Last Updated on: May 10, 2023 by Crystal Uys

cat drinking tap water from the faucet

Cats can engage in activities that leave us feeling puzzled. While we may think that using water bowls is the easiest way for cats to drink water, cats may think otherwise. There are several reasons why your cat may prefer to drink from the tap rather than from its bowl. It may be because their sensitive whiskers don’t like the feeling of touching the water, or they’re just not used to drinking still water.

So, it’s quite normal for cats to prefer drinking water from the tap. We’ll go over some possible reasons why your cat loves drinking from the tap and how to prevent your cat from playing with water taps.


Top 3 Reasons Why Cats Drink from the Tap

There are several factors to consider when it comes to your cat preferring to drink from the tap. It’s helpful to understand where this behavior is coming from so that you know how to stop or prevent your cat from continuing with it. Here are some possible reasons why your cat may choose to drink from the tap.

1. Cats Usually Prefer Running Water

First, it’s important to remember that cats are middle-sighted animals. This means that they have excellent vision for things that are several feet away from them. However, they have difficulty seeing objects that are closer to them, and objects that are within a foot away from them appear blurry. So, it can be difficult for cats to drink water sitting in a bowl because they can’t see it very clearly.

Running water is easier to locate and engage with because it’s easily heard. A cat’s eyes are also specially designed to detect movement.1 So, it just might be more appealing for cats to drink running water.

tap water running from faucet
Image Credit: Kadisha, Pixabay

2. Sensitive Whiskers

Cats also have extremely sensitive whiskers. Their use can be compared to how humans use their fingertips to touch and identify objects. So, there’s a good chance that cats don’t like having their whiskers getting wet.

It may also be the case that your cat’s current water bowl is too small, and your cat’s whiskers are touching the edges. Your cat may not like the sensation of their whiskers brushing the edges of their water bowl and might be looking for other sources of water that don’t feel as uncomfortable.

3. Attempts to Alleviate Boredom

Your cat may enjoy drinking water from the tap simply because they’re curious or bored. Indoor cats, in particular, require plenty of exercise and mentally stimulating activities to prevent boredom. When left unaddressed, boredom often leads to unwanted behaviors, and your cat may resort to engaging in destructive behaviors in an effort to alleviate boredom.

cat drinking tap water
Image Credit: kropekk_pl, Pixabay

How to Keep Your Cat Hydrated and Away from the Tap

If your cat develops a habit of consistently drinking from the tap, you may want to consider other alternatives to prevent your cat from using the tap as their main source of water. It’s helpful first to identify the reason why your cat may be drinking water from the tap. If you’re having any difficulty finding out why your cat is doing this, you can always enlist the help of a cat behaviorist who can better help you understand why your cat does the things it does.

Purchase a Wider Water Bowl

Check to see if your cat’s water bowl is large enough to fit your cat’s whiskers. You can measure a rough estimate of your cat’s whiskers and compare them to the size of your bowl. If the bowl is too small, try increasing the size to see if your cat will drink from a bigger bowl.

Switch to a Cat Water Fountain

Since many cats are attracted to the sounds and movements of running water, try switching to a cat fountain. You can find all kinds of cat fountains at your local pet store or through online pet supply retailers.

cat-drinking-from-water-bowl-with-fountain
Image Credit: Creative Cat Studio, Shutterstock

Relocate Water to a Safe and Quiet Space

Sometimes, cats may not drink water from their bowl because it’s located in a space where they feel unsafe. Your cat’s food and water station should be located in a quiet and secluded space that has little foot traffic and a low risk of disturbances. Your cat won’t eat or drink if it doesn’t feel safe and probably won’t drink water if they feel like they’ll get interrupted.

Alleviate Your Cat’s Boredom

If you suspect that your cat may be drinking water from the tap because they’re bored, try to look for other possible signs of boredom:

  • Excessive grooming
  • Hair loss
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Lack of interest or curiosity
  • Overeating

If you sense that your cat’s bored, try introducing more exercise or enrichment activities to their schedule. New toys and cat furniture that your cat can climb on are all items that can help alleviate boredom. Make sure to set aside time to play with your cat every day. This doesn’t just prevent boredom. It also strengthens the bond between you and your cat.

You can also hide your cat’s food in different places in the house or put it in a treat dispenser toy. This will engage your cat’s natural hunting instincts as they will have to hunt around the home to look for their food.


Conclusion

Cats can prefer to drink water from the tap for several reasons. While this behavior in itself is relatively harmless, it can put your cat at higher risk of dehydration. It can also cause a wet mess in your home or make it difficult for you to cook or wash the dishes. So, it’s usually best to determine the reason your cat is drinking water from the tap and try different strategies and tactics to deter this behavior.


Featured Image Credit: jaroslavzelenka0, Pixabay

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