Why Does My Cat Have Weird Drinking Habits?

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 21 seconds

One thing that most first-time cat owners begin to notice fairly soon after they begin sharing their home with a cat is that cats really don’t drink very much water compared to people and even other animals such as dogs, and it sometimes concerns the uninitiated that their cats are not drinking enough.

Even if you never see your cat drinking or if they only appear to take a couple of sips a day this is rarely cause for concern, and cats do genuinely need to drink much less than might be expected given their size and activity levels. More information on how much cats usually drink and how to tell if they’re drinking enough can be found in this article.

However, even if you have come to peace with the fact that cats don’t drink masses of water, many cats also have some rather finicky habits when it comes to drinking, in terms of the rituals that surround their water intake and the water sources that they prefer.

In this article, we will examine some of the odd drinking-related habits that cats often display, and present some potential explanations for them. Read on to learn more.

Drinking from the shower tray

If your cat has to be closed out of the bathroom because they are apt to drink from the shower tray despite having their own water available, this can be one of the most confusing drinking-related cat habits to get to grips with!

Whilst every cat will have their own reasons for preferring the shower water, the fact that the water is room temperature or even slightly warm often appeals to cats, and the sound of water running while you are in the shower may appeal to the cat in and of itself.

Cats also sometimes prefer running water or water that is fresh from the tap to water in a bowl, and if your cat does not like their bowl for any reason, the shower, which is wide and shallow and will contain only a low level of water, may well appeal.

Playing in the sink

Considering how badly cats are supposed to dislike getting wet, an inordinate number of them seem to enjoy sleeping in sinks, and in some cases, playing with water coming out of the tap to the point that they actually become quite wet!

The fact that taps are often left to run and so, decant fresh water once more is likely to appeal to your cat, as is the noise and splashing motion of it-some cats will really try hard to avoid drinking from standing water and so, will wait until you are doing something at the sink in order to drink from that instead of their bowl!

Drinking from your glass

If you have ever woken up in the dark to the sound of plinking and slurping from right beside your head, the chances are that you have a cat that likes drinking from people’s glasses! Once again, if your cat dislikes the water in their bowl (or the bowl itself) for any reason, they could just be picking what is available-but cats generally don’t like getting their whiskers wet and so, a glass that has water in it up to near the brim, and in a see-through glass, may appeal!

Pawing at the water

Some cats really seem to prefer playing with their water much more than they do drinking it, and some cats will stick a paw in the bowl before they will have a drink, or even paddle a lot of the water out of the bowl and then lick it from their paws!

This is most likely to occur if the bowl is very deep, has steep sides or not much water in it, because cats will as mentioned avoid getting their whiskers wet or putting their faces right into the bowl if they can help it.

Try using a shallower bowl, or filling it to nearer the top. Of course, this pawing behaviour can also sometimes be down to simple habit!

Drinking outside but not inside

Some cats will pretty much ignore their own water bowl in favour of drinking outside, from puddles, water butts or even by licking water from grass. Rainwater does undoubtedly taste different to tap water, and some cats simply prefer it-and additionally, the fact that the water is very fresh, and available in a format that cats would naturally drink in the wild, often appeals to them too.

Avoiding their own water bowl

If your cat will go out of their way to drink from virtually any water source apart from the one that is provided for them, the obvious reason for this is that they don’t like either their bowl, or the water in it.

Some cats will not drink from a plastic bowl as the plastic can taint the taste-using a ceramic or steel bowl can help with this.

Tap water does not appeal to some cats either, so try using a water filter or bottled water-and if your cat will only drink from a dripping tap or running water source, try getting them a cat water fountain instead!


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