Most cats and kittens avoid getting wet as they have a reputation for being water phobic. Some breeds such as Maine Coons are more tolerable of water than other cats. If a young kitten was exposed to baths or water when it was younger, it might be more tolerable to getting wet as it ages. But why do they insist on moving their water dish and playing with their water bowls before taking a sip?
Many cat owners will have noticed this quirky habit of their pet in the past. It doesn’t seem to matter how clean the cat bowl is or where you placed the dish, cats will make a mess dragging it around. There are several reasons why cats may tip over the water bowl:
- Kittens and cats are playful and they have a natural impulse to manipulate things with their paws. Kittens see this as a way to learn about their environment. Cats that don’t get a lot of active stimulation, like to splash in their dish just to play.
- Some cats don’t like to drink stagnant water in their bowls. Others want to check where the water starts or if there is water in the cat bowl. Cats’ close up vision is weaker than their long distance vision. When they are at their water bowl, they can’t see the water level. By moving and playing with the water dish they create the rippling and splashing effect of fresh water. Once they know where the water is, they will start drinking.
- If your cat drinks a lot, there might be a medical explanation for its interest in water. Certain diseases such as diabetes, kidney failure, and thyroid issues can make cats thirsty. They may drink from their water bowls more frequently and create a mess by splashing or pawing at the water if they're not feeling well. They may also seek other sources of water like a faucet or toilet. Most cats with a health problem show other signs of illness as well.
- Anxiety or stress can induce strange behaviors in pets. Separation anxiety often motivates cats to seek attention from owners by exhibiting abnormal behaviors. Sometimes this manifests as litter box issues, such as urine spraying or defecating in an inappropriate area. For some cats, separation anxiety may lead them to splash in the water dish, push it aside, or try to overturn it to get your attention.
- Cats may see their reflection or a sparkle of light coming off the water’s surface. Your cat could feel unsafe or uncomfortable dipping its head into the unknown. This is a common reason why they are willing to spill water out of the bowl so they can lick the water off the surface from the floor. This could happen if the bowl is too deep, too small, too big or just located in an unappealing place.
How to Stop Cats From Spilling Water
Some young kittens playing with water is just a feline acting its age as some love patting around in the water. Kittens may grow out of this behavior so patience may be the solution if you have a young cat using a water bowl as a toy. Kitten object play is most active up to the five-month age and starts to decline thereafter.
If you can’t pinpoint the exact problem, try the following tricks:
- Change your cat’s water at least once per day.
- Place the cat bowl filled with water in a shower or bathtub so you can encourage your cat to only play with water bowls inside the shower.
- Try our elevated tilted cat bowl. The raised stand prevents food or water from scattering all over the place. It has a non-tipping base that will keep the bowl in place, so you don’t need to clean up every day anymore.
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My Purry Friends