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My Cat Will Only Drink from the Faucet: 5 Reasons Why

Written by: Elizabeth Gray

Last Updated on July 2, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat drinking from faucet

My Cat Will Only Drink from the Faucet: 5 Reasons Why


Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo


Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Long-time cat owners know that getting their cats to drink enough water can sometimes be a struggle. Because cats always seem to choose the strangest way to complete ordinary tasks, you’ll also find some that will drink but only from specific spots, like a faucet. If your cat only drinks from the faucet, you might wonder if there’s something wrong with them.

Cats prefer to drink from the faucet for several reasons, but it doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong. However, tap water is not of drinking quality in many areas, so this might be a significant concern. Keep reading to learn why your cat sips from your sink and how to encourage them to stop.

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The 5 Reasons Why Your Cat Only Drinks from the Faucet

1. Instinct

In the wild, water that isn’t moving is more likely to contain germs and parasites that could make a cat sick. Your cat may prefer to drink from the faucet because instinct tells them running water is safer and often colder.

Cat looking at drinking glass
Image Credit by: JumpStory

2. Safety

Speaking of safety, your cat may drink from the faucet over their bowl because they feel more comfortable up high. The location of your cat’s bowl could leave them feeling trapped or vulnerable while they drink. Faucets are located on a counter, and your cat may feel better taking the time to drink at an elevated location.

3. Excitement

If your cat is especially playful, they may find the movement of the running water more exciting than the stagnant bowl liquid. When they show interest in their water bowl, it may be to splash, paw, or play with it instead of drinking.

cat drinking_rihaij _Pixabay
Image Credit by: rihaij , Pixabay

4. Cleanliness

Your cat may avoid their water bowl if it’s located near a litter box or food dish. Some cats don’t like to drink and eat in the same spot. Drinking and eating near their toilet is unappealing for most cats, and some may prefer to drink from the faucet instead.

5. Water Bowl Issues

Your cat may drink from the faucet if they don’t like the water bowl. For example, some cats prefer ceramic or metal bowls to plastic ones. If your cat’s bowl is too small, it could cause whisker trauma and cause them to avoid it.

Cats can be very particular about many things, including the water they drink. The right water fountain can provide your cat with clean, fresh water.

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Tips to Encourage Your Cat to Drink from a Water Bowl

If your cat is making a mess drinking from the faucet or your water bill is rising, you may prefer your cat switch to drink from a bowl. Here are some tips to help.

  • First, ensure your cat’s water bowl is wide enough to fit their whiskers and consider replacing it if it’s plastic. Relocate the bowl away from your cat’s litter box or food dish. Try placing the water bowl on the counter so your cat feels safer when drinking.
  • Change the water daily, even if your cat hasn’t drunk it all, and add ice cubes to keep it cool. Place the bowls around the house so your cat has beverage options besides the faucets.
  • If your cat seems especially drawn to the motion of the water, try purchasing a cat water fountain. They keep the water flowing in continuous motion. Your cat can drink from the fountain’s “faucet” or basin.

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As we’ve learned, there are several reasons why your cat will only drink from the tap, and it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with them. If you find this habit less than charming, try our tips to redirect your cat to drink from a bowl. Cats don’t always drink much water, especially those that eat canned food, but they should always have access to a clean water source. You can talk to your veterinarian if your cat is not drinking enough.

Featured Image Credit: Sample Stars, Shutterstock

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