Why does my cat always drink from the sink, toilet, tap or puddle?
3rd September 2021
Every cat is unique, with an individual personality and quirks that leave us amused and bewildered. One puzzle is their somewhat questionable drinking habits, with some cats preferring to drink from a muddy puddle or even a toilet, rather than the clean water bowl that we lovingly put out for them.
However, this isn’t just eccentricity; if your cat is choosing to drink from somewhere other than their water bowl, the chances are that this is because this alternative water source is in some way preferable for your cat. It is important to understand what is driving this behavior because stagnant ponds, oily puddles, sinks and toilets are not necessarily clean or safe to drink from. Unlike us, cats have a very limited sense of taste, so they can’t always tell that what they are drinking isn’t clean water and could be contaminated with chemicals or even poisonous. For example, cats will drink lethally dangerous amounts of toxic antifreeze (ethylene glycol) thinking that it is water.
It’s much better if we can get our cats to drink fresh water from a bowl, but to encourage the to do this we first need to understand how, where and what cats prefer to drink.
Cats prefer to drink in a place that is away from where they eat, but many owners tend to put food and water bowls next to each other. The type of bowl and how fresh the water is are just as important. Cats are attracted to water that catches and reflects light so that it is easy to see from a distance. This is why they seem to like moving water and dripping taps. In addition, cats don’t have very good short distance vision, so as they go to drink it is hard for them to see the surface of the water unless it is in a well illuminated and reflective. That's why water in a plain bowl that is located in a shady spot may be quite hard to see, and is therefore unattractive to most cats. It is also important that your cat has a quiet, traffic-free area to drink from.
You should try to give your cat the best possible place to drink from, so that you know they are drinking safely. This will also encourage them to drink more, and to maintain a good level of hydration, which is very important for your cat’s overall health. The Felaqua Connect has been designed with veterinary behaviourists to help you achieve this. Designed with your cat in mind, water is presented to the cat in a visible way, mimicking a puddle and making it easier for them to recognise. For added peace of mind that your cat is drinking enough, Felaqua Connect monitors water intake, reporting data directly to your smartphone via the Sure Petcare App.