Why Do Cats Like Drinking From the Water Faucet?

Boo McCourt has experience caring for cats and likes to share tips she finds along the way.

Why Do Cats Prefer Running Water?

If your cat darts to the sink every time it hears you turn on the water faucet, don't be surprised—many cats actually favor running water to water that is located in their water dish. Cats prefer that their water be cool and fresh, and therefore running water is most appealing to them for that very reason.

It is not unusual for cats to dab their paw into the water dish and agitate it so they can have that flowing water appeal. Cool running water is very pleasing to many cats because it’s fresh, clean, and flowing.

When water is just sitting in a bowl all day, it can be unappealing to your cat, so it is a good idea to make sure your cat has a fresh bowl of cool drinking water throughout the day. According to my research, there is no definitive reason why your cat fancies drinking from the faucet, except that it is cold and refreshing. Many cats refuse to drink out of a bowl, therefore the following tips will help you keep your cat hydrated.

Getting ready to take a sip

Practical Tips for Getting Your Cat to Drink Water

  • Place ice cubes in your cat's drinking bowl so that the water will be refreshed and cool.
  • Increase the number of water bowls throughout the home. Place bowls in various places around the house, so your cat has easy access to them.
  • Move your cat's water bowl to a different location away from your cat's food dish. It is possible that your cat doesn't like to smell food when drinking water.
  • Try buying your cat a different type of water dish. It is possible your cat doesn't like the smell of the plastic that the bowl may be made of. Give ceramic or metal bowls a try.
  • Try letting the faucet run at various times throughout the day, buy your cat a fountain bowl, there are several types and they provide running water for your cat 24 hours a day. Leaving the faucet running could lead to a very high water bill.
  • You may try adding a little water from a can of tuna fish to your cat's water bowl. The extra flavor may allure your cat to drink. You may also want to consider bottled water.
  • Try placing a drinking fountain with access to fresh running water. Cats often enjoy the bubbling effects, encouraging them to drink.

The most important thing is to make sure your cat is getting the water it needs, whether it be from a faucet you leave running in your house or the many water bowls filled with ice cubes left around for your cat to get its fill of fresh clean water. Whatever your cat's needs are, the sooner you fulfill them, the happier you and your cat will be.

Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on May 21, 2015:

I will take a look Steven. My cat love drinking from the faucets and your device might be something I could use.

Steven Chalmers from Castle Rock, CO on May 15, 2015:


My name is Steven Chalmers and I have created a solution for cats wanting to drink from falling water. I call it the AquaPurr. See www.AquaPurr.net for details.

It is a platform that the cat stands on which triggers the flow of water through a spigot. It attaches to a faucet in place of the aerator. The faucet attachment includes a quick disconnect to allow regular use of the faucet.

It requires no electricity and never needs cleaning.

I build and sell these myself.

Thanks for reading.


Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on November 15, 2011:

Barry thank you for your input. I keep a dish of water in the house and one on the outside balcony with ice cubes, and my cat CIA seems to prefer the outdoor water to the indoor water. I believe he likes the cooler temp water outside. Will check out the Glacier Point you mention. Thank you for commenting.

Barry on November 11, 2011:

Just to add some actual evidence to the cold water discussion, I studied how much water cats would drink at different temperatures using special night vision cameras. We verified that cats drink most (85%) of their water consumption at night when it is quiet and dark which is a survival tactic. Further, cats did drink three times more water if the temperature was 60 degrees. We developed the Glacier Point for cats as a result.

Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on October 03, 2010:

saddlerider1-I love Seekyt! Thanks for your comment. My cat Ethel is a primper. But she is missing half her tail.It was slammed in the door a few years ago and dropped off. You are so right, cats are funny, I am so happy I have had mine in my life. They are surely most precious.I will look you up on Seekyt :)

saddlerider1 on October 01, 2010:

We have two cats one that likes to drink water from a tap and the other who likes to suck on the tip of her tail and groom it to a point. She is such a femme:0) always primping herself. Cat's are so funny and make us laugh every day with their antics. Thanks for the share, I found you in the Writers circle on Seekyt and a fellow hubber a bonus:0)

Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on August 18, 2010:

Thanks Benny, she was my little bug, and yes I am happy I have my other two :)

rachel-LOL! I have that picture of the cat dashing into the bathroom, waitng for the faucet to be turned on.

rachel.htpmv on August 18, 2010:

Great advice -- especially the fountain bowl! My friend's cat will muscle his way into the bathroom if anybody even MOVES in that direction. He loves to play in the sink :)

BennyTheWriter from Northeastern U.S.A. on August 16, 2010:

Awww, so sorry to hear about SullyBug. I'm sure the other two are keeping you quite busy though!

Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on August 02, 2010:

Hey Benny, Thanks for reading and commenting Benny. Yes cats are sure a different breed arent they? I have not had many cats in my life, just a few. I have my 15 and 16 year old. And then there was my little SullyBug (12) who passed three years ago. Miss her dearly. But I sure love my very quirky cats.

BennyTheWriter from Northeastern U.S.A. on August 02, 2010:

Funny hub! Ah, yet another reminder of how cats can be so finicky...I'm not surprised. :)

I've never had a cat myself but I've been around them for years. So this kind of behavior seems pretty well within the range of the average cat's personality quirks.

Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on July 28, 2010:

Hi Mih36, Enjoy your kittens, they are so fun to watch as they grow. They sure do grow fast!

Mih36 from New York on July 27, 2010:

Thank you for great articles. We just got 2 kittens. Picked them up at 8 weeks old and now they almost 4 months. They grow so fast and eat so much and sleep even more haha. We got 2 female kittens kiki and koko.

Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on July 24, 2010:

Your welcome rgarnett. Yes cats sure have their ways don't they. My wouldn't be caught near a a faucet or drain. But they do love the ice cubes in their water dishes. Thank you for reading and commenting. :)

Rachael Fields from KC, MO on July 23, 2010:

You know, I love my cats and I have three of them. They all do this. I have actually noticed more recently that they are jumping into my tub and licking the drain. The water would not be running or recently ran. Which I don't think is very healthy. But, while I am not going to buy them bottled water, I might try the ice cubes. Thanks for the tip!

Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on July 23, 2010:

Hi BloggerOne, Thanks for reading! Cats, you gotta love them :)

BlogggerOne on July 23, 2010:

I will tell my hubbie to make sure my cat's "special" water bottle is changed daily. Thanks!

p.s. Cat's are SO smart.

Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on July 21, 2010:

Thank you KoffeKlatch, your cats sounds fun. Thank you for your comments. Cats sure do some odd things don't they?

Susan Hazelton from Sunny Florida on July 21, 2010:

I had a cat that would sit in the tub after you finished taking a shower. It would still be wet and there she would sit batting at puddles and drinking water. Cats are funny creatures. Great hubs and advice.

Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on July 19, 2010:

DZY it sounds like you have some fun cats. My cats tend to follow me in the bathroom but they don't want a drink, lol! I tried one of those bottle things and my cats would not go near it. They are so old fashioned :)

Thank you for sharing, you made me smile this morning.


Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on July 18, 2010:

One of our kitties enjoys that as well...my husband and I cannot use 'the facilities' in peace without her following us in & demanding the tap be turned on!

We have 4 cats, and I use one of those reservoirs with a half-gallon bottle that automatically refills when they drink.

Ice cubes... lol.. yes..something to play with when they fall on the floor, to be batted around then forgotten, leaving a surprise puddle to step in with stocking feet! Hahaha!! Silly kitties!

They seem to like ice cubes in their water only to fish out and play with. ;-)

Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on July 16, 2010:

Hey schoolgirl, thanks for sharing, yep my cats wait for the ice cubes too. Every once in a while I will catch my one cat CIA in the toilet bowl. I have to remember to keep the lid down.

schoolgirlforreal on July 16, 2010:

I agree. My boyfriend spoiled my cat and he would give it fresh cold water (and ice cubes) because cats love really cold water. My cat would wait until the water was really cold then drink it. I believe this is also why some cats try to drink out of a toilet bowl--because it's cold!

Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on July 16, 2010:

Hey Peggy, I have friends that have cats who love the faucet water. My two cats however do not. They have two water bowls and I put ice cubes in them throughout the day. I change the water often as well to keep it fresh for them. Thank you for sharing and commenting :)

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 15, 2010:

My mother had a cat that enjoyed drinking from a dripping faucet. Ours oven drink out of the dog's water dish as well as their own. We do make sure the water is freshened each day.

Why Does my Cat Drink from my Water Glass?

Does this picture look familiar? That’s my cat, Gracie, AKA “The Water Thief.” It’s far more common to find her with her head in my water glass than in her water bowl. Lucky for her I’m way more understanding than my husband who hates it when she drinks the water on his nightstand.

I’ve often wondered why does she drink from my water glass, especially since my cat seems pretty content with their water bowl. So here’s what I found and why cats often drink out of our water glasses and not their bowls.

They may be a natural pacifist

This is where Gracie fits. She was the runt of the litter and had to be bottle fed. The other kittens shoved her around and she wasn’t getting enough milk. We were finally able to bring her home, but then she wasn’t exactly accepted by our older much larger cat.

Drinking from high up on our nightstand likely makes her feel more confident and also reduces risks of confrontation at the water bowl. Even though they are best friends now, it’s just a part of her nature now.

It’s part of their instincts

Another part of nature is that felines in the wild did not always have water where they ate. After getting their pray they would often carry it to a secret location, far away from the water hole so that no one else would want to eat their dinner. This type of behavior can be passed down through genetics, hence why some cats like to drink away from their food.

They are dehydrated or sick

The food your cat is eating can cause them to be dehydrated or thirstier than normal. Also, your cat could be suffering from an illness such as kidney disease, diabetes, or hyperthyroidism. If you notice them drinking a lot more, a change in litter box habits, or any other behavioral changes let your vet know.

It could just be a matter of picky kitty preference

We all know cats tend to have a bit of a diva side. It’s possible that they simply don’t like that dish and prefer your fresher colder water in a tall cup. If it bothers you a lot then try a few different dishes or mugs and see if they like that more.

Our cats do quirky things, but that’s the reason we love them so much! What are some silly things your cat does, sound off below and let us know!

Why do cats run around crazy when the weather changes?

Nicknamed “the zoomies,” these bursts of activity can happen at any time and are just a release of pent-up energy after all those nice, long cat naps.

Some cat owners notice the zoomies pick up when seasons shift. If they open up the windows for some fresh air, indoor cats, which are still hunters at heart, will be “stimulated by the presence of prey, new noises, new scents in the air, and will literally climb the walls, curtains,” and whatever else they can, Zoran notes.

Cats like running water

You put a lovely, fresh bowl of water in front of your cat and it just sits there untouched. But turn on the tap and your kitty laps up the dripping water. There might be several reasons that your cat won't touch unmoving water. Instinctively, your cat might know to be suspicious of still water, realizing that stagnant water isn't always safe, veterinarian Dr. Deb Greco tells VetStreet. Their wild DNA tells them that still water can be contaminated, so they know that running water is safer.

Another reason they might not like being hunched over a bowl is the precarious position it puts them in.

“It’s hard for cats to get water, because they can’t really see still water well, and they may feel vulnerable sitting at a bowl, especially if it’s in a corner, so they have their back to other cats who might jump on them,” Greco says.

The dripping or running water from the tap — or the swirling water from a kitty recirculating water fountain — probably tastes better too because it's cooler and oxygenated. Plus, the movement makes the water more attractive, as you likely notice if your cat paws or splashes at the water.

Watch the video: Why is My CAT DRINKING TAP WATER? Find out!

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