How to encourage cat to drink water
There are many illnesses that can be associated with not drinking enough water. Medical conditions such as constipation, urinary infection, kidney stone, etc. If left untreated any of this sickness can be fatal.
Unfortunately it is very common for house cats to not drink the required amount of water. As a survival instinct, cats are very particular with their water. To avoid getting sick from drinking contaminated water, cats will naturally look for running water. This is because running water is less likely to be infested with harmful bacteria compared to a puddle. They are also very particular with the smell of the water too. They will avoid water that smells funny to them. This is the reason one might find their cat prefers to drink directly from the tap or from an aquarium (if you have a well maintained aquarium).
By understanding this, it is very easy to encourage your cat to drink more water. There are several ways we can do this. Leaving the tap open will surely attract your cat but it will be a waste of valuable water resources. Or if you are using a water bowl, make sure to clean them at least once a day. Stainless steel one is preferred.
You can also opt for a drinking fountain for cats. This often comes with a pump to circulate the water. They are also usually equipped with a carbon filter to remove impurity and odor. Some even come with a water softener to reduce minerals. It is very important to keep the filter and the bowl as well as the pump clean. The container should be cleaned at least once a week with soap. Filter pad should be replaced at least twice a month while the pump should be cleaned every month. This keeps the container gems free and creates a longer lasting pump.
But if you really want to make something that will provide good water quality with ease and zero waste, you can try the method that we use with our cats. All you need is an aquarium, aquarium filter and an aquarium light. A 10 - 20L aquarium should keep your cat interested enough. Having a 3 stage aquarium filtration will keep the water for a very long time if not forever. The filter should have a mechanical filter such as cotton to filter our solid debris and a chemical filtration such as carbon to absorb impurity. It should also have a bio filtration to house good bacteria to filter ammonia as well as keep the bad bacteria away. We set up the cat drinking aquarium as we usually do with a normal fish keeping aquarium. Use a water conditioner to remove chlorine and then a bacteria starter to introduce good bacteria in the filter. Then we add a light to create reflection to keep the cats interested as well as to grow some plants. Plants will help generate more good bacteria and thus keep the bad one away. To maintain the drinking aquarium we just need to top up the water and often make sure not to wait for the water level to drop or it will be hard for your cat to drink from it. Since we are topping up water often this means we only need to top up just a little bit of water at a time and this means we don't need to use a water conditioner. As for the filter, we clean the cotton filter weekly and replace the carbon filter monthly. Do not wash the bio filter especially with tap water so that it doesn’t kill the good bacteria. We keep the light on for 7 hours a day and needless to say make sure it is properly secure and will not fall into the water no matter what your cat does.