Create Your Own DIY Cat Fountain: Perfect Design, Quiet Flow & Easy Cleaning

Create Your Own DIY Cat Fountain: Perfect Design, Quiet Flow & Easy Cleaning

When my cat Sam started drinking less water, I worried about her health. As a busy pet parent lacking funds for a fancy fountain, I decided to make a DIY cat fountain myself using simple household materials. Sam took to the homemade fountain immediately, lapping up fresh flowing water. With just a little effort, I was able to improve her hydration and lift both our spirits.

Required Tool and Material For A DIY Cat fountain

Creating your own homemade cat fountain requires just a few key supplies. An aquarium pump is required for a DIY cat fountain to pump the water and create a pleasant trickling effect that will attract your cat. The base of the fountain should be made from a food-grade, non-porous material such as a ceramic bowl, which is suitable for holding water safely.

Other necessary materials include:

  • Water container: A plastic or ceramic bowl, vase, or other vessel made from food-grade materials can serve as a basin for the fountain. Glass is not recommended as it can shatter.
  • Filter: An activated charcoal or sponge filter helps remove impurities and keeps the water clean.
  • Tubing: Standard 5/16-inch tubing is needed to connect the pump.
  • Power adapter: A 12V power adapter compatible with the pump you choose.
  • Tools: Helpful tools include a drill, utility knife, hot glue gun, and scissors.

The key tools and materials for constructing a simple cat water bubbler are an aquarium pump, ceramic or plastic basin, tubing, filter, and sealant to secure the pump in place at the bottom of the container.

A tabby cat sits next to a potted jade plant, lapping up water from the saucer beneath the pot.

How to build a DIY Cat fountain (Step-by-step guide)

Constructing your own kitty drinking fountain at home is an easy weekend project that adds beautiful decoration while keeping your cat hydrated. Follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Choose a water container
    Select a ceramic, glass, plastic bowl, vase, or other food-safe vessel that is large enough to house the pump and provide drinking space for your cat. Glass containers have a higher risk of breaking.
A blue and white ceramic bowl sits nestled in the hands of a person standing beside a wooden table.
  • Step 2: Pick a basin size
    For a single cat, a fountain with a water capacity of 1⁄2 to 1 gallon is sufficient. Larger or multiple cats may need bigger fountains.
Close-up view of hands holding a bowl of water on a wooden table. The bowl is blue and white with a floral design.
  • Step 3: Rinse decorative rocks and plants
    Thoroughly rinse pebbles, stones, and any live plants to remove dirt and debris before adding them.
A person’s hands cradle the root mass of a plant while it soaks in a bucket of water.
  • Step 4: Install the pump
    Place a layer of pebbles or stones on the bottom of the container. Position the pump on top and surround it with more rocks to keep it stable and upright. (make sure to install the water filter inside the pump too)
  • Step 5: Arrange plants and hide the pump
    Strategically place live plants to conceal the pump toward the back while varying textures and heights for visual interest. Smaller plants should be placed toward the front.
A person repotting a snake plant
  • Step 6: Cover the pump and roots
    Add more pebbles and stones over the pump and around plant roots to hold everything in position.
A bowl of succulents on a table
  • Step 7: Fill the fountain and test
    Slowly fill the fountain basin with water, plug in the pump to test it, and make any adjustments needed to ensure proper flow.
DIY cat fountain with flowing water surrounded by potted plants on a striped mat.
  • Step 8: Allow the cat to explore
    Initially keep an eye on your cat to ensure he acclimates well as he discovers his new kitty oasis!
Tabby cat sniffing a leaf near a DIY cat fountain amidst indoor plants.

Be sure to clean and change the water regularly according to the fountain and pump guidelines to give your cat the best hydration. Enjoy your new pet fountain!

How to get your cat to drink from a DIY Cat Fountain

Cats naturally prefer fresh, flowing water sources. However, the change to a new feline hydration station may initially bother some cats. Here are tips to make your DIY cat fountain more enticing:

  • Place in a quiet spot
    Choose a peaceful area away from noisy appliances so sensitive kitties feel secure approaching their new water source.
  • Introduce gradually
    First, set up the dry fountain without water. Next, add a shallow depth and work up to full capacity over 2-3 days.
  • Use familiar scents
    Adding a pinch of catnip or tuna juice to the fountain water can provide comforting smells that attract your cat.
  • Allow adjustment time
    Have patience if your cat seems wary as changing habits takes time. Offer other water bowls too.
  • Keep it clean
    Frequently replace water and clean all components so filtering remains effective.

Monitor your individual cat’s preferences and troubleshoot any avoidance issues. Does the pump noise bother them? Do they dislike having their space rearranged? Making small tweaks until you find the right setup. With time and positive reinforcement through praise or treats, they are likely to discover and enjoy their new DIY cat fountain!


Creating a DIY cat fountain provides benefits beyond just a decorative piece for your home. The flowing water’s sights and sounds give mental stimulation. More importantly, the freshness and accessibility encourage drinking to improve feline health.

Though introducing it requires patience as cats adjust, a homemade pet water feature serves the vital purpose of proper hydration. By following the construction guide and acclimation tips, your cat is sure to embrace their new personal oasis!


What is the best material for a cat water fountain?

The ideal material for a cat water fountain is ceramic. It’s just like our dishes: safe for food, can go in the dishwasher, and very hygienic.

Should I get a water bowl or fountain for my cat?

Water fountains might make your cat drink more because they like running water, which is great for cats with urinary problems. But, a water bowl is also good if it’s clean and has fresh water.

What are the downsides of cat water fountains?

Cat water fountains can be noisy, both from the water splashing and the pump running. This is fine in less-used areas like a basement, but it could be bothersome if it’s near your bedroom.

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