Cats love flowing water. And not just for play, either.
Compared to stagnant water, fresh flowing water tends to contain more oxygen and minerals. Cats have very sensitive taste buds, so they can tell the difference between fresh and stale water.
If your cat is picky about her water or has trouble drinking enough fluids, you should consider switching out her regular water bowl for an automated drinking fountain, like the Cat Mate pet fountain.
Cat Mate Pet Fountain
This is an honest and thorough review of the Cat Mate 335 2 Liter pet fountain. I have had this drinking fountain in use for over a year and a half in a one-cat-household.
I have tested it through all 4 seasons, warm and cold, both with and without the recommended carbon filters.
Through all of this, it has had to compete both with an old-fashioned bowl of stagnant water and the much-beloved Holy Grail of water supplies: the running tap.
My cat, Lordi, suffers from chronic kidney disease (CKD), which makes her drink a lot of water. And she is very picky about it too.
Let’s see if the Cat Mate water fountain meets her standards!
A Quick Overview
Cat Mate 335 2L Pet Fountain
A good water fountain is easy to assemble, but not that easy to take apart. Cats are curious creatures with a tendency to break stuff, so don’t expect to get away with getting them a flimsy fountain. You will end up with a wet floor and some thirsty kitties.
Luckily, the Cat Mate Pet Fountain delivers on this end. It consists of just 5 parts:
- a bottom container,
- a top container,
- a carbon filter,
- a pump,
- an electrical adapter.
Assembling it is as easy as sliding the filter into the slot on the bottom container, attaching the pump to the top container, and placing the top on the bottom. Then pour in some water, plug it in, and you’re good to go!
There is a dial on the side of the pump that lets you adjust the flow of the water. Simply turn it one way or the other to make the water flow slower or faster.
So far, my cat has not even attempted to knock it over or destroy it in any way. And I doubt that she could if she tried. The container is bottom-heavy, especially when filled with water, and has no seams showing.
Another thing to consider when getting a pet fountain is the level of sound it produces. If it is too noisy, your cat may not want to use it.
Plus, a noisy fountain will limit your options when it comes to finding a good place for it in your home.
I have put mine in the kitchen, since that’s where my cat is used to finding her water bowl. And any sounds it makes are easily drowned out by my old refrigerator.
It is important to realize that any automated water fountain will make some noise. The action of circulating water through a pump produces a low hum that sadly can’t be avoided. On top of that, moving water can naturally cause splashing sounds.
Fortunately, the water in the Cat Mate drinking fountain flows naturally along the plastic. There are no tiny waterfalls to produce those sounds that make you want to go to the bathroom all day.
When I first plugged my Cat Mate pet fountain into the wall socket, Lordi was a bit startled. It made a sucking sound and then started humming louder than I was expecting.
However, once the pump had completely filled with water and was circulating it around, the sucking sound went away and the hum died down until it was barely noticeable.
After a while, my cat got used to all the sounds and now actually takes the sucking sound of the pump as a sign to go drink from her fountain.
The shape of the Cat Mate pet fountain caters to cats of all sizes.
The top of the fountain has two small bowls that get filled first when you turn on the pump. These are great for taller cats, but also for seniors.
At 15 years old, my Lordi is basically a geriatric and is starting to show signs of arthritis. The top bowl of the Cat Mate drinking fountain is the perfect height for her to drink comfortably, without having to strain her neck.
From the top bowls, the water flows down into a wide, low container. If you have multiple cats, they can sit side by side when they drink from this pet fountain. What’s more, young kittens can also easily reach the water when they first start to drink.
The only downside to having such a large, open container is that it collects dust and hair on the surface of the water. Especially if it is in an area with a lot of foot traffic.
Oh, and bugs. One morning I woke up to find a fairly large spider swirling around in the current.
When it comes to size, the Cat Mate pet drinking fountain slightly fails to deliver on its promise.
The container is said to hold about 2 liters (68 ounces) of water. In reality, it holds closer to 1.8 liters (60 ounces), and about half of that is required to simply keep it operational.
If the level of water falls below a certain point, the pump won’t be able to fill itself up and will start to malfunction. First it will start making more noise, but eventually it can run itself dry and overheat.
I currently only have one cat, and I live in a moderate climate. My cat does drink a bit more than the average cat because of her CKD. But not that much more. And she gets most of her water from the bathroom tap, to be honest.
Even under these conditions, I regularly find myself having to add some extra water to the Cat Mate drinking fountain. It seems that much of the water just evaporates from the container.
If you have multiple pets, you are probably better off with the 3 liter Cat Mate Shell Fountain, or the 6 liter Dog Mate Large Drinking Fountain. Just make sure that all of your pets can easily reach the water.
As with any water bowl, it is imperative that you keep the Cat Mate pet fountain as clean as possible. It is made entirely from plastic, which has the unfortunate property of being slightly porous and, as such, is a great surface for bacteria to settle.
You can actually feel these bacteria by running your finger across the bottom of the container. You will feel a thin slimy layer on top of the plastic.
And I’m pretty sure Lordi can smell it. If I don’t clean her drinking fountain in time, I will catch her walking up to it and stopping about 2 feet away, only to turn around and leave.
I have tested the Cat Mate both with and without the carbon filters. In both cases I found that this slimy layer starts to form on all parts of the fountain within 24 to 48 hours. So it is best to clean the entire fountain at least once a day.
How To Clean The Cat Mate Pet Fountain
Follow these 8 steps to properly clean your Cat Mate drinking fountain:
- Unplug the water fountain and empty the container.
- Take it apart, removing the filter and disconnecting the pump.
- Wash the white container parts in the dishwasher, or by hand using a mild, nonabrasive detergent. If washing by hand, use pipe cleaners to clean the duct that attaches to the pump.
- Thoroughly rinse the filter and its casing.
- Take both the side covers off of the pump and wash all parts using a mild, nonabrasive detergent. Do not put these parts into the dishwasher, as you will risk damaging them.
- Clean the wire of the pump with a wet cloth and some detergent.
- Once a week, place the pump and its detached side covers into a bath of 1 part vinegar (the consumable kind) and 2 parts warm water. Let them soak for 15 to 30 minutes, before thoroughly rinsing them.
- For good hygiene, replace the carbon filter every month or whenever it starts to look yellowy.
In terms of durability, the Cat Mate pet fountain scores top marks. It has been about a year and a half since I’ve taken it into use, and it is still working like a charm.
Lordi seems to really like it as well. She gets visibly excited when I pour in the water and plug it in. She sits and watches the water as it rises and starts flowing. So cute!
Some customers do report the pump breaking and needing replacement every couple of months, but I have not had this experience. As long as you keep all the parts clean, they should last you a long time. And still, a replacement pump is not that expensive.
With the Cat Mate drinking fountain, you can expect to spend most on the filter replacements. That is, if you choose to use them.
Personally, I’m on the fence about the use of these carbon filters. We have very clean, soft water coming from the tap where I live. So the filters don’t do much for me in terms of cleaning the water and preventing calcification.
That might be different for you.
If your tap water has been processed and cleaned with chemicals before reaching your house, the filter can actually help you a lot. Though, in such a case, you may be better off giving your pets something other than tap water, if you’re not already.
Either way, the filters do not seem to be effective against bacteria that form in the drinking fountain itself. Which renders them kind of useless when used with clean, fresh water.
All things considered, Lordi and I give the Cat Mate pet fountain 4 out of 5 stars.
Lordi definitely enjoys having a flowing source of water available when I’m too busy to let her drink from the sink. She hasn’t even looked at her regular drinking bowl in months! But the bathroom tap is clearly still her favorite drinking spot.
When it comes to keeping the Cat Mate clean, I do find myself resenting having to wash it by hand every day. But if you have a dishwasher at your disposal, this really isn’t a big deal at all.
The only real inconvenience about the Cat Mate pet fountain is the fact that it is not a “set and forget”-type of drinking fountain.
You can’t use it as a reliable source of fresh water for your pets if you decide to go away for the weekend, or if you work really long hours. Especially if you have more than one pet using it.
Under normal circumstances, however, the Cat Mate pet fountain should suit you and your cats just fine.
In our case, it has definitely helped to give my cat the hydration she needs without constantly needing me to turn on the tap for her. Knowing that she benefits from it is enough to erase any minor annoyances I have about keeping it clean.
The Cat Mate Pet Fountain is available on Amazon.