Last Updated: 1 month ago

How often should you change the water in your cat fountain?

The answer depends on several factors, including the type of fountain, if you have multiple cats, and so on.

Let’s look at some of the benefits of having a cat water fountain, and then we’ll tackle the main question of how often to change that water.

We have lots to discuss, so let’s get started!

Benefits of having a pet fountain

How often should you change the water in your cat fountain? Find out the answer, plus get tips on cleaning the most common types of fountains.

Water is a cornerstone of life, and cats need a constant source of clean, fresh water.

Without good options, they’ll resort to finding their own source, clean or not. That’s why pet fountains are such a great tool to have in your household.

Not only are they more convenient than traditional water bowls, but the filtration they use ensures clean water for a longer time.

Pet fountains give you peace of mind to know that your cat is drinking clean water, but they also provide a sense of security for your pet.

In the wild, cats tend to avoid still water because it is usually a breeding ground for bacteria.

While your indoor cat won’t refuse a bowl of water just because it’s still, instinctually they do seem to prefer flowing aqua.

Finding the right cat water fountain for you will take time and research.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve already picked one out. However, if you’re still in the market, check out our guide about the best non electric cat water fountain.

If you do have one, you may have some questions about how to maintain it now that your cat is getting acclimated to a new feature in its lifestyle.

Here are a few things you should keep an eye out for when it comes to keeping your cat fountain clean.


How often should you change the water in your cat fountain? Find out the answer, plus get tips on cleaning the most common types of fountains.

Cat water fountains have so many pros and benefits, but “I never have to change the water” is definitely not one of them.

Sure, you don’t have to change it even half as often as you change standing water.

When putting out water for your cat in a regular bowl, it must be replaced every single day, sometimes even twice a day.

This may be tricky for cat owners who have a busy schedule. With a pet fountain, you just need to replace the water every two days, on average.

To maximize the cleanliness of your fountain, be sure to clean the fountain itself as well.

The product’s manual should give you detailed instructions. However, if you lost it or just want to get an idea of the process before buying, keep reading.

Below, we will list a step-by-step process on how to approach cleaning your cat water fountain.

1st step

Remove all the removable parts of your fountain. Anything that requires force to move is not meant to be removed!

2nd step

Some cat water fountains will come with a brush. If not, you can use a small scrubbing tool, like this one by OXO.

Use it to clean the base and the removable parts thoroughly.

Be sure to use a natural cleaning mixture with materials such as lemon juice, vinegar, and baking soda.

3rd step

Once everything has been cleaned and rinsed, you can use a towel to dry everything properly.

Be sure everything is dry before you start putting everything back together.

4th step

This step is the easiest!

After your cleaning journey is finished and everything is put back together, all you have to do now is make sure it works.

Once everything is back, you’re done, and your cat can now enjoy clean, fresh water.

If you prefer to learn through videos, keep reading. Below are tutorials for some of the most common fountain styles.

Cleaning Flower Fountains

This great video not only shows you how to clean the Catit Flower Fountain (and similar ones), but also how to deal with a common issue of pump failure.

How to clean the Pagoda Fountain

Cleaning Your Cat Mate Fountain

PetSafe Drinking Fountain Cleaning and Maintenance

Cleaning a Premier Pet Fountain

Clues for when to change the water

There are different things to look out for while owning a pet fountain.

When the water begins to bubble and foam at the top, looking a bit like soapy water, then that is a sign of bacterial organisms in the pet fountain.

You will need to clean it and replace the water. Otherwise, that can cause all sorts of health conditions for your cat

Another thing for pet owners to keep checking up on is the integrity of the fountain itself.

If any paint begins to peel, then you might want to consider replacing the fountain because that means the toxicity of the paint can get into your cat, which is dangerous and poisonous.

Keep an eye out for dirt as well, considering cat water fountains are a tad elaborate and are good at attracting dirt and grime.

Be meticulous when searching because dirt can get lodged in lots of places in a cat water fountain.

Due to the filtration system, it can easily send dirt through its system, causing the dirt to get lodged anywhere.

You can opt for a stainless steel pet fountain too for easier cleaning.

Why does my cat’s water fountain foam?

If the water in your fountain begins to bubble and foam at the top, then that means it is a couple days past a good, thorough clean.

As stated before, you need to clean the fountain every two days to ensure that your cat has a constant stream of fresh drinking water.

This is needed because your cat’s saliva is being circulated into the water every time they drink water.

Think about it: cats love to clean themselves, and bacteria get incorporated into their water.

If you don’t clean the fountain regularly, that bacteria begins to create its own home.

The water will become contaminated, and you risk your cat getting an infection.


Cat water fountains are great sources of clean water as well as fun and interactive for the cats.

Maintenance may seem like a chore, but it’s still easier than changing standing water multiple times a day.

Keep in mind these last tips: Don’t use harsh chemicals and cleaning agents when cleaning your fountain.

You can’t risk the toxic chemicals getting into the water stream and making your cat terribly sick.

You can usually find models that are stainless steel or ceramic to make the cleaning process easier.

Also, write down the product number and keep the manual somewhere clear to ensure that any problems can be easily rectified by checking the manual.

How Often Should You Change the Water in Your Cat Fountain?

Dr. Linda Simon MVB MRCVS is a locum veterinary surgeon who has worked in London for the past 8 years. She graduated top of her class in small animal medicine from UCD, Dublin. She is currently a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Linda is the resident vet for Woman magazine and a frequent contributor to People’s Friend Magazine, the Dogzone website, Vet Help Direct and Wag! Linda also writes content for the CVS veterinary group, Vetwriter and a number of other establishments.