Cats in the wild obtain most of the water they need from the animals they hunt and therefore cats have very little inherent motivation to drink as a separate behaviour.
They also naturally tend to avoid water sources that may have a certain smell or that are not clearly visible.
In our homes cats often eat food low in moisture content and even though owners provide them with water bowls, it is not uncommon for a cat to be in a constant state of mild dehydration. Due to their nature, they sometimes just don’t drink enough and this can be a serious risk factor to develop conditions such as feline cystitis. This is why it’s a good idea to encourage your cat to drink more!
Here are a few tips that might help:
- Make sure there is fresh water available every day;
- If possible feed them wet food;
- Offer multiple drinking stations with different options and see which ones are preferred: some cats prefer to drink tap water while others prefer bottled water; some cats enjoy drinking from puddles or from bowls while others may prefer flowing water;
- Location might also be a factor so it’s a good idea to provide water in different spots to find the cat’s preference;
- Many cats prefer ceramic and metal bowls because these do not retain odors (unlike plastic) and the shape of the water bowl may also important. Usually cats prefer wide, shallow containers because they don’t like to get their whiskers wet when they drink.