GADGETS & ACCESSORIES

DIY Cat Water Fountain: Drinking, Your Way

A cat drinking water from a DIY-Cat-Water-Fountain
Stella Noble
Written by Stella Noble

Cats can be picky—not only when it comes to food, but also when it comes to drinking water. Have you noticed that sometimes your cat bypasses a perfectly good bowl of water that you’ve prepared especially for her in favor of drinking straight from the tap or perhaps even your bathwater? She’s not doing that to spite you; it’s just her instinct telling her to drink from running water instead of stagnant water. If you want your cat to stop drinking unhygienic water, you should build a DIY cat water fountain for her.

A cat water fountain will keep your cat hydrated and healthy. Although you can essentially just buy one online or from a pet store, just imagine using your hands to make that happen for your furry friend. Not to mention, going DIY is almost always more cost-effective. Building a DIY cat water fountain is simple if you’ve got someone to guide you, and that’s what we’re here for.

A cat drinking water from a DIY-Cat-Water-Fountain

In this article, we open you up to the advantages a DIY project has over buying a commercial fountain. We further enumerated factors that should not be overlooked when building a cat water fountain. We also list the supplies you will need to prepare and take you step by step through the process. Finally, we will give you some tips that will help keep your water fountain in tip-top shape for a long time to come.

Why DIY?

D.I.Y is an acronym for Do It Yourself. The acronym is used in many fields and associated with almost everything. It means you can make your own cat fountain using your own materials, design, and tools.

A mother cat with kittens drinking water from a water fountain

Do it yourself projects are not all work and stress. DIY has some hidden advantages over store-bought items. Any cat water fountain you make yourself will give the following benefits apart from the obvious goodness it offers to your cat.

  • Freedom: You are free to do things your way. You don’t have to follow the trend. It is like taking your life in your hands and doing what is best for you and your cat without being forced into a fixed mold. You don’t have to depend on others for what you need.
  • Connect your brains to your hands: How many bright ideas have you had that did not come through simply because you never had any chance to express yourself? DIY projects will give you the opportunity to be creative and use your own two hands. You never know what you can do until you try. DIY can help you discover new things about yourself and your abilities. It opens up a new world of learning to you. It doesn’t matter whether the project lasts long or not.
  • Profit options: You can use the skill you’ve perfected to make money. You can start a class and add value to others as well. It can create a business that you can fall back on when you retire or need an extra source of income.
  • Make new friends: Great minds think alike. Becoming a DIY-er will connect you to other people that enjoy taking on their own projects. You can join crafting classes, online forums, and local gatherings that are related to what interests you.
  • It is cheaper: Who wouldn’t want to save some money if they can? While you’ll still have to spend some cash on tools and supplies, it’ll be a lot cheaper than purchasing a commercial product.

Why a Cat Water Fountain?

A cat water fountain is a source of clean, fresh, and running water for your cat. It has a basin with either a tap that can be turned on or off or a continuously running source of water. With a cat water fountain, your cat will be able to drink flowing water freely.

a cat drinking water from a Small Cat Water Fountain

You may wonder why you need to spend more to get a water fountain when you can simply give your cat water in a bowl. Water fountains provide many benefits for your cat:

  • Cats Do Not Like Drinking Stagnant Water: Cats have been known to intentionally jostle the water in their bowl first before they drink. This is because most cats simply do not like drinking stagnant water. Their ancestors used to drink from flowing rivers or springs all the time, so it is an instinct ingrained within them.
  • Recommended by Vets: Because cats dislike stagnant water, they may refuse to take in enough to fulfill their daily requirement if they have to drink from a bowl. Insufficient water intake can cause many physical ailments like kidney and urinary tract diseases. Sufficient water intake will prevent the buildup of any urethral obstructions.
  • The Water Tastes Better: Cats are finicky and particular about what goes into their mouth. It is a part of their nature. If the water does not feel right or taste right, they will not go near it.

Factors to Consider

Now that you understand the importance of investing in a cat water fountain, you may be raring to build one immediately. But before you go and do that, first things first, there are a couple of important points you’ll want to take into consideration. Be it for store-bought cat water fountains or do-it-yourself cat water fountains, you have to first get familiar with the attributes and characteristics of a good water fountain.

Location

This is rightfully the number one factor to consider because the placement of the water fountain is vital in determining whether it will be maximized fully or not. If the water fountain is not placed well, it may end up gathering dust, and in turn, become contaminated with bacteria.

cat drinking -water- from and indoor fountain

It is advisable to place the water fountain in a spot your cat has easy access to. If it is in a room, then the door should be left open all the time, or at the very least you should install a cat door. Also, avoid areas of heavy traffic and loud noises that may startle your cat while she is drinking. Also, it will not be wise to place the water fountain near the litter box We recommend that you place the cat water fountain on a tiled or stone counter, an accessible room, or a safe place within an enclosed outdoor space.

Filtration

A cat water fountain has to continuously filter out debris, cat hair, and other externals particles from entering the pump. It could be a mechanical system of filtration that uses a sponge filter or a chemical system of filtration that uses a carbon filter to draw out impurities and toxins. A chemical filtration helps remove odors and unpleasant tastes. The carbon filter should be changed every few months.

Safety

The water fountain you choose for your cat must not cause injury or fatal harm to your cat. Ensure that the material is not something your cat is allergic to. Also, the edges should be rounded and not sharp or jagged because the latter can draw blood from your cat.

Close-up image of a Miaustore's ceramic cat water fountain

Also, make sure that there are no small parts that may fall into the basin. We want to avoid your cat swallowing such pieces by accident.

Cost

Money matters in any project you undertake. The same applies when building your own cat water fountain. The total cost is determined by the materials used, the tools, and the time spent on producing a functional cat water fountain. A do-it-yourself cat water fountain allows you to save money and get creative at the same time.

Ease of Cleaning

One of the many purposes of getting a water fountain for your cat is to ensure that your fuzz ball has access to clean water at all times. Cleaning the fountain is therefore essential to keep the water clean as well.

Two cats drinking water from the same cat water fountain

Some fountain designs can make it difficult to get to some crevices and spaces to do a thorough cleaning. Before you make or buy any cat water fountain, make sure it is easy to maintain to ensure maximum hygiene.

Material

Cat water fountains are usually made of plastic, stainless steel, and ceramic materials. Each has its own advantages over the others. Plastic is lightweight and comes in an array of colors. However, plastic tends to get scratched after a while and can become a breeding ground for bacteria.

A white cat sitting in front of a Cat Water Fountain

Ceramic is fragile and can become loose and noisy when it begins to wear out. However, ceramic has the advantage of being dishwasher-safe, sterile, and hygienic. Stainless steel repels bacteria and germs and is also dishwasher-friendly.

Durability

The material used, the mechanics of the fountain, and the general design all add up to determine the durability of a cat water fountain. Some materials are more durable than others. The mechanics of the water fountain must have longevity, and the parts should not need repair or replacement too often to enhance durability.

Size

Considering that most cat breeds are medium-sized, a water fountain should be the right size to allow the cat to drink without bending too low or stretching too tall that it becomes uncomfortable to drink water. If the size does not fit, the cat might be discouraged from using the water fountain, and become dehydrated if there are no other water sources.

A Step By Step Guide to Make a DIY Cat Water Fountain

So, now you’re aware of the common pitfalls and other things that you need to consider before you purchase or make a cat water fountain. If you’re still good to go through with making one, before we begin, there are a few things that you’ll need to prepare:

  • A fish tank filter for a 10-gallon tank. It is advisable to get a filter that pushes the water from the top. This creates a waterfall effect. You can also buy a pump at a pet store
  • A large black binder clip
  • Power Surge strip protector
  • A 5-gallon fish bowl, or a ceramic/stainless steel container that can take the desired water capacity
  • Clean or filtered water
  • Glass beads for decoration

Here comes the instructions on how to make a DIY water fountain for your beloved furry friend:

  • Put the fish filter together. If you are using a recycled pump, that is fine as long as it is working fine.
  • Run the glass beads under clean water to remove any dust or dirt. Place the beads at the bottom of the fishbowl. These beads keep larger particles from entering the filter and hold the filter or pump up, so it sits at the ideal height.
  • Place the filter or the pump into the bowl. Make sure the top of the filter is even with (or slightly above) the lip of the fishbowl or your preferred container. This is to ensure that the water exits the pump above the edge of the bowl and points towards the center while facing inwards.
  • The bottom of the pump or the filter should rest on the glass beads. If it sits too high or too low, adjust the quantity of beads in your bowl till you get the perfect height.
  • Some filters have suction cups to attach it to the side of your bowl. If not, use a large black binder clip to keep it in place.
  • Ensure there is a small space around the pump after it has been secured.
  • Prime the pump by pouring water into it. If you neglect to prime the filter, you may damage your pump.
  • Place your cat’s new water fountain in the chosen location. Ensure you place it on a stable, flat surface before you plug in the pump.
  • For safety purposes, plug your filter or pump into a power surge strip protector.

With this DIY cat water fountain, water comes out of the pump but does not pool up to the top of the bowl.

Two cats sitting in front of a PetSafe-Drinkwell-360-Fountain-For-Pets

Most cats do not like getting their face, whiskers, and chest wet when drinking. This setup will help them achieve that. Your cat can drink from the lip of the pump and remain dry.

Some Maintenance Tips

Check the fountain daily—nothing too intense, just to ensure that it is working. On a monthly basis, you should look closer to ensure that the water fountain is working properly.

  • Make sure to clean the filter periodically and remove any cat hair or debris found in it.
  • Take the fountain apart and clean it with warm, soapy water.
  • Don’t forget to rinse the glass beads in hot water.
  • We recommend that you change the water twice a week. Completely empty the basin and refill it to ensure freshness of the water.
  • If you notice the filter leaking, you can change out the seal which is commonly referred to as an “O-ring.”

Wrap Up

Cats are attracted to running water, so by installing a water fountain, by instinct, your cat will come running to have a drink. Your cat will definitely thank you for putting so much thought into fulfilling her needs.

You may even get so good at this that other people will ask you to make one for their cat. You’ll have a nice, extra source of income this way. Although, there is no need to put any pressure on yourself. DIY is meant to be enjoyed. The beauty of any DIY project is the flexibility and the freedom of choice it allows you.

A black and white male cat drinking water from a fountain

Do you think you’ll try your hand at this DIY project anytime soon? Or do you think you’re better off purchasing a commercial cat water fountain? Let us in on your opinion by posting a comment in the space we’ve prepared for you below!

About the author
Stella Noble
Stella Noble

Stella Noble lives in Warren, Michigan with her family and three cats. She is a Certified Cat Trainer and a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

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