When it comes to ceramic cat water fountains there are three basic choices: Mold-made abroad (mostly in China), mold-made in the United States and Handmade in the United States. Here we examine each of these options in turn. First is Mold-made (mostly in China). Mold-made means that liquid clay is poured into a mold where it dries and creates a form such as those you see here. This is distinct from being handmade. Here is a page about that.
The above are three of about a dozen ceramic cat water fountains that are made by slip-casting, (mold-made). The left and center fountains are offered by the same companies that offer plastic versions of cat water fountains. The one on the right is from Miaustore which offers only this design but in several glazes and includes a version with a 24 carot gold band around the rim.
There is nothing functionally disadvantageous in a ceramic cat water fountain that is mold made. It simply greatly reduces the design options as mold making is expensive and most mold ceramic cat fountain makers have only one or two styles and one or a few colors to offer whereas wheel-thrown/hand-built offers endless variety. Each of these fountains work and are not offensive aesthetically.
Cleaning might be something of an issue with the corners on two and the long curved interior on the other but the brands sell cleaning brushes to address that. The ‘Pagoda’ fountain on the left is a Petsafe Drinkwell fountain and costs about $70 at the time of this writing. The Pioneer ‘Swan’ fountain in the middle is about $30, The Miaustore fountain costs about $100 for their standard model and $530 for their gold banded version.
That we distinguish these from American made ceramic cat fountains is for the purpose of due diligence: The materials in these fountains may or not contain toxic minerals (cadmium, lead) which may not be regulated in their place of manufacture whereas in the US at least lead is not permitted. Toxic colorants such as cadmium, which gives bright colors such as rich reds, is not regulated here. Now on to the American mold-made ceramic cat water fountains.
This ceramic cat water fountain on the right is from Glacier Point and appears to be the only design available though different colors are offered. It is slip cast in a mold and features one or more water bottles and a refrigeration unit which chills the water. The claim is that cats want chilled water, (in spite of cats being hereditarily desert creatures.) It is certainly a well made unit with a price tag ranging from about $170 to over $300 depending on the options you choose..
These ceramic cat water fountains on the right are a few varieties from Ebi pet fountains, we believe are located in Florida but we are unable to verify this as their Contact Us page is not working.
Although all of the bowls are mold-made in several different styles and sizes, the upper portions may be handmade or mold-made and they offer a variety of them and a variety of glazes as well. Prices range from the mid $200’s to about $400. These are well-built fountains. The aesthetics may not be for everyone, nor the complexity but they are certainly solidly made pet fountains
There appears to be only one source of ceramic cat water fountains made completely by hand worldwide and that is us, ThirstyCat fountains, located in Cambridge, NY.
“Completely Handmade” means that each part of the fountain; the bowl and center piece and cord cover, is either thrown on the wheel or built by hand (or both) and at ThirstyCat Fountains, from stoneware clay. It is then bisque fired and glaze fired to 2,232°F. ‘Completely Handmade’ also means that the glazes are made from raw minerals by us, not bought bagged or wet so that we know what is in them and how much of which minerals. (For food-safeness).
There is another dimension to a completely handmade ceramic cat fountain that may not be readily apparent but which is of paramount significance. A small team of artists created your fountain. At ThirstyCats an individual with whom you may speak or whom you are welcome to meet threw the bowl and base of the center piece on the wheel. That person or one or two others may then have completed the center piece, either by carving, glaze-painting or by hand-building or all three. Every fountain is made this way, one at a time, by hand. Together we work out the best glazes for each fountain and work to make each one come out of the glaze kiln as beautiful as it can be. We ardently care about this.
This is what we do. We are a team of artists bringing to you what we intend to be the finest quality and most beautiful ceramic cat fountains available anywhere on earth. There is no other maker of cat fountains on the planet who offers what ThirstyCats offers.
And lastly (though in truth, firstly) is customer service. You can contact us, by phone, at least five days a week and speak with the maker of these fountains, before during or after your purchase and we are ready and quite able to help you.