are water fountains safe for cats

Are water fountains safe? Pet water fountains are safe to use as long as you keep up maintenance. Check the water level daily to ensure your pet has access to fresh water, and because if the fountain ever completely empties, there’s a chance it will burn out.

The Different Kinds of Cat Water Fountain

There are various styles of cat water fountains available to suit your and your cat’s preferences.

Certain fountains prioritize quietness and low profile; they usually feature a ramp that allows water to slide into the basin almost silently, along with a gentle pump. For instance, our testers found that the Pioneer Pet Stainless Steel Raindrop Fountain has a nearly silent pump and produces little splashing noise. It is constructed of premium stainless steel that is dishwasher safe and allows cats to drink from the bubbling stream or the fresh water basin.

There are also cat fountains that mimic the appeal of the bathroom faucet by offering a jet of water that drops into a basin. If you don’t mind splashing sounds, one of the simplest and most attractive fountains is the Pioneer Pet Swan Cat Drinking Fountain. It holds up to 80 ounces of water but doesn’t take up much space. This model is also dishwasher-safe.

Then there are fountains designed for multiple cats or big pet families. They have a large capacity and are meant to reduce water bowl crowding. The Drinkwell 360 Stainless Steel Pet Fountain is a good example: it offers multiple streams of water, an adjustable water flow, and a high-capacity basin that can hold up to a gallon of water. Again, stainless steel is easy to clean and sanitize.

If you haven’t found the ideal fountain yet, check out our list of the top 10 cat drinking fountains, which includes everything from inexpensive ceramic fountains to elaborate models.

How Cat Water Fountains Work: Pros and Cons

Dr. A ten-pound cat, according to Kornreich, requires approximately one cup of water (four ounces for every five pounds of body weight) per day. He notes that most wet foods contain about 80% water. “If you are giving your cat wet food, a lot of that water may be provided in the food,” he says.

However, if your cat only consumes dry food, they will rely on you to give them the water they require. That water may come from a cat water fountain, a bowl, or the bathroom faucet.

What exactly distinguishes a cat water fountain from a standard water bowl?

In theory, a cat’s senses should find a water fountain more fascinating than a water bowl. In some fountains, the water emerges from a high faucet. In others, the water enters a “pond” at the base of the fountain after rising through a bubbler and tumbling down a hill. The sound of the fountain and the movement of the water are meant to draw the cat in and entice them to drink.

are water fountains safe for cats

This suggests, according to some theories, that cats have an innate preference for moving water over stagnant pools, which may contain harmful bacteria. This would have made cats’ wild ancestors safer.

Additionally, the filter keeps debris out of the water, which is easier for picky cats who won’t drink from a water bowl where leaves or fur from other pets have been dragged in from the outside.

A fountain might be more practical from a household perspective than a water bowl. Because of the replaceable charcoal filters that filter out cat hairs, food fragments, dirt, and litter from the drinking water, it requires less cleaning than a water bowl.

But cat water fountains do have some drawbacks.

Think about that bubbling that attracts cats: the sound of the water splashing in certain fountains can be quite loud. So can the continually running water pump. If your fountain is in the basement, this won’t be an issue, but if it’s close to your bedroom, it could be quite bothersome. Some good, quiet fountains that avoid the issue were discovered by our testers.

There’s also maintenance to consider. Although a fountain doesn’t require as much cleaning as an unfiltered water bowl, it still needs to be cleaned thoroughly and on a regular basis to keep biofilms from forming on the surfaces. This cleaning procedure can be more involved than the routine cleanings that a regular bowl needs. Think about purchasing a fountain that can be manually cleaned in the dishwasher as opposed to by hand.

Finally, cat water fountains are a running investment. Once or twice a month, the filter needs to be changed and cleaned once a week. Although replacement filters are inexpensive, the total cost of your fountain will increase if you purchase more than a dozen of them annually.

Dr. Berst is the Above Brand Medical Lead with Zoetis. In this capacity, she supports the veterinary and consumer marketing teams as their medical partner. Heather has participated in veterinary organizations at the state and national levels. She served as Pennsylvania’s delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates and as editor of the quarterly PVMA magazine. She served on the Collaborative Care Coalition board and the Penn Vet Alumni Board. Heather graduated from Southern New Hampshire University in April 2018 with a master’s degree in health communications. She also holds a veterinarian degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Heather worked as a small animal private practice veterinarian before entering the industry, and she still does relief work there. She and her husband, Rich, and their rescue Chinese Crested dog, Dottie, currently reside in Asheville, North Carolina. Elroy is a horse she owns and rides in the jumpers.


Do vets recommend water fountains for cats?

However, cats, by nature, are finicky drinkers with a low thirst drive. This often makes supplying them with the right amount of fresh water a challenge. In this case, water fountains are increasingly advocated by vets as an essential means to ensure feline hydration.

Can you leave a cat water fountain on all the time?

Yes, you can leave a cat water fountain on all the time. Cat fountains are designed to keep water fresh and cool for your cat. They also have a filter in them that keeps the water clean. You should change this filter regularly, as it will get dirty with time.

Is a water fountain better than a water bowl for cats?

We think you’ll like a fountain if: You have multiple cats who share water bowls or a big pet family. You have a cat who’s fussy about debris in their bowl. You don’t mind cleaning a fountain weekly and replacing the filter every two or three weeks.