Cats should always have access to clean, fresh water. Water sources should not be in the same place where the cat is fed. In nature, cats never drag their fresh kills over to their water source, as this would contaminate it.
Cats tend to prefer running water because instinctively they know that fresh water from moving sources (streams or creeks) are safer to drink from. This is why so many cats are fascinated by the toilet flushing or like to drink out of the faucet. Fresh, moving water is SUPER important because it encourages cats to drink more water than they would otherwise, which helps them stay hydrated and is important for urinary health.
The best water source for cats is a filtered pet fountain. These can be purchased from some local pet stores, as well as online retailers such as Amazon and Chewy. Click HERE to view my Amazon list. Pet fountains should be cleaned each week and replace the filter at least monthly. You will need to add water to it every day or so, to ensure the water level stays high.
If you choose to use water bowls, make sure they are large enough for the cat to comfortably drink from. Avoid small bowls, as hitting the edges with their whiskers can cause something called “whisker fatigue.” Clean the bowl with mild soap and refill with fresh water DAILY to prevent bacterial growth. Choose stainless steel or ceramic bowls (stainless steel is ideal). Never use plastic bowls for water or food, as they are magnets for bacteria.
Spring water or purified water are generally best for cats. Do not use distilled, and avoid tap water, which can contain heavy metals and traces of other harmful substances.