If you’ve ever wondered why your cat turns up her nose at the freshly filled water bowl you offer, but has no issue with drinking directly out of the tap — or even the toilet— you’re not alone. A fussy cat’s love of running water can become problematic, however, when his human has other things to do besides turning the faucet on and off all day. A good solution? A cat water fountain, of course! These little contraptions provide a fresh supply of clean running water all day long — and pets just adore them.
Why do cats like running water?
Believe it or not, cats actually have a perfectly scientific, biological reason for their finicky drinking behavior. Among other reasons, their natural instincts may be alerting them that stagnant water can be unsafe, according to Dr. Deb Greco, an internal medicine specialist and feline expert, who spoke to Vet Street on the topic.
Furthermore, hunching over in order to eat or drink means turning their backs to the rest of the household, making them vulnerable to any potential dangers that may be lurking just around the corner. “It’s hard for cats to get water, because they can’t really see still water well, and they may feel vulnerable sitting at a bowl, especially if it’s in a corner, so they have their back to other cats who might jump on them,” Greco explained.
In addition to those jungle instincts, running water appeals to a feline’s keen sense of hearing, since it’s easier for them to find. It’s also cooler and just tastes better than water that has been sitting out getting warm and dusty all day.
Why use a cat water fountain?
It’s important to keep a cat interested in his or water supply, as dehydration can lead to serious health problems. And water fountains don’t just offer felines a source of the running water they love so much; they also inhibit the growth of bacteria, thanks to its constant flow. These devices also come with filters to remove unpleasant tastes and odors, and wide drinking surfaces that won’t irritate your four-legged friend’s whiskers.
We searched high and low for the best water fountains to keep your kitties happy and hydrated. Keep scrolling to shop our picks for the best cat water fountain!
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PetSafe Drinkwell Sedona
Where to buy: $84.95, Walmart
This attractive pet fountain, which features a ceramic tower and a clear, impact-resistant plastic bowl, is a hygienic way to make sure that your pet is getting enough water. The Drinkwell Sedona Water Fountain is whisper-quiet and easy to clean — just pop it in the dishwasher to get it sparkling!
“The water in the fountain stays clear and the motor is so quiet! They love it and so do I!" wrote one satisfied buyer.
iPettie Tritone Ceramic Pet Drinking Fountain
Where to buy: $66.99, Amazon
As Amazon’s choice for best ceramic cat water fountain, the iPettie Tritone Ceramic Pet Drinking Fountain is made from high-quality natural ceramic that is eco-friendly and non-toxic. It also has a triple free-falling design from which streams create more oxygen, enticing Fluffy to drink more and giving you less to worry about.
Beacon Pet Stainless Steel Cat Water Fountain
Where to buy: $28.99, Amazon
If you’re frequently away from home and worry about your pets running out of water, Beacon Pet's fountain is the way to go: This device can safely store enough water for at least a few days. It’s made from BPA-free stainless steel — a notoriously strong, wear-and-tear resistant material with anti-bacterial properties — and features three water-flow settings. Better still, it comes with three replacement filters and a non-slip silicone mat.
“I particularly like the stainless-steel plate through which the water circulates," one buyer gushed. "It just looks so much cleaner, overall. I highly recommend this pet water fountain!”
Veken Pet Fountain
Where to buy: $26.99, Amazon
Cats are notoriously startled by loud sound (hence the phrase “scaredy cat”), so the last thing you need is a noisy water fountain that will put them off from drinking. Enter the Veken Pet Fountain— a low-consumption, durable, and totally silent water dispenser fountain that cats will adore drinking from.
"This particular fountain was a very good choice because it is completely silent," explained one customer. "Even the water makes no splash as it falls. Its silence is the reason my cat trusts it and drinks from that fountain exclusively.”
PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum 1-Gallon Water Fountain
Where to buy: From $34.95, Amazon
If you have a large feline, look no further than the PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum water fountain, which can hold a whole gallon of water! Its extra-large, built-in reservoir means less filling for you, and its carbon water filter, which ensures the water it stores won't become icky and stagnant, means more delicious H20 for your cat.
One reviewer noted that this machine's capacity was saving her lots of hard work, writing, "I used to fill a very large plastic bowl up with water and the cats would always pull it this way and that way to be able to see where the water was, which caused water to go everywhere. Now with the fountain, the water is constantly moving so nobody has to stick their paws in it… I only have to fill it every three days or so."
Epicka Sprout Pet Fountain
Where to buy: $25.99, Amazon
As our fluffy little companions get on in age, it’s more important than ever that they stay hydrated in order to avoid common urinary tract infections that are prevalent in cats — especially older ones. However, UTIs aren’t the only issues older cats may have when it comes to drinking enough. If their hearing or eyesight has deteriorated, they may need a little extra help finding their water. The Epicka Sprout Pet Fountain has a convenient LED light and a soft, soothing, trickling water sound so that your pet can always find its way to it.
“[This fountain] creates the ripples [my cat] needs to see where the water is. The night light is great, because she drinks all of the time."
PetSafe Drinkwell 360 Multi-Pet Fountain
Where to buy: $58.95, Amazon
This stainless-steel pet fountain from PetSafe has up to five free-falling individual streams that make it ideal for multiple pets, since they can all drink from it at the same time without getting in each other’s way.
“This pet fountain is the best ever,” wrote one excited reviewer. “I love that there are multiple long streams of water coming from the top, so three cats can drink water at the same time if they want to… This is a great product. Highly recommended for thirsty cats who need to flush their kidneys regularly.”
Ruff 'n Ruffus Cat Water Fountain
Where to buy: $14.99, Amazon
The Ruff 'n Ruffus Cat Drinking Water Fountain is an automatic water dispenser that comes with three flow settings, an easy-to-clean durable pump, a free filter, and a silicone mat — all for less than $20! It’s noise-free, made from BPA-free material, and has a multi-stage filtration system for clean and healthy agua. Score!
LavoHome Premium Pet Fountain
Where to buy: $17.95, Walmart
If you're looking to reduce the amount of clutter in your home, try this integrated water fountain and food bowl from LavoHome. This handy bowl can keep your pet watered — and fed! — for the spectacular price of less than $18.
“It not only gives my little Buddy a fresh supply of water at all times,” wrote one reviewer. “[He] likes that his food is right there next to his water bowl. The food bowl lifts out easy, and because of the design of the food dish, it makes a great scoop."
Premier Pet Automatic Water Fountain
Where to buy: $23.99, Walmart
The multi-tiered levels in Premier Pet's automatic water fountain give your cat so many drinking options, even the fussiest of felines will gravitate toward one of its streams. It can hold up to 100 ounces of fresh, filtered water and is circulated through an activated carbon filter, removing impurities, bad taste, and odor. Its elevated bowl is also a great solution for senior or arthritic pets.
“I was a vet tech for years and have used my share of pet fountains," one satisfied Amazon buyer wrote. "This one is phenomenal and I'm so glad I found it. ... I've seen a definite increase in their water consumption."