Why Do Cats Put Food in Their Water Bowl?

Cats understand the physics of water.

Like all animals, they’re able to perceive flavors and smells. Since they love water, they might let food sit in their respective water bowls until something causes them to eat.

Some cats will salivate over the food, causing the food to swirl in the bowl. So, why do cats put food in their water bowl?

A delicious smelling treat in water can trick even the smartest of creatures into eating it. Cats may have learned that food is commonly found in their water bowls, so they may interpret the smell as an indicator that something tasty is nearby.

A cat may then salivate over the food until it is completely submerged in the water bowl and no longer visible to the naked eye.

As the food sinks through the water, the murky liquid becomes lighter and lighter until it rises to the surface and floats to the top where a cat can easily reach it.

Why Do Cats Put Food in Their Water Bowl?


When your cat throws food into the toilet or on the floor, its behavior might be due to attention seeking.

Furthermore, it may prompt you to chastise or scold it and this will teach the cat that unwanted behavior results in attention.

Cats frequently don’t care for the taste and smell of their food and will alter their behavior if it results in making humans change their habits as well.

Your cats may find this gratifying, since it may earn them more attention from you and teach them that they are in control of their surroundings.

Showing You How To Hunt

Another theory is that your cat is attempting to hunt the food with a stalk-and-ambush strategy.

Your cat may be attempting to teach you how it’s done by showing their food hunting strategy.

Berry College’s Department of Animal Science performed an experiment on hunting tactics that involved placing cat food inside a water bowl.

Cats have always been excellent hunters, and bringing toys into the equation might teach your cat how to hunt appropriately.

Scent Hiding

This rationale is based on the fact that cats like to hide scents in order to stay hidden themselves in the wild.

Cats have a natural survival impulse to erase their scent, and you may be helping them to bend your rules about food being eaten solely in their bowl by hiding the scent of their food in the water bowl.

Because uneaten food is crucial in keeping your feline friend fit and well fed, they will go to great lengths to disguise the scent of their food in order to keep you from seeing it.

They feel secure whether their food is in a bowl or bowl-shaped toy, and may be trying to teach you a lesson about not cleaning up after them without your consent.

However, since they developed in this environment, they think this is a normal way to feed themselves.

As a result, your cats may throw their mouse or other object on the floor in an attempt to hide the scent of their catch.


This is similar to the previous strategy; however, in this case your cats want their mouse or object not simply out of sight, but out of reach as well.

When cats in the wild consume their meals, they often reserve part for later and don’t want these portions to be eaten by other predators.

And, of course, they would much prefer to feed themselves than let another animal eat their meals for them.

Even though indoor cats do not hunt and forage for food like their wild brethren, their behavior and instincts are still the same.

Because there are other cats in the animal park and your pet is insecure with its territory, it may consider feeding itself in public as a threat to its well-being.

Caches or unique locations where your cats hide their objects are also considered safe havens.

Most indoor cats, however, lack caches and may instead resort to their water bowl when they desire privacy.

For Fun

Cats are well-adjusted creatures and normally do not feel the need for privacy while eating and do not expect others to be bothered by their behavior.

They like swatting at things, pouncing on toys, or scratching the carpet or furniture and these activities aren’t considered to be inappropriate.

For kids, putting their toys in rooms where pets are not allowed and enjoying their forbidden fun is just another part of growing up.

Cats just adore the sensation of fishing, and putting their toys in the water bowl is another way of enjoying the activity.

Do Cats Like Their Food Next to Their Water?

Cats dislike having their food and water bowls being touched or moved without their permission.

Even though it looks little, cats have very sensitive whiskers that help them detect any changes in their environment, including slight movements of the food and water bowl.

Cats also dislike having these bowls in locations that block their view of their surroundings or which make them feel insecure.

Some cats refuse to eat and drink if their bowls are in locations where they don’t feel safe and comfortable.

Meanwhile, some cats will drink from the toilet, bath or kitchen sink if their favorite bowls are just not convenient enough for them.

All of this is true of cats that feel insecure and insecure cats are just not willing to eat or drink from their bowls.

Cats have been maintained as pets for several thousand years but humans are still trying to understand their behavioral characteristics.

Even though it is a domestic pet, it isn`t that simple to understand even a cat`s behavior or to figure out how to communicate with them effectively.

Keeping the water dish within 3-5 feet of the litter box will be ideal for most cats.

Should My Cats Water Bowl Be Away From Food?

It is absolutely important to always have fresh water available for your feline friends, but while placing the bowl, you must consider the location of their food as well.

Many owners place the two bowls next each other, and however, this can lead to various issues as your cat does not want their dishes to be touching in case they are not cleaning themselves after eating.

Your cat may refuse to drink from a bowl that is in sight of the water dish.

For frightened or jumpy cats, eating near or around their water bowl can be very threatening to their well-being.

The ideal method is to move the feeding area away from the water dish but keeping the water dish near the litter tray.

How to Prevent Cats from Putting Food in Their Water Bowls

How to Prevent Cats from Putting Food in Their Water Bowls

Set Up Several Water Bowls

This is another approach which is sometimes used to prevent cats from putting food in their water bowls.

However, it is not suggested for long-term usage as it could lead to other problems for your cat, such as litter box avoidance.

Install a Water Fountain

Because cats think that running water will frighten away predators and that they are more accessible to other animals, installing a water fountain will prevent them from touching the water for fear of being harmed.

Furthermore, a water fountain may help with digestion and prevent constipation issues as your cat will not munch on hard food near the water.

Increase the Feedings

If a cat does not receive enough food throughout a day, they will tend to eat whatever they can get their hands on and this may include water from a dish too.

This is a concerning sight and it may be time for a check-up for your cat if you are unable to find any food in their water and there is a lack of nutrients in their body.

During Mealtimes, Cover the Water Bowl.

Blocking the water bowl during mealtimes is the simplest first step since many cats do not associate drinking with eating and may forget that their water is there.

This may be accomplished by covering the water bowl with a plate or a bowl and rotating it after every meal.

Also See: Why Do Cats Put Toys In Water Bowl?


Cats have adapted well to living in human homes. While humans find them cute and entertaining, cats have adapted well to living with us and being our pet companions.

Cats continue to be one of the most popular pets in America, and cats continue to adapt and thrive in human homes all over the world.

Although this behavior may be perplexing, we pet owners need to continue to watch our cat’s habits and see if there is concrete evidence behind these strange behaviors.