Cats like water that is fresh, in a clean wide bowl and away from food.
Clean water and bowls are attractive to kitty
Remarkably, our sense of smell is only 2.5% of what cats’ is. They are super sniffers. A smart choice for a water bowl is stainless steel or ceramic because they retain odors less than plastic. Clean really counts here, so it's good to wash the bowl regularly to remove lingering smell. Thoroughly rinse off any soap residue that cats might detect with their talented noses.
Cats prefer water that's fresh. Some avoid water that has dust and other debris floating on the surface or settled at the bottom, so it's helpful to have a habit of changing the water often. Other cats are turned off by a chlorine smell, so filtered water can be a great solution.
Moving water may smell fresher to your cat
Some cats like to drink water that’s moving because it smells cleaner to them. There are special kitty fountains that have a little waterfall for cats’ refreshment. Your kitty will appreciate one that’s kept clean and well filled.
A wide bowl makes room for whiskers
When cats drink (and eat) they don’t like their sensitive whiskers to hit the sides of the bowl. In the image below, see how the cat angles his whiskers to avoid touching the smallish bowl? One side is outside the bowl and the other side is over the surface of the water. Clever fella.
An accommodatingly wide bowl like the one at the top of this post makes water easy to love and encourages kitty to drink more.
Add water to canned food
A small amount of water added to canned food is a simple way to increase water intake. Some cats find moistened food easier to eat, too, because canned food is so concentrated.
Move the water dish away from food
I saved this for last. Have you noticed that your cat likes to drink out of random sources like the faucet or aquarium more often than the water bowl next to her food? It tickled me to learn the reason why: cats’ instinct tells them that water near “the kill” (food) is not clean. If a cat is at her water bowl and can smell food, the water and food may well be too close together.
Try moving the water bowl across the room and see if that helps. Put an additional bowl or two in other rooms based on where in the house your cat likes to hang out. Kitty needs to feel safe while drinking. Experiment to see what’s most appealing and give your cat a couple months to adjust to these new water resources.
Encouraging cats to drink more water is a terrific way to support their urinary tract health. Now all this talk about water has made me thirsty. I'm going to have a glass. :-)
Living and enjoying life with furry friends in the East Bay