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8 DIY Cat Water Fountains You Can Build Today (With Pictures)

Written by: Jordin Horn

Last Updated on June 21, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat drinks water

8 DIY Cat Water Fountains You Can Build Today (With Pictures)

Cats aren’t similar to humans, but we are similar to our feline friends regarding water consumption. Generally, the more water we consume, the better it is for us. Cats especially need to drink adequate amounts of water to prevent bladder problems, which they are prone to.

A 10-pound cat needs 7–9 ounces of water per day. In the wild, they get this amount from catching and eating prey. The problem is, at home, it’s difficult to get cats to drink from a bowl. Drinking water out of a standard bowl isn’t ideal, and some cats prefer water fountains!cat face divider 2

Why Some Cats Like Running Water

Cats prefer to drink from a running tap, which is why your kitty might jump up next to the kitchen sink or meow at you when you turn it on.

There are several reasons for this:
  • To a cat, stagnant water is dirty water. It is a harbor for bacteria that can make a cat sick.
  • Water only tastes fresh in a bowl for a little while.
  • A cat’s whiskers can touch the edge of a water bowl while drinking, causing irritation.

A water fountain for your cat can prevent all of these issues. Some cats drink more water when a fountain is present. They can hear the sound and want to check it out. A cat can drink freely from a fountain without getting their whiskers in the way.

Are Water Fountains Safe for Cats?

Water fountains are safe for cats so long as they:
  • Get cleaned thoroughly and regularly
  • Are made from non-toxic, food-grade materials
  • The pump is safe for water submersion

When a water fountain becomes dirty, bacteria can contaminate the water, making your cat sick. Try to clean the entire fountain once a week, and also change the filter as the packaging recommends.

You should ensure the fountain is made from quality materials. Plastic materials are fine, but make sure they are free from BPA, which is known to cause cancer. The best materials for your cat fountain are glass, stainless steel, and ceramic since they are easy to clean, and the surface is not damaged easily.

Also, ensure the pump you select is appropriate for water fountains and that there are no dangling chords.

cat paw divider

8 DIY Cat Water Fountains

The good news is that you don’t have to purchase an expensive, pre-made cat water fountain. You can round up a few items and make one yourself! Take a look at these DIY Cat Fountains.

1. Glass Fish Bowl

DIY Water Fountain
Image Credit: PanEcats.com

This slightly ironic but practical water fountain is made from a fishbowl and aquarium pump. The setup is very easy: fill the bowl a quarter way with decorative glass beads, set the pump inside, fasten it to the side of the bowl, then add water and turn it on.


2. Stainless Steel Bowls

This cat owner created a brilliant cat water fountain that uses two stainless steel bowls; one small bowl is turned upside down inside a medium-sized bowl.

You can see in the video that, at first, the owner tried pumping the water directly on top of the water sitting in the bigger bowl. The kitten was a little skittish about that. So she directed the flow on the smaller bowl instead, which her kitty appreciated much more!


3. Ceramic Bowl with Bamboo Spout

DIY cat paradise with this easy fountain hack
Image Credit: Chirpy Cats

One of the most beautiful cat fountains we found was this bamboo-spout fountain featured in this cat’s “catio” space. The water is pumped through the piece of bamboo and falls onto a dish of decorative rocks. Cats who love to drink out of the tap will love this fountain.


4. Ceramic Pot Fountain

We imagine these cats liked to drink from the garden hose whenever it was turned on. The author cleverly came up with a way to make a cat fountain out of a big pot for plants. The pot is filled with water and filters the water with ceramic filter rings and activated charcoal in bags beneath the decorative rocks.


5. Plastic Water Bottle Fountain

DIY Cat Water Fountain
Image Credit: Autodesk Instructables

Another clever cat owner turned a thrift store aquarium pump and a plastic water bottle into a cat water fountain. The owner was tired of giving the cat a drink every time he opened the fridge for water, so he came up with this idea! As cool as it is, keep in mind that it may be difficult to clean.


6. Bucket with Tubes

If you have adult cats who can reach up higher for a drink, this water fountain utilizes a basic water pump, bucket, and siphoning tubes. This could be a great setup for a household with brand new kittens, as a water bowl with standing water poses a drowning hazard for them.


7. Glass Bowl with Pump and Injector

As an interesting variation on the glass fish bowl water fountain, this design uses an injector to pump the water out in a bubble. However, some cats were too nervous to use the fountain. Even though it is a pretty design, nervous cats might not want to use it.


8. PVC Pipe Fountain

When you’re a cat, it’s more fun to have an engineer as a cat mom or dad! This fountain is crafted especially for functionality and cat entertainment. Your cat can drink flowing water from the spout on top or from the flowing water returning to the pump. Drinking water just got a whole lot more fun for cats!

While this design is very unique, remember that all the tubes should be BPA-free and taken apart to be cleaned regularly.

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Where Should I Put the Cat’s Fountain?

Your cat’s water fountain can sit in your cat’s catio or wherever your cat usually uses their water bowl. Don’t put the fountain near the cat’s litter box since they do not like to use the bathroom in the same area as their food and water.

Some cats prefer to have their food and water sources farther apart. If you think the water might be too close to the food bowl, try moving it further away to see if your cat likes that better.

Cats can be very particular about many things, including the water they drink. The right water fountain can provide your cat with clean, fresh water.

Hepper Stainless Steel Cat Water Fountain
  • Premium 304-Grade Stainless Steel - This metal cat water fountain is hygienic, with superior...
  • Serene & Healthy Cat Drinking Fountain Experience - With whisper-quiet pumping & an advanced...
  • Say Goodbye to Dehydration - Provide your cat with a constant source of flowing water with this...

We recommend Hepper's Stainless Steel Cat Water Fountain, an easy-to-clean model with three different flow modes, a large capacity, and effective triple filtration. This minimalist fountain runs quietly and will fit right into your home.

At Catster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

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Cat Fountain Cleaning Tips

Now that you have your DIY cat water fountain made (and hopefully your cat is enjoying it), it’s essential to also know how to routinely clean it to keep it safe for your cat.

How Often to Clean Your Fountain

Clean the water fountain once a week by taking it apart and washing it with warm soap and water. Get a straw brush for the tubes and gently scrub the insides. For hard-to-reach spots, use a toothbrush.

If you have multiple cats, you may want to increase the cleaning to once every 3 to 4 days. Change the filter as often as the filter packaging explains, and don’t forget to clean the water pump inside the fountain, too.

How Often to Change the Water

First, when the fountain seems low, top it off. There’s no formula when it comes to completely changing your cat’s water, however, when you start to notice white foam or bubbles on top of the water, it’s time to change it. The foam is organic matter (saliva, hair, etc.) that has dissolved in the water. If left too long, it will contaminate the water.

Can You Leave the Fountain On All The Time?

You can, as long as it doesn’t bother your cat. Consider how much water your fountain holds and how quickly the water runs out. You will not want the fountain running low on water unsupervised.

When the pump runs without enough water in the fountain, it can damage the pump beyond repair. You can avoid it by turning off your fountain when your cat does not use it.

cat drinking from fountain
Image Credit: Nana_Hana, Shutterstock

How to Help Your Cat Use the Water Fountain

Some cats will love the fountain right away, while other, more nervous cats might be hesitant.

Here are some tips to help your cat use and drink from the water fountain:
  • Keep the water fountain away from the litter box
  • Try putting it away from high-traffic areas
  • Try putting it on the kitchen table or in the living room
  • Fill it up with water without using the pump for a few days
  • Take away other water sources for a day. If your cat does not drink, provide water in a standard bowl to avoid dehydration
  • After not using the pump for a few days, try turning it on the lowest setting, then gradually increase to your desired strength
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Conclusion

A cat water fountain can be a great solution to get your cat to drink more and add a relaxing sound element to your home. The good news is that you don’t have to spend much money on a new one if you’re willing to put in a little work. We hope your cat water fountain endeavors go well and your cat loves the new fountain!

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Featured image credit: AltamashUrooj, Shutterstock

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