10 Reasons Cats Don’t Like Drinking Out Of Water Bowls

Written by: Adri Sandoval
Adri Sandoval is the Special Projects Manager for iHeartDogs and iHeartCats. Her work has deepened her love for animals, fostering a strong passion for rescue and animal advocacy.Read more
| Published on August 25, 2017

Have you ever wondered why your cat prefers to drink from a dripping faucet rather than her water bowl? It turns out there are many good reasons associated with their wild history that might make cats prefer running water. From Vet Street and Pet Barn, here are 10 reasons your cat doesn’t like drinking out of her bowl.

#1 – Cats can hear running water better than they can see flat water.

Cats have a very keen sense of hearing and water in a bowl is nearly invisible. The sound of a dripping tap or flowing fountain will catch their attention.

#2 – They get water from their diet.

This is true today with cats who eat food from cans or pouches that have a higher moisture content. Wild cats got most of their moisture from the prey they ate and rarely needed to drink water, so modern cats don’t have the instincts to drink much. That doesn’t mean they don’t need to, though!

#3 – A bowl in a corner makes them feel vulnerable.

This is especially true in houses with more than one cat, where turning their back to the other cats in the house could expose them to an attack. Try moving the bowl to a “safer” location.

#4 – Instinct tells them that standing water may not be safe.

Standing water in the outdoors is a breeding ground for bacteria and has the potential to make wild cats very sick. Running water is more likely to be free from contamination, so cats will naturally be drawn to the “safer” water.

#5 – Running water may be cooler and more oxygenated.

This might affect the taste in a way that’s more pleasant for your cat. Try a constantly running fountain designed for cats.

#6 – Dripping water is fun to play with.

Have you ever caught your cat playing with the water dripping from a faucet? That’s much more fun to play with than splashing around in a bowl.

#7 – They might be bothered by the feel of their whiskers touching the sides of a bowl.

Some finicky cats might be more likely to drink out of a bowl if it’s large enough to accommodate their whiskers. Of course, other cats prefer water glasses.

#8 – They might not like room temperature water.

The water in a toilet or from a faucet might be warmer or cooler than the water in a bowl. We all know how picky cats can be! Try adding ice cubes to their water dish.

#9 – Water too close to food can be perceived as dirty.

In the wild, the blood and remains of their prey could contaminate nearby water, so they would likely search for safer water away from their kill. Try moving the water bowl away from their food dish.

#10 – The fluoride in tap water might taste unpleasant.

While we may not notice the taste of fluoride, it might bother our kitties. Try bottled or filtered water and see if your cat likes it better.

Many cats are chronically dehydrated due to their avoidance of water dishes, so it’s important to find a good method of hydrating your cat.

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