Once you know that drinking more water is important for your cat’s health and that water fountains are a great way to encourage your cat to drink more water, the next step is to decide which fountain is right for your cat.
The two main considerations when choosing a make and model are what the cat drinking fountain is made of, and how your cat prefers to drink. We will look at both of these elements in more detail so you can choose the fountain that is right for your cat.
Cat Water Fountain Construction
Cat water fountains are either made of plastic, stainless steel or ceramic. There are even differences within the plastic made fountains, as some are made from cheap plastics that scratch easily and others of better quality, higher grade plastics that are more durable.
In general, we strongly encourage you to buy a fountain that is made of either ceramic or stainless steel, and to avoid fountains that are made of plastic. All cat water fountains have some plastic construction, usually around the pump or motor housing. The important thing is to avoid fountains that have plastic bowls or drinking surfaces; anywhere your cat’s skin may touch it. There are several reasons for this.
Firstly, some cats can have severe skin reaction to plastics. It is not clear if this is from a direct allergy to the plastic itself, or if it’s from the bacterial and fungal toxins that can be harbored in scratches in the plastic. In either case, reactions can range from mild irritation of their skin, generally on the chin (known as chin acne), to deep infections requiring cleansing and antibiotics.
Secondly, it is almost impossible to avoid scratches developing in the plastic. Higher grade plastics (found in the more expensive plastic fountains) are more resistant to scratching, but eventually your thorough cleaning will produces micro-scratches, allowing a foothold for bacterial growth. Mold and bacterial growth can produce off smells and odors which can cause your cat to avoid the fountain.
There is no point buying a fountain for the health of your cat if it causes health issues, or your cat avoids drinking from it.
Cat Drinking Fountain Design
The next, and equally important consideration, is the design of the fountain. There are 2 main types of fountains, those that have water flowing down the side of the fountain to meet a large pool (such as the Pioneer Pet models), and those that have a falling stream design, similar to water flowing from your sink or bathtub faucet (Drinkwell 360 models).
Does your cat prefer to drink out of puddles, large bowls or flat surfaces? If so, choose a model with a large pool, such as the Pioneer pet models, available in both ceramic and stainless steel. However if your cat is always on your counter or tub begging for you to turn the on the faucet, the Drinkwell 360 model in stainless steel is for you.
Considerations for multiple cat households
Many people have more than one cat and those cats may have different drinking preferences. If you have one cat that loves the faucet and another that loves drinking from flat surfaces, unfortunately, there isn’t a model made of ceramic or stainless steel that will be right for both your cats. For the health of all your cats, we would encourage you to purchase a ceramic or stainless steel model of each type. If you absolutely can’t do that, then the Drinkwell Platinum model may be a reasonable compromise. Although it is made of high-grade plastic, it is still plastic so bear that in mind if your choose this fountain.
Consider the Drinkwell 360 in stainless steel if your cat loves drinking from the faucet or bathtub. Choose a Pioneer Pet Raindrop Design fountain if your cat prefers to drink from flat surfaces.
If at all possible, for the heath of your cat and for the freshest, cleanest water, always choose a fountain made of ceramic or stainless steel.