Two Cat Water Fountains Compared - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-26-2005, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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Two Cat Water Fountains Compared

A couple weeks ago I decided to get an electric water fountain for my cats. I was tired of refilling three water bowls four or five times a day. Researching water fountains online and asking for advice here, I found there are three fountains for cats available:

Cat-It by Hagen
Fresh Flow by Petmate
Drinkwell by Veterinary Ventures

The Cat-It looks like the most intriguing design, however it’s too big to fit in one of the pet trays I already have and the floor mat that’s sold as an option for it I think is incredibly ugly, so I decided to try the Fresh Flow. My cats and I liked the Fresh Flow enough to want another water fountain, one at each end of the house, and so I decided to buy a Drinkwell and compare the two. Here is what I found.

Construction

The Drinkwell is of slightly heavier plastic contruction. Advantage: Drinkwell.

Assembly

The Drinkwell comes mostly preassembled. Advantage: Drinkwell.

Size

Both are about the same size: Fresh Flow has a footprint of about 9 x 11 and the Drinkwell about 9 x 10. Advantage: draw.

Appearance

Personal preference for the Fresh Flow.

Capacity

Both have the same standard capacity of 50 ounces. However, the Drinkwell has an optional reservoir available, doubling the capacity. Advantage: Drinkwell.

Refilling

If you can bring the water to the fountain, the Drinkwell is much easier to fill since the bowl is the reservoir. Just pour it in. The Fresh Flow has a detachable reservoir, so you can bring just the reservoir to a water source to fill it. However, it’s difficult to pick up and one must be careful not to spill. Then the cap has to be removed and replaced. With both, it’s easy to see when a refill is needed. Advantage: Drinkwell (conditional on having a pitcher).

Filter

Both units have a mesh filter with activated charcoal, similar to the filters found in fish tank filter systems. The Fresh Flow filter is a cheap flimsy design with the charcoal rattling around loose inside, which makes it harder to insert. (And the effectiveness of the charcoal problematic.) In neither case did the filter really seem to do all that much except impede the water flow. Neither manual advises to rinse the filter before use to avoid charcoal dust in the water. Advantage: Drinkwell.

Power

The Drinkwell is powered directly by 115 AC, and the cord is lightweight, so you’ll want to wrap it with duct tape against cat teeth. The Fresh Flow has an outlet-mount 12 volt transformer and an inline on-off switch. Advantage: Fresh Flow.

General Operation

Both units recirculate water from the bowl, spilling through a spout. The Drinkwell free falls onto a ramp, and the Fresh Flow runs down a spillway. Both have a flow control. The Fresh Flow is MUCH quieter. The Drinkwell not only has the sound of water running, but a rather noisy pump. The Fresh Flow’s pump is submerged, which quiets its operation, but the Drinkwell’s isn’t. Both units advise against allowing the pumps to run dry. The Drinkwell’s warranty is invalid if the pump is not cleaned. Advantage: Fresh Flow.

Cleaning

The Fresh Flow is a bugger to clean, with shaped parts and many tiny recesses. However, it comes apart and goes back together quite easily. The Drinkwell is easier to clean, but the pump is difficult to remove and insert, and there are two tiny parts that are easy to lose. Advantage: draw.

Summary

The noise was the clincher for me, as I kept looking for a faucet that was running. After only a couple days, I retired the Drinkwell and bought another Fresh Flow. And I saw the cats drinking from the Fresh Flow more often than the Drinkwell. Advantage: Fresh Flow. Anybody wanna buy a slightly used Drinkwell?

Drinkwell
Fresh Flow
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-26-2005, 09:46 PM
 
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Nice test Tim...I'm still exploring which to buy for my kittens.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-26-2005, 09:49 PM
 
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My friend had a Drinkwell and it broke a few days after she bought it. I have a Fresh Flow and haven't had any problems with it. I love how quiet it is. I even keep it in my living room!
I do want to get Catit though.

Another benefit of the Fresh Flow is that you can find it at Ross for only $20, and it's the large size one! We got ours in December at Ross, I'm not sure if they still have them.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-26-2005, 09:59 PM
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Thanks for posting the well written reviews, tim. I'm looking to get a fountain myself and will keep this thread in mind.

-steve


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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-26-2005, 11:40 PM
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I just purchased CAT IT a few days ago, it's hasn't been delivered yet.

When it gets here, i'll post my review. I did consider all of the ones you mentioned but decided to go with CAT IT.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-09-2005, 06:46 PM
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One thing worth pointing out about the Drinkwell - the water spouts and falls into the bowl at the bottom whereas the other one runs down a ramp. Whilst the Drinkwell might be annoying to some because of the falling water sound, cats can drink from the stream of flowing water as well as the bowl, either directly with their mouth, or by pawing the water as it falls. Looking at the FreshFlow it seems the only option is to drink from the bowl.
Am I correct?
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-09-2005, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
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no, I'm sorry, that's not correct. the Fresh Flow water comes out of a spout and runs down a ramp. the cats can drink flowing water at the spout or any location along the length of the ramp. it doesn't make any water noise because the water is always in contact with a surface.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-09-2005, 07:12 PM
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I might buy it from you...I need to look up a pic.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the sound of running water!
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-09-2005, 07:22 PM
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I loved my Freshflow. Ava ate it a few days ago! Brat!
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-09-2005, 08:12 PM
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Yup Yup.....big dogs can "counter surf"
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