Water Fountain For Cats -

What constitutes a water fountain for cats

has changed dramatically over the last couple of decades. It wasn’t much before then there was no such thing as a fountain for cats and cats drank from bowls just like every other pet.

As with the creation of so many other inventions, a need was seen and in this case, it was the realization that cats just didn’t drink enough and suffered from it. Many feline illnesses were the result of that. They needed something they weren’t getting and that sometihing was moving water. Why that was remained a mystery until fairly recently when ThirstyCats presented the concept that cats are hard-wired to seek moving water because in nature, still, stagnant water can be lethal and only moving water, as found in streams and rivers, is safe. A reality cats are instsinctively aware of.

For a long time fountains for cats were made in factories in China entirely of plastic and many, such as the Drinkwell also had many nooks and crevices which were hard to clean. They became slimy. 

It wasn’t at first understand why they became so filled with biofilm (slime) and why it was so hard to clean until it was realized that water penetrates into the plastic, bacteria colonize there and it is they that generate the slime. It is because these bacteria have actually become part of the fountain and are not just living on the surface that they are so hard to eradicate. Bleach or some similar chemical agent is needed to destroy them and this must be used regularly.

water fountain for cats

The Drinkwell was one of the first water fountains for cats

And is still around today, though frequently disparaged because of its materials and construction.

As with every good idea the Drinkwell water fountain for cats was followed by other makers of cat fountains, also made in China and also made of plastic. In fact, there was an explosion of pet watering products, at first all made of plastic but eventually other materials appeared, owing largely to the criticism plastic was receiving.

Drinkwell itself came out with a stainless steel model which is still available today and other brands also offered and still offer their stainless steel versions, (all with significant amount of plastic parts).

water fountain for cats

The market was soon flooded

with cheaply made plastic, then stainless steel fountains for cats which were, and are really well marketed.

cat water fountain

Eventually, the big brands started following ThirstyCats and creating ceramic water fountain, first in fairly unappealing designs. These were also cast in molds but some were made of better materials and made in the US as were the two shown here.

These makers did not pose any great threat to the big brands who continued with their mostly plastic cat fountains. The controversy over the harmful effects of plastic was still building.

In 2009 ThirstyCat Fountains began offering fountains for cats which were a complete departure from everything else on the market. The ThirstyCat fountain was the first completely handmade water fountain for cats and remains so today, replete with in-house made glazes from raw minerals, thus insuring food safeness. For no other maker of cat fountains is this true.

This is when the big brands began having ceramic cat fountains made in China. They were by now aware of the growing recognition of the harmfulness of plastic and they saw us as a threat. They even began creating designs remarkably similar to some ThirstyCat designs. (One of the biggest brands for these pet fountains came to ThirstyCats just after the Covid crises began to peak and asked if we would make fountains for them. Which of course we couldn’t). They were probably having a hard time getting product at that time.

Though there are now a great many inexpensive ceramic fountains made in China there are very serious differences between those and our handmade fountains beyond the simple fact that we offer a great many more designs and glazes.

It has recently been discovered that there is a serious fault in these many foreign made ‘ceramic’ fountains such as you find on Amazon. After a time they become as slimy as plastic cat fountains and the slime cannot be removed. The reason for this is that they are made of low density clay with low-fire glazes and are porous. Not so much that they leak but enough that water penetrates into the body of the clay, bacteria grow and slime is the result.

Soon other more attractive fountains for cats began to appear, not made by big brands. The more prominent were also mold-made of low density ceramics. You can know which brands are mold made by the very limited number of designs they offer.

One individual went a completely different route in order to create beautiful cat fountains, such as that shown here. Each piece for the fountain is purchased separately from a variety of sources including garage sales, and re-purposed. Using a diamond bit the owner drills into the primary bowl to create a place for the pump cord to exit and various other manipulations are performed to create a fully functioning cat fountain and these, in our view are a viable alternative.

The only two drawbacks we see is that, one, they are expensive, starting in the low three hundred dollar range and two, if you break a piece the liklihood of replacing it seems nill. Perhaps a third drawback is that since the maker of these fountains doesn’t make them there is no knowing what is in the ceramics or the glazes.

Nevertheless, these and our ThirstyCat fountains represent the summit in the evolution of the water fountain for cats. Naturally, we far prefer our fountains as being the most beautiful, guaranteed completely food-safe, highest quality and the only completely handmade fountain for cats worldwide. (And if you break a piece we can replace it.)  Please visit our shop to see our latest creations.

water fountain for cats
ThirstyCat Fountains