carbon filter work together to capture particles of all sizes. The prefilter, in particular, seems to work extremely well, capturing hair and other larger debris before it can reach the carbon filter and pump. This isn’t the only area in which the Cat Mate Pet Fountain is well-designed. The fountain has an isolated pump system that allows it to operate almost inaudibly.

The water fountain offers a varied selection of drinking surfaces, with a bubbling bowl at the top that overflows and cascades into a second, lower bowl, before running down a ramp that leads into a wide base bowl. On top of this variety, the fountain has a flow control lever to help you fine-tune the movement of water in the fountain.

The water fountain has a relatively small capacity and doesn’t offer any streams for cats who like free-falling water, but it’s overall a strong unit that does almost everything you’d want a fountain to do.

Best Ceramic Water Fountain: Drinkwell Pagoda Pet Fountain

Product Info:

  • Weight: 3.2 lbs
  • Dimensions: 10.6 x 12.2 x 8.4 inches
  • Water Capacity: 70 ounces
  • Filtration System: Carbon, Foam
  • Price: $57.16

Pros:

  • An elegant, attractive water fountain
  • Made from ceramic, which is more hygienic than plastic
  • Uses both a foam filter and a carbon filter to capture particles and purify your cat’s water
  • Dishwasher safe

Cons:

  • Some reviewers say that this water fountain is noisy
  • One of the most expensive cat water fountains you can buy

If you’re willing to pay a little bit more for an elegant, aesthetically-pleasant water fountain made from hygienic ceramic, this ever-popular water fountain from Drinkwell may be a good option. It has a classic design, smooth porcelain surfaces, and is available in four colors.

But you’re primarily paying for visuals here—the Pagoda doesn’t have any functional features that set it apart from the rest. It’s a relatively small fountain with a 70-ounce capacity and a dual filtration system. A foam filter captures larger particles and protects the pump, while a carbon and coconut shell filter captures unwanted tastes and odors.

The Pagoda fountain has four drinking areas, including a bubbling top bowl, two free-falling waterfalls, and a bottom bowl.

While this product has received thousands of reviews and most of them are positive, some reviewers say that it’s noisy, producing both noticeable pump noise and splashing water sounds. Others say that the fountain’s pump weakened after just a couple weeks of use.

Best Gravity Waterer: Petmate Stainless Steel Replendish Waterer, Small

Product Info:

  • Weight: 1.36 lbs
  • Dimensions: 6.375 x 11 x 12.25 inches
  • Water Capacity: 64 ounces
  • Filtration System: None
  • Price: $41.16

Pros:

  • One of the most popular waterers for dogs and cats
  • Has a stainless steel bowl to reduce bacterial buildup and maximize hygiene
  • A good option for multi-pet homes
  • Helps to ensure that your cat receives fresh water at all times
  • Dishwasher-safe
  • Affordable with no replacement costs

Cons:

  • Doesn’t aerate the water
  • With no bubbles and no streams, this waterer may not appeal to every cat
  • Ultimately, the best cat water fountain is the one that helps to keep your cat hydrated.

Similar to a gravity feeder for water, this product ensures that there’s always a fresh supply of water in your cat’s bowl. The waterer doesn’t have a filtration system and it won’t make bubbles or streams, but it does help to reduce the amount of time you spend refilling and cleaning your cat’s water bowl.

The waterer has a 1-gallon plastic reservoir that feeds into a stainless steel bowl. The bowl is wide with a generous capacity, making it a good option for multiple-pet homes.

The Replendish receives primarily positive reviews, though some customers say that it’s difficult to remove and replace the plastic reservoir. Both the dish and reservoir are dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.

Overall, while it’s not as powerful as a true water fountain, this unit from Petmate can be a good option for multiple-pet homes and for short-term use—think if you’re going on a weekend trip and leaving your cat behind for a couple of days.

Final Thoughts:

Thanks to the ubiquity of dry diets and felines’ naturally low thirst drives, many—if not most—domesticated cats are walking around in a state of low-grade dehydration. This leaves them prone to urinary tract crystals, urethral blockages, and other health issues.

Water fountains aim to solve the hydration problem inv a way that taps into your cat’s instincts.

Instead of asking your cat to drink from a bowl—a stagnant puddle in many cats’ eyes—you’re giving your cat a freshly-oxygenated supply of water. It’s fresher, cleaner, and more appealing.

If you get the right one and your cat is interested, investing in a water fountain is an investment in your cat’s hydration and long-term health. But water fountains aren’t right for every cat.

Your cat will probably like a water fountain if he drinks out of the toilet or sink and plays with streams of tap water. And though a high-moisture diet would be the superior solution, water fountains are extremely valuable to cats on a dry diet. Remember that, even if your dry-fed cat drinks out of his bowl, he’s still unlikely to get the amount of water he’d consume if he were on a canned, fresh, or raw diet.

If you suspect that your cat isn’t getting enough water, a water fountain could be a powerful source of the hydration he needs.

Mallory Crusta

Mallory Crusta is a blogger and adventurecat enthusiast who brings you the facts about cat products, wellness, and care. She's the co-founder of Wildernesscat, a resource for savvy cat guardians who want to give their felines richer, healthier lives. Visit Wildernesscat for product reviews, radically natural nutrition tips, and lifestyle inspiration
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