There are two criteria for determining if your fountain is pet safe; of what is it made; how is it made?
The first part is simple. If it is made of plastic it is not safe, for two reasons. Plastic contains a chemical called BPA which is a known carcinogenic – can give you, or your pet, cancer. Even those plastic products which claim to be BPA-free can be just as dangerous by having replaced the BPA with an equally as toxic substance. It is a practice known as “regrettable substitution”.
The second reason a plastic pet fountain is not safe is because plastic does, and will, become scratched and in those scratches bacteria can, and will grow. Unless you scrub the fountain regularly and frequently with bleach or something similar, harmful bacteria will thrive. This is why so many cases of chin acne in cats are attributed to scratched plastic cat water fountains. Yes, plastic cat fountains which claim to be safe are certainly cheaper than fountains made of other materials but your vet bills will most certainly demolish any savings you thought you were getting and the suffering your cat will go through is even less acceptable. The best material for a truly pet safe fountain is ceramic, with metal as a ‘second best’.
The second factor toward determining if a pet fountain is safe is how it is made. This gets into some of the same elements described above. Look at the images below which are from the manual of a well known cat fountain manufacturer.
See all the nooks, corners and crevices? Every one of them must be regularly scrubbed and the unfortunate fact is, most people are not going to do that as often as needed. The fountain will become foul and your cats’ health will be in jeopardy.
So, a pet fountain with a complicated construction and made of plastic absolutely disqualifies a pet fountain from being safe. What then do we look for in a cat fountain that is truly safe for your pet? Clearly a simple design without a lot of corners and nooks is best and it needs to be one made of just about anything other than plastic. Metal, is one option and ceramic is the other and better option and cat fountains come in both those materials.