How do you define ‘quiet’ as in a quiet cat fountain?
Certainly you mean no pump noise. We consider pump noise to be completely unacceptable. There are though, a lot of commercial brands of cat fountains and pet fountains in which the pump is quite loud, as so many of the reviews state. To know which, simply read the 3, 2 and 1 star reviews of various brands on Amazon to learn which cat fountains are most likely to irritate you with their unpleasant noises.
(Owner and founder of Thirstycats has what is called Misophonia – a condition of being unable to tolerate any arbitrary noises – however slight – which is one reason why we are scrupulous about having quiet pumps. (He loves water sounds, however.)
There are four elements that determine how much water sounds a fountain makes
How much water is falling, how far it is falling, what it is falling onto or into, and the quality of the stream itself – whether it is smooth, turbulent, thick or thin. Generally, the more water and the further it is falling the greater the water sounds. A thin stream makes more of a trickling sound, a wider stream more of a pouring and an agitated or turbulent stream makes more sound than a smooth stream.
The fountains above are all quiet cat fountains. In fact, they are silent fountains though all but the third can be made to produce water sounds by raising the pump flow. As mentioned, no ThirstyCat fountain has pump noise.
In the tall bubble-up (third from left) the water doesn’t actually fall at all, rather it slides over the edge and into the bowl. There is no stream. The simple bubble-up to the left on a low setting is silent. On a higher setting you can achieve gentle brook-like sounds, on low you won’t hear it – truly, a quiet cat fountain. Similarly with the Serenity on the right. We named it Serenity because it creates such a smooth, quiet stream. Turn it up and you will have pleasant water sounds. The Serentiy Flow can be added to any bubble-up and can be swapped in and out for variety with the straight, also antimicrobial, copper spout which comes with every bubble-up. It makes a beautifully quiet stream which is silent on a low setting and offers gentle water sounds which can be quite audible on higher settings with the stream shooting to the edge of the bowl. So with the Serenity you can still have a quiet cat fountain and a stream. The second from the left can give you trickling sounds or be silent depending on flow volume.
ThirstyCats creates (all by hand) fountains with from one to five streams. Generally the more streams the louder the water sounds fountain but there are caveats to this. A somewhat turbulent stream, which we sometimes do create, will be louder than a smooth stream. All fountains can be adjusted by a lever on the pump which simply lets in more or less water.
To the left is a single stream in one of our leaf designs. The stream is full and smooth and only falls a short distance so there is audible but to most people very pleasing water sounds. We mentioned that it matters onto what the water is falling. When the water falls onto the curve of the pump-hide (center piece) there is very little or no sound. When the water is falling into water there is more sound. Note that there are some commercial fountains that have the water falling onto a plastic wedge. This creates an annoying, plasticy thrumming sound.
At Thirstycats we create a variety of our ‘Piazza’ design fountains – some with no stream, as in the first fountain on this page, some with one stream, some with two, three and four streams. This fountain to the left is our two channel Piazza. It gives a basin at the top from which your cats can drink as well as two streams which are smooth and tranquil and do not create a lot of water sounds, but more than a single stream fountain does.
Note that all the Piazza fountains come with a ceramic insert which can be dropped into the hole inside the upper basin, or left out. When in it calms the water and creates a more tranquil setting and gentles the flow. Even with streams, we still consider our Piazza fountains to be quiet cat fountains, with gentle water sounds.
Thirstycats make a variety of designs providing three streams of flowing water. A repeat creation of ours is the Waterlily Leaf, sometimes with one, two, three and even four streams. This one has three streams and is the most audible fountain yet shown on this page. Although this belongs to the category of quiet cat fountains in terms of pump noise, it is still quite audible with water sounds.
Following are fountains with four and five streams.
This four-stream Piazza illustrates and interesting point, mentioned previously. Though it has one more stream than the fountain above and the streams are all of about the same volume and fall about the same distance in each of the fountains, this four stream is quieter than the Waterlily Leaf. This is because the streams are smoother. They simple slip right into the water below with no agitation. As suggested above, quiet pet fountains does not necessarily mean the fountains are silent, though many are – rather it means, in some cases that the fountains are not at all noisy.
Finally we have a five stream fountain – the loudest of them all.
This fountain with five streams is the loudest of all shown, so is great if you love water sounds, not so great if you don’t. You can only adjust the flow of water so far because if you turn it down too much it will not flow off the petals, spoiling the look we so diligently strove to create.
You can reliably use these tips to select the fountain best for you and your household in terms of water sounds. We tolerate no pump noises or any other unpleasant sounds so you can be assured all our fountains have gone through a strict testing. Sometimes something goes wrong after the fact and we stand behind our fountains 100%. No problem of any kind goes unresolved. If you have questions about any of this or any given fountain, please feel free to calls us at 518-677-3225 during Eastern time business hours.[/one-half]