Best Cat Water Fountains For Cats & Kittens | Reviews & Ratings

Have you ever noticed that your cat doesn’t drink a whole lot of water? Maybe she’ll tip-toe to her bowl a couple of times throughout the day, lapping up about an ounce or so. But that’s it. Doesn’t she need more fresh water than that?

She absolutely does.

Cats should drink about one cup of water per ten pounds of body weight. Most cats, however, only drink about half that. They’re designed to get water from the prey they kill in the wild, but housecats – i.e. lords and ladies of the manor – often eat mostly dry food.

When I noticed my own cats weren’t drinking enough fresh water, I knew it was time to look into the issues of dehydration, what to do about it, and the best cat water fountain options available to buy.

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Dehydrated Cats: The Problem and a Solution

Furball’s dehydration can result in some pretty significant health issues, like urinary tract issues and kidney problems that can lead to long-term illnesses and even an early demise.

Cats prefer running water to a bowl sitting by the food tray. It’s more natural and doesn’t get stagnant. Plus, hey – don’t you more enjoy splashing through a creek than a murky rain puddle?

Since most of us can’t install a creek in our houses, a cat water fountain is a great alternative.

abyssinian cat drinking from a tap

What to Look for in a Cat Fountain

Before I came to understand that all things are truly not created equal, I had no idea how to decide on a product like the best pet water fountain for cats. I figured any old thing that was in my price range would do.

But since I’ve started researching cat care products, hygiene, and health issues as related, I’ve come to realize there are a ton of factors that really matter when it comes to choosing products for my cats.

1. What is the Automatic Cat Water Bowl Made Of?

There are three main materials used to build cat fountains: Plastic, ceramic, and stainless steel. Each material has different pros and cons, of course, but generally speaking, we recommend steel or ceramic over plastic for basic health reasons.

Plastic Water Fountains

The positives about plastic cat drinking fountains are simple:

  • They’re easy to clean and dishwasher safe
  • They’re lightweight when empty
  • They’re attractive and clean-looking
  • They don’t break easily

The negatives of plastic, however, for me tend to outweigh the positives.

  • It’s less hygienic than other materials
  • It’s more likely to come in hard-to-clean shapes
  • It’s less hardy than ceramic or stainless steel over the passage time

Ceramic Auto Cat Water Fountains

Ceramic is a safer material choice for pet dishes, as they’re easily cleaned and don’t collect and grow mold as much as plastic. But they are somewhat fragile and can be broken quite a bit more easily than other materials.

If your household tends to be low-key, these drinking fountains will last a long time.

If, however, you’ve got rambunctious kids or pets, you’ll want to keep an eye on the fountain to make sure there are no chips in the paint or the ceramic itself.

You’ll also want to place them strategically to avoid heavy items, like canned foods or boxes, being dropped on them by accident.

Stainless-Steel Pet Water Fountains

Ultimately, the best material for a cat or kitten water fountain is stainless steel. It doesn’t chip or break, and steel doesn’t leach chemicals into your cat’s fresh water.

These options may be more expensive than ceramic, though, and sometimes aren’t as attractive.

2. How Durable is the Quality?

I’ve personally found that I can gauge the quality of something by three main things.

  1. The company’s reputation – How well known is the brand, and how well-respected is it in the industry?
  2. The online cat water fountain reviews – What do other people say about the specific product? Is it only those with affiliate links that recommend the product, or do real-life users recommend the product as “good quality” manufacture?
  3. The visual check – When I look at something online, I look for the thickness of the plastic and ceramic along with the weight. While I love lightweight products, products that are unusually light or thin are probably lower quality and cheaply made.

3. How About Those Filters?

The filters are one of the most critical parts of keeping your kitty in fresh, clean water. You want a product that uses at least two-fold filtration and has filters that are easy-to-replace for not a lot of money to keep fresh water flowing cleanly.

4. How are the Noise Levels?

This particular point may or may not bother you. If you’re keeping the fountain on the other side of the house from where you usually kick back, the noise level won’t be an issue. But since most of us keep our furry family members close, the noise levels might be important.

If you think noise could be an issue, check out the reviews from other consumers. If you notice a lot of people commenting on the volume, or lack thereof, you’ll know there’s a good chance you’ll have a similar result.

5. Is it a Good Value for the Price?

When considering the value of any product, I think through these things:

  • Initial cost – up front for everything needed
  • Replacement parts cost – motors, bowls, et cetera
  • Ease-of-maintenance – How hard is it to replace filters and motors?
  • Cost of supplemental supplies – Filters, bowls

6. How Easy is it to Set Up and Use?

Generally speaking, these fountains are reasonably equal on ease-of-use. In most cases, you put the thing together, wash the bowl and motor – as directed by the manufacturer – fill it up with fresh water, and plug it in.

It may take a few minutes to get going really well, but you’re generally done with setup within about five to ten minutes. After that, it’s about maintenance and how much effort it takes to replace filters.

Since this is usually pretty forward in all things, just take a peek at reviews to make sure you don’t notice more than a couple of comments on it being difficult to set up.

7. How Easy is it to Clean?

One of the most important aspects of helping your cat’s health is cleanliness. If you wind up with a waterer that’s hard to get and keep clean, you’re going to have a problem, and probably feel like you got a bad deal.

For each of the water fountains for cats listed below, I looked at how easy they are to clean.

  • Can they be pulled apart easily?
  • Can the main compartments go through the dishwasher?
  • Are there any special care instructions attached to the advert?
  • What did others have to say about how easy it is to clean?
  • What is the shape of the fountain?

Square edges are harder to clean and collect gunk more easily than circular shapes, so I look for rounded shapes without tight corners.
Generally speaking, stainless steel, ceramic, and plastic are all dishwasher safe. Just check out the directions to be sure.

8. What’s the Capacity?

This might not seem like a big deal but running to the cat fountain every ten minutes because Simba loves to splash can get pretty annoying.

Make sure the water fountain has a large enough capacity that your bounding kitten doesn’t run out too quickly, especially if you travel much or are gone for long work days.

9. Other Things to Watch Out For

As I’ve gone through the process of reviewing the variety of pet water fountains on the market, I’ve discovered these main issues with products.

  1. Knock-offs – Be sure to only purchase from an authorized seller, especially on Amazon and eBay.
  2. Easily broken motors – There were tons of products that I reviewed that had motors that broke exceptionally easily, even with proper care and cleaning.
  3. Expensive filters – Some waterers seem like a bargain up-front, but maintenance costs are exceptionally high in the area of filter replacements.
  4. Replacement pump easily available – Some of these will need to have their pump replaced once in awhile. It’s one of the most common “failures” of these products. A new pump is usually pretty easy and fairly cheap to get on sites like Chewy or Amazon, so it’s not a big deal. However, replacing a pump can still be a minor annoyance. You want to make sure you know the expected lifespan of the pump and that it’s easy (and cheap) to replace if necessary.

Common Misconceptions About Pet Drinking Fountains

Some of the most common misconceptions I’ve also seen in comments from folks is that they think all products by a given manufacturer are the same and equal to each other. This is, unfortunately, not true.

For example, Catit has both great and average options. The same can be said for brands like PetSafe, Veken, and Pioneer Pet. They’re all well-trusted brands, but they have some options I wouldn’t recommend very highly.

In fact, many products from all of these manufacturers were on my initial review list, but I eliminated them quickly based on the features, the number of complaints on the quality, and the issues of cleaning or maintenance.

So, How Did I Pick My List?

Now you know what you should look out for, and what you should avoid when choosing a pet fountain. As you read the list below, you can know that I’ve taken these things into consideration before recommending any.

I started with a list of the fifty-five most popular options on the market. Before going anywhere with my own reviews on them, I found all of the reviews I could find from professionals and consumers on sites like Chewy and pet parent blogs.

I quickly eliminated any options that didn’t have a minimum average of four out of five stars or higher across the sites I looked at.

This dropped my list to about half.

Next, I reviewed the individual reviews and compared all the pros and cons of each, specifically looking at the qualities I mentioned above. If they didn’t rank highly in at least four of the categories, I stopped reviewing and cut them from my list.

Ultimately, I wound up with a list of nine products to review closely. From those, I chose only five to recommend to you for the best cat water fountain options.

Reviews of the Absolute Best Cat Water Fountains

If you search for “cat water fountain reviews” you’ll come up with about eighteen pages of results.

If you checked out each “top ten” list, you’d be reviewing items for a good week before you’d have a clue what you were looking at. And you’d be cross-eyed long before you got there.

Since your cat’s health is important to me, I wanted to make that job easier for you by offering my own reviews, culled from the dozens of products listed all over the web. These are truly the best options I could find and would recommend them to anyone with a furball family member.

There’s a solid tie for me between PetSafe Drinkwell 360 and the PetSafe Stonewell Avalon.

So, we’ll review them in light of specific categories: What they’re made of.

I technically placed the Avalon above the 360, but that’s a personal choice based on aesthetics. You’ll see the reasons below.

#1. PetSafe Drinkwell Stonewell Avalon – The Best Ceramic Cat Fountain (EDITOR’S CHOICE)

petsafe drinkwell stonewall avalon fountain

The Petsafe Drinkwell Stonewell Avalon is my number one choice for cat fountains, and more specifically is the best ceramic cat fountain.

It only just squeaks ahead of the Petsafe Drinkwell 360 because I like the looks better. Did I mention that this one comes in either red or white? This is a completely superficial ranking, which is why I label it equal with the option below.

This pet fountain from PetSafe is a little pricier than some of the other models out there, but for the quality and the inexpensive upkeep, it’s totally worth paying out a little more now for the long-running savings.

Specifically, the filters are super cheap at less than a dollar apiece. You’ll be saving more as you go along than if you find a less expensive pet fountain for cats that has pricey filters.

The Breakdown

  • Materials: Ceramic
  • The Price: $80 (at time of review)
  • Quality of Make and Materials: Excellent
  • Water Capacity: 70 ounces
  • Noise Levels: Noisy
  • Power: Electric
  • Filtered: Two – one foam, one activated charcoal filter

The Positives

This one is super easy to clean. For me, that’s a huge deal because clean fountains mean better hygiene and healthier kitties and people who live in the home with said pet fountain for cats.

Plus, it’s safe to put in the top rack on the dishwasher. Win-win!

There are also two drinking levels, which can encourage more frequent sipping. Most cats love options – even if not change – especially bubbly, splashy ones. And two levels could get your cat more excited to drink water, just like they do mine.

The different levels also cater to cats with different mobility issues. Cats with neck pain, arthritis, or other challenges can drink from the higher level more easily than from a low-lying dish.

A few other positives:

  • Long power cord – 5 feet in length
  • The water sources flow in different directions allowing for two cats to drink simultaneously
  • The foam charcoal filter specifically helps eliminate cat hair from getting back into the fresh water
  • Small footprint
  • Just the sound of this water fountain awakened my cat and caught her attention. She loves it!

The Negatives

  • It’s a small cat water fountain, so it needs refilling daily. This means it’s not a great option for frequent travelers unless you’ve got a cat-sitter coming in daily.
  • Secondly, for those who don’t like that hum and trickle noise, this can be a bit loud. My solution for this is placing it away from my bedroom, but that doesn’t exactly work in a studio or small apartment.
  • Finally, the price is a little high for some. I still say it’s worth it, though.

Our Verdict on the PetSafe Drinkwell Stonewell Avalon

If you need a well-made, smaller size option, this is the best one available.

The price is great for something so long-lasting, the versatility is great, and even the aesthetics are a big plus.

It’s a winner all-around and my first recommendation to anyone looking for a smaller-sized automatic cat waterer.

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#2. The PetSafe Drinkwell 360 – The Best Stainless Steel Cat Water Fountain

petsafe drinkwell 360 fountain

The PetSafe Drinkwell 360 is equal in my ranking to the Stonewell Avalon, save for the aesthetics.

The two are the same quality of the material and manufacturing. The 360 has a clean look in the stainless steel, though, so it really is a matter of preference.

Overall, the 360 is the best option for larger pets or multiple cats in your household.

It’s got a large enough capacity that you won’t be refilling it constantly, and it’s stable enough that your overly-excited pooch won’t knock it over with his tail.

The Breakdown

  • Materials: Stainless Steel
  • The Price: $65 (at time of review)
  • Quality of Make and Materials: Excellent
  • Water Capacity: 128 ounces – Large
  • Noise Levels: Noisy
  • Power: Electric
  • Filtered: Two-stage activated carbon filter

The Positives

First off, the quality of this stainless steel cat water fountain is one of the biggest things I’m looking at here. It’s not easily dented, it doesn’t chip like ceramic, and it’s much more hygienic than plastic models.

Secondly, the design on this makes it super easy to clean. It’s round, so there are no corners that collect gunk. Plus, it’s dishwasher friendly. Just be sure to remove the motor beforehand.

The PetSafe Drinkwell 360 is attractive, too, which is important for a lot of us.

Some of the plastic models out there are clean-looking enough, but the sharpness of that stainless steel just looks better in a more modern or classically decorated home.

Finally, the 360 is large enough for multiple pets and the water doesn’t have to be refilled very often.

The Negatives

  • While investigating this option, I’ve really only found two downsides. First, this waterer tends to be kind of noisy. It’s pushing a lot of water through, and that makes for a pretty loud running/trickling noise.
  • Secondly, it’s pretty big. If you’re tight on space, you’ll probably want to look into smaller models like our number one pick, the PetSafe Stonewell Avalon.

A Quick Note

The 360 comes in either stainless steel or plastic models. Make sure you’re purchasing the stainless-steel option for the highest quality product. The plastic one is a decent model, but stainless steel is more hygienic.

Our Verdict on the PetSafe Drinkwell 360

This is easily the best stainless steel offering on the market.

The shape makes it easy to clean, the design is perfect for multiple pets to enjoy water at once, and the quality of material and manufacture is exactly what you’d expect from an industry leader life PetSafe.

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#3. Catit Flower – The Best Plastic Fountain

catit flower fountain

Although I’m not as keen on plastic, especially things that cats eat or drink from, there is one really great cat fountain that I’d recommend in this category: The Catit Flower Fountain.

It’s highly rated by professional reviewers and cat owners alike. So, I wanted to look at it and see what the rage was all about.

After all, I want the absolute best for my kitties – and I know you do, too.

The Breakdown

  • Materials: BPA-free plastic
  • The Price: $30 (at time of review)
  • Quality of Make and Materials: Excellent
  • Water Capacity: 100 ounces
  • Noise Levels: Low
  • Power: USB connection
  • Filtered: Triple-action with easy-to-replace filters

The Positives

The first thing you’re going to notice about the Catit Flower Fountain is the cute design. Oh my gosh. This thing is adorable! It’s colorful, and, as the name indicates, it has a flower that squirts out the water for your fluffy family member.

The Flower provides three different water flow levels that you can choose from, based on your cat’s reaction to the whole thing.

The top yellow portion of the flower produces a steady flow of water while removing it brings it down to a bubble. You can remove the flower altogether to produce a softer, low water flow instead if you have messy kittens playing around.

Another giant plus for me is that it’s super easy to clean. Just take the pieces apart and wash them by hand. The parts are circular, so no annoying nooks and crannies that grab and hold that algae and slime.

Finally, it’s a small water fountain, so most cats and larger kittens can easily drink from it while also being conveniently sized for smaller homes or tighter corners.

cat drinking from catit flower fountain

The Negatives

  • A short power cord makes placement trickier
  • Needs to be refilled every day – Especially since you can’t see how much water is in it
  • Pricey filters that need to be replaced monthly

Our Verdict on the Catit Flower Fountain

Like I’ve mentioned, I’m not a big fan of plastic for hygiene reasons. But the Catit Flower Fountain is better quality than average, doesn’t scratch as easily, and is darn cute to boot.

It’s extremely versatile, colorful, and quiet, too, which makes it a solid top-three choice for my list of the best cat and kitten water fountain choices.

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Two Other Options Worth Mentioning

I looked into over 50 water fountains, but honestly, with the various complaints from other reviewers, personal experience, and the knowledge of what to look for, I didn’t find that many that I’d recommend.

The three above are genuinely the best options, but these two are probably the next best thing, even if they don’t quite cut it for my cats.

#4. Petsafe Drinkwell Multi-tier Pet Fountain – The Best Small Fountain Runner-Up

petsafe drinkwell multi tier fountain

If you’ve got a smaller space you’re working with, this runner-up for best small best pet fountain for cats is the PetSafe Drinkwell Multi-Tier Pet Fountain.

This small water fountain is less desirable in my opinion than the other choices mentioned, but it’s still a reasonable runner-up since it’s well-made.

The Breakdown

  • Materials: BPA-free plastic
  • The Price: $30
  • Quality of Make and Materials: Good
  • Water Capacity: 100 ounces
  • Noise Levels: Noisy
  • Power: Electric
  • Filtered: Dual-cell activated carbon filter

The Positives

This is a good quality fountain that has some great benefits. For one, it’s dishwasher safe. Always a huge plus in my book.

Secondly, it’s moderately attractive, especially for being a no-frills plastic number. It comes in a darker gray that almost resembles a stone look, so it doesn’t scream “cheap plastic monstrosity!” as loudly as some other options.

Thirdly, the PetSafe Drinkwell Multi-Tier has a large enough capacity that you only have to check the levels every other day. I like this medium size that allows the cats to play in the water and drink enough without having to worry about checking it every time I put out food.

The Negatives

The first negative for me on this one is that the plastic construction just isn’t as good as the Catit Flower. It’s more likely to get scratched, which is where that bacteria likes to grow.

This motor is also kind of noisy. For those of you who love a good white noise machine, plop this thing next to your bed and you’re all set!

But anyone would prefer a less splash-centric water fountain, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

Another big issue for me on this one is also that you have to replace the filters pretty often. Each filter is cheap at least, but who wants the extra work?

Finally, the biggest issue of all for me with this one is the shape that makes it difficult to get completely clean. Despite going into the dishwasher, the crevices and corners are difficult to get to, and that means bacteria can build up quickly if you’re not careful.

Our Verdict on the PetSafe Multi-Tier

While it’s not a top-three choice, it is a decent fountain, made by a solid manufacturer that we trust. Overall, it’s a reasonable choice based on the quality of material and manufacturer.

I don’t love that this kind of plastic scratches easily, nor do I love that it needs more maintenance than others. But it will definitely last longer than other brands and models and will add more intrigue to drinking for kitty than a plain old single level fountain or stagnant water bowl.

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#5. PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum – The Best Multi-Cat Fountain Runner-Up

drinkwell platinum cat water fountain

If you’ve got multiple cats calling your house their home, the runner-up suggestion is the Petsafe Drinkwell Platinum. This is a large cat water fountain ideal for homes with multiple pets.

It’s above average in quality, but it’s a bit pricier than most fountains that have similar features. And though it’s not our top choice for this category, it is worth a consider if you’re looking for a mid-priced fountain.

The Breakdown

  • Materials: BPA-free plastic
  • The Price: $48
  • Quality of Make and Materials: Good
  • Water Capacity: 168 ounces – large
  • Noise Levels: Fairly quiet
  • Power: Electric
  • Filtered: Pre-filter to catch debris, activated carbon filter

The Positives

For multi-pet homes and for people who travel a lot, this is a good option. It’s got a huge capacity so you can let it run without much attention for several days.

The free-falling stream is extra attractive to most cats, as it’s more natural than some other designs. The stream is also adjustable so you can customize the rate at which it flows, based on your cats’ needs.

The Negatives

One of the big negatives on this is that despite being dishwasher safe, it’s still pretty hard to clean. The shape makes it difficult to get into the corners and nooks, and that means algae can grow easily.

Plus, when it’s time to set up or clean, there are tons of small pieces that can easily get misplaced.

Other negatives:

  • Tends to be heavy
  • Messy splash zone
  • Pricey compared to similar models

Our Verdict on the PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum

Overall, this is a decent choice for multi-cat homes. It’s got a pretty big capacity, which is great, especially for people with several pets or who travel a bit. It’s not our top choice, but it is a well-made product that will last a while if you maintain it properly.

Plus, my cat loved playing in this one before I replaced it with a different model. At the time, she hated all water, so that was a big win-over for me.

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There are of course other’s out there, including the Pioneer Pet Raindrop or the Drinkwell Pagoda, but we still believe that our choices are the best of the best. The Pioneer Pet Raindrop fountain would likely be pick #6, but we think that’s just too many options, especially when we’ve narrowed it down to just the best-in-class already.


Tips to Get Your Cat to Drink More Water

We’ve taken a solid look at some of the best water fountains on the market. These can help kitty get more hydrated, but I wanted to leave you with some other tips that can also help get Tigger to drink up.

1. The most obvious suggestion is using a kitten water fountain.

The bubbly, flowing stream is more natural feeling to a cat than a potentially stagnant bowl of water sitting on a mat by her food dish.

2. Another option is to have multiple water sources around the house.

If you have a larger house, I’d recommend placing two cat drinking fountains in high-kitty-traffic areas, with a few small bowls elsewhere that kitty frequents.

3. Transition your cat to wet food only.

They naturally wouldn’t eat foods that contain grains and fillers – a soapbox for another day – and wet food naturally has moisture than dry, as implied by their names. Too much reliance on dry food can even lead to urinary tract issues in your cat.

4. Add flavor to your cat’s water.

I don’t mean raspberry fitness flavors from Mio. Instead, think low sodium oyster, clam, or tuna juice in ice cube form. As they melt throughout the day, kitty has a floaty toy and more reason to drink.

5. Let your cat play in the sink.

Sometimes we’re concerned about our cats getting onto the counters. In the kitchen that makes sense. But sometimes cats just want to drink from the faucet. Let that become an okay thing, especially if you can encourage that behavior in the bathroom instead of the kitchen.

Learn More: Find The Best Automatic Cat Feeder For Your Cat

FAQS on Automatic Cat Water Fountains

Should each pet have a separate fountain?

The size of the fountain and your home will determine how many fountains you need. If you have only one pet and a moderately sized home, one fountain may be sufficient.

If you have more than one pet you will need a larger fountain or multiple fountains, especially if you have a large home.

How can I help my cat adjust to a new fountain?

There’s a great step-by-step on Wikihow that can help. But in short, you’ll want to consider a few things.

  • Make sure the fountain is placed where your cat feels safe.
  • Ease your kitty into the use and don’t expect a change all at once. Like all changes, cats will take time getting used to this new intruder in her home.
  • Reward your cat for exploring and drinking from the fountain.
  • Keep the water fresh in the fountain, even if your cat isn’t drinking from it quite yet.

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Emily Parker
 

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!

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