Dogs couldn’t care less where you put the water and right next to the food bowl is fine with them. Not so with cats who are much more fastidious. We automatically put their water bowl by their food bowl and though cats can and do get used to that, it is not their preference, for at least 2 reasons.
In nature cats do their hunting where the prey is (and get a lot of their moisture from their kill) and they seek water where the water is, often miles from their food. Further, cats can be put off their water by the presence of food odors.
Much preferable for cats is to come across their water source in a completely separate area or room of the house. Now because of the look and noise of most cat fountains you wouldn’t want one in your living room or dining room – understandably – they’re pretty ugly. But not all are.
This is my cat (and the originator of my cat fountains) drinking from one of his fountains. It is on a low stand in the living room. (I put the cloth under it because there was a slight vibration sound. I now use high quality bumper feet on the bottoms of all fountains and they are all noiseless.) He seems to enjoy visiting it and lapping up lots of water, which is good for him.
I call him the inventor because I originally began making fountains for home decor and found Bijou drinking from the ones I’d put around the house, far more than I ever saw him use his water bowl. I did some research and discovered the very large subject of feline hydration. To learn more about that read the page about the Advent of the Handmade Cat Fountain.