Best Cat Water Fountain: Top 5 Fountains to Keep Your Cat Hydrated

Cat Fountain

Our Review Process

Our reviews are based on extensive research and, when possible, hands-on testing. To stay objective and avoid biases, we don’t accept free products or write sponsored posts. Each time you make a purchase through one of our independently-chosen links, we’ll receive a percentage of the proceeds. Read More here.

The best cat water fountains provide fresh running water for a week or more, employ smart filtration systems, don’t have a lot of fiddly parts, and are a cinch to clean.

After hours of research and hands-on testing, we’ve chosen the Petkit Eversweet 2 as the overall best cat water fountain you can buy. With helpful indicator lights, dishwasher-safe construction, quiet operation, and a three-level filtration system, the Petkit Eversweet 2 is a smart, efficient fountain.

But it’s not the best option for everyone. We bought and tested five water fountains and identified where each one’s strengths and weaknesses lie. Whether you’re focused on budget, need a stainless steel fountain to fight acne, or have both dogs and cats in the home, there’s something here for you.

Quick Look at Our Top Picks:

ImageProductFeatures
aac-table__image

Top Pick

Petkit Eversweet 2
  • Weight: 2.2 lbs
  • Dimensions: 6.3 x 7.7 x 7.7 inches
  • Water Capacity: 68 oz
  • Filtration: Prefilter, carbon, foam
  • Price: Check
View On Amazon
aac-table__image

Runner Up

Catit Flower Fountain
  • Weight: 2.2 lbs
  • Dimensions: “8.3 x 8.3 x 7.3”
  • Water Capacity: 100 oz
  • Filtration: Carbon
  • Price: $26.99
View On Amazon
aac-table__image

est Stainless Steel Water Fountain

Pioneer Pet Raindrop Stainless Steel Pet Drinking Fountain
  • Weight: 2.5 lbs
  • Dimensions: “11.5 x 9 x 4.5”
  • Water Capacity: 60 oz
  • Filtration: Prefilter, carbon
  • Price: $67.70
View On Amazon
aac-table__image

Best for Multiple Pet Homes

PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum
  • Weight: 4.3 lbs
  • Dimensions: ““15.9 x 10.6 x 10.5
  • Water Capacity: 168 oz
  • Filtration: Prefilter, carbon
  • Price: $47.95
View On Amazon
aac-table__image

Budget Option

Cat Mate Pet Fountain
  • Weight: 1 lb
  • Dimensions: 6.75 x 10.5 x 8.75 in
  • Water Capacity: 70 oz
  • Filtration: Prefilter, carbon
  • Price: $29.95
View On Amazon

Why buy a cat water fountain?

It can be a struggle to keep cats hydrated—dry diets and a low thirst drive convene to make cats under-hydrated and prone to urinary tract crystals and other complications of inadequate water intake. When you add on the fact that many cats view their water bowls as dirty, stagnant puddles, chronic dehydration becomes almost inevitable.

Water fountains are one solution to the feline dehydration problem.

They oxygenate the water, making it taste fresher than water in a bowl and encouraging your cat to drink more. Secondly, they make life easier for you. Instead of refilling the bowl once a day, you’ll only have to refill your cat’s water fountain once every week or two.

What a fantastic little machine, right? A water fountain keeps your cat’s water cleaner, encourages him to drink more, and cuts back on the amount of time you spend cleaning and filling a water bowl. But water fountains aren’t going to work for every cat.

Signs that your cat might appreciate a water fountain include drinking from the toilet or bathroom faucet and playing with streams of water. Remember, also, that water fountains pack the most punch for cats who eat dry food. Cats on a strictly canned or otherwise high-moisture diet may get all—or almost all—the water they need from their food.

Here’s how we chose the top five cat water fountains on the market.

Before testing out our five recommendations, we spent hours researching cat water fountains, establishing what they do, why you might want one, and what separates bad fountains from good ones.

In the end, we found several qualities that are essential to the best cat water fountains.

  • The best cat water fountains are sturdy and long-lasting. Your cat shouldn’t be able to knock over the fountain and spill water on the floor. Nor should the fountain be made from flimsy materials that break after a couple of months. We looked for water fountains that were made from robust materials, well-designed, and which could withstand a few bumps without toppling.
  • They’re easy to disassemble for cleaning. You’ll want to wash your cat’s water fountain once every couple of weeks. The best ones make this chore as easy as it can be. We looked for fountains that had relatively simple designs, didn’t have a lot of parts that could accumulate dirt, and were easy to break down when it’s time to clean. Ideally, they’re dishwasher-safe so that you can pop them into the washer and know you’re getting a complete clean.
  • They’re made from hygienic materials. Because they’re non-porous and less likely to capture bacteria, stainless steel and ceramic are the cleanest materials for water fountains. Other materials—namely plastic—may collect bacteria, promote chin acne, and need to be cleaned more frequently.
  • They have a good carbon filter and prefilter. All water fountains contain a carbon filter, which captures odors and small particles. Most also feature a prefilter, which captures larger debris before it can reach the carbon filter and pump. By protecting the filter and pump, prefilters help to extend the life of your water fountain.
  • The best water fountains are quiet and unobtrusive. We looked for water fountains with a reputation for quiet operation without a lot of motor noise.

Based on those criteria, we narrowed down our options to five water fountains that consistently received great customer reviews, were reasonably priced, and had sturdy, reliable designs. We selected the fountains independently with no input from the companies that sell them.

Our top five water fountains were the Petkit Eversweet 2, Catit Flower Fountain, Pioneer Pet Raindrop, PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum, and Cat Mate Fountain. 

After the fountains arrived, I subjected them to a series of tests.

Cat Water Fountain Review 004

Ease of Assembly

I ran a timer while assembling the water fountains, tracking how long it took to get each one up and running. In addition to tracking the assembly time, I took note of how many parts were involved and the clarity of the assembly instructions.

On average, the water fountains took two minutes and thirty seconds to assemble, fill, and start. The Cat Mate had the quickest assembly at one minute and forty-four seconds, while the PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum took over seven minutes to set up—it took a couple of splashy trips to fill the reservoir and bowl.

Filtration

Water Fountain Cleaning 063

After they were assembled, I tested the water fountains’ particle filtration ability, dropping pinches of cat hair into the bowl of each. After letting them run overnight, I checked to see how much of the hair had been captured in the filters and how much reached the main filter.

The Petkit Eversweeet 2, PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum, and Cat Mate all performed decently in this test, capturing almost all of the hair in the prefilter before it could reach the carbon filter. Since the Catit Flower Fountain doesn’t have a prefilter, the hair eventually stuck to the carbon filter. The Pioneer Pet Raindrop was the outlier in this test. After running all night, the fountain looked the same as it did at the beginning of the test—the hair was still floating in the drinking bowl.

In addition to testing the fountains’ ability to capture hair, I tested their carbon filters by dropping peppermint extract into the water and waiting for the filters to neutralize the taste and odor. All of the water fountains performed well in this test, eliminating the mint taste and smell within a few hours.

Maintenance Costs

All of our water fountains cost between $25 and $48, but their maintenance costs varied widely based on the prices of their respective filters.

Our test was limited to a few days and I wasn’t able to experience filter replacement and operating costs over time, so I did a little research to determine how much it would cost to maintain each water fountain over time.

Most carbon filters need to be replaced once a month, adding up to typical annual costs between $9.33 and $40. In fact, our most expensive option—the PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum—would likely be the most economical over time.

Replacement costs break down as follows:

  • Petkit Eversweet 2 – $40 a year in normal mode and $13.59 in smart mode
  • Catit Flower Fountain – $31 – $62 per year
  • Pioneer Pet Raindrop Fountain – $26.97 – $53.94 annually
  • PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum – $9.33 – $18.66 per year
  • Cat Mate Water Fountain – $38.85 – $77.70 per year

How often you need to buy a new carbon filter varies based on the quality of the prefilter, so a unit with a poorly-designed or nonexistent prefilter may translate to more frequent filter replacement.

Operating Noise

I ran each of the fountains one-by-one, taking note of their noise output. I listened for a motor hum and any splashing sounds. The sound of the Eversweet 2 and Cat Mate fountains was almost imperceptible, while the Catit and Pioneer Pet fountains both hummed faintly as they ran. Though still quiet, the PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum was the loudest of the bunch, producing a distinct hum that you could hear from across the room. It was also the only water fountain with noticeable water noise.

Cat Appeal

I enlisted the help of my two cats, Wessie and Forest, to evaluate the appeal of the five water fountains. The cats showed some curiosity—Wessie seemed particularly interested in the Petkit Eversweet 2 and gave it a cautious nose-bonk—but neither of them took a sip during the duration of the test. These cats eat a high-moisture diet and seldom drink water anyway, so this shouldn’t count against the water fountains.

Ease of Cleaning

cat water fountain cleaning 1

After running them for a couple of days, I broke down each of the water fountains and, if possible, put them into the dishwasher. I took note of how easy it was to take apart each fountain and how well each one fit into the dishwasher. If there were any parts that weren’t dishwasher-safe, I took note of how easy it was to handle and clean them by hand.

Best Cat Water Fountains: Our Top 5 Picks Reviewed

Now that we’ve gone over the testing process, let’s discuss the merits of each water fountain individually.

Overall Best: Petkit Eversweet 2 Review

Petkit Eversweet 2

Check Price

The Petkit Eversweet 2 is more expensive than most small water fountains, but its smart features aim to make it a cost-efficient long-term investment. When in Smart Mode, the unit uses a light sensor to determine whether it’s day or night. When the Eversweet decides that it’s night time, it reduces the water frequency. By slowing down during low-demand times of day, the Petkit Eversweet 2 manages to cut back on energy consumption, pump wear, and filter usage.

In conjunction with the Petkit Eversweet 2’s three-level filtration system, this energy management system allows the filters to last longer than those in most water fountains. If used in Smart Mode, you’ll have to replace the carbon filter once every three months. Most water fountains recommend filter replacement once every two to four weeks.

This boxy 68-ounce water fountain packs a lot of features into a small body and, provided that you don’t have several cats or dogs guzzling water, it should be large enough to keep your fur family hydrated for a week or more between refills.

With indicator lights letting you know when the water is low and when it’s time to change the filter, this is a helpful little device that makes water fountain management easy.

When it’s time to wash the Petkit Eversweet 2, it’s easy to pull apart the nested components and pop the plastic parts into the dishwasher.

What We Liked:

  • Features three filters for superior longevity and water freshness
  • Easy to disassemble and clean in the sink or dishwasher
  • Indicator lights tell you when the water is low and when it’s time to change the filter
  • The attractive, boxy design fits into a modern decor scheme

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Doesn’t have any adjustable flow control or varied flow functionalities
  • Small capacity may not be enough for every home

Runner-Up: Catit Flower Fountain Review

Catit Flower Fountain

Check Price

The fountain’s easy assembly, whimsical design, and low price have made the Catit Flower Fountain a perennial favorite among cat guardians.

The water fountain has a generous 100-ounce water capacity and is easy to assemble. After you fill the bottom bucket with water, insert the filter disk and waterfall attachments, then start it up. Depending on how you adjust the center flower, the fountain can create free-falling streams, gentle bubbles, or calm streams.

Though it’s not noiseless, the Catit Flower Fountain is a quiet unit. The motor produces a faint, almost imperceptible hum.

By virtue of its plastic construction, the fountain isn’t as hygienic as a ceramic or stainless steel unit. Though it’s easy to disassemble and easy to clean by hand, Catit doesn’t say the fountain is dishwasher-safe. Many customers, however, say they’ve successfully cleaned it in a dishwasher.

According to some customer reviews, the filter has a tendency to get dirty fast. The carbon filter is seated right under the waterfall top, exposing it to any debris and hair that drops in. With no prefilter to catch large particles, everything goes straight to the carbon filter. During our hair test, the Catit fountain was the only one to catch hair on the carbon filter. Though it’s the cheapest fountain on the list, its exposed carbon filter needs to be replaced frequently, adding up to at least $30 in annual filter replacements.

The water fountain isn’t the sturdiest on the market, so it’s not the best option for particularly rowdy homes. The top of the fountain sits on top of the water reservoir without anything holding it in place. This means that if you have dogs or active cats, they can easily topple the fountain or knock off the top in the heat of playtime.

What We Liked:

  • Large water capacity allows you to refill less often
  • Adjustable flow cap allows you to create varied drinking experiences for your cat
  • Cute, colorful design makes it a fun addition to your home
  • At just over $26, this fountain is a good value for the money
  • Popular and well-loved by cat guardians

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Not the sturdiest water fountain on the market
  • Doesn’t have the most robust filtration system

Best Stainless Steel Water Fountain: Pioneer Pet Raindrop Stainless Steel Pet Drinking Fountain Review

Pioneer Pet Raindrop

Check Price

When hygiene is a priority, stainless steel water fountains like this one are your best option. Compared to plastic, stainless steel is less likely to collect bacteria and other contaminants. When it gets scummy, the fountain is a cinch to disassemble and safe to pop into the dishwasher, making cleaning almost effortless.

Compared to the white or gray plastic of the other fountains on this list, the Pioneer Pet Raindrop tends to show dirt more easily. After just hours of use, I noticed smudges and smears on the high-gloss surface.

This elegant, low-slung water fountain has two drinking areas—a freshly-aerated pool and a bubbling river. It’s one of the smallest fountains on the list, carrying 60 ounces of water. This is plenty enough for one cat, but if you’d like a larger fountain, consider Pioneer Pet’s 96-ounce raindrop fountain.

Of the fountains on this list, the Pioneer Pet Raindrop is one of the most streamlined and easiest to assemble. The carbon filter and pump are built into a single compact unit that sits on the floor of the fountain. Suction cups hold the unit to the bottom and help to ensure that the pump lines up with the top of the fountain.

What We Liked:

  • Features a carbon filter to keep the water tasting and smelling fresh
  • Made from easy to clean, hygienic stainless steel
  • Elegant design

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Lacks adjustable flow control
  • Shows dirt quickly

Best for Multiple Pet Homes: PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum Review

PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum (1)

Check Price

This one is a classic: it has over 8,500 reviews on Amazon and is consistently ranked as one of the best water fountains you can buy.

The water fountain has a huge 168 oz water capacity, allowing you to use it for long periods of time without refilling. It’s a good option for multiple pet homes in which multiple animals share a single water fountain.

It scores points with its adjustable flow control and the appeal of free-flowing water. Cats who love to drink from a running tap will appreciate the free-falling stream and others will prefer to drink from the lower basin. The water fountain features a prefilter to capture large particles and a carbon filter to remove unwanted tastes and odors from the water.

This water fountain is made from BPA-free plastic – less hygienic than its stainless steel or ceramic counterparts. It’s safe to wash it in the dishwasher on the top shelf. While its dishwasher-safe design makes it easy to clean in theory, the unit’s oddly-shaped large parts are a little bit tricky to pull apart and may not fit well in your dishwasher.

Another drawback of this water fountain is its construction and appearance. It feels cheap as soon as you pull it out of the box, with loosely-fastened parts that rattle with every touch. For a water fountain that costs almost $50, we’d prefer sturdier plastic, better construction, and more attractive design.

What We Liked:

  • Appealing free-falling water stream
  • Large water capacity
  • Has a dual filtration system to keep water fresh and the pump running smoothly
  • Adjustable flow control

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Plastic construction feels and looks cheap
  • The shape of the parts makes handling, filling, and cleaning a minor challenge

Budget Option: Cat Mate Pet Fountain Review

Cat Mate

Check Price

This water fountain is one of the most affordable choices on this list and an all-around good option for budget shoppers. It’s the only water fountain on this list with a 3-year warranty, giving you peace of mind in case something goes wrong years down the road.

It’s made from BPA-free plastic but doesn’t have the robust feel of the Eversweet 2 or the Catit Flower Fountain. Instead, the plastic is lightweight and slightly flexible.

It has a compact square design with several different levels and drinking stations. Water cascades down from the top bowl into a second level, then tumbles down a ramp into the bottom basin. The ramp reduces splashing and reduces water noise. Speaking of noise, this is one of the quietest water fountains we’ve tried. The motor produces a faint, almost imperceptible, hum, while the water makes barely a sound.

The Cat Mate fountain has a carbon filter to minimize odors, plus a prefilter that captures larger debris. In our hair test, the Cat Mate’s prefilter worked extremely well, collecting the cat hair before it could reach the carbon filter and pump inside.

Of the water fountains on this list, the Cat Mate is the easiest to assemble and break down. In our tests, it took just one minute and thirty seconds to get the Cat Mate set up and running. With just two plastic parts and almost effortless disassembly, this water fountain is a breeze to break down and wash. It’s dishwasher-safe and its moderately-sized square pieces fit easily in the dishwasher.

With a 70-ounce water capacity, this fountain is on the smaller side, but it’s large enough to satisfy the needs of most cat-only households.

What We Liked:

  • Carbon filter eliminates odors and bad tastes
  • Multiple drinking areas for a varied experience
  • Extremely easy to set up, disassemble, and clean
  • Safe to clean in the dishwasher
  • Has a longer warranty than the other products on this list
  • Adjustable water flow

What We Didn’t Like:

  • May not have a large enough water capacity for every home

About the author


Mallory Crusta is a writer and adventurecat enthusiast on a mission to make cats’ lives extraordinary. She’s one of the founders of Wildernesscat – a site for happy, healthy, and adventurous cats who are fueled by nature. Visit Wildernesscat for radically natural cat nutrition, home remedies, and lifestyle inspiration.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *