Stainless Steel Cat Fountains Vs. ThirstyCats Ceramic Cat Fountains

There seems to be some confusion about which material is better for cat fountains. This article will dispel some of that uncertainty by clarifying the positive and negative attributes of stainless steel and ceramic as used in cat fountains.


First it should be known that both ceramic and stainless steel are far better than plastic cat fountain, hands down, unequivocally and beyond all doubt. This has been proven and testified to in countless studies and reviews, all of which reveal how quickly and completely plastic fountains become slimy and impossible to keep clean due to hordes of bacteria that colonize on wet plastic and generate slime.

stainless steel cat fountain

Neither stainless steel or ceramic have this issue. They are not porous materials (yes, plastic is porous) so do not make an inviting home for bacteria. They remain clean longer and, if cleaned every week or so, never get slimy.


It is not generally understood that water in a ceramic vessel that has been glazed is actually in a glass container. Glaze is made primarily of silica – which is what glass is made of. High-fired ceramics is also non-porous even without a glaze. It is vitrified at the very high temperatures (over 2200 degrees F.) to which it is subject and will hold water without a glaze. However the glaze also makes it very smooth which contributes to its ease of cleaning.

Following is a breakdown of the attributes of both stainless steel and ceramic.

The Good & The Bad About Stainless Steel Cat Fountains


 1) it is less expensive than ceramic (this does not include the ceramic made-in-a-mold-in-China cat fountains that comprise 99% of all ceramic fountains on the market which are low-fire ceramics with questionable glazes. These fountains can be quite cheap and can be less expensive than stainless steel cat fountains.)

2) It is lighter in weight so may be easier to handle and costs less in shipping.

3) there are attractive drinking options such as streams on some of these which cats are drawn to.

4) Should last a fairly long time.

5) They are stable and can’t be tipped over.


1) There are a lot of plastic parts in critical places in the fountain which can generate disease causing bacteria. Here is a third party review of a major brand which states this.

2) Construction is complex and cleaning is not easy. The reviewer cited above says it takes him about 15 minutes to thoroughly clean the fountain.

3) There may be a metallic taste which for many cats may be ok and is not for others. You’ll have to ask your cats.

4) Filter replacement can get expensive

5) Some do rust. There are reviews about this and at least one customer review on our site states this happened to one she owned. This customer sent a video of her cat pulling the fountain out of the way with the cord in its mouth, apparently quite displeased.

6) Not an aesthetic addition to your home

The Good & The Bad About ThirstyCat Ceramic Cat Fountains



  • No plastic parts except the pump which is hard, non BPA containing, aquarium grade, as are most cat fountain pumps.
  • Built to last a lifetime and comes with a lifetime guarantee for materials and workmanship
  • Cats seem to love Thirstycat Fountains, which so many reviews testify to.
  • Made with 100% foodsafe ceramics including in-house made glazes certified to be completely safe.
  • ThirstyCat fountains stay cleaner longer and require five minutes or less to clean about every week.
  • There are a variety of styles to suit every cat type, such as shorthair, longhair, timid, aggressive etc.
  • Styles and colors to suit every aesthetic
  • They add beauty to any room in your home
  • Filters last many times longer than stainless steel brands
  • Personal, five star customer service by phone or email


  • More expensive than any stainless steel fountain
  • Heavier than any stainless steel fountain so shipping is also more expensive.
  • Though durable they can be broken, though all parts (center pieces and bowls) are replaceable.

Conclusion? None drawn. Some people will prefer the stainless steel cat fountain, others will value more the positive attribtes of the ThirstyCat ceramic cat fountain. You have your choice. But to sway you more in the direction of a ThirstyCat fountain, here is a quote from our reviews page:

” I am a veterinarian with specialty training (ie board certified) in internal medicine. Cats are my favorite species and I’m always on the look out for ways to improve their well being. I first saw these fountains on the American Association for Feline Practitioners website. I was impressed and eventually ordered a fountain for my cats (Brakentree).

Yes these fountains cost more than the “Economy” varieties, but there is a saying, “you get what you pay for”, and when folks complain about prices….well, I’ll take quality over junk any day.

I have Thirsty Cat Fountain brochures at my hospital, so clients can find out about this wonderful product. No more dripping faucets… and wasting water… a “no-no” here out west. The cats drink more and geriatrics are able to find the water surface much easier. This eliminates paw drinking and contaminated water. It also helps keep old cats with arthritis and cats with kidney disease hydrated. Plus they just plain old like it!

Beautiful, well thought-out, functional fountains made for our feline friends by talented people. I wish them success and am grateful for their contribution to feline welfare.”

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