Looking for a battery-operated cat water fountain? You’re not alone. On our water fountain reviews here on the Cats.com website and on our YouTube channel, we’ve gotten numerous comments from cat owners who want a fountain they don’t need to plug in.
Compared to corded fountains, cordless cat water fountains can be a safer option for cats who chew on wires. You might also want this type of water fountain if your home doesn’t have many outlets, and you want more flexibility in where the fountain is placed.
But, frustratingly, good cordless water fountains are hard to find. Some don’t include batteries. Others simply don’t have very good designs.
So what about the Petlibro Dockstream? The company sent us a sample of this new battery-operated water fountain for review. After three weeks of testing the Petlibro Dockstream with my two cats, I’ve concluded that it offers the basic features we look for in every water fountain, combined with the convenience and flexibility of a battery power option.
Read our complete review to get all the details.
If you decide to try the Petlibro Dockstream water fountain for yourself, don’t forget to use our exclusive coupon code. When you enter the coupon code ALLABOUTCATS at checkout in the Petlibro store, you’ll receive 20% off of a single product in your first order.
Why should you trust us?
Cats.com has reviewed hundreds of cat products, including pet tech and accessories like water fountains, toys, and feeders.
As one of the head product reviewers at Cats.com, I’ve personally tried a dozen water fountains, including the most popular models on the market. I’ve evaluated different types of spouts, a range of filtration methods, and the spectrum of sizes available.
In addition to my own experience, I’ve read through hundreds of customer reviews to understand what others look for and need from their water fountains. Based on this testing and research, I’ve identified the key qualities of a good water fountain and feel confident rating and ranking these products.
About the Petlibro Dockstream Battery-Operated Water Fountain for Cats
Unlike the majority of cat water fountains on the market, Petlibro’s Dockstream water fountain doesn’t rely solely on electricity from a wall outlet.
Instead, you can charge it up via an AC adapter, then run it from a cordless battery dock. This 5,000 mAH battery holds enough electricity to last for 30 days of use. When the battery dips below a safe level, a light on the display will let you know, and you can charge it up again for another month of use.
The fountain has a 2.5 liter or 85-ounce capacity, which is moderate compared to other water fountains. For perspective, the ever-popular Catit Flower Fountain contains 100 ounces of water.
In my test in a two-cat household, the Dockstream’s moderate capacity was perfectly adequate. Given that cats should drink about 4 ounces of water per 5 lbs of body weight each day (including the water in their food), the Dockstream should be enough to last one cat for about a week.
Like most water fountains, the Dockstream gives you a few levels of filtration. It includes a foam prefilter to capture large particles and a primary filter with several types of filtration built in. Made from non-woven fabric, this filter packet contains two types of filter media. Activated carbon captures odors and contaminants, and an ion exchange resin eliminates heavy metals and softens the water as it passes through.
The body of the water fountain sits on top of the battery dock, which also serves as an information center. This panel features status lights indicating the unit’s charging status and if you need to add water. In addition to an indicator light if the water level gets too low, the unit will automatically turn off if it gets low, preventing a dry run from damaging the motor.
Let’s talk about my experience with the Petlibro Dockstream cat water fountain.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been trying the Petlibro Dockstream and taking notes on my experience. Let’s start from the beginning—taking it out of the box.
The Petlibro Dockstream comes with everything you need to get started.
You’ll get a scrubbing brush for cleaning, the fountain body, filters, and a user manual for setup and maintenance.
To set it up, you’ll insert the foam prefilter into the pump, connect the silicone pipe that links the pump to the spout at the top, soak and insert the main filter, and place the cover over the top. This cover is made from stainless steel, which collects less bacteria and biofilm, making it cleaner and easier to maintain than plastic bowls and fountains. Snaps on either side keep the cover secured to the reservoir.
The unit comes with a removable spout, which you can insert or remove to create different types of water movement. I used the fountain with the spout in place for most of my test. Leaving it off created a softer bubbling effect.
Before you can use it in cordless mode, you’ll need to charge up the dock. The power button and charging cable port are, rather inconveniently, located on the underside of the dock. If you want to turn the unit on or off, you’ll have to carefully remove the water tank first, then flip over the dock.
Every time I wanted to charge the fountain or press the on/off button, I had to carefully remove the reservoir, sometimes when it was full of water. It would be easier to handle—and I’d be at much less risk of splashing water—if the jack were placed on the back of the dock.
The cordless functionality worked as promised, but remember that the fountain’s running mode changes depending on whether it’s plugged in or not.
Like a lot of other battery-operated cat water fountains, the Petlibro Dockstream works in two different modes to extend battery life. When plugged in, it works like most water fountains, offering a continuous flow of aerated, bubbly water.
When you unplug the dock, the fountain switches to radar induction mode, meaning that the water stays still until a cat—or other moving objects—approaches within 80cm (about 2.5 feet) of the front and sides of the fountain. It doesn’t detect movement from the back, so it’s best to put the fountain close to a wall so your cat will get moving water every time they approach.
In addition to the motion activation, it runs on its own for 20 seconds every hour. Switching between these two modes keeps the battery running longer, but the lack of user control feels limiting—shouldn’t we have the option to toggle between the two modes on our own?
In case the fountain loses power altogether, a small puddle of about 130 ml of water always remains in the top dish, ensuring that your cat will have something to drink.
The filters seemed to capture large particles well.
Petlibro’s Dockstream fountain has four levels of filtration, starting with a foam filter to capture large particles before they can damage the pump. Meanwhile, a three-layer primary filter captures and eliminates large and small contaminants from the water as it flows to the surface.
Non-woven fabric catches large particles like cat hair, while activated carbon adsorbs odors. A layer of ion exchange resin is meant to eliminate heavy metals. Petlibro recommends changing the filter frequently—at least once every two weeks.
It ran quietly.
Like Petlibro’s similarly-shaped corded-only fountain, the Capsule, the Dockstream uses an insulated pipe to direct water from the motor to the spout. The silicone pipe reduces operating noise, keeping it to about 23 dB. I found that it was virtually inaudible while running.
The Dockstream was easy to clean, but it’s not 100% dishwasher safe.
After a few weeks, the plastic parts of the fountain had started to accumulate some slime, but the stainless steel top was still looking clean.
Only the top bowl of the fountain is safe to clean in the dishwasher, so I washed everything by hand. It doesn’t have any nooks and crannies that would collect dirt, so washing by hand was easy enough.
How much does it cost?
The Petlibro Dockstream battery-operated cat water fountain costs $69.99 in the Petlibro store and on Amazon.
This makes it one of the most expensive water fountains on the market, costing more than other battery-operated units. But Petlibro notes that several features set it apart from both previous models and their competition.
In addition to working either with a cord or without, it has Foreign Body Detection to automatically shut off power if metal objects approach the power system, automatic turn-off when the water level dips below a safe level, and a water tray clasp to keep the stainless steel top attached at all times.
And there’s a way to make it cheaper—enter the coupon code ALLABOUTCATS to get 20% off your order in the Petlibro store. This brings the Dockstream’s price down to just $56.00.
The Dockstream comes with a 1-year warranty and lifetime customer support.
The Petlibro Dockstream does everything we expect a cat water fountain to do.
It provides fresh, clean, well-aerated water for your cat to drink. And the inclusion of a power dock and cordless functionality makes it a flexible, safe option for those who don’t like wrangling cords or worry that their cat will chew on them.
A few changes would take it from “good” to “outstanding”—the ability to adjust the running mode from the information display, a power cord jack located at the back rather than the underside of the dock, and dishwasher-safe body construction.
Overall, while it could improve, the Dockstream is a good option for the many people who’ve been waiting years for a better battery-operated cat water fountain.
Where can you buy the Petlibro Dockstream Battery-Operated Cat Water Fountain?
You can purchase the Dockstream through the Petlibro store and Amazon, but I’d recommend the Petlibro store for the best deal.
When you buy on the Petlibro site, your order ships for free to addresses in the contiguous United States and is backed by their 30-day money-back guarantee. Additionally, you can enter coupon code ALLABOUTCATS at checkout to get 20% off, bringing your cost down from $69.99 to $56.