Time to read: 4 mins
Cats fussy water drinking habits
When it comes to drinking, most dogs aren’t very picky. Dirty water bowl, muddy puddle they have been known to drink from an open toilet bowl.
But cats, well they are typically much pickier about their water sources. Some won’t drink out of a water bowl if it’s near their food bowl. Others prefer a fountain or even the kitchen or bathroom sink. Some picky cats won’t sip from plastic or metal containers. Some of these preferences go back to their ancestors and survival instincts. But in some cases, it’s just cats being … well, cats.
Cats like running water
You put a lovely, fresh bowl of water in front of your cat and it just sits there untouched. But turn on the tap and your cat laps up the dripping water. There might be several reasons that your cat won’t touch unmoving water. Instinctively, your cat might know to be suspicious of still water, realizing that stagnant water isn’t always safe. Their wild DNA tells them that still water can be contaminated, so they know that running water is safer.
Another reason they might not like being hunched over a bowl is the precarious position it puts them in.
It’s hard for cats to get water, because they can’t really see still water well, and they may feel vulnerable sitting at a bowl, especially if it’s in a corner of a room. Instinct tells them it could be unsafe
The dripping or running water from the tap or the swirling water from a recirculating water fountain probably tastes better too because it’s cooler and oxygenated. Plus, the movement makes the water more attractive, as you likely notice if your cat paws or splashes at the water.
Some cats won’t touch water if it’s too close to their food bowl. The theory is that in the wild, cats would keep their food far away from water sources in order to keep those water sources free of bacteria and other possible contamination. Keeping their food and water close can risk pieces of food falling into their water when they eat. Cats also have a strong sense of smell and many don’t like smelling their food when they drink.
Cats don’t like ‘old’ water
Cats are very sensitive to taste. Be sure to refill your cat’s bowl every day with fresh water or it will taste stale to your cat. Food and dirt can accumulate in a water bowl, making your cat’s daily beverage not only taste unpleasant, but also become rife with bacteria.
Clean your pet’s bowl once a day with gentle soap and water. Be sure to rinse thoroughly. Soap can taste bad and even burn your cat’s tongue.
Cats have very sensitive whiskers. If a bowl is too narrow, your cat may have to unpleasantly squish her whiskers to get a drink, leading to a condition called “whisker fatigue.” Try out several different sizes and shapes to see which your pet seems to prefer. You may also want to try various materials such as ceramic and stainless-steel bowls, but often cats seem to prefer shallow, glass bowls.
Have several water bowls for your cat
Cats can be fickle things. A little unexpected activity can keep them away from their normal hangouts. That’s why it’s a good idea to have water bowls in a few different spots throughout your home. Put them in out-of-the-way places and other locations where they spend a lot of time. Just make sure they’re always clean and filled with fresh water.
Make sure your cat’s water bowls never gets too low or stay filled too high. Cats are creatures of habit, and they just don’t like change. Don’t fill bowls to the tippy-top one day and then let them get down to the dregs the next. “Some cats begin paw dipping because they aren’t sure where the top of the water is on any given day.