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If you're a cat owner, you likely already spoil your feline friend with plenty of interactive toys, cat houses, and stylish cat collars. But what about the latest tech? From cat DNA tests to the Litter Robot to automatic pet feeders and cat water fountains, there are plenty of tools to keep your cat healthy and happy and make your life easier, too. Cats are fairly self-sufficient creatures — cat parents know that with a bowl of dry food and a clean litter box, they should be fine if left alone while you're at work for the day or even if you go away overnight. But if your kitty has ever knocked over their water bowl or refused to drink still water for any number of reasons, you might be concerned about whether they're really consuming enough water throughout the day.
You may catch your cat pawing at their water bowl to create some form of movement, and you might’ve thought they were simply playing with it. The truth is, regardless of cat breed, they are naturally drawn to and generally prefer to drink moving water. According to Dr. Maureen K. Murithi, a veterinarian who works with Hepper.com, "cat water fountains are a valuable asset to cat parents, since cats are not so inclined to drink water. Cat fountains encourage cats to drink water; they work to stimulate the cat’s animal instinct to drink running water, similar to streams and rivers in the wild."
The best cat water fountains to buy in 2023
Dr. Chyrle Bonk, a veterinarian working with ExcitedCats.com, reminds us that it can be a struggle to get your cat to drink enough water, which isn’t a positive when it comes to preventing health conditions like diabetes and kidney disease. "Cat water fountains can really increase a cat's water consumption because they filter the water to ensure your kitty always has fresh, clean water available," she explains. "Drinking enough water can go a long way in keeping a cat healthy."
With these benefits in mind, you may be ready to add a cat water fountain to your home. Keep reading for all of our top picks, plus helpful expert tips and answers to FAQs, so you can feel confident about choosing the right water fountain for your cat.
What to look for when shopping for cat water fountains
✔️ Size for your space: Cat water fountains are pricier than your ordinary water bowl, so it’s important to understand your options. Dr. Murithi suggests considering the size of the fountain and where you plan to put it, because some may take up a lot of space.
✔️ Low noise: “Opt for fountains that don't make a lot of noise. Noisy ones may deter cats and can become a nuisance,” Dr. Murithi says. “You may want one with a quiet motor for more skittish cats as well,” Dr. Bonk agrees.
✔️ Filter options: “Opt for fountains that contain filters that help in trapping toxins and impurities, making the water safer to drink,” says Dr. Bonk. Dr. Murithi also notes that filters in water fountains help to trap chemicals, which can predispose cats to fewer infections. Some fountains come with one or more filters to get you started, while others are sold separately. Consider how often you'll need to replace them and how accessible or costly the replacement filters are before making your selection.
- Will all cats love a water fountain? Cats are fickle. Some might love it, while others might be skeptical. “Either the noise or the movement might be scary, so if you have a more timid cat, a water fountain might not be the best option,” Dr. Bonk says. That being said, Dr. Murithi points out that fountains may improve the taste and aroma of the water, which could make cats want to drink more, especially in the summer. They also keep water cooler and more oxygenated than standard water bowls.
- What type of materials should you consider? According to Dr. Murithi, plastic cat water fountains might harbor a lot of bacteria and can be a source of allergies. Stone and wood, on the other hand, can hold onto odors. Stainless steel and ceramic materials are best as they are easy to clean and are hygienic.
- Are cat water fountains easy to clean? “They can be difficult to clean, especially if bulky,” explains Dr. Murithi. “This can lead to a build-up of bacteria, especially in the filtering system.” So while you may not have to constantly refill a water bowl, you will need to clean your water fountain regularly inside and out.
- Will cats play with the water fountain? The short answer is, maybe. “Cats may see the fountain as a toy and splash water everywhere making it a bit messy,” Dr. Murithi warns. Hey, at least they'll be hydrated!
Ysolt Usigan is a lifestyle writer and editor with 15+ years of experience working in digital media. She has created share-worthy content for publishers Shape, What To Expect, Cafe Mom, TODAY, CBS News, HuffPo, The Bump, Health, Ask Men, and Best Gifts. A working mom of two, her editorial expertise in parenting, shopping, and home are rooted in her everyday life.
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