Drinkwell Original Pet Fountain Review

While renting an older home in the Upper Midwest, I had to leave the bathroom faucet flowing all winter to keep the pipes from freezing. One day, I came home from work and couldn’t find my cat until I looked in the bathroom. There she was perched on the vanity top and drinking happily from the running tap. From that moment on, no more water bowls for her. It was a running faucet or meowing until I turned one on. Looking back now I wish I had purchased the Drinkwell Original Pet Fountain.

Things to Consider Before Buying A Cat Water Dispenser

Cats are instinctively drawn to running water vs still water. In the wild, running water is cleaner and safer than standing water. Many cat owners choose to buy a cat fountain for their feline friends because they feel it will be healthier and encourage the cats to drink more water. Cats with pre-existing health issues such as kidney diseases, obesity, and urinary tract infections may benefit from extra water in their diet. They might even enjoy drinking from a fountain more than a traditional bowl.

If you are looking to purchase a cat water dispenser for your cat, or cats, you will want to make sure that its water capacity can meet your cats needs. A ten pound cat requires about a cup of water per day if they are on a dry food diet. A third of a cup of water will suffice if your feline is on a wet food diet. Be sure to check the volume and calculate accordingly

Placement is also important. Water should be placed where your cat can easily access it. An electric cat water dispenser needs to be plugged in. So, it will also have to be in range of a power cord. 

Also, any cat water fountain will have more maintenance than a regular bowl. Be prepared to remind yourself that you will need to change the filters every 2-4 weeks. Disassemble and clean it weekly and keep it plugged in so the water can circulate properly.

How to get your cat to drink more water?

About the Drinkwell Original Pet Fountain

The Drinkwell Original Pet Fountain continually circulates water and has a five-inch drop to aerate the water and keep it fresh for kitty! 

The water containment area is large enough for your furry friend to lap up water or even bring a friend.​

However, the original remains an all-purpose drinking fountain for picky cats. It holds 50 oz of water, and the pump is located inside the tower to minimize noise when in use.

The cat water fountain comes with a replaceable carbon filter to block out bad tastes and odors. A 6 ft power cord to allow proper placement. Also an additional 50 oz reservoir that can be purchased if you need to meet the needs of multiple cats.

Product Dimensions

11.4 x 9.1 x 7 inches


    • Disassembles for easy cleaning and is Top Rack dishwasher safe
    • Low splash ramp reduces spillage
    • Replaceable carbon filters
    • Made from BPA-free plastics
    • Adjustable Flow Control


    • Motor can run poorly if the unit is not properly cleaned.
    • Pumps also require a high water level to function
    • Slight noise and vibration from the pump
    • Difficulty reassembling product after cleaning

Features and Benefits

Holds 50oz of Fresh Water

The Drinkwell Original Pet Fountain's .4 gallon tank holds enough water to last an average of 1-2 days for a single or two cat family. This will vary depending on how many cats you have and how much water they are drinking (and playing with!).

There is an additional 50 oz reservoir that you can purchase that will double the time between fill-ups. It is important to keep the water levels flowing because the motor will burn out if there is no water to pump.

5-inch Freeflow Drop

Your cat will love the ever flowing five inch waterfall, which is designed to allow access from any angle, for cats of most heights.

The moving water entices cats to drink more frequently. The pump system allows the water to maintain constant circulation. As a result, you will not have to worry about film building up in standing water.

As the water falls from the opening at the top to the containment bowl, it aerates the water for a fresher taste and smell.

The Drinkwell Original Pet Fountain was one of the first models on the cat water dispenser market, and this design has been copied by many subsequent cat water fountain manufacturers.

There is an adjustable flow control so you can set it to multiple levels depending on what suits you and your cat best.

Receiving Ramp

Beneath the fountain, the Receiving Ramp is angled to reduce the noise of falling water and splashing.

Some cats enjoying licking the slide, and that is perfectly normal behavior.

The ramp also makes it easier for the cats to drink the water while it is still in mid-air.

Adjustable Flow Valve

cat water dispenser

With the Drinkwell Original Pet Fountain adjustable flow valve, you can control the speed with which the water is coming out of the opening.

Different cats will have different preferences, and this allows you to find the setting your cat is most comfortable with.

It also can help prevent spills by using a lower setting. If you find your cat is having a little too much fun playing with the free falling water!

Drinkwell Original Pet Fountain Pump

To reduce noise, the pump is submerged in water and kept within the tank.

If it does break, there are replacements available online and through the manufacturer. Also, the cat water dispenser is backed by a one-year warranty.

It will need to be cleaned every week to remove grime and other build-up from the water. A thin brush or the special brush in the cleaning kit will work best for routine maintenance of the unit.

Advanced Carbon Filtration

The Drinkwell Original Pet Fountain works with all of the Drinkwell Fountain Activated Carbon Filters found online.

The initial filter is included in the dispenser and additional filters can be purchased online.

The activated carbon filters remove bad tastes and odors from the water, keeping it clean and attractive to your cat.

It is recommended that you replace the carbon filter every 2-4 weeks.

Easy Cleaning

To work effectively and stay clean and sanitary for your cat, you will need to take the cat water dispenser apart at least once a week to wash and remove any grime or build-up on the pump, turbines, and inside the tank.

You can use a small toothbrush or a thin jet of water, or purchase the Drinkwell cleaning supply kit separately. The cleaning kit has three different brushes that work with all Drinkwell fountains.

The Drinkwell Original Pet Fountain is designed to be easy to clean, with quick disassembly to reach all the interior components, and it is relatively simple to reinstall once the cleaning is finished.

If you don't keep it cleaned regularly, the fountain will not function as smoothly and is more likely to break down because of dirt or other residue wearing out the motor and gears.

Thankfully, everything except the motor is top rack dishwasher safe. So you can clean and sterilize the bowl quickly and easily.

Power Cord

The 6-foot power cord attached to the cat water dispenser allows you to place it in an area customized to meet your cat's specific needs. At six feet, it is long enough that you can place it almost anywhere in the home and still be able to reach an outlet.

Ice Cubes

While not part of the original packaging instructions, many cats love playing with ice cubes set into the bowl. If your cat has never used a fountain before, and is unfamiliar with how they work, ice cubes are a fun and effective way to attract them towards the bowl and flowing water.

Testimonials on this Cat Water Dispenser

Many people from around the internet have taken the Drinkwell Original Pet Fountain home and their cats have fallen in love with this product. When taken proper care of, it is a long lasting product, as many people have been using the same cat water dispenser in their homes for years, and the cat never tires of them. If you would like to purchase the Drinkwell Original Pet Fountain than click here.

Alternative Cat Water Dispenser Choices

While the Drinkwell Original Pet Fountain was one of the earliest products on the market, many others have come along and offer additional options for cat owners.

If you are looking at different ideas for a cat water dispenser, here are some others to consider:

The Drinkwell Platinum Pet Fountain

best cat water dispenser

The Drinkwell Platinum Pet Fountain is designed to be a step up from the Drinkwell Original Pet Fountain.

It does come with a higher price tag, but also upgrades numerous features including tank size (1.3 gallons). A pre-filter to catch large particles and fur. Also, a built-in reservoir for easy refilling and water storage.

If you find that the Original doesn't have enough capacity for your cat family. Then this cat water dispenser might be the better fit and worth the higher price tag.

The Drinkwell Platinum Pet Fountain has the following features:

  • Rubberized Feet to prevent sliding
  • A Snap-On Lid for the Reservoir
  • 1.3 Gallon Water Storage Capacity vs 0.4 on the Drinkwell Original Pet Fountain
  • 12-Volt Power System with easy cord tuck and inline disconnect for easy cord removal

Cat Mate Pet Fountain

The Cat Mate Pet Fountain is a cat water dispenser with three different layers of water flow, compared to two for the Drinkwell.

On the bottom it has a large dish. Water bubbles out of the top, flows down the whirlpool drop, and lands in the pool.

If your cats all have different ideas about how to drink water, then this is a model that keeps everyone happy.

Some key features that the Cat Mate Pet Fountain has are as follows:

  • Multiple Drinking Levels for both tall and short cats
  • 70oz capacity vs 50oz for the Drinkwell Original Pet Fountain
  • Also uses advanced carbon filters to clean water
  • 10-Foot Cable offers greater placement mobility
Cat water fountain review

Pioneer Big Max Stainless Pet Fountain

Part of its charm is that at first glance. The Big Max looks like a regular cat or dog drinking dish, but its sleek stainless steel design masks the technical detail underneath.

Like the others, it uses a replaceable charcoal filter to purify the water and remove unpleasant odors.

It is excellent for households with multiple cats who like sharing their bowls, and almost any sized pet. 

If you are concerned about using plastic around your cats.  This is an excellent alternative.

Here are the Pioneer Big Max Stainless Pet Fountain features:

  • Stainless Steel Design adds a modern, decorative appearance
  • Nonporous, stainless steel material offers added bacterial resistance and keeps water cooler, longer
  • Submersible pump for quiet operation
  • Holds 128 oz of water, over twice as much as the Drinkwell Original Pet Fountain
  • Dual Tiers and Wide Spaces allow two cats to drink at from the cat water dispenser at the same time

Why You Should ConsiderThe Drinkwell Original Pet Fountain

The Drinkwell Original Pet Fountain offers cats a more natural way to drink their water, and will entice even reluctant cats to drink more.

  • Its 5-inch freeflow cat water dispenser allows your cat to drink from any angle and is suitable for cats of multiple shapes and sizes.
  • Cats tend to be very picky about their water's smell and taste. The advanced carbon filtration system purifies the water and removes distasteful odors that might otherwise cause your cat to turn away from a cat water dispenser.
  • Cats need plenty of water to maintain good health, and the Drinkwell Original Pet Fountain can help your cat get the recommended 70 mL per day. 

Image credits: Amazon.com

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