Help me buy a drinking fountain for my cats.
August 30, 2005 8:21 AM   Subscribe

CatFilter: what are your experiences with circulating drinking fountains for cats? Are they worth the extra time & expense, or just junk? Any good ones you'd recommend?

I have two cats who love to watch water move. They both like to slide the waterbowl across the kitchen floor to disturb the water a bit before they drink -- visitors are beginning to wonder why my cats' dish is always sitting in the middle of the kitchen.

I think it would be good for both of them if they drank more water, but I don't need this product to be a solution to any sort of problem; just a nice amusement for my cats that won't be too loud or break after a week of use.

I'm checking out the Catit and the Drinkwell -- other suggestions would be welcome.
posted by junkbox to Pets & Animals (24 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
we have been getting our old cat to drink from a circulating fountain for about two months. She previously would only drink from water running ( very little) into the bathtub. When I figured out how much water we were wasting we started with the fountain in the tub and moved it about 3 or 4 feet each week. so far so good. she still asks to see the water go down the bath drain however.
posted by at 8:25 AM on August 30, 2005

We use a PetMate Fountain. They're available on as well as at PetCo. I've never seen them anywhere else. You will be told that the Drinkwell is the Holy Grail of fountains, and it may very well be, but the PetMate has served us quite well. It has a filter; the water is running but doesn't constantly sound like the sink is on; and our cats drink a lot of water. Considering I think it's cured our male cat of his stomach/intestinal disorders, it's worth every single cent. It's very quiet, and our two adapted to it in about three-point-two seconds. I highly recommend getting a fountain.
posted by Medieval Maven at 8:28 AM on August 30, 2005

I had the drinkwell and both I and the cat liked it and she certainly drank more. The drinkwell was extremely quiet and easy to take apart an clean and you can run it throu the dishwasher sans the motor. Unfortunately the cat got slightly infected gums and the vet said it might be due to the plastic in the drinkwell so we stopped using it. On the other hand there is tons of people on other forums that are using the drinkwell with no problems whatsoever and like it a lot.
posted by Ferrari328 at 8:30 AM on August 30, 2005

My cats both like their drinking fountain a lot. We have a Petmate fountain. We've had it for more than a year now, without problems. Both cats were drawn to it immediately.

It's very very quiet. So quiet that I never notice when it has stopped running (see below) It has a filter so it will stay clean for several days. After that, it will start to feel a little slimy inside.

We have very hard water in our area, so calcium deposit regularly gum up the works and make the motor stop working. Although that's annoying, all you have to do is clean it out with some vinegar and it starts up again right away. (We usually clean the whole thing out with vinegar before cleaning it with hot water and dishsoap.)

I initially got it for them because they were obsessed with drinking water out of glasses, which doesn't go over well when you have guests. Especially since they like to stick their feet into whatever they're drinking from and usually knock it over in the process. The fountains are way to big for them to move or knock over.

It hasn't stopped their obsession with drinking out of the sink or shower whenever possible. They still whine for someone to turn on a faucet constantly.
posted by divka at 8:32 AM on August 30, 2005

We borrowed a friend's Drinkwell to see if the cats would be willing to drink from a fountain, and then bought the Petmate. The Petmate is definitely quieter, but you can't put it in the dishwasher.
posted by amarynth at 8:34 AM on August 30, 2005

I have the Catit. Both my moggies vastly prefer it to the old water dish. Nobody drinks out of the taps anymore. I like it because it's almost completely silent when it's running, it's easy to clean, and it has a pretty hefty water capacity. On the other hand, the dome has to be absolutely clean to work properly and you need to clean hair off the pump intake regularly (they don't tell you this in the manual). Other than those minor bugs, my girls have been pretty happy with theirs.
posted by bonehead at 8:53 AM on August 30, 2005

It's always a good thing to get cats to drink more water to help stave off their constant bladder and urinary issues. If your cats already like moving water you're ahead of the game.

We got a Drinkwell - our crew is largely indifferent but at least the constant circulation keeps the water "fresher".
posted by krtzmrk at 8:55 AM on August 30, 2005

I've been using a Petmate fountain for about two years for our cats and they love it. I still have one who likes occasionally drinking out of the sink (or begging for ice chips from the ice maker--weird) but otherwise they consume nearly all their water from the fountain.

It can be a bit of a pain to clean. I recommend breaking it apart once a week and scrubbing it down--and don't neglect cleaning out the water pump; it can accumulate hair and debris--but several of the pieces can be placed in the dishwasher.
posted by Sully6 at 8:55 AM on August 30, 2005

I made one for my mom's cats with stuff I bought at the craft store, a dremel (tho tin snips or wire cutters would have done just as well) and some epoxy. Doesn't seem to be any more or less quiet than the store purchased one my friend has and it's notably more attractive.
posted by phearlez at 8:55 AM on August 30, 2005

Another satisfied Drinkwell user and his person reporting!
posted by briank at 9:00 AM on August 30, 2005

How did you make it?
posted by agregoli at 9:00 AM on August 30, 2005

Drinkwell, here, bought after our little boy ended up with crystals and a four day trip to the kitty hospital.
It is silent, except for after I clean it and plug it back in. Sometimes I have to unplug and replug quickly a few times. No idea why the motor has a low hum on some of those tries and is silent on others.
All the kitties love it, they all seem to, er, poop better as well, and although we still have to do the Shower Roll and Towel Game, everyone seems to have forgotten about the tub faucet.
posted by oflinkey at 9:10 AM on August 30, 2005

Wow, cool. My housemate's cat will only drink water from the dripping tap in the bathtub, and I didn't know that these things even existed. I'm gong to recommend that he pick up one of these things. I heart AskMe.
posted by solid-one-love at 9:19 AM on August 30, 2005

We use a Drinkwell fountain at our vet's recommendation ... our cat had a urinary tract blockage so we needed to find something that would encourage him to drink a lot. He loves it and spends a lot of time drinking from it and playing in it. Aside from the wet paws he always has from dipping them in the stream, we're very happy with the purchase.
posted by tastybrains at 9:54 AM on August 30, 2005

The Drinkwell is great. I highly recommend picking up the attachment that adds capacity to the fountain. That way, you don't have to fill it up as often, because your cat will drink more water with the fountain that he did from a bowl.
posted by gokart4xmas at 10:06 AM on August 30, 2005

My cat drinks out of the fish filter on my aquarium, I had always assumed it was because of the fish flavor (kind of like kitty koolaid), no the running water.
posted by 445supermag at 10:21 AM on August 30, 2005

I had a Petmate and our cat at the time loved it, and certainly drank more. The cleaning was the only drawback though.
posted by tr33hggr at 11:09 AM on August 30, 2005

We have the Catit for our pair of cats too, they took an evening to get used to it, but now love it. The female drinks from the side of the dome (and always ends up with water drops all over her face which is very cute), and the male drinks from the resevoir at the base. I (and they) like that it's dual function in that way. Cheap too!

The charcoal filter insert does get pretty grimey after a while, but you can get replacements. The comment above about making the dome work left out one important consideration: you have to make sure that the fountain is on level ground for equal distribution of water around the dome.

I'd recommend it. Two Paws Up.
posted by lowlife at 11:16 AM on August 30, 2005

agre - My homemade kittle waterer was made with two clearance item containers I found at Pearl's. One looked like a garden watering can and the other a big oval washing tub. Both were some cheap tin but the bottom tub had a plastic inner liner - important since neither on their own is perfectly water-tight.

The little pump was also on sale and came with about 4 feet of plastic tubing. I only needed about 6 inches of it so I cropped it. I punched a hole in the top container with a screwdriver and a hammer and sloppily made it big enough for the plastic tube. Didn't worry about sloppy since it was okay if some water came back out there so long as most flowed up and over the lip.

I made a couple of notches in the tub to jam the can into to hold it vaguely in place while the JB Weld set. It's ugly stuff but since it would be the 'back' I didn't much care. The little pump (about 1/3 the size of a stapler I'd say) is effectively invisible in the bottom tub.

I had one major advantage in that long ago I had made a desk fountain back (before they were so cheap) and I discovered the one major engineering issue you have to consider when making something like this: You MUST have a top and bottom contraption such that when the water STOPS flowing it doesn't overflow the bottom container. However you must also have a top setup such that when the pump is running it does not remove so much water from the bottom that the pump sucks air. This is why you often see these setups so the top container is filled with rocks or very small.
posted by phearlez at 11:23 AM on August 30, 2005

Drinkwell has worked great for us. One thing I really like is that if something breaks or gets lost, you can order the replacement parts and don't have to buy an entire new thing. (I dropped the motor and chipped part of it, so nothing has gone wrong with the Drinkwell, other than my clumsy move.)

I have two with reservoirs for both. The cats prefer the Drinkwells and our dog likes them too.
posted by lobakgo at 1:32 PM on August 30, 2005

We had one, but I got the impression that the cats didn't actually like purified water (as in, they would happily drink it, but they seemed to prefer aquarium water, pond water, or toilet water.) I suspect the water purifying part mainly just appeals to owners, not pets :-)

We stopped using the fountain, and the cats now drink from an indoor pond/aquarium thing. Thankfully, the toilet now seems to be shunned, possibly due to repeated chastising, or maybe due to the incident where the cat fell in. :-)

(Not that the fountains need to purify)
posted by -harlequin- at 2:50 PM on August 30, 2005

We use the CatIt and like it. The only problem is that it's kind of a pin to refill, and witha lot of cats, I have to refill it pretty much every day...
posted by baggers at 2:53 PM on August 30, 2005

I've been thinking about getting Catit. I just asked my vet yesterday about it since my cat has stopped drinking water since we got to NYC. The vet said that as long as a cat is eating (wet food, I assume he meant) there's no way they can become dehydrated, their kidneys are so efficient. Amazing. He said nothing about those pesky urinary crystals, but he also said my cat was evil, so who knows.
posted by scazza at 3:13 PM on August 30, 2005

Another fan of the Drinkwell here. No adaptation time was needed, our two cats started drinking from it on the same day we bought it.
posted by lackutrol at 3:39 PM on August 30, 2005

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