Decoding Your Cat's Quirky Water Drinking Habits: Beyond the Bowl

Decoding Your Cat's Quirky Water Drinking Habits: Beyond the Bowl

It's a familiar scene for many cat owners: your feline friend bypassing their water bowl in favor of the tap, a dripping shower, or even a glass left unattended on the table. This behavior can be puzzling and sometimes frustrating, but there are fascinating reasons behind your cat's preference for unconventional water sources. This blog explores the instincts and preferences that drive your cat to seek water from places other than their bowl.

Instinctual Preferences

Cats are descended from desert-dwelling ancestors, which means their instincts are tuned for survival in environments where standing water is scarce. Moving water is often fresher and safer in the wild, so your cat's preference for a dripping faucet or a running shower could be an instinctual behavior signaling their search for the cleanest water source.

Freshness Matters

The taste and temperature of water can change the longer it sits out. Cats have sensitive taste buds and might be put off by the stale taste of water that has been sitting in a bowl for too long. In contrast, water from taps or even puddles can seem fresher and more appealing.

Whisker Fatigue

A less known but significant factor is whisker fatigue. Cats have highly sensitive whiskers, and drinking from a narrow bowl can cause discomfort as their whiskers brush against the sides. This discomfort might drive them to seek water from wider, less confining sources.

Location and Accessibility

The placement of the water bowl can also affect your cat's drinking habits. If the bowl is too close to their food or litter box, they might avoid it due to the smells. Cats prefer their water source to be away from these areas, mimicking their natural instinct to drink away from their hunting and elimination sites to avoid contamination.

How to Encourage Your Cat to Drink from Their Bowl

  • Water Fountain: Consider investing in a cat water fountain that provides a constant flow of fresh, filtered water. The movement attracts cats and addresses their preference for moving water.
  • Multiple Bowls: Place several water bowls around the house in quiet, accessible spots. Different materials like glass, ceramic, or stainless steel can also make the water more appealing.
  • Regular Changes: Ensure the water is always fresh by changing it at least once a day and cleaning the bowl regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria and debris.


Your cat's preference for drinking water from unconventional places is rooted in instinct, sensitivity, and their environment. By understanding these factors and making a few adjustments, you can help ensure your cat stays hydrated in a way that suits their natural behaviors and preferences.

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