Why Does My Cat Paw At Her Water Bowl Interesting Reasons?

As a cat lover, you may have observed your feline friend pawing at her water bowl before taking a sip. It may seem like an odd behavior, but there are actually fascinating reasons why cats do this. In this post, we’ll delve into some of the intriguing explanations behind this quirky habit.

One possible reason for pawing at the water bowl is that cats crave attention and affection from their owners. Despite their independent nature, they still want to be noticed and loved. So when they paw at their water bowl, it could be their way of saying “Hey. Give me some love.”

Another explanation is that cats are incredibly sensitive creatures, especially when it comes to their whiskers. When they paw at the water, they create ripples that make it easier for them to drink without getting their whiskers wet. Additionally, cats instinctively avoid still water because it could be contaminated – so by pawing at the water, they’re ensuring that it’s safe to drink.

Next time you catch your furry friend pawing at her water bowl, don’t worry – it’s just one of the many unique behaviors that make cats so lovable and entertaining.

Cats Have a Keen Sense of Smell and Taste

Well, let me tell you, cats are fascinating creatures with a highly developed sense of smell and taste, making them very particular about what they consume.

One reason for this behavior is that cats are detecting any changes in the taste or smell of their water. Their sensitive palate can detect even the slightest difference, and they may try to remove any unpleasant odors or flavors by pawing at their water bowl.

Another reason is that cats naturally prefer moving water for hydration. In the wild, they would typically drink from streams or rivers where the water is constantly flowing and fresh. By pawing at their water bowl, they may be trying to create ripples or movement in the water to make it more appealing.

Furthermore, cats have scent glands on their paws and may use this behavior as a way of marking their territory. By pawing at their water bowl, they could be leaving behind pheromones to assert dominance and claim ownership over the area.

While these reasons are interesting, excessive pawing behavior could indicate an underlying health issue such as dental problems, kidney disease, or dehydration. Therefore, if your cat’s pawing behavior seems excessive or out of character, it’s vital to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any medical issues.

Cats Prefer Moving Water

This fascination is rooted in their evolutionary history, where their ancestors relied on running water for survival. But what makes cats prefer flowing water over still water? Let’s dive into the research and find out.

Firstly, stagnant water can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and parasites, making it unsafe for consumption. In contrast, running water is less likely to harbor these dangers. This natural instinct to avoid contaminated water is ingrained in cats and has been passed down through generations. It’s no wonder they prefer a fresh flow of H2O.

Secondly, cats are known to be playful creatures with hunting instincts. Moving water can stimulate this behavior – when a cat sees water flowing, they may perceive it as potential prey and instinctively paw at it. This playfulness also helps increase their hydration levels as they lap up the water droplets from their paws.

To cater to this preference, many cat owners choose to provide their feline friends with fountains or other devices that provide moving water. These fountains are designed with a pump that circulates the water, creating a constant flow that mimics the sound and movement of running water in the wild. It’s like having a mini waterfall in your home.

However, it’s crucial to remember that while cats may prefer moving water, they still require access to clean and fresh water at all times. It’s essential to clean and refill their cat’s water bowl or fountain regularly to ensure their pet stays hydrated and healthy. After all, hydration is key to keeping our feline friends happy and healthy.

Marking Territory with Pheromones

Firstly, cats have scent glands on their paws that they use to mark their territory. When a cat paws at its water bowl, it’s leaving its scent behind, essentially claiming the area around it as its own. This is especially common in multi-cat households or areas with many cats, where competition for space is high.

But don’t worry, this behavior isn’t necessarily a sign of aggression or dominance. It’s simply a natural instinct for cats to establish their own space where they feel safe and secure.

So what can you do to reduce this behavior? Start by providing multiple water bowls throughout the house. This will give your cat more options for drinking water without feeling the need to mark a single bowl as its own.

In addition, each cat should have its own designated space and resources, including food and water bowls, litter boxes, and sleeping areas. This will help reduce competition between cats and allow them to establish their own territories without marking everything in sight.

Finally, consider using pheromone sprays or diffusers to create a calming environment for your cat. These products mimic the natural pheromones that cats produce when they feel safe and secure, reducing stress and anxiety and ultimately reducing the need to mark their territory.

Excessive Pawing Could Indicate an Underlying Health Issue

While this behavior is common, it could be a red flag for an underlying health issue.

One possible culprit is kidney disease, which is more prevalent in older cats. Increased thirst and urination are common symptoms, leading cats to paw at their water bowl in an attempt to drink more and compensate for fluid loss.

Diabetes is another potential cause of excessive pawing at the water bowl. This disease can cause cats to drink more and urinate frequently, leading them to paw at their water bowl for refills or to indicate they’re still thirsty.

Hyperthyroidism, liver disease, and urinary tract infections are other health issues that may lead to excessive pawing. If you notice changes in your cat’s behavior, such as decreased appetite or lethargy, seek veterinary attention right away.

Tips for Ensuring Your Cat’s Hydration Needs Are Met

However, cats can be notoriously picky drinkers and have low thirst drives, making it crucial to encourage them to drink enough water. Here are five tips to ensure your cat’s hydration needs are met and promote their overall health and wellness.

Provide Fresh Water Daily

Cats prefer clean, fresh water, so make sure to change their water bowl daily and keep it clean. You can also invest in a pet fountain that filters and circulates the water, making it more appealing to your cat. Remember, stale water can lead to bacterial growth, which can cause health issues for your cat.

Offer Multiple Water Sources

Cats like to have options, so consider providing multiple water sources throughout your home. This could include a few different bowls or even a fountain-style water dish. By offering a variety of drinking options, your cat may be more inclined to drink regularly.

Use a Wide, Shallow Bowl

Cats don’t like to get their whiskers wet, so using a wide, shallow bowl can make drinking more comfortable for them. A deeper bowl can cause discomfort and discourage your cat from drinking enough water.

Add Flavor

Some cats may be more inclined to drink if their water has a little flavor. Consider adding a small amount of low-sodium chicken broth or tuna juice to their water bowl. However, it’s important not to add too much flavor as this can lead to your cat consuming too much salt.

Feed Your Cat Wet Food

Feeding your cat wet food can also help increase their overall water intake as it contains a higher moisture content than dry kibble. Adding wet food to your cat’s diet can help prevent dehydration and promote healthy kidney function.

Also Read: Why Does My Cat Paw at Her Water Bowl?


In conclusion, cats are truly fascinating creatures with unique behaviors that make them lovable and entertaining pets. One of these quirky habits is pawing at their water bowl before taking a sip. Although it may seem strange to us humans, there are several interesting reasons why cats do this.

Cats have an excellent sense of smell and taste, which makes them very particular about what they consume. They may paw at their water bowl to detect any changes in the taste or smell of the water or create ripples to make it more appealing.

Moreover, cats prefer moving water over still water due to their evolutionary history and natural instincts. They may paw at the water to stimulate playfulness or mark their territory with pheromones.

It’s essential to note that excessive pawing behavior could indicate an underlying health issue. But by providing fresh water daily, offering multiple water sources, using a wide shallow bowl, adding flavor, and feeding wet food, you can ensure your cat’s hydration needs are met.

Understanding your cat’s behavior can help you provide the best care for your furry friend and strengthen your bond with them.