How To Choose A Cat Water Fountain: 5 Important Features for Happy Healthy Kitties

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Are you looking for creative ways to get your cat drinking more water? An irresistible fountain could be the answer. With so many options to choose from, it’s important to know exactly what you’re looking for.

In this guide from Closer Pets, we’ll discuss several important details that help you choose the right fountain fit for your four-legged King or Queen. 👑

Have a home with cats and dogs? No problem! These tips can help with that too!

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How To Choose A Cat Water Fountain

Cat water fountains are a convenient way to give your cat what it wants while also keeping it happy and healthy.

Most vets agree that the majority of cats don’t drink enough. Their desert origins meant they got most of their moisture intake from live prey.

As few cats now hunt in the wild and eat cat food instead, they don’t always get the moisture they need.

A cat water fountain can help with that.

There is a distinct advantage to using a cat water fountain. All animals are naturally attracted to running water, including humans. The instinctive part of the brain knows that still water can be dangerous and running or flowing water is usually cleaner and safer.

A cat water fountain feeds that instinct while encouraging cats to drink more.

But what should you look for when choosing a cat water fountain?

What to look for in a Cat Water Fountain

There are a few things you should look for if you’re considering using a water fountain.

Below are the main things to keep an eye (or ear) out for.

Quiet operation

The main feature of a cat water fountain is that it’s quiet. A noisy pump or loud noise when delivering water is only going to put your cat off drinking and will defeat the object.

Cats will quickly get used to the noise of a pump but finding a quiet model stands a far higher chance of instant acceptance, especially if you have an easily startled kitty.

Most cat water fountains will use a very simple, but reliable, pump mechanism. If you can listen to the pump before buying it, all the better.

But if you’re buying online, like we often do, look for listings that have the “whisper quiet” pump feature. In our home, we’ve had really good luck with this fountain by iPettie.

The only time I hear the pump running is when it’s either due for a cleaning or if it needs to be filled. All 4 of our cats love it! Plus, I love that it’s so easy to clean!

Ceramic or steel bowl

Ideally, the cat water fountain you choose should use a ceramic or stainless steel bowl.

These two materials are hygienic and can be cleaned easily. They are also very resistant to damage.

Any inadvertent scratch will not mar the surface or provide space for bacteria to grow. Cats are quite susceptible to a number of types of bacteria and some can live in water.

A scratch in the bowl can avoid cleaning and give the bacteria space to grow. A ceramic or stainless steel bowl is very scratch resistant, so can avoid that.

Picking a cat water fountain that is easy to clean is important. We thoroughly clean and refresh ours once per week at least. Make sure you choose one that doesn’t make this process complicated.

Here at Closer Pets, our Five-meal and Two-meal automatic feeders come with stainless steel inserts.

Also keep in mind that many “fancy” models may be tougher to clean. I’ve found that ours need cleaning at least once per week to prevent saliva and bacteria build-up. This makes the filters last longer too. Simpler designs simplify cleaning and that saves you time!

Sufficient reservoir for the size of your cat

Size is also important when looking for a cat water fountain.

You want one that’s large enough for your cat(s) to be able to drink for 24 hours without needing it topped up.

If your dog also shares the fountain, you’ll need to make sure it has sufficient capacity to feed everyone’s needs. That’s especially true if you go out to work and leave the animals unattended.

While they can cope for a few hours without water, it isn’t ideal!

cat lying on table
Photo by Min An on

Size or height

As soon as you begin shopping, you’ll quickly find that cat fountains come in all shapes and sizes. You need to find the right size for your cat.

The ideal height will allow your cat to bend slightly to reach the bowl but not have to bend their neck too much or have to reach up.

Most cat water fountains are designed for average cats. If you have kittens or larger cats, you’ll need to choose the right size for its needs.

Whisker fatigue is also a real thing which is why many cats prefer an open-top style to a bowl design.

Type of filtration

In our home, we have well water so we only use bottled spring water in our cat fountains. When we used tap water, the iron and minerals were causing us to replace filters constantly. It was also causing our pumps to fail pretty quickly.

That’s why it’s important to notice what kind of filtration your new fountain has.

Consider these things:

  • How easy will it be to replace the filters?
  • Will you be able to find replacement filters and how much do they cost?

Power source

Finally, the power source is a consideration for most cat water fountains. As the pump needs power, how it gets that is another consideration.

Some fountains are powered by batteries while others are mains powered. While the cat won’t care about the source of power, it may influence where you put the fountain.

Battery operated fountains will also need their batteries changed regularly. A mains powered fountain, less so.

As positioning is key, this can influence the type of fountain you get. It needs to be away from areas that can be damaged by water while remaining accessible to all animals using it.


A cat water fountain is a relatively simple device that can drastically improve your cat’s quality of life. While there isn’t much to choosing one, getting the right tool for the job is important in all areas of life.

Hopefully, this post can help you get the right cat water fountain for the job.

In our home, our kiddos drink a ton of water out of their cat fountain every day and it makes my heart smile every time I see it because I know they’ll be healthier for it.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

  • Do you currently have a cat water fountain? If yes, which is your favorite? If no, do you have any questions?

Thank you for sharing this with your friends & family. I appreciate you!

Looking for a new cat water fountain but not sure what you should be looking for? This quick guide from Closer Pets could help. Click To Tweet

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  1. Great tips. It’s so important to have fresh water for our babies.

    Have a fabulous day and rest of the week, Holly. ♥

    1. Hi Sandee ❤️ I hope you are well, my friend! I agree with you – fresh water is critically important. Our kiddos couldn’t live without their water fountain at this point, I don’t think. They love it!

      Sending you love. Praying your day and week is blessed. Good to hear from you.

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