Calling All Pet Parents, These Water Fountains Are The Cat's Meow


Getting a drinking fountain for you cat may seem indulgent, but there are benefits beyond simply spoiling your feline. The best cat water fountains are designed not only to give your cat a water feature of its very own, but also encourages and promotes healthy drinking habits. Most cats require around 2 to 4 ounces of water a day on average. Just like with humans, water helps with cats’ energy levels, healthy body functions, and even coat health. As anyone who has caught a cat licking at a tap can tell you, they also enjoy, and some even prefer, running water over still water.

For cat fountains to work, they require a power source, usually an outlet. But other than that, no special equipment is usually required. You just have to make sure the fountain is full enough to circulate water, and some have an indicator to note when it's running low. An automatic pump will keep things moving while a replaceable filter keeps the water clean as long as you change the water in the fountain every week or two. All the choices featured also would allow your cat to still drink water from the bowl if power is lost or the pump stopped working.

Features to consider include how quiet it is, the material it is made of (since some cats can develop chin acne from plastic bowls), and how easy it is to clean and maintain; since pumps can also be places where sentiment and fur builds up, you may have to clean those occasionally depending on your local water and pet.

No matter what your needs, however, most are under $40. Here are the best picks:


The Best Budget Cat Water Fountain

At less than $25, you get a large-capacity fountain that allows cats (and dogs) to drink both streams of water and freshly-oxygenated water from a bowl. This inexpensive plastic option is relatively quiet and easy to clean, making it a great choice for most cat parents.

It holds up to 100 ounces or about 3 liters of water, enough for several days. An included water filtration system also helps remove impurities from the water. The BPA-free plastic is top-shelf safe for your dishwasher. The pump and motor are designed to be quiet, and the ramp design helps cut down on splashing. A reviewer compared it to the sound of a fish tank, and it will be noisier on hard surfaces. If you find that the sound of the engine bothers you, try placing a soft towel or mat below it.


The Best Multi-Cat Fountain

The 360-degree design of this stainless steel pet fountain makes it a good choice for multiple pet households, since it allows two or more cats to easily drink at the same time. And while most cat fountains are plastic, some people might find they or their pets prefer this stainless steel option. It can be easier to clean, and some cats have sensitivities to plastic. The steel parts are also dishwasher-safe and it can also hold 128 ounces (or nearly 4 liters) of water — another reason it's great for a bigger family of cats. The water flow can also be adjusted with a twist of the cap, and you can choose one to five streams at a time. An included filter helps purify the water as it circulates, and the motor is quiet. One reviewer compared it to the sound of a running refrigerator.


The Best Ceramic Cat Fountain

Ceramic cat fountains are generally more expensive than plastic but add a touch of design to an otherwise functional item. They're also a good choice for cats that develop chin acne from plastic. This model is slightly smaller than the first two picks and holds up to 71 ounces (or about 2 liters) of water at a time. It is powered by a quiet pump that causes water to gently bubble into the bowl, and this choice comes with three spare carbon filters, while most fountains only come with one. It also includes a spare pump, which can be especially useful in areas with hard water where pumps require more cleaning. The ceramic is dishwasher safe, as well. With a 4.7-star rating after more than 600 reviews, it's a customer favorite.


The Fountain That's Most Like A Faucet

If your cat loves running water, this faucet-like pet fountain will provide the strongest stream out of these picks. Additionally, the minimalist, low-profile design doesn't take up a lot of space but still holds up to 80 ounces or about 2.4 liters of water at a time. The quiet pump is powered though a USB plug, making it easy to power. The flow can also be adjusted — a stronger, more steady flow makes less noise, according to reviewers. Like with the other choices, it comes with a replaceable filter. Plus, this bowl is BPA-free and dishwasher-safe.


Also Great: A Water Bowl That Refills Itself & Still Filters

If you like the idea of your cat getting a continuous supply of fresh water but don't have a plug near the food station, this gravity pet waterer is an inexpensive alternative. While it doesn't imitate a faucet or oxygenate water, the gravity refill system adds charcoal-filtered water as your cat drinks it, keeping it fresh and full. This model holds 64 ounces or 1.9 liters at a time, though you can buy bigger models if you want a larger water capacity. It also comes in four different colors. This is a great option for people who may need to make sure pets have ample access to clean water during long workdays or short weekend trips.

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