Most cats are delicate drinkers, but I've seen a few that can make a pond on the floor around their water bowl. But no matter how your cat gets his drink on, ensure he's getting the necessary amount of water daily.
How much should my cat drink?
According to Purina, cited below, cats don't need to drink as much as dogs to survive, but they should have "about four ounces of water per five pounds of body weight daily." That might not seem like a lot, but one lap of water only provides your kitty with about 3/100 of a teaspoon, giving him a unique challenge when getting enough water.
Not drinking enough?
Most of today's cats aren't getting enough water and are very close to dehydration. Purina suggests that genetically, "cats evolved from desert dwellers" and "have a lower thirst stimulus and, therefore, a reduced thirst drive." As a result, cats can survive on less water than dogs, and therein lies the tendency to remain on the verge of dehydration.
Drinking too much?
If you notice your cat drinking, drinking, drinking, make an appointment with your vet. According to PetMD, cited below, excessive drinking (and urinating) could possibly indicate diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, and hyperthyroidism.
Drinking is hard work for cats
According to PetMD, "a cat can't create suction in their mouths and must rely on their tongues to drink. A cat's tongue forms a j-shaped ladle to pull a small column of water into their mouths." This is why they don't ingest much water while lapping at the bowl.
Additionally, cats feel vulnerable when drinking, which complicates things even further. It turns out that kitties are as particular about their water as their food. Unlike dogs and many other animals, cats are fussy drinkers. PetMD notes they are "sensitive to the taste of water and presentation." In addition, cats "prefer fresh, moving water and drink at the edge of the bowl."
And speaking of water bowls, your feline may be picky about his. For example, deep and narrow bowls may touch his whiskers, something he probably dislikes. A shallow, more bottomless type bowl might help. Try different bowls to find one he prefers.
Generally speaking, cats tend to drink less water when eating wet food. If you're trying to make sure your cat stays hydrated, try switching to dry food. Some vets recommend wet food and toppers with a high moisture content on dry food for additional hydration.
Quote to remember: "Cats are connoisseurs of comfort." – James Herriot
"Do Cats Drink Water? Cat Hydration & Dehydration Prevention"
"Why Is My Cat Drinking a Lot of Water?"