Safe Drinking. The Best Materials for Cat Water Fountains


Cat water fountains are drinking systems that provide fresh, circulating water for cats. They offer many benefits over traditional water bowls, such as encouraging cats to drink more water, filtering out impurities, and reducing bacterial growth. When choosing a cat fountain, it’s important to select a safe material that is durable and easy to clean. The safety of the cat should be the top priority.

Some key benefits of cat water fountains include:

  • Encouraging hydration – Cats are attracted to moving water and tend to drink more when provided circulating water from a fountain. Proper hydration supports kidney and urinary tract health.
  • Filtration – Most cat fountains contain a filter to remove impurities and keep the water clean.
  • Reduced plastic taste – Stagnant water in plastic bowls can start tasting like plastic, but fountains provide fresh water.

When evaluating materials for a cat fountain, considerations include durability, safety, ease of cleaning, and resistance to bacterial growth. It’s important to select a non-porous, food-safe material that will not leach any harmful chemicals. This overview will explore some of the most common cat fountain materials – stainless steel, ceramic, plastic, glass, and silicone – and discuss the safety considerations of each.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is one of the most popular materials for cat fountains because of its durability and ease of cleaning. Stainless steel is resistant to bacteria, mold, and mineral deposits that can build up in a fountain over time. It is also less porous than materials like plastic or ceramic, so it doesn’t absorb odors or stains (Source 1).

The main benefits of stainless steel cat fountains are that they are durable, sturdy, and dishwasher safe. The smooth non-porous surface makes them very easy to clean and sanitize. Stainless steel is also resistant to scratches, chips, and cracks that could harbor bacteria. Some models have replaceable filters that help keep the water fresh (Source 2).

Some downsides are that stainless steel fountains tend to be more expensive than plastic models. The metal material can also make some clunking or humming sounds as water runs over it. And stainless steel lacks some of the design variety that materials like ceramic offer.

Popular stainless steel cat fountain models include the Catit Flower Fountain and PetSafe Drinkwell Pagoda Fountain, which feature free-falling water streams, replaceable charcoal filters, and dishwasher safe parts.


Ceramic cat fountains are popular options because they are attractive, durable, and safe for cats when made from food-grade materials. Ceramic is an inert, non-porous material that prevents bacteria growth (source: High-fired ceramic that is lead-free and dishwasher safe is ideal.

The main advantage of ceramic fountains is that they do not contain chemicals like plastic and are very durable. Ceramic is also scratch-resistant. The smooth glazed surface makes it easy to clean and keep free of biofilms (source:

However, ceramic is breakable, so a fountain made entirely of ceramic can crack or shatter if dropped. Some fountains combine ceramic bowls with a plastic base for stability. It’s also important to choose a design that is well-made from quality ceramic that is fired at high temperatures for durability and to avoid leaking.

Examples of ceramic cat fountains made in the USA from food-safe ceramic include the Cepheus 360 PET Ceramic Drinking Fountain and fountains from ThirstyCat.


Plastic fountains are typically made from materials like polypropylene or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic. They tend to be more affordable options but have some drawbacks when it comes to safety. Some pros of plastic cat fountains include:

– Inexpensive price point

– Dishwasher safe

– Durable

However, there are some concerns with plastic fountains:

– Lower quality plastic can leach chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA) into the water, which can be harmful if ingested (Source)

– Plastic is less hygienic than ceramic, stainless steel or glass

– Can get scratched over time, allowing bacteria to grow

– Not as durable as other materials in the long run

When choosing a plastic fountain, look for BPA-free and dishwasher safe options. Some examples are the Drinkwell Pagoda Fountain or Petmate Replendish Fountain.


Glass cat water fountains can provide certain benefits over other materials, but also come with some potential drawbacks to consider. On the positive side, glass is an inert material that does not contain chemicals like BPA that could leach into the water. Glass is also clear, allowing pet owners to easily monitor the cleanliness and water level of the fountain. Glass fountains can have a stylish, modern aesthetic as well. Some examples of popular glass cat fountains include the Petsafe Drinkwell Pagoda and Petkit Eversweet.

However, glass also has some disadvantages when used in cat fountains. It can easily shatter if knocked over or dropped, posing a safety hazard. Glass is also prone to scratching over time which can harbor bacteria. It must be cleaned frequently to prevent buildup of mineral deposits which can cloud its clarity. Additionally, glass fountains tend to be on the pricier side. So while attractive, glass may not be the most practical or safest choice for active, accident-prone cats.


Silicone is a popular material for cat fountains because it is flexible, durable, and safe for pets. Silicone is an inorganic polymer made from silicon, oxygen, and other elements that forms a flexible, waterproof material. Some key advantages of silicone cat fountains include:

  • Non-porous surface that prevents bacteria growth
  • BPA-free and toxin-free
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Soft material won’t damage cats’ teeth
  • Flexible design makes removing parts for cleaning easy

Silicone does have a few drawbacks to consider. It can be prone to staining over time, especially from mineral deposits in hard water. Silicone also retains odors more than other materials. Proper cleaning and replacing filters can help minimize this. Examples of popular silicone cat fountains include the EduSoho Ceramic Cat Water Fountain, PetSafe Drinkwell Pagoda, and PetKit Eversweet Fountain.

Comparing Materials

When choosing a material for a cat water fountain, there are a few key factors to consider in terms of safety and hygiene:

Material Safety Pros Cons
Stainless Steel Very safe and hygienic. Non-porous and resistant to bacteria growth.1 Durable, easy to clean, dishwasher safe Can be noisy
Ceramic Very safe. Non-porous so doesn’t allow bacteria growth.2 Attractive design options, easy to clean, dishwasher safe Heavy, more prone to breaking
Plastic Less safe. Porous material can trap bacteria.3 Inexpensive, lightweight Prone to scratches and cracks over time
Glass Safe if lead-free. Non-porous.3 Visually appealing Fragile and prone to breaking

As the table shows, stainless steel and ceramic are typically considered the safest choices when it comes to hygiene and preventing bacterial growth. They are non-porous, durable materials that can be cleaned and disinfected easily. Plastic is more prone to scratching and bacterial accumulation over time. Glass is safe if lead-free, but carries a high risk of breakage.


Proper maintenance and cleaning of a cat water fountain is crucial for ensuring the safety of your cat. When not cleaned regularly, bacteria, mold, and biofilms can build up in the fountain and contaminate the water. This puts your cat at risk of developing gastrointestinal diseases or urinary tract infections from ingesting unsanitary water.

According to Why Cat Water Fountains Are A Better Choice Than Bowls, cat fountains should be cleaned every 3-7 days to prevent the growth of pathogens. Fountains with filtration systems will need filter replacements about once a month. The fountain’s manufacturer instructions should be followed for proper cleaning methods and frequency.

When cleaning the fountain, all components should be washed thoroughly with hot, soapy water. Some parts may be dishwasher safe as well. Any slimy buildup or biofilm should be scrubbed off. It’s important not to use harsh chemicals, so plain dish soap is recommended. After cleaning, be sure to rinse all components fully before reassembling.

With consistent cleaning and filter changes, cat fountains can provide your cat with a safe and appealing source of water. But neglecting proper maintenance puts your cat’s health at risk.

Choosing a Safe Fountain

When choosing a cat water fountain, safety should be the top priority. The safest cat water fountains are made from high-quality materials that are non-porous and easy to clean. Stainless steel and ceramic are generally considered the best options.

Stainless steel fountains are durable, hygienic, and resistant to bacteria buildup. The steel construction makes them easy to clean and sterilize. Stainless steel models with a dishwasher safe design offer the ultimate convenience. Look for fountains made from food-grade stainless steel and free of plastic components, which can harbor bacteria (WebMD).

Ceramic fountains are also an excellent choice, as ceramic is non-porous and prevents bacterial growth. Glazed ceramic bowls are smooth and easy to disinfect. Ceramic fountains tend to be quieter than plastic models. Select a ceramic fountain with a sturdy design to prevent cracking or chipping (Cat Care Solutions).

Avoid cheaper plastic fountains, which can crack over time and develop crevices that trap bacteria and mold. Glass fountains can shatter and are not recommended. Silicone is prone to collecting mineral deposits that are difficult to remove. For optimal safety, choose a fountain made primarily from stainless steel or ceramic.


In conclusion, when choosing a material for a cat fountain, stainless steel and ceramic are generally considered the safest options. Stainless steel is durable, easy to clean, and resistant to bacteria. Ceramic is also non-porous, so it won’t harbor bacteria. Both stainless steel and ceramic are also safer choices than plastic, which can sometimes contain BPA or phthalates. Glass looks high-end but is fragile and heavy. Silicone is flexible but still porous.

Overall, stainless steel strikes the best balance between safety, durability, and ease of maintenance. High quality stainless steel fountains don’t leach metals or chemicals, are dishwasher safe, and can last for years. For pet owners looking for the optimal health and safety for their cats, a stainless steel fountain is the top recommendation.

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