Do cat fountains need filters? If they do, what kind are best, and what exactly do cat water fountain filters do?

This has become a curiously common concern of late, primarily due to the number of cat fountain makers entering the market with new gimmicky ways of luring in customers and generating revenue. Let us be very clear right up front. Cat fountains do not need filters to run, cat fountains are better with at least mechanical filtration, and cat fountain filters do not need to and should not be elaborate. All this is explained in the following.

Type in cat fountain filters in Amazon and find dozens upon dozens of the different filters offered by the many makers of cat fountains. Most of these have this in common; they are comprised of a porous material through which water passes easily, they contain carbon, or charcoal (same thing) inside, they are housed in plastic and they need frequent replacement. There are some now with a layer of minerals which are supposed to get into your cats’ water and be beneficial, So let’s break this down.

Mechanical Filtration

The outer, porous material serves as a mechanical filter. It prevents cat hair and other debris from entering the pump. This is a good thing as it helps keep the pump clean, lessening the frequency of cleanings and adding to the longevity of the pump. For many households this is all the filtration needed. For most cat fountain filters this is achieved with a sponge, or foam filter. Most, however are not very thick or dense so do not provide much filtration and need frequent replacement.

The plastic housing of most of these filters is unfortunate, as plastic is the very cause of so many of the problems cats may endure. Chin Acne, for example, is a common one.

Most of the filters contain extremely small amounts of carbon so require frequent replacement – another revenue generating trick. Cat fountain brands make considerable profits from selling their filters.

Mineral additives to some of the filters is also not a good idea.
Cornell College Of Veterinary Medicine has this to say: “Although your cat needs certain amounts of each specific nutrient to be healthy, more is not always better. This is particularly true of vitamins and minerals, so the use of supplements is usually not necessary if you are feeding a balanced and complete diet. Supplements can be harmful to your cat, and they should never be given without a veterinarian’s approval. Cats should have access to clean, fresh water at all times.”

So in other words our cats get all the minerals they need from their food, and adding a mineral layer to the filtration is just another, and potentially harmful gimmick to try to deflect from the fact that the fountain is made of 100% plastic and does cause chin acne (see this link mentioned above for a case in point – Chin Acne.)

cat fountain filters

A Brief Summary of Cat Fountain Filters

With most cat fountain brands you will end up paying for another fountain, or three, over time, from the constant replacement of their filters, and some of these cat fountain filters may actually be harming your cats, either from the large proportion of plastic housing or other additives in the filters themselves. Your inexpensive fountain just became quite costly.

So, what do we recommend? Well, of course, our fountains and our cat fountain filters (only for our fountains), but here’s why. Our foam, or sponge filters are made specifically for us. They are dense, over an inch thick where water enters into the pump. They last at least a year and there is no reason they shouldn’t last 2 years. One comes with every fountain and replacements are about $10. So that’s $10/year, at most and very possibly, $5/year.

Our carbon filters, which we offer to those who need them, have about sixty times, by weight, the carbon of most other brands. It is pelleted, high density activated charcoal and is the best and most effective there is. This comes as two mesh bags, each containing about 20 grams of carbon each. Each lasts from three to six months, providing from six months to a year of carbon filtering. These cost about $11 for the two.

So, along with the best of the best cat fountains come the best cat fountain filters.

To the right is an ad made from videos customers sent us and comments they left on the reviews page. It isn’t about fountain filters but it is about happy, healthy cats. And here is more information about our filters.

ThirstyCat Fountains