Return to Projects

Cat Faucet

Somehow our cats learned to drink from the faucet. We'd turn the water on for them, but they'd never turn it off when they were done! I'm sure there are other cat owners out there with a similar problem. So, I built the Cat Faucet so the cats could turn the water on and off for themselves.

Similar to the sinks that automatically turn on when you wave your hands under them, a small Infra Red 'Cat Sensor' detects when a cat is near and turns the water. The water comes from a piece of 1/4" plastic tubing providing a stream of water for the cats to drink.

Here you can see one our cats testing out an early version of the Cat Faucet. She learned quite quickly that if she steps into the sink, the water will turn on. We find that she drinks from the Cat Faucet many times a day and best of all, it's always fresh water!

You might be wondering how difficult it is to install a Cat Faucet. If you can install an ice maker, then you probably can install a Cat Faucet. The Cat Faucet connects to your house water supply with a Saddle Valve and high-pressure tubing, just like many ice makers do. The hardest part of the installation is determining where exactly to run the wires and tubing so that you can connect to the water supply under the sink and still place the Cat Sensor and outlet tubing on the top side of the sink. You may have to make a hole in the counter top to route the wiring and tubing. Each sink will be different. In one case it was possible to remove the drain control and have an 'instant hole'. So, examine your specific sink and counter top and most of all, be creative! We suggest you read the installation instructions here before you order.

The Cat Faucet is available in several forms. Assembled and tested units that you just need to install, full kits where you have to solder the controller boards and assembled the components, and finally a simple circuit board and processor set where you supply the rest of the components yourself.

Order kits and assembled units here.

Cat Faucet complete

Cat Faucet complete

Here's what you get with the fully Assembled Cat Faucet MKII. (viewed with the valve cover removed) Everything is ready for you to route your wires and tubing and install. order the Fully Assembled unit here and follow the installation instructions here. Remember, even the assembled unit requires some plumbing and wire/tube routing!

Cat Faucet MK II kit

Cat Faucet full kit

As a kit, I would rate this medium complexity. The electronics are simple and straight-forward to assemble, but you also need to do some plumbing to assemble the solenoid valve, adapters, and tubing, in addition to the water supply connection and wire/tube routing. Order a Circuit Board or Full Kit and then build and install your very own Cat Faucet!


Installation for the Kit and Assembled Unit This is a sample Cat Faucet installation I recently did. Now…. not all faucets are constructed the same, so your faucet may be different, but view the video, it should give you some idea of how you might install the Cat Faucet on your specific faucet / sink. …

Kit Assembly

What goes under the sink is the solenoid valve and controller board. Here’s a shot of the solenoid valve. The solenoid valve says it’s rated at 12V / 6 watts. It seems to work ok at 9V and we ran’em that way for awhile. Now we’re shipping 12V power supplies to cover those of you …

Circuit Diagram and Source code

Circuit Diagram and source code for MKII Cat Faucet (no longer for sale, shown for historic value only) Source code Circuit Diagram for MKIII Cat Faucet Populated MKIII Cat Faucet controller board. note the sensor connect on the lower left is now screw terminals rather than male/female pin connection


    • Dawn Swanson on July 31, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Love the idea of your cat waterer. I want to take it one step further with a separate “sink” on the floor. Water activated when cat arrives, plumb into supply and drain lines. Any suggestions?

      • admin on July 31, 2011 at 3:34 pm

      Yeah, I actually looked at something like that initially. the problem is how to get the water to move from the drain on the floor up into the drain lines. Basically you have to figure out how to pump the drained water up-hill. Need to make up a bowl with a fitting in the bottom, then have a pump of some sort to move the water uphill into the drain, hard to tell when to shut off the pump, so you end up pumping it dry, likely limiting the lifetime of the pump itself. Also never sure you’re pumping out faster than you are filling, so you also need some kind of level / overflow sensor.

      Complexity got just to high trying to figure out how to do an automatic drain too…

Comments have been disabled.