KitKat’s adventures with water fountains

KitKat has had cystitis twice since January. Apparently, water infections can be lethal to cats, so I spent some time researching ways to minimise the risk.

Beyond preventing her from eating human food (I know, I’m a terrible cat mom) and switching her to a wet-food-only diet to reduce the minerals and whatnot in her system, the best answer I could find was to get her a drinking fountain.



“Cats don’t like static water,” I read. “My cat will only drink from a dripping tap,” said cat owners everywhere. (Or, well, in the Facebook group I joined, anyway.) “Cats only drink moving water because it’s fresh and not stagnant or filled with bacteria” and “running water is good for kidney function”. (I’m paraphrasing.)

Okay, says I. Let’s try this fountain thing.


But, which should I buy? There are a heck of a lot of options out there and they range from the “probably not worth the money” price tag to the “that’s well out of my budget”. Some are stainless steel or ceramic, but most are made of plastic — which can cause acne in cats and tends to harbour bacteria. Reviews said some were noisy, others that their cats easily toppled water everywhere because the fountains just weren’t sturdy enough.



In short, my research suggested that the best fountains are not something I — and probably most of you, for that matter — can afford. So what’s the next best option?


CatIt Design Fresh n Clear

ZooPlus had a sale on the CatIt Design Fresh n Clear Drinking Fountain. I’ve been impressed by the CatIt brand since I bought one of their Senses tracks and it turned out to be one of KitKat’s favourite go-to toys. I figured, for £17.99 (discounted), I couldn’t go far wrong with one of their fountains.



How naïve I was.

The fountain was noisy enough to keep me awake at night, even though the only comfortable place to plug it in is approximately three metres away in the hall. It only had one setting, and my carers could only get that to work half the time. The rest of the time, it was basically just an expensive water bowl.

Fortunately, ZooPlus offer great customer service. I emailed them asking to return it for a refund. They were quick to give my money back, but suggested I donate the fountain to my local rescue. Despite personal misgivings about the product, I thought a sanctuary might find use for it — even as the aforementioned water bowl — so that’s exactly what I did.


CatIt Flower Fountain

The second time around, I settled on the CatIt flower fountain at £25.99 from Amazon. It has a lot of reviews, and most of them are 4 and 5 star, which always makes me feel better about spending my money.


The Flower Fountain has three settings in case your cat prefers their water flow slower or faster than the default, and it even looks cute. It also holds three litres, which is a ridiculous amount for most single-cat households but means I don’t have to worry too much if I forget to ask my carers to refill it for a few nights.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to appeal to KitKat either. I’ve tried it on all three settings, leaving each one for roughly a week to give her time to investigate. She’s slow to warm up to new things so I didn’t think she’d take to it immediately, anyway. Sure enough, she’s sniffed around it a few times, and checked it out whenever we’ve changed something, but I can’t tell if she’s been drinking from it at all.



The noise is also a problem. When we first set it up, the Flower Fountain was much quieter than the original Fresh n Clear fountain I returned. Over time, however, the pump has gotten louder. Removing the flower makes it sound like running water — and not just a trickle, no, but a full-on running tap! (Which is funny because I would have assumed it would be noisier with the flower bit in than out, but never mind.)

As you can imagine, the noise can get infuriating for someone with insomnia, and the trickling sounds just make me need the toilet all the time!


In a last ditch attempt to get KitKat to use it, we put the flower back in and moved it from the hall into the bedroom. I was leery of doing this because of the noise but, funnily enough, it was actually much quieter in here. I barely noticed it the first night. Sadly, the same thing happened: KitKat showed it all the interest she’d shown before. As it turned out, the filter was riddled with what looked like bugs (that I think was probably actually carbon bits or whatever is in the filters). I wouldn’t have wanted to drink from that, either.

Finally, we took the filter out (because I didn’t want to spend £5+ on a new one if she wasn’t going to drink from it anyway) and stuck the fountain in the kitchen. At the next visit, I asked my carers to turn it off altogether because it was so loud without the filter that I could hear it two rooms away and it was driving me nuts. (And still, no sign that KitKat might ever drink from it.) I plan to send it to Rain Rescue at the first opportunity and hope that their foster kitties will use it more than mine.


The Verdict

Would I recommend a water fountain to you?

Yes, because research has proven they have dramatic benefits for the health of the cat. I would suggest starting at the bottom of the market, though, or even trying your cat with a dripping tap to check if they prefer their water mobile before committing to an expensive product. Some kitties clearly just don’t like water.



And if you do buy one and your cat doesn’t take to it right away, I can only suggest moving it around and leaving it in its new spot for a few days, or altering the setting if you can. Just as with litter boxes and food bowls, cats don’t like their water to be in a high traffic hot spot where they might feel vulnerable. And there are many other factors that might put them off, such as the noise of the pump or the speed of the flow.

Alternatively, try getting a glass of water, taking a sip or two, then leaving it out for your kitties. Several owners I chat with on Facebook have cats that will only drink from a water glass their owner has used. (Weird, am I right? But no weirder than rolling around in my armpit like it’s soaked in catnip, I guess…)


Alternatives for you

Things didn’t go well for us, but I still encourage you to try a fountain for your kitty. Here are a couple of cheapish models (under £30) you might want to check out because they’ve got good reviews (four or five stars). (Prices listed are for recommended retail, so you’ll probably find them cheaper if you shop around. I personally recommend ZooPlus.)

The Drinkwell Original, Lucky Kitty Ceramic, and the Pioneer Raindrop also come highly recommended but are closer to £60 each (and the Lucky Kitty looks kind of like a bidet).

Added 28th September 2018: I’ve been made aware of a gorgeous fountain that looks more like the decorative kind you’d buy for a zen garden rather than a kitty: Miaustore’s Ceramic Cat Water Fountain.  It’s more expensive again at £49 but it looks beautiful—certainly more appropriate for the style-conscious cat owners among us than many of the plastic versions you can find. We haven’t tried it but the reviews look good and Miaustore takes the time to detail a lot of things about their fountain (including why it’s important that cats drink water) that most others don’t.



And if you’re looking for a bit more detail on what other people consider the “best” cat fountains, try these:



If I were to try a third, I’d probably go for the Cat Mate Pet Fountain this time. It has the best reviews I’ve seen for the cost of the fountain, so it seems like the best option and it doesn’t look completely ugly. It just isn’t the cheapest or prettiest out there, which is why I went for the CatIt ones instead. Otherwise, I’d probably try the Pioneer Raindrop because it’s made of stainless steel rather than plastic. Unfortunately, I don’t think any fountain is going to work for KitKat, so I need to figure out other ways of getting her to drink more instead.

But hey, at least she doesn’t drink out of the toilet!



Does your cat have a fountain?

Did you already buy your kitty a water fountain? What made you pick the one you chose? Did it have the desired effect, or did it turn out to be just an expensive water bowl?

If you haven’t committed yet, do you plan to? Which one are you hoping to buy? I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on the results, too!


KitKat's Adventures with Water Fountains
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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Idle Emma says:

    Never knew water fountains were such a common thing for cats!
    Strange though – my outdoor cats will only drink dirty stagnant water! Keep putting a bowl of clean water out but they ignore it and instead go drink from a pot with a plant in it down the end of the garden that fills up when it rains. Some of the birds use it as a bird bath…maybe the water tastes of bird and that’s why they drink it…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Emma says:

      I have to admit, I’m starting to think all the hype about water fountains for cats is just that: hype.

      From what I’ve read, research does suggest that many cats drink more if provided with a fountain than if not, but maybe we just have the weird kitties who don’t conform. XD I have heard of other cats who only drink from puddles. I guess maybe it’s not as stagnant as we think if it’s refreshed by rain fairly often? Or yeah, the bird theory makes more sense. ;D

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Idle Emma says:

        The water fountains just seem like a somewhat expensive way of getting cats to drink water to me. I love my cats but I don’t want to pander to them too much! xD
        One of our cats, Newbie, used to only drink water from the dog bowl, although our dog died two months ago so not sure where she’s getting her liquids now because it isn’t from the water bowl right next to her bowl! And I’ve actually just never seen Misty drink water. Ever.


        1. Emma says:

          Yeah, I definitely think some fountains are gimmicky. But I’ve also seen a lot of good reviews for them. They’re especially handy for fussy cats that are also prone to urinary tract conditions and kidney disease, which is why I tried a couple in the first place.

          But, at the same time, cats in the wild (and many domestic kitties, apparently) get most of the water intake from their food. That’s why I put KitKat on a wet-food-only diet, and she actually drinks less from her bowls now than before — except when it’s hot. It turns out all she needed was a couple of clear plastic boxes (like an old ice cream tub) dotted around the house. She drinks from them rather than her Hello Kitty bowl and I guess it’s because she doesn’t like her food and water together.

          Basically, the fountains were a waste of money for us, but aren’t for everyone. XD

          But I’m not really surprised to hear about Newbie. They do love to confound us!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Idle Emma says:

            Cats – everything you’ve read about their behaviour…well that probably has nothing to do you with your own cat! That’s how I feel xD
            Misty does tend to only eat wet food (unless we buy the expensive Royal Canin cat food which they only get for special occasions) so I imagine she’s getting her water from that.
            I’m glad you found a cheap way to get fluids into KitKat…even if it was after going for the slightly more expensive option first – but that’s cats for you!

            Liked by 1 person

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