Please recommend The Best Cat Fountain EVAR.
May 12, 2014 12:18 PM   Subscribe

Franklin and I will soon be moving in with my parents. As such, I will no longer be able to leave the bathroom sink faucet trickling for him. So I need to get the best cat fountain there is because he is the best cat there is.

I have had cat fountains in the past with other cats. My problem with them was that they were really hard to clean and got a gross pink slime in them pretty much the day after I cleaned them.

I think I want to get either a ceramic or stainless steel one instead of plastic this time around because it seems like it will be easier to clean and more "sanitary" or something.

I would like specific brand/model recommendations and links if you have them. Also tips on keeping fountains clean and running smooth if you have them.

Frankie won't drink water that isn't moving, so it's important I get him one.
posted by misanthropicsarah to Pets & Animals (19 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
We have the Drinkwell Ceramic Pagoda (Amazon link). One cat gets soaked whenever he drinks out of it (the black one, pictured here), but all three love it. We've had no issues with the pink slime with this fountain and we don't do anything special to clean it, other than swapping out the filter at recommended intervals and fishing food out that gets knocked in.

My biggest complaint is that the power cord is too short.
posted by crush-onastick at 12:27 PM on May 12, 2014

My boyfriend and I ended up with this steel 360 one to replace one like this.

It's much easier to clean because of the stainless steel--I know what you're talking about with the slime on the plastic one and eventually I couldn't get it off without a lot of scrubbing of the plastic and even then I felt I missed some. It also had crevices that I felt I couldn't get a brush into appropriately.

The steel one comes apart easily and doesn't have any corners, which is great for cleaning. Downside is it is a bit big in footprint.

I have a friend with one of these which is good but I dislike it because it is MUCH HEAVIER than the one I have at home, and that makes it harder to clean in my opinion.
posted by foxfirefey at 12:28 PM on May 12, 2014

Best answer: I use a 1 gallon bucket with an aquarium filter (up to 10 gal) hanging from the rim. It cost about $1 for the bucket and $10 for the filter. The pump never gets clogged because the water intake is several inches below the surface of the water. Refills are significantly cheaper than any of the many purpose-built cat fountains I've owned.

It's not attractive but it's close to effortless to clean because there are no complicated surfaces, not even my biggest cat (18#) has been able to knock it over and the giant reservoir means that it never runs dry even when our dog decides to drink out of it too.
posted by jamaro at 12:35 PM on May 12, 2014 [16 favorites]

Response by poster: jamaro: does that just kind of bubble the water/move it around, or is there a stream/waterfall for the cat to drink from? snowflake cat likes the stream.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 12:46 PM on May 12, 2014

yep we have that stainless Pioneer raindrop fountain bowmaniac linked and I can confirm that it is all kinds of awesome. We have 2 cats that will only drink moving water and it's super easy to fill, clean and care for. All of the parts save the filters themselves and the pump are dishwasher safe (even the filter housing can be run thru in the top rack).

I got ours on Amazon but I'm pretty certain you can get these at any larger pet store. Due to its somewhat larger size it's marketed more for dogs than cats but it's fine for either.

we had a plastic one before and it was ghastly. And our ragdoll developed chin acne from the plastic that has since gone away.
posted by lonefrontranger at 12:49 PM on May 12, 2014

also fwiw it comes in 2 different sizes - 60 and 96 oz. With only one cat I can't imagine the smaller one won't be big enough.
posted by bowmaniac at 12:54 PM on May 12, 2014

Best answer: It makes a little waterfall and at a good rate too, the 'up to 10 gal' pump I linked moves 90 gallons per hour (this means your cat's water will be pushed through the filter medium 90 times in an hour).

They are also very quiet because the pump itself is under several inches of water. Noisy pumps were a complaint I had about our Drinkwell Platinum which had the crappiest little submersible pump (30 GPH) inside when I took it apart to try to make it less irritating.*

*This is what happens when an aquarium hobbyist gets ahold of a cat drinking fountain.
posted by jamaro at 1:02 PM on May 12, 2014 [6 favorites]

I'd recommend any Pioneer Pet fountain, as long as it is not plastic. I've used Dogit/Catit fountains in the past and they 1) were very hard to clean and 2) had problems getting the water pumps working correctly.

I love the Pioneer Fountain "Big Max- Stainless Steel" that I purchased 6 months ago. It's similar to the Pioneer Raindrop fountain but has a larger pool of water at the base (so my dog can use it as well).
posted by bCat at 1:03 PM on May 12, 2014

I have the ceramic Big Max and have been quite happy with it.

A little overkill now that I'm down to one cat, but the black ceramic cleans easily and pretty much always looks nice.
posted by wildcrdj at 1:13 PM on May 12, 2014

I've bought two from this couple - Cat Fountains at Etsy. I smashed the first one by accident which is why I had to buy the second. They included a little bag of charcoal pellets and this was by far the hardest thing to keep clean for me. So now I use Kishu charcoal sticks. They last for quite a long time and are so easy to use as a filter.
posted by rdnnyc at 1:31 PM on May 12, 2014

jamaro, that sounds really neat, but I can't picture how the setup works. If the filter is hanging on the edge of the bucket, is the water pouring straight back into the bucket or is there some other way it gets back in? If it is pouring straight back in then how do the cats orient themselves to drink? Also, a 1 gallon bucket seems a bit high, are the cats standing while they are drinking?

You wouldn't happen to have a picture of the setup in action would you?

(sorry for the derail)
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:11 PM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

In contrast to bCat, I much prefer my Catit to the Pioneer Pet raindrop model others have recommended. I had one of the latter (in plastic), and I hated it. You couldn't take the pump completely out, there were all kinds of weird corners and edges to clean, and it was low and shallow which meant moving it from the sink to its spot was hard when it was full of water. In addition, only the stream is filtered -- the lower bowl sits out and collects dust and cat hair.

In the Catit I linked to, on the other hand, the only accessible water comes straight from the pump, so the water is always clean. Instead of being low and wide, it's tall, so it's easier to move around. I also find this one much easier to clean -- there seem to be fewer edges or corners, and you can completely remove the pump (and, presumably, replace it if needed).

That being said, it may not work for you -- it's plastic, and the water is more pond-with-a-current than stream or waterfall, which may not satisfy your cat. My cat likes it, as do my feline nieces, and those two are faucet drinkers to boot.
posted by natabat at 2:55 PM on May 12, 2014

Best answer: Yes, it's a in-tank pump so the (submersible) pump is in the bucket. I went with this type to eliminate the possibility of a cat standing on a filter and/or knocking it out of the water. Here's a photo (sorry for the strange color cast. It's of an marmalade tabby in a yellow painted room lit by orange glass shaded lights. So orange! The bucket is actually white).

My three big cats (18#, 12#, 11#) drink from a standing position, the tiny one (6#) puts her front feet on the rim and leans in.

I set this up because aside from the purpose-built cat fountains dying after a year (cheap pumps + hard tap water = rapid failure), my cats kept drinking out of my aquariums and I thought if I gave them the 'drinking out of an aquarium' feel without the fish poo flavored water, they might like it. They haven't tried to drink out of a fish tank since I set it up.

It's not the most aesthetically pleasing thing but inexpensive enough and made of readily available items (yon local big box store will have that same aquarium pump for less than Amazon sells it for) that any cat can have a drinking fountain.
posted by jamaro at 3:31 PM on May 12, 2014 [12 favorites]

Thanks! The picture makes everything clear. You have inspired me to start a new project.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 3:47 PM on May 12, 2014

Just throwing in my anecdata: We have two of the fountains bowmaniac linked and our cats love them. We've had several of the plastic ones in the past and these stainless steel ones are so much better. They are super easy to clean and fill and they're really quiet.
posted by dreamingviolet at 6:00 PM on May 12, 2014

Response by poster: hmmm. my dad does enjoy a good trip to the hardware store. it could be a good project and if franklin doesn't like it i could always buy a purpose-built cat fountain.

thanks for weighing in everyone!
posted by misanthropicsarah at 8:51 PM on May 12, 2014

I second the homemade solution. I did the same thing (a "table fountain" pump from a hardware store for $10 in a bucket of water). My cat likes it; it's quiet; it's never clogged. My friends with a Drinkwell fountain for their cats are jealous.
posted by lollusc at 9:27 PM on May 12, 2014

We have the Steel 360 and it is fine for our two cats. It took a while to get the hang of cleaning it properly (probably because I didn't read the manual I'm sure), but now it works out great. We use activated carbon and a forever filter from Amazon.
posted by getawaysticks at 7:04 AM on May 13, 2014

« Older How feasible is it to replace a car stereo...   |   managing multiple sources of income for consulting... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.