Cats and running water

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Some cats are very finicky about their water. You leave fresh water out for them all day, but the minute you turn on the tap they come rushing for a drink. So what is the attraction with cats and running water?

Maybe your cat will drink from a bowl but insist on splashing the water with her paw. Maybe she keeps tipping her bowl on the ground so she can drink from the floor. Your cat may balance precariously on the toilet seat so she can drink from the bowl. And if you have an outdoor cat, she may even favour dirty rain water rather than the fresh supply you put out for it.

Why the odd behaviour?

No-one is really sure exactly why cats can be so finicky about their water but there are a couple of theories. There may be an instinctual aversion to still water. In the wild, a cat will usually only drink moving water which helps to help prevent her from becoming sick. Alternatively, it could be that your cat has learned that water tends to be cooler when it's from a tap or rain water.

It's also possible that the water is just a toy for your cat. To your cat, flipping over its water bowl or trying to catch the falling drips from a tap might make a great game, as well as having the added benefit of quenching its thirst.

Cats don't need much water to drink, especially if they eat canned food or food in pouches which contains a lot of water in it. However, it is still important to make sure your cat has fresh water at all times.

Drinking from a bowl

There are a few things you can do to encourage your cat to drink from her bowl.

Try moving her water dish to somewhere that isn't alongside her food. Your cat may be picky about having food and water right next to each other.

If you think your cat doesn't like the temperature of its water, try adding a few ice cubes to the bowl.

You may want to try changing the bowl entirely. Different types of bowl will give different tastes to the water. If your cat has a plastic bowl, try a metal, ceramic, or even glass one. If your cat is a bowl tipper, try looking for a wider bowl with a rubber base. This will foil even the most dedicated of cats.

There are also cat drinking fountains that either constantly run water in a loop, or are activated by your cat approaching. These require electricity to run so you'll need to find a place for it close to a socket outlet.

You can occasionally leave the tap dripping for your cat to have a drink. Your cat will drink from any source if she is thirsty enough, but you may choose to occasionally offer her water from the tap as a treat.

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