Cats like humans need water to sustain their health and well being. A cat can skip meals however they need to hydrate their bodies to prevent illness; bladder infection and cysts will occur if the cat is not hydrated.
My cat Sam shows no interest in his water in his bowl and I needed to find ways to get him interested in water so that his body would be hydrated. Sam has feline immunodeficiency virus and his life needs to be an equal balance at all times. Any change to his happy life could make him sick. I must watch his water intake to make sure he stays hydrated.
It is not uncommon for cats to avoid drinking water and pet owners must get very creative to entice their cat to drink more water. If your cat shows signs of illness and is staring at the water bowl, but not drinking then contact your veterinarian. Otherwise for all other finicky cats that need to be coaxed into drinking more water, here is what I suggest.
The first thing that I needed to do is determine if Sam was getting his daily water intake from another source; fish aquarium, faucet, cup in the sink or toilet. To achieve this I measured the amount of water going into his water bowl. Sam is 10 lbs and his daily water intake needs to be 3/4 cup to 1 cup per day so I filled the his bowl with one cup of purified water. I cleared my schedule so I could watch Sam's drinking habits.
I discovered that Sam did a balancing act on the aquarium and drank a little fishy water in the morning, then in early afternoon he drank some lactose free milky water in the sink, followed by licking up the droplets of water in the shower and in the evening he charged to the guest bathroom and attempted to drink from the toilet while it was going down the drain.
At the end of the day I poured his water from his bowl back into the measuring cut to determine what he drank and Sam drank 4 tablespoons of water. I learned that Sam did like water, as long as it was flavored and interesting. I had my work cut out for me and I was determined to wean him off his bad water habits and get him to drink water from his bowl as I was certain that he was not getting enough water to keep him hydrated.
Update: The best way to keep your cat hydrated is to make water fun. Since Sam enjoys water movement I got him a pet water fountain at amazon.com. It took him some time to figure out that he was suppose to drink the water. At first he played with the water but soon he learned that he could drink the water and now Sam loves the water fountain.