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5 Reasons Why Cats Touch Water Before Drinking

November 20, 2015 by Ozzi Cat Magazine in Cat Behaviour, Products

Black-and-White Cats Drinking from Water Fountain - Licking Paw

You might have seen how cats dip their paws in water before drinking it. Why do cats touch water before drinking? Here are five possible reasons. Which one sounds more like your case?

1. Water Bowl Shape and Size

Cats dip their paws in water and then lick it when they try to avoid the water bowl touching their whiskers. Your cat might not like this sensation, which can be irritating to her. Lots of cats prefer shallow water and food bowls. Choose a bowl that has a plenty of space for whiskers, not narrow or deep, so the whiskers don’t touch the bowl sides. (We all know how some cats love drinking from a glass of water. Is your cat one of them?)

2. Still and Running Water

Some cats prefer to drink moving water. When they put their paw in a water bowl, they try to imitate the running water. Moving water can look more fresh, and therefore, more appealing to cats. Stagnant water can smell the way the cats don’t like. Have you ever seen your cat drinking from a tap? Your kitty might like a water fountain.

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3. Water Level Consistency

A cat dips paw in water before drinking, if she is not sure about the water level. This can happen when you refill the bowl from time to time and to a different level. Keep the water level consistent through time and when refreshing the water. Cats like routine and consistency. (To what level do you fill your cat’s water bowl – to top or middle?)

4. Age and Health

When your kitty gets older, some functions can deteriorate, including an eyesight. Senior cats and cats with eyesight problems can touch water before drinking to determine the water depth. Then they tend to dip their paws in water and drink. If you have a senior cat or you suspect something might be wrong with your cat’s eyesight, ask your vet to check it. (What is your regular vet clinic? Tell us in the comments below.)

5. Feeling Insecure

By drinking by scooping the water with a paw, the cat may be looking for a fast escape, if a need arises. If cats have changes in their routine or environment, they might feel less secure. To make cats feel safe and not stressed, keep the water bowl location consistent, have a feeding and other interaction routines, correctly introduce new pets to the family, make sure you have plenty of water bowls of various shapes and sizes available for your cat.

Quick Tip: How To Clean A Water Bowl

When a cat dips a paw in a water bowl, then dirt, bits of litter, and other debris wash from the paw. This helps bacteria to build up in the bowl. (Have you ever seen a pink rim in the cat’s water bowl?) To clean the bowl, use a mild dish soap, thoroughly rinse removing any trace of it, then refill the bowl with fresh water.

Do your cats touch water before drinking?

Photo by: Paul L Dineen
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  1. IrenaDecember 21, 2015 at 1:02 am

    Here’s Queen, again, Nov 27′th 2015. She likes to put her legs under the running water, shake legs, then drink. Even, she likes to sit in the wash basin, nevertheless if it’s not dry. Also she licks water drops & then lies in a bathtub, even sleeps in there. And sink is her favorite place to drink. IRA P.S. As a baby she wanted to do stuff like that.

    • Natalie @ Ozzi Cat MagazineDecember 21, 2015 at 9:48 am

      Aww, this is so cute :) It’s so lovely to see gorgeous Queen grew up :) It looks like she really enjoys playing with water :) Thank you for sharing, Ira :) xox

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