This page is one of a series of educational pages from ThirstyCat Fountains, meant to provide objective information to help inform potential cat fountain buyers about major brands of cat fountains. We provide a detailed analysis of specific brands you won’t find elsewhere so that you can know what you are buying before you buy.
Do You Want the Best Cat Water Fountain That You Can Buy?
Cats are hard-wired to seek moving water and cat water fountains provide that. Cat fountains come in many different designs, so you can choose the model that best suits your cats’ preferences, as well as yours. For example, fountains that are perfect for short hair cats may not be suitable for longhairs who want to stay dry. Some cats are timid and quiet and don’t want much water display while others prefer it and even need it, and you will have your own likes and dislikes too.
Some cat fountains consist simply of a basin that refills as your cat drinks (not reviewed here), and therefore do not recirculate and oxygenate the water while others produce a free-falling water supply for maximum freshness. We’ve examined and present here our top picks from several of the most popular models. We have evaluated them according to several critical attributes. Those are:
- Food Safeness (this has to do with what materials the fountains are made from and how they are constructed.)
- Ease of cleaning (if a pet fountain is hard to clean it won’t get cleaned often or thoroughly enough.)
- Water Delivery (is the water presented to the cat in a manner that is attractive to him and easily accessed, thus encouraging drinking?
- Longevity (How long will the fountain last?)
- Price (short term cost)
- Price (long term cost)
- Appearance (is the fountain an addition to your home or something you want to hide?)
Here are the five cat water fountains we reviewed.
The Pioneer Raindrop cat water fountain is made of lightweight stainless steel so will not scratch and cause chin acne. The stainless steel construction is dishwasher safe.
Food Safeness – 4 – This cat pet water fountain is about 90% stainless steel. The container that houses the pump is plastic and it will certainly become scratched but thorough cleaning should take care of that.
Ease of cleaning – 4 – Warm soapy water and a sponge is all that is necessary for a good cleaning of this pet fountain. There are five parts, the bowl, the elevated portion, the pump housing, the filtration unit and the pump. Each should be washed at least once a week and the metal parts can be put in the dishwasher.
Water delivery – 3 – The bubble-up and running stream are fine for many cats but won’t satisfy those wanting a falling stream and will get the fur of a longhair cat or a short-face cat wet.
Longevity – 4.5 – With reasonable care this fountain should last many years. The exposed parts are metal so not subject to deterioration.
Price short term – 3.5 – $45 – $60 (depending on size)
Price long term – 3 – The filter should be replaced about every 3 weeks – about $2.5 ea. So the immediate cost is $45. Over the first year the cost will be about $88 and about $45/year plus shipping thereafter. Over a five year period you will spend an additional $225 for a total cost including purchase and five years of use of $313.
Appearance – 4 – We find this cat fountain to be a fairly attractive fountain. Perhaps not suitable for your living room but not offensive either.
Overall rating – 3.7
Purchase on Amazon
This is the Drinkwell Platinum cat water fountain. Some reviews call the Drinkwell Platinum Pet Fountain “the best cat fountain you can buy”. We find otherwise. In fact, we consider it to be one of the worst and many vets would agree. Here is why:
Food Safeness – 1 – The Drinkwell Platinum is 100% plastic. The plastic may or not contain BPA, but it will scratch and in those scratches bacteria will grow which can cause chin acne and other ailments. Nearly no vet recommends plastic for food or water dishes for cats.
Ease of cleaning – 1 – The brushes the Drinkwell Platinum comes with are the clue. Even with them you will have a hard time getting into all the many crevices and cornerse for thoroughly cleaning. Bleach or something similar will be necessary regularly. Plan on devoting at least a half hour weekly to cleaning this cat fountain.
Water delivery – 4 – There is both a stream as well as a pool of water from which the cats can drink. The only other possibility missing is a raised basin (great for longhair cats).
Longevity – 3 – With reasonable care this fountain should last several years. If you have very aggressive/playful/ornery cats – less so.
Price short term – 5 – $45.
Price long term – 3 – The replacement filters are about $3 and need to be replaced about every three weeks so the cost for the first year will be about $100 and about $55/year thereafter or $275 over a five year period after purchase for a total cost including purchase and five years of use of $320.
Appearance – 3 – This will depend. If you’re putting this cat fountain in the kitchen (should NOT be near the food bowl) or the laundry room then the look is fine but you certainly wouldn’t want it in the living room, dining room, bedroom or bathroom.
Overall rating – 2.8
Purchase on Amazon
The Drinkwell 360
Food Safeness – 4 – This pet water fountain is about 95% stainless steel so scratching or BPA are not so much of an issue. The top piece from which the water emerges is plastic.
Ease of cleaning – 3 – Warm soapy water and a sponge is all that is necessary for a good cleaning of this pet fountain, however there are numerous parts and all the little holes the water comes out of, each of which should be cleaned too. The bowl itself can be put in the dishwasher.
Water delivery – 4 – Streams of water and a basin beneath make this an attractive fountain for most cats.
Longevity – 5 – With reasonable care this fountain should last many years.
Price short term – 4.5 – $70
Price long term – 1 – The replacement filters are about $2 ea and the owner’s manual recommends replacing with every cleaning, so about once a week. The cost for the first year will be about $174 and about $104/year thereafter or $520 over a five year period after purchase for a total cost including purchase and five years of use of $590.
Appearance – 3.5 – This is a reasonably attractive fountain if a bit functional looking. Perhaps not suitable for your living areas but not offensive either.
Overall rating – 3.6
Purchase on Amazon
Use coupon code bestcat for a 10% discount on non-sale items
THIRSTYCAT FOUNTAINS (Many Designs)
Food Safeness – 5 – This cat water fountain is 100% handmade ceramic. The glazes are made in the ThirstyCat studio and certified food safe.
Ease of cleaning – 5 – Warm soapy water and a sponge is all that is necessary for a good cleaning of this pet fountain. Parts to be cleaned are the bowl, the pump cover, the cord cover, all of which are ceramic, and the pump. Cleaning should take about 4 minutes weekly.
Water delivery – 5 – Thirstycats offers just about every conceivable delivery style from simple bubble-ups to four tier streams, raised basins with streams and a lower basin and pretty much any design you can think of. (They are all artisan, handmade so new designs are regularly introduced.)
Longevity – 5 – Should last a lifetime. Pump warranty is one year.
Price short term – 2 – From about $120 to $180
Price long term – 5 – The foam filter which comes with the fountain lasts 2 years and can be purchased for about $9. ThirstyCats offer a carbon filter that lasts 6 months, available for about $10. So, if you purchase a medium priced fountain for $130 and you add a carbon filter which you replace once, your first year cost will be $140. Your next year cost will be $10 and your second year cost will be $19. Over a five year period after purchase you will have a total cost including purchase and five years of use of $190.
Appearance – 5 – Considered by many to offer the most beautiful cat fountains worldwide.
Overall rating – 4.8
Purchase on ThirstyCats
Use Coupon Code bestcat for 10% off all non-sale items
CATIT FLOWER FOUNTAIN
Food Safeness – 1 – The cat fountain is 100% plastic, may contain BPA and will become scratched.
Ease of cleaning – 3.5 – Warm soapy water and a sponge will do most of it but the internal parts take more time.
Water delivery – 3 – The streams are variable, which is a plus, but are very short which makes it difficult for some cats. They will inevitably be licking plastic to get to the water.
Longevity – 2.5 – Not considered very durable
Price short term – 5 – $25
Price long term – 4.5 – You can buy a 6 pack of filters for about $12 and each should last 3 weeks so over a year you will pay about $35 plus shipping. Over a five year period after purchase you will spend a total of about $174 for a total cost including purchase and five years of use of about $200.
Appearance – 2
Overall rating – 3
Purchase on Amazon
Pioneer Raindrop cat fountain – 3.7
Drinkwell Platinum – 2.8
Drinkwell 360 – 3.6
ThistyCat fountains – 4.8
Catit Flower fountain – 3