(Written August 2011.)
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.
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).
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.