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Why Do Cats Paw At Water? Top 8 Reasons Here

Feb 11, 2023

Author:Jackson Watson

It's not as unusual for cats to paw in a water dish as you may assume. That indicates that circulating water is preferred by some cats to water that is left stagnant in a dish for a long period of time. If your cat exhibits this peculiarly endearing behavior, you might want to look at the reasons given below and determine which one is for your feline friend.

Why Do Cats Paw At Their Water?

Water is flowing

Moving water is perceived as being fresh and therefore safe to drink, in contrast to still and stagnant water, which wild cats believe to be potentially tainted with bacteria that might kill them. Even though your cat is comfortable in your home and doesn't have to worry about having its life cut short by drinking from its water bowl, it's still in its nature to be wary of stagnant water. Getting the water flow to resemble flowing water makes them comfortable. 

water is flowing

Compulsive behavior

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which can affect both humans and cats, can indeed cause your cat to engage in frequent and exaggerated activities that serve no useful function. Over-grooming, chewing or licking clothing, chasing its tail, pacing frequently, and pawing at the water bowl are all possible symptoms of OCD in cats.

Check the depth

Your cat might probe the depth with her paw. This is especially true if you are a cat parent who waits until the water is nearly dry before refilling the bowl, and when you do, you fill it to the brim. A cat might not feel safe dropping her head into an almost empty water bowl so far that she can't see over the side.

check the depth of water

Protect their whiskers

Cats that suffer from whisker fatigue have extremely sensitive whiskers that react badly to even the smallest of contact. Because of the frequent contact between your cat's whiskers and the sides of narrow and deep bowls, their sensory organs are compressed, which causes pain and discomfort. As a result, your cat may try to claw the water in the mouth rather than slurp it up with their tongue. Check out more about cat's whiskers

protect cats whiskers

Just for fun

Cats frequently paw their water just for fun. They are amazing at inventing their own fun, which is why you'll frequently see them cheerfully swishing water around in their dish and, occasionally, all over the floor!

They feel unsafe or stressed

Another typical cause of cats' pawing behavior is stress. Unbelievably, many cats miss their owner, just like dogs do, and they can grow anxious if left alone for an extended amount of time. This is typically observed in breeds that are very sociable and enjoy being around people, but it can happen to any cat.

cats feel stressed

Health issues

If a cat continuously spills water out of her bowl, she might be trying to indicate to you of being sick. The cat may be compelled to put its paws in the water for certain ailments like diabetes and thyroid problems. You will also notice your cat drinking more frequently than ever because of these conditions, which make it thirsty.

Territorial Instinct

If you have multiple feline buddies, you may have observed that they occasionally act aggressively toward one another. Especially when it comes to food or toys that you have specially chosen for them. Cats don't like to share, and since their paws have smell glands, they frequently use them to flavor the water in their bowl to dissuade others from using them.

How Can I Stop My Cat Pawing at Their Water Bowl

Try a water fountain

Try getting your cat a pet water fountain that can provide your feline friend with fresh flowing water at all times. A pet water fountain is not only made to be durable, but it also doesn't have the same accessibility problems as a bowl. The one that I find most useful and user-friendly is WOpet stainless steel water fountain. For starters it has a double filtration system, meaning that you wouldn’t have to keep on changing the water and your cat will have access to clean drinking water only. Apart from this, it has an intelligent pump that stops pumping when the water is low, to save your feline from whisker troubles. Is the dishwasher safe for a clean cleanup, and have a night light as well, so your furry friend can have a drink even in the dark.

wopet brook pet water fountain

Visit a vet

Your cat could be pawing at her water to tell you something important relating to their health. If you think this is the case that your cat paws at the water because of some underlying medical issues, you should definitely go and get her checked. Your veterinarian can assist identify the underlying reason and provide treatment choices. Do this especially if your cat is drinking too much or spilling water all around. Your cat could require prescription medication if the issue is somewhat of a big deal. Bad water bowl habits should be resolved by treating the underlying health issue.

Get a larger water bowl

Your selection of water bowls may irritate your cat. Maybe the bowl is too shallow or excessively deep for her. Most cats don't like whiskers touching the sides of bowls, since cat whiskers are delicate and include nerves and blood vessels. Upgrade the water dish for your cat to a sizable, shallow ceramic bowl. Look for one with a wide, sturdy base that isn't readily tippable. Put the bowl in a small plastic storage box under the bed just to be safe. 

get a larger water bowl