One of our cats, a large 20lb Maine Coon named Bernie, would spend hours in the bathroom sink, drinking from the faucet. We were originally given the Petmate Fresh Flow Pet Fountain as a gift. This is a small sized fountain.
We have very hard water – and had issues with the plastic deteriorating on the Petmate Fountain after about a year. After going through a couple of versions of the Petmate, we also soon realized how quickly Bernie outgrew it. Combine Bernie with our other cats, we go through a LOT of water. So we moved up to the more expensive Drinkwell Platnium Drinking Fountain.
The Drinkwell Platnium Drinking Fountain was the best investment we ever made for our cats. This fountain is large and chunky, but sleek looking. The plastic is thick and heavy – which was important to us coming off of the Petmate Fountains (plus it came with a one year warranty and a cleaning kit).
The Drinkwell Fountain was easy to assemble – then add the water and plug it in! It cost just under $45 (from Amazon), but has been well worth the price. We’ve been using the same fountain since April 2006 – and the plastic shows minimal wear. We replaced the motor in late 2008 – which was easily available through Drinkwell on their website, and was inexpensive at $23.
It holds an entire gallon of water at a time – so we only have to refill it every couple of days. The fountain is very easy to refill – just remove the large holding tank, fill it with water, and then drop it onto the chamber on the back of the fountain. The water comes out of the top of the unit and free-falls onto a small slide into the bowl – which our cats love.
The fountain circulates the water nicely, and has a control to adjust the speed of the water flow. The filters for the Drinkwell are large and well constructed – divided into six small pockets that contain the charcoal instead of the one large pouch that the Petmate uses. This keeps the charcoal evenly distributed, so the water passing through gets a more thorough filtering.
I have read where one of the complaints of the Drinkwell is that the sound is loud, but personally I feel it runs quietly – we barely notice the sound unless we let the water get too low in the bowl.
As for cleaning, it’s easy to disassemble. I give it a quick scrub then run it through the dishwasher. The main bowl and the water reservoir easily fit into the dishwasher. The filter tower is dishwasher safe too, but it’s an awkward shape and sometimes hard to make fit. I even run the charcoal filter through the dishwasher – it works great to remove any debris that piles up – and extends the life of the filter.
There is also a removable filter screen that resides between the bowl and the motor. This is great for catching stray cat food and hair, thus extending the life of the charcoal filter. The motor is easy to take apart and clean as well. I have to clean the screen every day or so as my cats are long haired – and one likes to drink from the stream with her paws in the bowl. I clean the entire unit approximately twice a month, and replace the charcoal filter every few months.
There is also an optional Drinkwell Aqua Garden that you can purchase to grow greens in the bowl. We tried this once – and the greens grew successfully – but it took up too much space in the bowl for our kitties liking, so we never continued with it.
Our cats do drink more and more consistently since we began using the Drinkwell Fountain. Most of the time they enjoy drinking directly from the stream of water, but other times they simply drink from the mail bowl. We highly recommend this fountain – plus it has Bernie’s seal of approval as well, and he’s not easy to please!
You can get the Drinkwell Platinum Pet Fountain for the best price here: http://amzn.to/9VrCq0.