Pet Water Fountains

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(Written August 2011.)

These are the pet fountains I have tried: Drinkwell Platinum, Petmate Fresh Flow, Cat-It Fresh & Clear (with the globe), Pioneer Big Max, and Cat Mate.

Of these, the only fountain I do not recommend is the Cat-It. I was cleaning it and broke the globe within weeks of bringing it home. The Drinkwell and Petmate fountains were what I had in the house for the longest time, and the cats liked and used them just fine. The problem is that they’re made of plastic, and plastic can develop hairline cracks and hold bacteria, which can make your cats sick. So I got the Big Max, which is made of ceramic. I actually got two of them, with the intention of putting one in the upstairs bathroom and one in the laundry room. The one in the laundry room was fine, but the one in the upstairs bathroom didn’t work out because the hum was just too loud – the upstairs bathroom is across the hall from my bathroom, and even though I wear earplugs at night, I could still hear the hum of the fountain. So I sent that one back and looked around some more, and tried the Cat Mate.

The good thing about the Cat Mate: it’s super quiet. The bad thing about the Cat Mate: it’s made of plastic. The good thing about the Cat Mate: It’s dishwasher safe, so (I hope) any bacteria that get on/ in it is taken care of by the dishwasher; I run each Cat Mate through the dishwasher once a week. The other good thing about the Cat Mate: all the cats like it a LOT. The potential bad thing about the Cat Mate: a review I read (after I’d bought a couple) said that the pumps don’t last more than 8 months or so, and the company doesn’t sell replacement pumps. If that’s true, I won’t replace the Cat Mates, because that’s too much to pay for a fountain that only lasts several months.

And that’s all I can think of at the moment.

Updated, 6/28/12:

While I still like the Cat Mate and didn’t ever have any problems with it, I found that after a while the cats stopped using it. I don’t know if that’s because there was something wrong with the fountain or they just got bored, or what. Last Fall, someone mentioned the Cat-It Fresh & Clear, this one without the globe. I bought one and gave it a try. The cats liked it immediately, and it’s the preferred water fountain for them. At this point, it’s the only fountain I have running in the house. I have ceramic water bowls in other rooms, but the cats will often leave a room where there’s a water bowl to go to the laundry room and drink from the Fresh & Clear. It makes a hum that isn’t terribly loud, but I wouldn’t want it in a room where quiet is key. It’s perfect in our laundry room and would even work in the kitchen, but not in the upstairs bathroom, because I can hear it humming in my room, and it annoys me.

The Fresh & Clear is easy to clean, and I like that it holds a lot of water.

I will often set up a Cat Mate fountain in the foster bedrooms, and they work well enough, so I’m still recommending them with the caveat that your cats might get bored with it after a while (or maybe my cats are just jerks).

Updated, 1/17/14:

I’m still using the Cat-It Fresh & Clear, and the cats are still using it! For some reason, when the fosters get the run of the house and “discover” the fountain, they tend to rest one of their back paws on the edge of the fountain, like so:

It’s not a problem, because the fountain holds enough water that they couldn’t possibly knock it over by doing that, but it’s certainly funny to watch! Also, I went to Amazon to double-check the link and discovered that Cat-It now makes a version that appears to be the same thing, slightly redesigned, for about $10 less, the Cat-It Design Senses Fountain with Water Softening Cartridge. It holds the same amount of water, 100 oz.


Pet Water Fountains — 16 Comments

  1. I have the Big Max and my cats love it. I don’t notice the hum that Robyn did. I love how I can pop the two bowls in the dishwasher. My cats drink a lot more water this way than with a non-fountain water bowl.

  2. I have the Dog-It Fresh & Clear, similar to the Cat-It without the globe, because I have a big dog and a cat. They both took to it immediately and it keeps the cat out of the sink. Easy to clean once a week, one filter to change, and it holds a lot of water.

  3. I had the Cat-It, without the globe, all 7 house cats loved it. One loved it too much.. he would put his arm down in it and pull the center out… over and over. He would hear me put it back, wait for me to leave and run in and pull it out. Harry made a huge mess when he did this. I tried hooking and strapping it down in various ways and that just made it all the more fun. Finally, I boxed it up and sent it to my brother’s cat and she loves it.

  4. I have 2 dogs and 2 cats, and about a month ago got this one ‘Pioneer Pet Stainless Steel Drinking Fountain’ I am Canadian so my links probably are useless to Americans but you can find it on amazon. It goes in the dishwasher, has pretty cheap filter refills. It rattles a bit when it’s getting low and hums a bit but I don’t notice it. It’s SO easy to clean (dishwasher). Ask me again in a year if I still like it but for now I think it’s awesome.

  5. Robyn, it looks like there’s a coding error on that link for the Cat-It fountain. It’s not rendering properly to click on it.

  6. I use the Drinkwell 360. The cats love it. My only complaint is that I have to dismantle it once a week and scrub it down. I must of the grossest water known to man.

  7. I moved and then moved again, so bought a new fountain. I went for another Pioneer model, the raindrop:

    It’s a little smaller than the Big Max and I don’t notice any type of hum, but I do hear the water trickling, which is kind of nice white noise. Again, I love the ceramic ones because they clean so easily in the dishwasher.

  8. I started with the Cat-It Fresh and Clear like Robyn uses. It became a problem, though, when my youngest cat (then a growing kitten) would jump on it, pop the top off, and take it apart. It got water everywhere and she did it every day, more than once if she could manage it. So that fountain got donated to a guy where my husband works and we bought the Drinkwell Platinum, or whatever they might call the most current version of that fountain. Now, this one has worked out great. Kitties can’t open it or knock it over. It’s got a large reservoir and only needs to be filled every two or three days, and that’s with 3 to 5 cats using it every day. It’s got a nice filter system and needs a good cleaning every week or two. Amazon even sold cleaning brushes specially made for this fountain and they work great. I hope this is helpful.

  9. I had a catit that I got for free from a colleague and it worked great for over a year. Then I changed the filter and couldn’t put it back together so I bought a new one. The new one as pictured above in the review has stopped working after a couple of months and there is no way to get in touch with the manufacturer. Very disappointed.

  10. Hello,

    My name is Steven Chalmers and I have created the ideal cat drinking fountain. I call it the AquaPurr. See for details.

    The cat stands on a platform that triggers the flow of water through a spigot. The AquaPurr attaches to a faucet in place of the aerator. The faucet attachment includes a quick disconnect to allow regular use of the faucet.

    It requires no electricity, is never empty, and never needs cleaning.

    Thanks so much and let me know what you think!


  11. We have this one for Lettuce: as he wanted to drink moving water or puddle water or toilet water or OUR water and just not the water in the bowl we put down unless it had just recently been poured! He loves the water fountain, and gets all excited when it’s been cleaned and put back down and turned on. He drinks loads and loads, i he’s nowhere near as interested in water in a bowl that isn’t moving.

    It emits a low hum, and we have it in the hallway and don’t really notice the sound during the day or evening. You have to buy filters and we clean it maybe every week and a bit, depending, and add water regularly. It’s possible to accidentally jog a bit near the pump when cleaning and the water will run sluggishly when started, you just move the little black fin under the pump and it’s fine again.

    He still tries to drink toilet water, but hey ho! 😛

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