Why You Should Have a Cat Fountain


I’ve read varying explanations for the reason why some cats seem to prefer running water. Most cat experts say they perceive it as fresher and more likely to be a safe source of water. Some cats, apparently, won’t drink anything but water flowing from a tap.

While cats are desert creatures they still need water. For our cat’s wild ancestors rodent blood (yum!) provided supplemental hydration. The ideal diet for a cat would be a mouse a day, but we’d get in trouble with the PETA folks if we started a mouse farm at the Root Simple compound. So we’ve got to get them to drink water. Our two cats drink happily from our cat fountain and from bowls of fresh water. We try to have both on hand to encourage them to drink. Our cats get wet food in the morning and dry food in the evening. The wet food provides some hydration and the dry food helps keep their teeth clean.

Encouraging them to drink water is where a cat fountain comes in handy. But, in the ultimate of “first world problems,” most cat fountains are ugly, resembling those plastic things you throw cigarette butts in:


And we don’t want to encourage our cats to smoke:


But I digress. Let’s get back to the cat fountain.

We found an attractive cat fountain several years ago made by ceramicists Keith Davitt and Jackie McKannay whose products are available on Etsy. I don’t think they still make the exact same model we have but they sell plenty of other handsome fountains. I clean out the pump twice a week and change the water frequently.

The pump uses a small amount of electricity and costs just $1.29 a year to run. You need to be careful when you remove the pump from the bowl so as not to rip off the suction cups that hold it to the bottom of the bowl. As a side benefit the fountain adds the sound of running water to our living room, thus giving the space the vibe of a yoga studio or West Coast chiropractor’s office. You have to throw on some new age mp3s for the full effect, but you get the idea.

Our vet has us supplement the water with Oxyfresh Pet Oral Hygiene Solution to help with their tobacco stained teeth (just kidding). One of our cats has tooth resorption so we have to stay on top of oral hygiene.

As component of feline environmental enrichment as well as yoga studio ambiance I wholeheartedly endorse the cat fountain concept. It’s also well loved by the new saluki puppy which I will let Kelly explain in an exclusive blog post to come . . .

Leave a comment


  1. We have the plastic Drinkwell pet fountain with the add on 50oz reservoir, not as cool looking as your ceramic one, but the kitties love it and it does add that calming water sound in the background. The extra 50ozs gets them through a day or two without parental supervision. Here in the desert we still have to fill it quite regularly.

  2. Thank you for this information. I must be really dense, but I had delayed getting a cat/dog fountain, because I thought that it had to be attached to a water source, and I couldn’t figure out how that would be possible. Apparently, the fountain is filled with water every few days?
    At the present time, both of my cats and my two dogs (a chihuahua mix and a
    55 lb. rescue doggie that would win first prize for shedding) all use the same large water bowl. I will need to find a large cat/dog fountain.

    I want to hear all about the puppy! (With photos, of course!)

    • I’ve noticed that with the new puppy I have to refill the fountain more often!

  3. While I don’t have a water fountain myself, I’ve gotten my mum to get one for her cat just after he had a UTI – definitely didn’t drink enough before we got it but now he’s a lot better about drinking.

    My cat is perfectly happy to drink water – even happier when it’s just fresh and he’s seen us re-fill a glass for him. If we didn’t move so often, I’d be happy to get him a water fountain, issue is that I don’t want him to get used to it, for us to have to move temporarily and thus not drink water out of a glass or bowl when we just can’t take the fountain with us.

    Definitely excellent things on the market, cat fountains are, though! And gosh is yours prettier than the vast majority of those on the market! Lovely.

  4. Interestingly, when I switched my cat to commercially prepared raw, she stopped drinking water altogether despite previously being obsessed with the tap and my bedside glass of water. The only time since I’ve seen her drink water is after she ate a bunch of my sister’s dog’s kibble.

  5. I love your wee kitty in the picture. I love the idea of a fountain but I have to scardey cats, so the noise may frighten them away. If I could try before I buy I would give it a shot.

    I just want to make a comment on canned v/s dry food.
    I had a diabetic kitty who went into remission as soon as I got him off the dry food.
    From the research I did on cat food after he was diagnosed I found wet food is better for most cats and raw food is the best.Raw food is what they need to clean their teeth.
    However, the 2 kitties I have just now do not follow my rules….they only want dry, I have been fighting with them for 6 years and they will tolerate a small amount of canned.
    I am about ready to give up and let them win the battle

    • It was SO hard to switch my cat from canned and dry food to raw. It made me feel so mean and I almost gave up, but now she loves it. Sprinkling a little fortiflora (a probiotic you can get at the vet), nutritional yeast, or liquid from a tuna can over the food helped.

      I also give her raw turkey or chicken necks occasionally as a treat (outside, since it’s very messy) since they are great for cleaning their teeth.

  6. Those fountains are so beautiful! Definitely going to get one.

    Also I’m going to add my anecdotal evidence for raw food. After one of our cats got crystals we switched all of our cats to homemade raw. We haven’t had any problems with crystals since, digestive problems went away, they didn’t seem to need to drink water as often, their coats became super soft, and their energy levels went up. As a result I’m a big fan of raw food for cats (we also have a dog but we feed her fancy dry food because we’re not made of money, lol).

    For anyone interested, this is similar to the recipe we use, except we add 1 tsp of liver powder and Cat Mix multivitamin powder: http://allthebestpetcare.com/home-prepared-diets-for-dogs-and-cats/

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