Alison is a freelance writer on health, nutrition, skincare, and pets, especially cats and dogs.
In this article, you will learn:
- Why you should consider getting a cat water fountain.
- Why vets recommend them.
- Whether ceramic or stainless steel pet fountains make a better choice for your cat (or dog).
I hope to persuade you on the basis of a veterinary recommendation—some articles out there are just interested in selling! I hope to demonstrate to you the benefits of such fountains for both you and your cat and the type that is not only the most beneficial but also the easiest to clean and to maintain.
What Features Should I Look for in the Best Cat Water Fountains?
1. Look for a model made from ceramic or stainless steel.
Plastic ones should be avoided. You should choose a ceramic or a stainless steel cat fountain. Plastic can easily become scratched, and these scratches can harbor bacteria. Cats are very prone to a condition called feline acne(1) which results from coming into contact with the bacteria that can lurk unseen in scratches on plastic water and feed bowls. This is an unpleasant and distressing condition for your cat that requires a visit to the vet.
2. Choose a model with a quiet pump.
Cats are easily frightened, so the best water fountain will have a very quiet pump that will not frighten your cat or discourage him from drinking.
3. Choose a low maintenance model.
It goes without saying that you need to find a model that is very easy to maintain. There is no point getting something that needs to be taken apart every couple of days and cleaned out with brushes and all sorts of paraphernalia—you just want something that can be washed easily and, preferably, popped into the dishwasher.
Why Vets Recommend a Cat Drinking Water Fountain
You may think that a cat fountain, which provides running water for your cat to drink, sounds like a bit of a luxury. However, there are good reasons why vets recommend a constant supply of running water for your cat.
Provide Running Water for Your Cat to Drink
Cats instinctively like to drink running water. This probably dates back to when cats were wild and had to fend for themselves. Running water is likely to be fresher and healthier than standing water, and this love of running water is very likely to manifest itself in a cat who tries to drink out of the faucet!
By providing running water, you are encouraging your cat to drink. Many cats nowadays eat a dry food diet, and drinking plenty of water is vital for keeping them healthy and free of urinary tract infections and kidney problems, making them feel better.
Why Do I Recommend the Pioneer Pet Fountain?
From my research, the model that best meets the criteria I have set out above is the 'Raindrop,' as shown in the video above. I like it best because:
- This Pioneer Pet Drinking Fountain is available in either heavy-duty ceramic or stainless steel.
- The flowing water encourages your cat to drink and avoids problems that can be caused by dehydration.
- Because of the ceramic or stainless steel, the cat fountain is really hygienic and easy to clean so your cat will not get feline acne from unseen bacteria.
- It has a large capacity, so if you have more than one cat, there will still be adequate drinking water even if you are away from home all day.
- The whole unit is very easy to clean once you have removed the pump unit, which just sits on the base under the top section by means of suction cups. The ceramic parts (or the stainless steel if you have chosen this option) can easily be washed by hand and can be popped into the dishwasher if required.
Watch the video below to see the cat fountain in action and how easy it is to take apart to change the filter and clean.
Filters are quick to fit and inexpensive
Is Your Cat Dehydrated?
The simple skin turgor test, shown in the video above, could potentially save your cat's life by helping you recognize dehydration and take action promptly.
Treat Your Cat Right
I hope you have enjoyed reading about the benefits of cat fountains for you and your cat and that you found it helpful to read about the features to look for if you are considering purchasing one.
The bottom line is, all cats love to drink running water, and some cats need some persuasion to ensure they remain adequately hydrated, especially if they are on a dry food diet. Buying a suitable drinking water fountain for your cat is an expense, for sure, but it could save you money on vet's bills in the long term and help to ensure your cat remains free of the health problems associated with dehydration.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2010 Alison Graham
Alison Graham (author) from UK on March 03, 2020:
Thank you so much Donna, I really appreciated your kind words about my cat fountain article. Please do get in touch if you get one for your kitten - it would be lovely to add a picture of her to the article.
Donna Rayne from Greenwood, Indiana on February 21, 2020:
Excellent article, I enjoyed learning about cat fountains. Now, I want to get one for my kitten! She will love it. Thank you for sharing this article, I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Alison Graham (author) from UK on March 26, 2017:
What a rascal! I expect you have already tried most potentaial solutions without success - but possibly some suction cup feet or a non slip silicon mat under your present bowl? A ceramic bowl would certainly be heavier than plastic and therefore harder for him to pull. He sounds very resourceful, so I am not sure whether he would be able to remove anything he should not. Providing him with alternative 'toys' to pull and/or push around, may distract him from messing with the water bowl.
Theresa on March 18, 2017:
One of my cats loves to pull the water bowl all over the house (or as far as the cord will allow). We have a plastic one right now with a plastic cover for the fountain and he has figured out how to remove the top and spills water all over the house. I took that fountain away and put a water bowl on a mat, he pulls the mat all over the house spilling the water everywhere. All I can think is terrible two toddler! My question for this fountain is will he be able to remove any parts and how easy will it be for him to drag it or dump it?
Alison Graham (author) from UK on July 16, 2015:
Hi Barbara, I checked with the media and public relations department at Pioneer Pet just to be sure, in case there was a change I did not know about before I replied. They confirm that there is a lever by the pump that will adjust the speed of the water and enable the pump to run very quietly. If you have any problems locating it, please go to their website and use the contact form to get in touch. They are such helpful people there, one of the reasons I love this company.
Barbara Ray on July 15, 2015:
My "comment" is more a question. I recently purchased what I thought was the "original" Drinkwell Pet Fountain to replace the one I had for over 15 years only to discover that they changed the water lever - now the water just pours out creating a water hitting water noise, even at it's lowest setting which is MOST annoying to me and scars my cat BECAUSE he was used to just a little more than a trickle - like water trickling from a faucet. Does the Pioneer have a lever that will regulate the water flow allowing for it to be the trickle I would need? I really would appreciate your consideration to me question. Thank YOU
Alison Graham (author) from UK on July 19, 2014:
Thanks for your comment Marie and it is good to have a first-hand report of the efficacy of providing running water in the prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections in cats. Vets recommend these fountains as a way of encouraging cats to drink more water which is especially important in old or infirm animals and for any cat that has a largely 'dry food' diet.
Marie Gail Stratford from Kansas City, MO on July 17, 2014:
I happened upon this hub while searching for inspiration for a short-story challenge with the prompt "fountain." Not sure I have my story yet, but I'm glad to read here. My cats have always enjoyed drinking from fountains. Although I haven't used the brand recommended here, I usually have some way for them to drink running water--either from a fountain or directly from the faucet. It seems to help with UTI issues.
Alison Graham (author) from UK on April 25, 2014:
Thanks so much for your comment Vera, I hope your friend chooses to buy one of these pet fountains for her cat, much more environmentally friendly (and cheaper) than leaving the tap running!
ReuVera from USA on April 25, 2014:
My friend's cat likes to drink running tap water, but it's kind of costly to keep tap water running for a cat. :) I'll send her this hub.
Alison Graham (author) from UK on March 21, 2014:
Thanks for your comment MizBejabbers - the point you make about ceramic bowls is a valid one - especially with ceramic floor tiles! Glad you found the article useful.
Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on March 20, 2014:
Thanks for the warning about the feline acne. My husband bought two self-watering plastic water fountains for the cats and they loved them. He has been considering buying a larger fountain, and I think the stainless steel electric is the way to go. The ceramic wouldn't last around our house. We converted to all plastic because we we have ceramic tile floors and were replacing ceramic food bowls weekly. We had gone to some stainless steel food bowls, and now we definitely have to replace the rest of the plastic after your warning.
Alison Graham (author) from UK on March 14, 2014:
Kris, thank you for your interesting comment and the points you raise. No, I do not have further information on this topic but it is something that I will research. I did however, write another article here on hubpages about drinking fountains for dogs and you might find this helpful (https://hubpages.com/hub/How-To-Choose-The-Best-Do... however, I have not addressed the issues you highlighted about hair and food particles so I need to look into this.
Kris on March 14, 2014:
I am currently in school studying to become a CVT/LVT, and have a clear understanding of the importance of water in any animals diet. I have been using pet fountains for years, and think that it is an essential component of pet care. I was hoping for more information regarding different brands and models of pet fountains. My primary issue in a multi-pet household (currently 2 dogs and 3 cats) is a pump and filter that can deal with pet hair. I find that most of the time the hair just floats on top and small particles of food sit on the bottom due to inadequate strength of the pump. The hair and food are actually removed from the water gets stuck to the outside of the pump. This makes a lot of noise. Not to mention, clogging the pump results in going through pumps a lot faster than normal, unless you have the time to disassemble and clean these components every day! Do you have information on any other products besides the Pioneer? And any information about the hair and food issues?
Alison Graham (author) from UK on December 03, 2013:
Thanks so much Eddy for your kind comment on my hub about cat water fountains and so sorry for the delay in publishing it. I have not been on the site much over the past few weeks. Thanks again, Alison
Eiddwen from Wales on November 16, 2013:
Very interesting indeed. Voted up and I look forward to so many more.
Alison Graham (author) from UK on October 24, 2013:
Thank you FlourishAnyway - so pleased to hear that your cats already have a drinking fountain - it is a great way to encourage them to drink sufficient water to stay healthy!
FlourishAnyway from USA on October 22, 2013:
Thanks for this review. I have 5 indoor cats and currently one fountain (plastic unfortunately but it's worked well we think). We are interested in getting another cat fountain and did not want to splurge and just get two fountains, not knowing whether they would use a fountain, but alas it's a big success to have constantly running water. They love it. After reading your hub, our second fountain will be ceramic or stainless as recommended. Many thanks. Meow.
Alison Graham (author) from UK on July 08, 2013:
Hi Kristy, I have been thinking of doing a hub on the best cat bowls as you are right, it is important to have something that a cat will be happy to use but at the same time, vital to keep hygiene a top priority. So at present, I cannot make a recommendation but - watch this space - as they say and thank you so much for your comment.
kristyscalger on July 08, 2013:
Thank you for this information. My husband and I have two amazing cats, and I'm always trying to figure out new ways to keep them interested and healthy. I think getting them a fountain may help. This may sound a bit strange, but do you have any ideas about the best food bowls? I just want something that they'll be comfortable with, but that also is germ & bacteria-free. I obviously wash they're current dish frequently, but I still worry about my bubbies. Hah. Thank you again.
Alison Graham (author) from UK on May 14, 2013:
This is why I am recommending the Drinkwell Pet Fountain kdavitt - I know from personal experience that it is well made, robust, easy to clean and that the filters are easy to get hold of and not expensive either!
kdavitt on May 13, 2013:
People need to know about ceramic cat drinking fountains. Type in ceramic cat fountain into a google search and see what you find. Those made in China are questionable at best and there are very few high quality cat fountains made in America - but there are a few.
Alison Graham (author) from UK on April 23, 2012:
Thank you so much for your kind comment @afriqnet and for the encouragement
Joe Njenga from Nairobi Kenya on April 22, 2012:
I did not know that Cats like to drink running water. I enjoyed reading your review its awesome.
Alison Graham (author) from UK on December 04, 2011:
Thanks RTalloni, I really appreciate your comment and the encouragement!
RTalloni on December 04, 2011:
Very helpful--thanks for sharing info to make our cat's life better. :)
Alison Graham (author) from UK on November 11, 2010:
thanks aries3296, the filters are readily available and inexpensive.
Jeannie Ramirez from South Florida, USA on November 11, 2010:
For a cat lover this is pretty cool, especially if it is easy to obtain the needed accessories.
Alison Graham (author) from UK on November 06, 2010:
Hi amillar, yes it is a good idea to check on the price of the water filters and the frequency with which they need changing on the cat fountain you choose.
amillar from Scotland, UK on November 05, 2010:
Yes I am in the market for one of these things. I'm going to see if it's easy to get the filters first though - and how much they cost. I'm a typical mean Scot, so if the filters are a bit pricy or unavailable, I might just leave the tap running. (She likes to drink the running tap water.)
Thanks for the info.