There are three criteria for determining if your fountain is pet safe: of what is it made; how is it made and where is it made?
Of what is the fountain made?
The first part is simple. If your pet fountain is made of plastic it is not safe, for two reasons. According to countless authorities it has been proven that most plastics contains a chemical called BPA which is a known carcinogenic. It can give you, and your pet, cancer. Even those plastic products which claim to be BPA-free can be just as dangerous by having replaced the BPA with an equally as toxic substance. It is a practice known as “regrettable substitution”.
Plastic gets scratched
The second reason a plastic pet fountain is not pet safe is because plastic does, and will, become scratched and in those scratches bacteria can, and will grow. Unless you scrub the fountain regularly and frequently with bleach or something similar, harmful bacteria will thrive. This is why so many cases of chin acne in cats are attributed to scratched plastic cat water fountains. Yes, plastic cat fountains which claim to be safe are certainly cheaper than fountains made of other materials but your vet bills will most certainly demolish any savings you thought you were getting and the suffering your cat will go through is even less acceptable. The best material for a truly pet safe fountain is high-fired ceramic, with metal as a ‘second best’.
How Is It Made – Pet Safe Fountain Design
The second factor in determining if a pet fountain is safe is how it is made. This gets into some of the same elements described above. Look at the image to the right. See all the nooks, corners and crevices? Every one of them must be regularly scrubbed and the unfortunate fact is, most people are not going to do that as often as needed. The fountain will become foul with slime and your cats’ health will be in jeopardy.
Where Is It Made – Pet Safe Means Simple Design, Quality Material, Made In America
So, a pet fountain with a complicated construction and made of plastic absolutely disqualifies a fountain from being pet safe and being made in another country makes it questionable. Why?
In America product materials are very much more regulated than they are in many other countries so even products made of what seem to be safe materials may not have the integrity of American made products. Take ceramics, for instance. Clay is clay, yes? In fact, no. There is a fairly wide range of kinds of clay in terms of density and temperatures to which they are fired. The cheaper kinds are of low density and fire to low temperatures, which makes them less durable and more permeable – they are more porous. Often the glazes are not regulated too which means they have the potential of leaching harmful elements, such as lead which when added to a glaze lowers the firing cost, into the water.
Glaze is glass and in high-fired ceramics (to 2,232°F) the glaze fuses with and becomes part of the clay body. In this type of ceramics there is no threat of porosity or absorbtion of any kind. So, a pet safe fountain will have an impervious, non absorbant body (which is also very easy to clean) and be of a dense, not earthen ware clay body. Stoneware, which is a type of high-fire clay, is ideal.
A Truly Pet Safe Fountain
What then do we look for in a cat fountain that is truly safe for your pet? Clearly a simple design without a lot of corners and nooks is best and it needs to be one made of just about anything other than plastic. Metal is one option and ceramic is the other, better and most recommended by veterinarians option, providing it can be certified to be food safe. Cat fountains come in both those materials. At ThirstyCat Fountains we make every pet fountain by hand, one at a time. We also make all our own glazes so we know exactly and how much of what is in them and we certify all our fountains to be food safe. We fire all our fountains, the center pieces and cord covers to 2,232°F. Our inventory changes two to three times a week as fountains sell and we make more. Here you can view our current inventory of food safe fountains. Use the coupon code pet safe for 5% off all non sale items.