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Many of our customers first purchase a fountain for their own cats (and themselves) and then want to buy one for family or friends. We know this from many of the reviews left as well as from customers calling us for advice (which we’re happy to give). We all know our own cats and don’t have much difficulty in understanding what they will respond well to. But buying a fountain for someone else presents another set of challenges in finding the best possible choice, apart from your family or friends’ aethestic preferences.  We hope to help with those challenges with this FAQ page.

These considerations are:

  1. Number of cats
  2. Frequency of refills
  3. Breed of cats
  4. Temperament of cats
  5. Habit
  6. Pocketbook

First up for consideration: How many cats does the recipient have? If only one, size isn’t terribly important. A small fountain as well as a large fountain will work fine, though you may be spending more than necessary going too large. If there are two or more cats, size becomes more of a consideration. For one cat the smallest is fine – normally 4-6 cup capacity, regardless of diet. For two cats we recommend a minimum capacity of 8 cups, regardless of whether they are fed wet or dry or a mix of both. Keep in mind, they will not drink all the water but you want enough for the pump to stay covered and the water to stay fresh.

Note that in the third image above the fountain is too small for 3 cats. For more than two cats increase the cup capacity accordingly but not exponentially. For three cats a cat fountain holding ten cups is fine. For more than three cats increase the cup capacity into eleven, twelve or more cups.

Another factor here is frequency of refilling. If your friends or family are frequently away for more than a day you will want to increase the cup capacity accordingly. Err on the side of more rather than less. If the recipient is elderly bear in mind that a large fountain which holds, say, fourteen cups is also going to be significantly heavier so do consider that. In some cases two smaller rather than one large cat fountain may be best.

Breed is important primarily in terms of length of fur. If longhair cats (and there are many breeds of longhair cats) get their fur wet, apart from the discomfort that may cause, their fur will more quickly and easily become dirty. For these cats we recommend either purchasing from our Tall Bubble-up category or from our Stream Fountains category. If the longhair cat drinks from the spout of water the Bubble-Up fountains provide, they may remain dry, but the chances of them also wanting to drink directly from the bowl is great, and then their long neck fur will become wet. All of the fountains types are good for shorthair cats.

Temperament. Temperament? What has that got to do with selecting a cat water fountain, you ask? It’s really simple. Whereas all cats are drawn to moving water, some cats can also be afraid of it. Very shy or easily spooked cats, for example, may not want a vigorous water flow or a fountain that has considerable water sounds. For these cats our quietest (many in fact silent) fountains are ideal. The Bubble-Ups on a low setting are essentially silent as are the Serenity Flow fountains. (You can purchase fountains with the Serenity Flow included and you can add a Serenity Flow to any bubble-up fountain.)

But what if your cat is both a longhair and shy? The Tall Bubble-up fountains are ideal for this combo. They are non-demonstrative, very quiet to silent and they provide an elevated water source reduced in size to ensure your longhair keeps his fur dry.

The flip side of this are those cats who really want a vigorous water display with lots of sound. For these cats we recommend the raised fountains which also provide several streams, such as our 3 and 4 stream Piazza fountains or any of our fountains with multiple streams. Turn these to a medium setting and you will have a very impressive display of water attractive to cats who seek the action, and there are plenty who do.

The next attribute to consider is habit, and this is very straight forward. Does the cat of your family member or friend frequently drink from a dripping tap or ask to have the faucet turned on? Then a stream fountain is essential, and probably a single stream is perfect. We make many designs with this attribute in our whole range of glazes and we also offer several antimicrobial cat taps which simulate a faucet. (Another option for longhairs).

Finally there are budget considerations. The initial cost of a Thirstycats Fountain is comparatively high  (though in the long-term a Thirstycats Fountain is among the least expensive you can buy. (Basically, the more work a fountain takes to create the more we have to charge for it.) Bubble-up fountains with elaborately carved and under-glazed designs are more expensive than plain Bubble-up fountains. Fountains such as the multiple stream Piazzas with water flowing from more than one place are more expensive because they are time intensive. Clay moves continuously as it dries. To get all the channels even so the water flows evenly from them takes a lot of work. Essentially, the more complicated the fountain the more expensive and of course, size is a factor. It is considerably more difficult to throw a 14 inch diameter bowl than a 9 inch.

However, ceramics being what it is, we always have plenty of ‘seconds‘. The variables in working with clay are nearly endless. Things can go wrong at every stage in the fountain creation process, and they do. If there is any noticeable flaw in any fountain, we mention that flaw in the description, show the flaw with a picture and reduce the price. Please note that it is only cosmetic flaws which we present. No fountain that does not work well is offered for sale. So you can buy a perfectly good fountain with a minor cosmetic flaw, (which in many instances doesn’t even show), for a reduced price. And we encourage you to go that route. You will still be acquiring the highest quality cat fountain money can buy – (as so many of our customers tell us), for a more comfortable price. Would you have thought the fountains below were ‘seconds’? They are.


We hope these considerations have been helpful to you in selecting a cat fountain for family and friends. Here is a page that demonstrates the different water sounds different Thirstycats Fountains generate and here you can learn how to increase the chances your shy (or untrusting, etc.) cat takes to the fountain.

For a 12% discount on all non-sale items use the coupon code – giving – at checkout.