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. 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”.
The second reason a plastic pet fountain is not 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’.
Potential threat of ceramic pet fountains
Ceramic is known to be the most healthful material for pet bowls and pet fountains to be made of but there is one caveat to this. Many countries do not regulate the materials that go into a ceramic glaze and there is no way of knowing if a pet fountain made in China or other countries contains lead or high percentages of colorants or toxic colorants. (Too much of any colorant can leach into the water and toxic colorants are particularly dangerous). Are foreign made, ceramic pet fountain liable to be dangerous? Probably not. But only if the fountain creators make their own glazes or if they state the ingredients can you know for sure if their fountains are food safe. There is no concern in this respect for metal fountains.
The Pet Fountain Design
The third factor toward 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.
Simple Design, Quality Material, Made In America
So, a pet fountain with a complicated construction and made of plastic absolutely disqualifies a pet fountain from being safe and being made in another country makes it questionable.
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. Here you can view our current inventory of food safe fountains. Use the coupon code safe pet for 10% off all non sale items.