Cat drinks water from cat fountain

Cats often struggle with a proper level of hydration. Whether that’s because they have an aversion to stagnant water or just because they’re stubborn, we may never know. What we do know is that cat water fountains appeal to cats and while their interest is piqued, they’ll likely drink more; if for no other reason than just because it’s there. That can result in a healthier cat for a variety of reasons; if she’s struggling with her weight, if she is prone to hairballs or even if she just seems lethargic with dehydration.

If you don’t know where to start in your search, though, let us take some pressure off. We reviewed dozens of cat water fountains to identify the best of the best. We looked at all types of filters, variable speeds of water and gravity water dispensers to find something that will best fit your needs.

Top Pick
Drinkwell Avalon Pet Water Fountain
With its sleek and inviting design, the Drinkwell Avalon Pet Water Fountain will entice your cat to stay hydrated.

During our search, the Drinkwell Avalon Pet Water Fountain stood out as the clear winner of our top pick. It not only offers an effective filtration system, but also an accessible design that encourages cats to drink from it.

The 5 Top-Rated Cat Water Fountains

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Our Top PickDrinkwell Avalon Pet Water Fountain4.2
Our Runner Up PickCat Mate Pet Fountain4.4
Best Budget PickPetmate Replendish Gravity Waterer4.5
Best Decorative Cat Water FountainCatit Mini Flower Water Fountain4.1
Best Cat Water Fountain With Adjustable Water FlowPioneer Pet Swan Cat Drinking Fountain4.1

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Our Top Pick: Drinkwell Avalon Pet Water Fountain

The Drinkwell Avalon Pet Water Fountain is a state-of-the-art cat water fountain that your kitty is sure to love. Tested for both health and safety, this water fountain is designed to make drinking water as enticing as possible for your cat. For starters, the simple round design is sleek and inviting, so even the most discerning cat will be curious to give it a go.

It features two levels, including a raised dish to accommodate older or disabled cats. One of the most attractive draw cards of this product is that it not only includes a charcoal filter, but also a foam one. These dual filter systems will to ensure that the water your cat drinks is as clean and tasty as possible, and that dust, hair, or anything else gets in it won’t impact its quality.

Your cat won’t be the only one who will fall in love this product. You’ll no doubt come to appreciate how easy to clean it is. When it’s due for a clean, all you need to do is remove the pump and put the fountain in the dishwasher. In case you needed further convincing about the worthiness of this purchase, keep in mind that it boasts an Amazon rating of 4.2 stars from over 1000 reviews. It’s even an ‘Amazon’s choice’ product, which is a special label given to products sold on Amazon that are highly-rated and well-priced.

Drinkwell Avalon Pet Water Fountain Key Features:

  • 70 ounce capacity
  • Includes carbon and foam filters
  • Dishwasher-safe parts

Our Runner Up Pick: Cat Mate Pet Fountain

Runner Up
Cat Mate Pet Fountain
The Cat Mate Pet Fountain is one that’s sure to leave you impressed.

The Cat Mate Pet Fountain has over 70 ounces of water storage to be pumped through between refills. It uses just 2 watts of power, so you won’t notice a difference on your electric bill and the maintenance is a breeze: replace filter monthly, refill water (roughly) weekly, and wash the bowls in the dishwasher. It couldn’t be easier.

The design of this fountain allows your cat the choice of multiple heights from which to drink, and giving your cat more choices is always a plus for your cat. The ramp that the water flows down is a gentle pressure so as to prevent splashing and, combined with the Isolated Pump System, the water flow relatively noise-free.

This fountain has well over 2,500 reviews on Amazon giving it a rating of 4.1 stars so you can buy with reasonable certainty in your satisfaction from the start. But even without the thousands of people who thoroughly approve, it also comes with a 3-year warranty on the fountain and a 1-year guarantee on the pump.

Cat Mate Pet Fountain Key Features: 

  • Includes 10′ power cord, 1 replaceable carbon filter
  • 6.75″ x 10.5″ x 8.75″
  • 3-year guarantee

Best Budget Pick: Petmate Replendish Gravity Waterer

Best Budget Pick
Petmate Replendish Gravity Waterer
A well-designed gravity water dispenser that won’t break the bank.

Looking for an impressive water fountain that won’t break the bank? The Petmate Replendish Gravity Waterer is it. This product uses gravity to keep your cat in a steady supply of fresh water. The feature that sets this fountain apart from other gravity water dispensers is the filtration system. Most gravity water dispensers don’t include a filter so the water becomes stagnant and becomes dirty quicker. With a charcoal filter, you can count on sediment and chlorine being removed from your cat’s water, making it a tastier supply and that makes it more likely that your cat will stay well-hydrated.

The bottle is made of PET plastic, which is more environmentally sustainable than the PVC plastic most often used and the Microban base will prevent bacteria, keeping it cleaner longer. That, combined with the fact that you can choose up to a four gallon water tank, you won’t need to worry about maintenance on this fountain much at all.

This water dispenser has an astounding number of reviews—over 16,000 in fact—and an impressive Amazon rating of 4.5 stars. And depending on the size you choose, it’s roughly $15; which makes this a very affordable for your cat!

Petmate Replendish Gravity Waterer Key Features:

  • Includes a water filtration system
  • 4 size options; 3 color choices
  • Made from PET plastic

Best Decorative Cat Water Fountain: Catit Mini Flower Water Fountain

Best Decorative Water Fountain
Catit Mini Flower Water Fountain
This cat water fountain not only looks gorgeous, but it also works a treat!

The first thing you’ll surely think when you first lay your eyes on the Catit Mini Flower Water Fountain is how cute it looks. It’s no doubt one of the most eye-catching designs for cat water fountains out there, especially if you’re after one with some personality!

But what makes this product such an enticing choice is that its looks are matched by substance. This is notable as many sweetly designed cat water fountains don’t work all too well. However, you can rest assured that the Catit Flower Water Fountain is built for functionality. Just consider the fact that it features not one, but three water flow settings. This is great news for anyone whose cat tends to be on the pickier side when it comes to water drinking.

Another testament to this product’s functionality is its triple-action filter. This advanced filter is designed to filter debris, remove odor and impurities, and soften the water. Nearly 1000 customers gave it an average rating of 4.1, making it a safe choice for cat owners.

Catit Flower Water Fountain Key Features: 

  • Multiple water flow settings
  • Triple-action filter
  • Made of BPA-free materials

Best Cat Water Fountain With Adjustable Water Flow: Pioneer Pet Swan Cat Drinking Fountain

Best Cat Water Fountain With Adjustable Water Flow

Are you after a reliable cat water fountain which gives you the ability to control its water flow? You won’t be disappointed with the Pioneer Pet Swan Cat Drinking Fountain. Thanks to the inclusion of a handy adjustable water flow switch on the motor, you can select the precise water flow your cat prefers. If your cat likes a stronger flow, simply move the switch towards the ‘+’ sign, while if they prefer a calmer one, move it to the ‘-‘ sign. It’s really that easy!

Other vital features the Pioneer Pet Swan Cat Drinking Fountain offers include its generous 80-ounce water capacity, quiet motor, and excellent charcoal filter. You may also be interested to learn that it can either be plugged into a wall or charged via a USB connection. Considering all of its useful features, we’re not surprised that its earned a solid average rating of 4.1 from over 2900 customers.

Pioneer Pet Swan Cat Drinking Fountain Key Features: 

  • Can adjust water flow at the touch of a button
  • 80-ounce water capacity
  • Charcoal filter

Who Should Buy a Cat Water Fountain

A cat water fountain is especially beneficial if your cat it reluctant to get as much water as she should. If you’re noticing signs of dehydration (lethargy, panting, dry mouth, loss of appetite, etc.) then you may want to consider a water fountain to interest her in drinking. A water fountain could solve several problems caused by dehydration. The saying “curiosity killed the cat” is one that suggests cats are curious creatures and because of that, a source of constant running water will pique her interest and help create a well-hydrated cat.

Conversely, there doesn’t need to be a problem for a water fountain to benefit your cat. Any cat owner who wants to spoil his cat should invest in a water fountain for her. Or if you want to aide in minimizing hairball or blockage prevention, a water fountain could be an excellent method.

Top Pick
Drinkwell Avalon Pet Water Fountain
With its sleek and inviting design, the Drinkwell Avalon Pet Water Fountain will entice your cat to stay hydrated.

Important Features to Consider

A cat water fountain should do several things well. Here’s what to consider when selecting a water fountain for a cat:

  • Carbon filtration. The carbon in a filter is a pure element. That is to say, the only element within activated carbon is, in fact, carbon. That may lead you to think that the carbon filters are the best kind. Keep in mind, however, that carbon is not an especially porous element. It will not absorb contaminants as easily as charcoal filtration. But it doesn’t have anything but carbon in it from the beginning, so you may just want to weigh what exactly you want in a filter.
  • Charcoal filtration. Activated charcoal contains activated carbon but despite common misconception it is not carbon. They aren’t the same. The two terms are so commonly used interchangeably that you may get confused. (And so many the manufacturer, if we’re being candid.) But charcoal will contain other elements besides just carbon; hydrogen and oxygen, in particular. Charcoal is much more porous and it will more easily absorb pollutants. It will filter more than a carbon filter, but starts out with more than just one element.
  • Gravity “fountains.” Gravity water dispensers are often called gravity fountains, but they do not typically include filters or constant running water. They do, however, have a flow of water that will push water out of the tank above (with gravity; hence the name) into a dish your cat can drink. That will allow them access to water for a long period of time and you will not need to change filters or plug it in. So no worrying about your electric bill but you will need to check for more debris and clean it more frequently. It’s a trade off and you’ll need to decide which will work best for your family.
  • Variable speeds. You may find that your cat is hesitant to approach a water fountain that is pouring too quickly, or she may be attracted even more to that. Having the option to change the speed with which your water is filtered and pushed through the fountain will allow you to accommodate your cat even further. (Because if you’re going to spoil her, why not go all out?)
  • Water capacity. If you want to be able to fill your cat’s water and not think about it again for a long period of time then you’ll want to check out water fountains that have a large capacity. If you get one that is a couple liters or more, then you may very well be able to put off refilling for upwards of 2 weeks. And since the water is most likely being constantly filtered, you won’t need to worry about it getting dirty, making high capacity a low maintenance feature.
  • Materials. You may be tempted towards the gorgeous appearance of a porcelain fountain, but keep in mind those come with a pretty hefty price tag. And while you may love the price of the plastic, keep in mind it won’t last as long. The porcelain and plastic are both more likely to break than a metal, but the metal needs to be stainless steel or it will rust or damage over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a cat water fountain and how does it work?

A cat water fountain is a way for your cat to drink water that hasn’t been sitting for long periods of time. It often goes through a filtration system within the fountain and it is pumped through and into a spout of some kind allowing your cat access to it. The fountain will continually run water through it so that your cat has constant access to running water, preventing her from drinking stagnant water. Water moving means it is more likely to remain clean, especially if it is constantly cycling through the filtration system.

Often water dispensers that use gravity to keep a water reserve available to your cat are called fountains, but they aren’t strictly so. They don’t usually have a filtration system nor are they “running” water, but they do use gravity to force water from a large bottle or tank into a dish and as your cat drinks, gravity will refill from the water reserve. It moves some, but it isn’t the same as the fountains that have a water pump.

Do cats like running water?

You may notice that if given the opportunity, your cat will drink from odd places; a water faucet, a hose, or bathtub. Even if they dislike being submerged in water, you may find they come running when you turn on your kitchen sink. For these reasons, the general consensus is that cats do prefer running water. While there is no concrete proof of why, some theories suggest that it’s an evolutionary cause. Stagnant water has more cause for concern, causing more upset stomachs and holding more bacteria and is overall more dangerous in the wild. Therefore, a source of running water was the most preferred among cats’ more wild ancestors and this may be a trait that has carried into domesticated cats, as well.

Is it okay for cats to drink tap water?

It may be okay for your cat to drink from your tap but to know for sure, you’d need to test it. The unfortunate reality is that it’s much safer to always filter the water your cat drinks before she drinks it. That being the case, picking up a fountain that contains a filter seems like a handy way to solve that problem. Most water that comes from a refrigerator door goes through a thorough filter. But even a table top filtered pitcher will remove the harmful ingredients often found in water. Chlorine, lead, arsenic, bacteria and chemicals are all risks for drinking unfiltered tap water and you should consider if you would drink it. If the answer is no, then the answer to whether you should let your cat drink it should be the same.

How do you clean a cat water fountain?

The easiest answer is to read the user’s manual that comes with the fountain. It’s very likely instructions for cleaning that specific fountain are included with your purchase. There may be specifics that vary from product to product, but generally, you will take the fountain apart and hand wash each piece. Filters are usually replaceable and you should replace the filter as is recommended in the instructions (usually between two to four weeks) or when you notice sliminess or debris in your cat’s water.

Other Cat Water Fountains We Reviewed

Top Pick
Drinkwell Avalon Pet Water Fountain
With its sleek and inviting design, the Drinkwell Avalon Pet Water Fountain will entice your cat to stay hydrated.

We looked at 20 other water fountains for cats. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best cat water fountain list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your cat. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing and we’ve grouped them in the following categories for your convenience:

Charcoal Filter Cat Water Fountains

MuMu New Life Large Capacity Cat Drinking Fountain

MuMu New Life Large Capacity Cat Drinking Fountain

Keep your cat’s water supply clean and well stocked with this waterfall style water fountain.

Key Features:

  • Ultra silent submersible pump
  • 2.5L water capacity
  • Ramp waterfall prevent splashing

Cost: $35

PetSafe Drinkwell Avalon Ceramic Dog and Cat Water Fountain

PetSafe Drinkwell Avalon Ceramic Dog and Cat Water Fountain 70 oz

This gorgeous ceramic water fountain will compliment a classy decor and satisfy your cat’s thirst with no problems.

Key Features:

  • 2 color choices
  • 70 oz water capacity
  • Dual free-falling water streams

Cost: $60

Pioneer Pet Raindrop Fountain (Stainless Steel)

Pioneer Pet Raindrop Style Drinking Water Fountain

This is the stainless steel version of the Pioneer product that features in our Top-5. The bubbling brook-style water fountain allows your cat to drink her fresh tasting water and you to run it through the dishwasher when necessary.

Key Features:

  • Stainless steel
  • 96 oz water capacity
  • Dishwasher safe

Cost: $68

Carbon Filter Water Fountains

Catit Design Senses Fountain

Catit Design Senses Fountain

This fountain circulates the water so thoroughly it aerates and cools the water making it extra refreshing for your cat.

Key Features:

  • Water-softening filter
  • 100 oz water capacity
  • >4 watts power consumption

Cost: $25

Catit Fountain

Catit Fountain

This fountain has three different flows to please even your pickiest kitties.

Key Features:

  • 3 flow settings
  • 3L water capacity
  • Hand-wash with natural soap

Cost: $30

Dyvee Cat Drinking Fountain

Dyvee Cat Drinking Fountain

This water fountain comes with five replacement filters, giving it a great bonus for purchase.

Key Features:

  • Adjustable speed
  • 2.5 L water capacity
  • 5 carbon filters included

Cost: $35

Happypapa Cat Fountain Flower Fountain

Happypapa Cat Fountain Flower Fountain

This cat water fountain uses even less power than its peers; with only 1.5 watts of electric used monthly, you won’t notice its impact on your finances at all.

Key Features:

  • 1.6L water capacity
  • 5.9′ power cable
  • 20,000 hours lifetime motor

Cost: $23

Lunvon Pet Fountain Water Dispenser

Lunvon Pet Fountain Water Dispenser

This water fountain has a smart flow technology that will prevent the water fountain from operating at all times. You can set it to run 1-10 seconds on and off for 1-10 seconds in a “Fancy” mode.

Key Features:

  • Mute water pump
  • 9.84″W x 4.35″H
  • 3L water capacity

Cost: $40

OWNPETS Pet Drinking Fountain

OWNPETS Pet Drinking Fountain

If your cat likes both flowing water and the still kind, as well, this water fountain will give her both those choices every time she takes a drink with its multiple levels of water.

Key Features:

  • Multiple levels for drinking water
  • Dual waterfall
  • 3L water capacity

Cost: $45

PetSafe Drinkwell 360 Cat Water Fountain

PetSafe Drinkwell 360 Cat Water Fountain

This circular water fountain will allow you to customize the water spout with five different attachments that make the water flow through anywhere from 1 to 5 streams.

Key Features:

  • Includes 5 interchangeable free falling stream heads
  • 3.8 L water capacity
  • Dishwasher safe

Cost: $30

PetSafe Drinkwell Multi-Tier Dog and Cat Water Fountain

PetSafe Drinkwell Multi-Tier Dog and Cat Water Fountain

This is Amazon’s Choice for Pet Water Fountain and with this many features and classical design, it’s no wonder!

Key Features:

  • 100 oz water capacity
  • Low voltage submersible water pump
  • 2 levels of drinking water

Cost: $26

PetSafe Drinkwell Pagoda Cat Water Fountain

PetSafe Drinkwell Pagoda Cat Water Fountain

This water fountain is a sleek and heavy duty ceramic design making it a compliment to your home’s decor.

Key Features:

  • Top shelf dishwasher safe
  • 70 oz water capacity
  • 4 color choices

Cost: $58

PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum Pet Fountain

PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum Pet Fountain

You can buy this water fountain by itself or with 3 standard replacement filters as well, for virtually no increase in price.

Key Features:

  • 168 oz water capacity
  • Transparent water reserve to see when it needs to be cleaned or refilled
  • Free flowing waterfall style

Cost: $40

PetSafe Drinkwell Seascape Ceramic Cat Water Fountain

PetSafe Drinkwell Seascape Ceramic Cat Water Fountain

This is Amazon’s Choice for Ceramic Pet Water Fountain and with its ball spout, this fountain exudes serenity.

Key Features:

  • 70 oz water capacity
  • 8″L x 9.25″W x 5″H
  • Top shelf dishwasher safe

Cost: $70

PetSafe Drinkwell Stainless Steel Zen Water Fountain

PetSafe Drinkwell Stainless Steel Zen Water Fountain

This waterfall style fountain includes a stainless steel ramp to prevent splashing and minimize water noise.

Key Features:

  • 128 oz water capacity
  • Top shelf dishwasher safe
  • Ultra quiet submersible pump

Cost: $45

Uniclife Pet Water Fountain, Dog Cat Automatic Electric Drinking Bowl with LED Light

Uniclife Pet Water Fountain Dog Cat Automatic Electric Drinking Bowl with LED Light

This cube-designed water fountain for your cat has its water lit up via an LED light so that your cat will be able to get a drink even in the dead of night.

Key Features:

  • LED light for night drinks
  • Made of high quality food-grade BPA free plastic
  • 60 oz water capacity

Cost: $37

YOUTHINK Pet Fountain Ceramic Cat Water Fountain

YOUTHINK Pet Fountain Ceramic Cat Water Fountain

You won’t be able to even tell this fountain is in your home with its ultra-quiet submersible pump.

Key Features:

  • Made of natural ceramic
  • 2.1L water capacity
  • 5.9′ power cord

Cost: $75

Gravity Water Fountains

Old Tjikko Water Dispenser

Old Tjikko Water Dispenser

This cat water “fountain” will keep your cat’s water supply consistent and all you need to do is refill every week or so and clean it when it gets too dirty.

Key Features:

  • BPA food-grade plastic material
  • 1 gallon water capacity
  • 12.2″H x 12.6″D x 9″W

Cost: $20

Petmate Pet Cafe Pet Waterer

Petmate Pet Cafe Waterer

This water “fountain” allows you to move it easily with the convenient cut-outs along the bottom, shaped perfectly to fit your hands.

Key Features:

  • 4 size options
  • 7 color choices
  • Made in the USA

Cost: $15

PetSafe Healthy Pet Water Station

Petsafe Healthy Water Station

This gravity water “fountain” will keep your cat hydrated and your work to accomplish it at a minimum.

Key Features:

  • Bowl is dishwasher safe
  • Reservoir is durable BPA-free plastic; bowl is stainless steel
  • 3 size options

Cost: $20

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Jenny Jarvis