5 Reasons Your Cat May Not Be Drinking out of Their Water Bowl

Posted by Tori Holmes
cat with water bowl

One of the biggest struggles for cat owners is finding a bowl that their feline will drink from.

But is there reason behind this finicky behavior or do cats simply enjoy giving their owners a hard time?

As it turns out, there are a few reasons why your cat might be shunning their water bowl.

Running water is better than still.

When it comes to water, running is always better than still. One theory behind this is that cats instinctively may be wary of still water since stagnant water isn't always safe to drink in the wild. Another potential theory is that hunching over a bowl to drink is simply more uncomfortable than drinking from a tap.

When a cat is hunched over a bowl, it puts them in a more vulnerable position to be pounced on by another animal. A final theory is that running water simply tastes better!

Big red and white cat drinking water

It's all about location.

When it comes to placement of the water bowl, some cats don't drink out of it if it's too close to their food. This is because in the wild, cats go to great measures to keep their food and water sources separate to avoid having the food contaminate the water.

Many cats also don't like their water to smell like their food, which can happen if the bowls are too close together.

Cat lies on mat near boal with feed and drinking

New is always better than old.

I'm pretty sure you wouldn't want to drink water from a cup that had been sitting out for hours or even days, right? Well, neither does your cat.

The longer the water bowl sits out, the more dirt, dust, and bacteria will accumulate on the surface of the water as well as in it. This is especially true for cats that enjoy playing with the water in their water bowls.

dry dog food and water in metal bowls on wooden background

There's not enough water (or there's too much).

Cats truly are creatures of habit, and this extends to their water preferences as well. When you fill your cat's bowl, try and keep the water levels consistent from day to day.

If your cat is unsure whether the water is right at the top of the bowl or just barely filling the bottom they may have to put their paw in to test and see. Once this happens they may not even want to drink the water as its been "contaminated" by their own paw.

Red cat and bowl of dry food on the wooden floorr

Bowl shape and size matters.

The shape and size of a water bowl can also play a big role in the reason why your cat won't drink from it. One of the biggest reasons why cats don't like particular bowls is that their sensitive whiskers get squished when they try and drink.

Due to this, large, shallow bowls seem to be most preferred.

Orange cat eating in the floor

There's no shortage of reasons why your cat may not be drinking out of their bowl, but what can you do about it? In addition to fixing the issues mentioned above, you might have to test our several water bowls for your cat to see which they like best. If your cat refuses to drink still water out of a tradition bowl, there are a number of fountain water bowls you can try.

We know that finding a solution that will ensure your cat drinks enough is stressful, but if you persevere we know you'll find it!

Do you have a cat that is picky with water? What was your water bowl solution? Let us know in the comments!

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5 Reasons Your Cat May Not Be Drinking out of Their Water Bowl