7 Reasons Why Your Cat Is Not Drinking out of Its Water Bowl featured image Helena Lopes pexels

7 Reasons Why Your Cat Is Not Drinking out of Its Water Bowl

Cats are notoriously picky about everything — food, toys, their owners, litter boxes and even their water bowls. You may have noticed your cat sticking its tongue out to catch water dripping from a loose faucet, or maybe even drinking out of the toilet bowl — but it simply refuses to go anywhere near its water bowl.

Here’s why:


  1. Your cat prefers running water

cat drinking water from tap giphy

Image Source: Giphy

Your cat may not want to drink from its water bowl because of how still the water in it looks. Not only do cats have poor depth perception which makes it difficult for them to see where the water in the water bowl actually starts, they are also instinctively wary of still water. This instinct is a remnant of their ancestral DNA wherein cats in the wild typically associate still water with stagnant water which isn’t always safe to drink.

Instead, you’d have noticed that cats are more drawn to moving water because their instincts tell them that it’s fresh and clean. Besides, cats enjoy the taste of moving water better because there’s more oxygen in it!

Solution: Invest in a cat water fountain! Cat water fountains are integrated with a pump that continuously recirculates the water to keep it fresh and aerated.

  1. Your cat’s water bowl is too close to its food bowl

black kitten eating giphy

Image Source: Giphy

Again, instincts passed on from their ancestors make the domestic cats of today careful about ensuring that their food is far, far away from their water sources. Most cats also don’t like it when their food and water are placed so closely together that their scents get mixed up. Being the picky creatures that they are, our four-legged friends prefer their water to not smell like food.

Solution: To assure your cat that its water hasn’t been contaminated by its food, place some distance between your feline’s water bowl and food bowl.

  1. Your cat can tell that the water in its water bowl ain’t fresh anymore

kitten falling asleep while drinking water giphy

Image Source: Giphy

We doubt that you’d want to drink from a cup of water that has been left on the floor for days collecting dust and bacteria. Your cat definitely wouldn’t want to either.

Solution: Wash and refill your cat’s water bowl at least once daily!

  1. Your cat doesn’t like its water bowl

white cat drinking from glass cup giphy

Image Source: Giphy

Your cat’s whiskers are rich in nerve endings which make them ultra sensitive; they can detect even the slightest change in the direction of a breeze! Having its whiskers brush against the rim of a too-small water bowl can make drinking from the water bowl very uncomfortable.

Solution: Get a wider bowl for your cat to allow for whisker comfort.

  1. Your cat doesn’t like the taste of its water

kitten learning to drink water giphy

Image Source: Giphy

Did you know that different types of water bowl material will affect the taste of water in it differently? Apparently, cats are able to pick up the minute differences in the taste of water which changes with the material of the water bowl. The way the water tastes matters a lot to most cats. In this regard, I kind of relate. Have you not noticed how different milo in a packet tastes so much different from milo in a can? No? Just me??

Moreover, if you’re refilling your cat’s water bowl with tap water, some cats might not like the taste and smell of it because tap water in Singapore (and most other countries, really) is treated with fluoride.

Solution: Try out bowls of different materials and perhaps offer your cat bottled or filtered water instead.

  1. Your cat doesn’t like where its water bowl is located

white fluffy cat drinking from tap giphy

Image Source: Giphy

Look around your home — are your cat’s water bowls placed in conveniently out-of-the-way spots such as against the wall or in corners? Is your cat avoiding drinking from those and instead drinking from your leaking faucet?

Cats are very cautious and like to be aware of their surroundings. They don’t like leaving their backs unprotected and exposed to any potential danger. So if your cat avoids drinking from water bowls close to the wall or in corners, it’s very likely because it has no way of keeping an eye on the room as it drinks and this makes your cat feel vulnerable.

Solution: Move your cat’s water bowl(s) away from the walls

  1. Your cat is fussy about the temperature of its drinking water

cat splashing water around giphy

Image Source: Giphy

Felines generally prefer drinking water that is similar to water that can be found in the wilderness – water that is fresh and cool. To cats, cold water is an indication of water that is safe and clean!

Solution: Add some ice cubes to your cat’s water bowl. Adding ice cubes not only cools the water (duh) but also makes drinking fun for your kitty! Your cat would be very amused by the ice bobbing on the surface of its water bowl and surely won’t be able to resist playing with it.


The same way that we are very particular about some things — like the food that we eat or the way we want things to be done — cats are also nit-picky about some things like their water bowls! It all just boils down to understanding our cat’s likes and dislikes.

Read more: How to Get Your Cat to Drink More Water

*Featured Image Source: Helena Lopes | Pexels

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