Can Cats Share? The Truth About Cats Using the Same Water Fountain


Cats are known for being finicky creatures, especially when it comes to their water. As any cat owner knows, getting your feline friend to drink enough water can be a challenge. This often leads cat parents to wonder – can two cats share the same water source? With the popularity of cat water fountains on the rise, you may be curious if multiple cats can use the same fountain without issue. In this article, we’ll dive into the pros and cons, key considerations, fountain design factors, proper setup, and tips for transitioning cats to a shared water fountain.

Cats & Water

Water is essential for cats as it helps regulate body temperature, digest food, and remove waste from the body. Dehydration is a serious condition for cats that can lead to kidney disease, constipation, urinary tract infections, and other health issues. According to WebMD, signs of dehydration in cats include lethargy, sunken eyes, dry gums, loss of appetite, and skin tenting. Cats with mild dehydration may have a slightly tacky mouth, whereas cats with moderate dehydration often have a very tacky mouth and take longer for the skin to fall back down when tenting.

Cats are susceptible to dehydration for several reasons. Cats have a low thirst drive and do not recognize early signs of dehydration. Illness can lead to dehydration if the cat is not eating or drinking properly. Certain medications, especially diuretics, may cause increased urination leading to fluid loss. Environmental factors like high temperatures can also put cats at risk of dehydration according to PetMD. That’s why it’s critical for cat owners to provide easy access to fresh, clean water at all times.

Sharing Water Sources

Cats are inherently territorial animals and prefer having their own dedicated resources like food bowls, litter boxes, scratching posts, and beds. However, research shows that cats can share water sources under the right circumstances.

According to a study by Delgado et al. published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, cats that are required to share resources like food bowls may experience stress and anxiety at meal times ( However, the study did not examine sharing of water resources specifically.

While cats feel most secure with their own food bowls, water sources may be less contentious. Cats hydrate themselves at different times throughout the day, so competition at the water fountain is less likely. As long as it is kept clean and cats have ample space, sharing a water fountain does not necessarily cause stress.

Consider Cat Temperaments

When considering whether two cats can share a water fountain, it’s important to take into account their personalities. Feline personalities can influence how well cats get along and if they are amenable to sharing resources. Studies have identified five main feline personality types: Neuroticism, Extraversion, Dominance, Agreeableness, and Impulsiveness (Source 1). Neuroticism refers to a cat’s skittishness and fearful nature. A cat high in Neuroticism may be anxious around other cats and hesitant to share. Extraversion represents how outgoing a cat is. Extraverted cats are usually friendly and may readily share with another cat. Dominance indicates how controlling a cat is. Dominant cats prefer to be in charge and dictate resources. Agreeableness refers to how well a cat gets along with others. Agreeable cats are usually social and tolerant of sharing. Finally, Impulsiveness represents how reckless a cat is. Impulsive cats tend to act without thinking and may monopolize resources. Understanding where each cat falls on this personality spectrum can help determine if sharing a water fountain is feasible. For instance, two extraverted and agreeable cats will likely have little issue. However, a dominant cat may not share well with a neurotic cat (Source 2). Overall, personality heavily influences a cat’s willingness and ability to share.

Cat Fountain Design

When selecting a cat fountain, consider the size, number of streams, and circulation flow. Larger fountains with multiple streams and a good circulation pump allow more than one cat to drink comfortably at the same time. Look for a fountain with a large surface area and multiple streams, like the Petkit Eversweet 2 which has 3 streams and a flower design.

The size of the fountain should be big enough to accommodate 2 or more cat faces. Opt for a model with a larger capacity, like 2-3 liters, so the water circulates well. The fountain should also have a good circulation pump and filter to keep the water fresh. Multiple streams in a circular design, like the PetSafe Drinkwell Pagoda, allow cats to drink from different angles.

Dual-stream fountains are ideal if you have 2 cats. The Catit Flower Fountain has 2 streams and encourages drinking with its fun design. Make sure any plastic parts are BPA-free and fountains with ceramic bowls are lead-free. Read reviews to choose a quiet fountain with good circulation to meet your cats’ needs.

Proper Location

When deciding where to place a cat fountain that multiple cats will share, it’s important to choose a quiet location that allows for easy access. As the Reddit user u/SolanGoose suggests, good options include the bathroom or bedroom, as these are areas cats tend to hang out in. The bathroom in particular tends to be a quiet spot removed from high traffic areas.

As explained by Expert Cat Care, shared cat fountains should be placed away from food bowls and litter boxes to prevent cross-contamination. Sites like the bathroom counter or bedroom dresser keep the fountain elevated for easy access, without it being right next to other key areas like food stations.

The goal is to minimize stress and competition between cats by ensuring the fountain is in an out-of-the-way yet convenient spot. This allows for a quiet, relaxed drinking experience.


Regular cleaning and filter changes are crucial for maintaining a healthy water fountain that cats will want to drink from. The frequency of cleaning depends on factors like the number of cats, but typically every 1-2 weeks is recommended. The manufacturer’s instructions should provide specifics on maintenance. Make sure to wash all parts with hot, soapy water or in the dishwasher. Rinse thoroughly. Vinegar can help remove mineral deposits and disinfect. Replace filters according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, as they trap debris and prevent buildup. Unclean fountains can breed harmful bacteria. See this guide for a deep clean process: Cat Water Fountain Maintenance 101. Staying on top of fountain hygiene ensures fresh, appealing water for kitty.

Transition Period

When introducing cats to a new water fountain, it’s important to take it slow and give them time to get used to the change. Cats can be wary of new objects in their environment. According to the experts at Catit, “The key is gradual exposure over a period of time. With patience, your cat can transition to happily drinking from their new fountain.”

Start by placing the water fountain in the same area where your cats’ water bowls used to be. Keep it turned off and allow your cats to inspect it. Let them sniff, rub, and paw at the fountain so they can become familiar with it. Over the next few days, turn the fountain on for short periods while supervising. This allows them to get used to the sound of the flowing water.

As recommended by Jeffers Pet, “Once your cat seems comfortable with the fountain being on, you can leave it running all day.” However, continue to monitor their behavior and reactions. Some cats may take longer to adjust than others. Be patient and keep their old water bowl available as well during this transition period.

According to the experts at Catit, “In most cases, your cat will start drinking from the fountain within a few days to a week.” But don’t worry if it takes longer for your cats. The key is giving them the time and space to investigate and get accustomed to the new fountain at their own pace.

Monitor Behavior

Once you introduce the shared water fountain, keep a close eye on your cats to monitor their behavior and watch for any signs of stress or conflict. Look for body language cues like ears back, growling, tense posture, and aggressive swatting that could indicate irritation with the shared drinking arrangement.

Cats that are unhappy sharing may resort to guarding the water fountain and preventing the other cat from accessing it. One cat standing over the fountain constantly or chasing the other cat away each time they try to drink is a clear sign of resource guarding behavior.

You may also notice changes in drinking habits, such as one cat not drinking as frequently or waiting until the other cat leaves to approach the fountain. A cat that seems stressed, anxious or afraid to drink with the other cat around could indicate conflict over the shared water source.

Pay close attention in the beginning and be prepared to separate them back into individual water stations if there are consistent signs of discomfort, intimidation or fear around the shared fountain. With time and positive reinforcement, they may eventually acclimate, but forcing the issue can create ongoing stress.


Most cats can learn to share a water fountain, though a bit of thought and care should go into the transition. The key considerations are having multiple drinking areas, choosing an appropriately sized and designed fountain, keeping it scrupulously clean, and carefully observing how the cats interact to head off any conflicts. With some patience and training, the cats can come to see the fountain as a communal source of fresh, appealing water. Be prepared to return to separate bowls if tensions persist. The added hydration and dental health benefits of getting cats to drink more water makes the effort worthwhile. By taking it slowly and making the fountain a positive experience, both cats can stay happy and hydrated.

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