My Cat Looking At Water But Not Drinking Why? [Explained]

You walk into the living room and see your cat hovering over the water bowl. You don’t notice it initially. A few minutes later, you return to find them still in front of the vessel, the vessel remaining untouched.

Cats are 67% water. An average 5-kilo cat requires 250ml of water per day. Your cat should be slurping out of the kitty bowl you filled out for them, except they are not. Instead, they are staring at the bowl for minutes, leaving it untouched and causing you to worry.

So Why is Cat Looking At Water But Not Drinking? If your pet doesn’t drink water it is either because of the bowl, its material and location, or it could mean they are sick. Here are some reasons why this is happening:

Cat Lays Next To Water Bowls

Cat Lays Next To Water Bowls Why?

Generally, cats enjoy lounging around the house out of habit. However, hanging around water bowls too much might indicate that they are thirsty and unable to drink out of sickness. Thyroid issues make it difficult for cats to drink water, along with diabetes, and adrenal and renal problems. Old age is a factor as well. Not drinking water leads to dehydration and death, so it’s only natural to worry about your pet’s health

Reasons Why My Cat Refuses To Drink Water

Why My Cat Refuses To Drink Water

1. Cats are Proper Creatures

We all know how picky felines can be. If their drinking bowl is too close to the food bowl it may have shreds or pieces of food in the water. The same is likely if it is too close to the litter box. Cats will not drink contaminated water. If this is the case, try moving the bowl away to a separate area where it is likely to stay clean

2. Cats Hear Running Water Better

They instinctively hear running water better, and standing water is almost invisible to them. If you see your pet playing with a running faucet or drinking out of it, you can tell this is the case. It is also because of primal instinct, as running water is where your felines would drink out of if they were in the wild. Try getting a cat water fountain specifically for cats that recycles its own water or has an inbuilt sensor and turns it on when the cat approaches it, for which you will need to place it near an electric socket.

3. They Instinctively Avoid Stagnant Water

Animals in the wild avoid standing water as it can carry diseases, micro-organisms, or algae, all of which cats are not fond of. This ingrained instinct could be why your cat only stares at the bowl suspiciously. If this is the case, you can arrange a cat water fountain to see if it helps, or turn on the faucet to see if your feline prefers running water.

4. Feeling of Vulnerability

If the water bowl is in a corner or up against a wall, your pet may avoid it, as drinking out of it makes them feel defenceless. They cannot fend for themselves if they have their back turned and head down, especially if they own more pets. Try moving the bowl out of the corner into a more open space or in an area where other pets prefer not to go.

5. Material of the Bowl

 Just like when we take a sip of water from a vessel of a different material, the taste seems slightly off. Cats are susceptible to small changes in taste which is maybe why your feline is so off-put by the idea of even taking a sip. They prefer ceramic or metal bowls, so switching their drinking bowl would be a good idea.

6. Whiskers Touch the Bowl

Your pet’s drinking bowl might be too narrow for your feline’s delicate whiskers and they might not like the sensation of their whiskers being dragged against the edge of the bowl. It causes them pain which leads them to avoid drinking water altogether. A wider opening vessel might solve your problem.

7. Cats Don’t Like Room-Temperature Water

If you notice your pet drinking out of the toilet bowl or a water faucet, it might be because they prefer warmer or cooler water. Even humans have a temperature preference when it comes to drinking water, so why not proper, picky felines? Try adding ice cubes to their bowl every morning and see if this resolves the problem.

Also, Check Out: Why is My Cat Drinking a Lot of Water and Meowing?

Reasons Cat Hovering Over Water Bowl But Not Drinking

Cat Hovering Over Water Bowl But Not Drinking

1. Your Cat Might be Sick

If you have ruled out all behavioural/preferential causes, or your cat is vomiting stomach contents or blood, or they are peeing too much, there is a chance your cat might be ill. Diabetes, adrenal gland ailments and hyperthyroidism can all cause dehydration in cats and make them lose their natural thirst. Also, chronic kidney disease is common in cats. Normal kitty kidneys function by highly concentrating urine, which is why their urine is so stingy: it’s potent. However, in CKD, the kidneys start losing their concentration abilities, which produces more urine. This equals more water loss. Unfortunately, chronic kidney disease in cats is progressive and untreatable.

Also Read: Cat Not Eating or Drinking- How Long Can a Cat Survive?

2. Your Cat is in its Golden Years

If you have a senior cat of 11 plus years, chances are they simply forget to drink water. Older cats have memory problems and sleep more, just as humans do. Their cognitive abilities decline as they age. “FCD affects more than 55 per cent of cats aged 11 to 15 years and more than 80 per cent of cats aged 16 to 20 years,” according to the ASPCA. Over time you might observe them forgetting to correctly use the litter box and a lack of appetite.

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

 My Cat Still Isn’t Drinking Water. What Should I Do?

If the above recommendations do not help and your pet starts showing symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, etc., it is a good idea to take them to the vet.

 Frequently Asked Questions

No! Contrary to popular belief, cats are lactose intolerant, meaning they can’t digest milk, and it will make them sick. Although if you give your pet milk, they might enjoy it because of its high fat content, it is not healthy for them and should be avoided at all costs

Pets will drink water when they feel thirsty. However, some cats like mineralized water, whereas others go for fresh water. Check for the location and material of the water bowl. If all else fails, buy a water fountain for them, as cats prefer flowing water over stagnant water.

The Bottom Line on Cat Looking At Water But Not Drinking

Having pet cats is no easy task, especially keeping up with their picky habits. Nonetheless, your cat not drinking water is generally nothing to worry about. A trip to the vet to rule out any illnesses and to get a general checkup is a wise choice.

LearnAboutCat Author Isabella

Who is Isabella?

My name is Isabella, and I am a dedicated and knowledgeable cat enthusiast. With years of experience caring for cats and a deep love for felines, I made a mission to help other cat lovers navigate the challenges of cat ownership.

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