Why Do Cats Like Running Water? [Top Reasons]

Observing how cats behave is fascinating, keeping us amused and intrigued. One thing that has puzzled cat owners is their fascination with moving water. From turning on the tap to providing a running fountain, cats seem to be drawn to water in motion. But why is this so? Why do cats like running water?

Several factors may contribute to cats preferring running water to still water. From instinctual behavior to taste and temperature preferences, running water can provide numerous benefits for your cat’s health and well-being.

In this article, we will explore the reasons why cats like moving water and what it means for their health.

Why Cats Like Running Water

The Science Behind Cats’ Love for Running Water

Studies have shown that cats may have a natural preference for running water. In one study, cats were given the option to drink from a bowl of stagnant water or a running faucet. The cats overwhelmingly chose the running faucet despite the water source being the same.

Interestingly, another study found that cats are attracted to the sound of running water because the sound sparks their hunter instincts. The sound of running water may resemble the sound of prey splashing in the water, which can stimulate a cat’s natural instinct to hunt and catch prey.

Reasons Why Does My Cat Like to Drink Running Water?

Cats are curious creatures, and their fascination with running water is just one of their many quirks. Owners may find their cats perched on the sink or bathtub, staring intently at the water flowing from the faucet or playing with dripping faucets. This behavior is not uncommon and can be explained by several factors.

Why Does My Cat Like to Drink Running Water

1. Instinctual Behavior

Running water is an instinctual attraction for cats. In the wild, running water is generally cleaner than stagnant water, and it also contains more oxygen, which is essential for the survival of aquatic animals. Almost all cats instinctively know that drinking running water is safer and healthier than drinking still water.

Cats in the wild drink from streams and rivers in the course of their daily activities. This behavior is ingrained in their DNA, and even domesticated cats may prefer running water for this reason.

2. Attraction to Movement and Sound

The curiosity of cats is natural, and they are attracted to movement. Moving water stimulates their senses and can pique their interest.

There is something alluring about running water for cats. The sound of water dripping or flowing can be soothing and calming for cats, and it also helps mask other environmental noises that may cause stress or anxiety.

3. Temperature and Taste

Another reason cats may prefer moving water is the temperature and taste. Stagnant water can become warm and unappetizing while moving water stays cooler and fresher.

Some cats may also find the taste of tap water or filtered water more appealing than still water which is often found in water fountains.

Cats have a keen sense of taste, and they may prefer the taste of running water over still water. Running water is often fresher and may have less of a stale taste than still water that has been sitting in a bowl for a while.

4. Entertainment

A cat’s natural curiosity and playful nature make it one of the fascinating pets. It’s in their nature to explore their surroundings and interact with their surroundings, and flowing water is no exception.

Moving water provides a fun and interactive element for cats to play with, and they often enjoy batting at the water or trying to catch it with their paws.

Additionally, cats will benefit from playing with running water, as playing with water provides them with mental and physical stimulation.

Running water can provide a source of entertainment for your cat, especially if they are indoor cats and don’t have access to outdoor activities.

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

5. Cats Sense Running Water Is Safer

The fact that cats feel running water is safe is the major reason they appreciate it. Running water is clean and fresh; however, stagnant water may hold illnesses and nasty microorganisms.

It’s hardly unexpected that your cat would rush to the toilet when they hear running water. Many cats like drinking cool, fresh tap water but refuse to approach their water bowl. Your cat only drinks flowing water because he appreciates the taste and feels it is safe for him to consume.

Even if you replace your cat’s water bowl every day, nothing beats the flavour of flowing water. It will be colder as well as more oxygenated, which may enhance your cat’s taste.

This natural instinct to seek out running water may be hard-wired into their DNA, leading them to prefer it over still water.

6. Moving Water Can Keep Whiskers Comfortable

One of the main reasons cats may prefer running water is their highly sensitive whiskers. A cat’s whiskers are highly sensitive tactile organs that help them navigate its surroundings.

When a cat’s whiskers come into contact with still water in a bowl, it can cause discomfort and even pain for some cats. The sensation of their whiskers touching the sides of the bowl can be enough to deter them from drinking from it altogether.

7. Your Cat Can’t See Water Very Well

Cats have a unique way of seeing the world around them, and their vision plays a significant role in their behavior. While cats can see well in low light conditions and have excellent depth perception, they may have difficulty seeing still water in a bowl.

This is because water still doesn’t have much movement or contrast, making it difficult for cats to perceive it as water.

On the other hand, running water is more visible to cats due to the movement and contrast it creates. Additionally, the sound and motion of running water can attract your cat, enticing them to drink it.

8. Cats Don’t Like the Bowl Placement

Another reason why cats may avoid still water in a bowl is due to its placement. Cats are notoriously fussy creatures and are particular about where their food and water are placed.

If the water bowl is placed next to their food bowl or in a high-traffic area, they may avoid it altogether. Cats prefer to drink from a quiet, secluded location where they feel safe and comfortable.

Check Out: My Cat Looking At Water But Not Drinking Why?

The Health Benefits of Drinking Moving Water

The Health Benefits of Drinking Moving Water

1. Hydration

To maintain good health, cats must stay hydrated. Cats are more likely to consume water when it is running, which is essential to their health and well-being.

Many cats do not drink enough water, which can lead to various health issues, including urinary tract problems.

Cats may also be more likely to drink water if they can see it moving, as it’s more visually stimulating than still water.

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

2. Health Benefits

Drinking more water can have health benefits for cats, such as promoting kidney function and preventing urinary tract infections. Moving water can flush out bacteria and toxins from the urinary tract, reducing the risk of infection.

Encouraging your cat to drink more water by providing running water can positively impact its overall health.

3. Dental Health

Drinking from a bowl can be messy and can lead to dental problems. Cats drinking from a bowl may splash water on their face, leading to a wet and dirty coat.

Additionally, drinking from a bowl can lead to plaque buildup on their teeth.

Should I Get A Running Water Fountain For My Cat?

If you want to encourage your cat to drink more water or are concerned that they are not getting enough water in their diet, getting a running water fountain is a great idea.

Should I Get A Running Water Fountain For My Cat

Not only does it provide them with access to moving water, but it also ensures that the water is fresh and clean. Running water fountains can also be beneficial for cat owners who have busy schedules or frequently travel, as they can keep water circulating and clean for longer periods.

When selecting a running water fountain for your cat, consider their preferences and habits. Some cats may prefer fountains with a gentle flow, while others may enjoy a stronger stream.

Additionally, choose a fountain that is easy to clean and maintain to ensure the health and well-being of your furry friend.

Advantages of Running Water Fountain

Your cat will enjoy drinking from the fountain, and it will simplify your life! Let us look into the benefits.

  • Bacterial growth is slowed Flowing fountain water has fewer microbes than bowl water.
  • Simple to use The fountain eliminates the need to replenish the basin every few hours to ensure that the water is fresh.
  • Fountains Look Nice A key benefit of water fountains is their aesthetics, which are available in a variety of forms, colours, and sizes.
  • More enjoyable experience Many cats suffer from whisker fatigue due to the shape of the bowl; however, fountains provide a broad surface area from which cats may drink without having their whiskers touched.

Why Do Cats Like to Stick Their Head Under Running Water?

Cats may like to stick their head under running water for several reasons. One reason may be that they enjoy the sensation of the water on their fur and skin, which can be soothing and refreshing.

Why Do Cats Like to Stick Their Head Under Running Water

Another reason may be that cats naturally drink from moving water sources, as they are often safer and more hygienic than still water sources.

By sticking their head under a running tap or fountain, cats may be trying to drink the water directly from the source rather than from a bowl or dish.

Why Do Cats Like the Sound of Running Water?

Cats are naturally attracted to the sound of running water because it is a familiar and instinctual cue for them. In the wild, running water sources are often safer and more hygienic than still water sources, which may be stagnant and contaminated with bacteria or parasites.

Additionally, the sound of running water can stimulate a cat’s hunting instincts, as they associate the sound with prey that may be hiding in or near the water source.

This can make running water more interesting and engaging for cats and can encourage them to drink more water.

Signs That Your Cat isn’t Getting Enough Water

You may find it difficult to know if your cat is drinking enough water during the day because you seldom see them at the dish – especially if your cat likes flowing water! Keep an eye out for signs of dehydration to keep your cat happy and healthy. Dehydrated felines may show the following symptoms:

Signs That Your Cat isn't Getting Enough Water

If you see any of these signs, contact your veterinarian right once. 

Also Read: How to Get Your Cat to Drink More Water (Trips & Tricks)

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I encourage my cat to drink more water?

Providing clean, fresh water in a shallow, wide bowl or a drinking fountain can encourage cats to drink more water. Wet food and adding water to dry food can also increase a cat’s moisture intake.

Is it essential for cats to drink running water?

While cats can survive on still water, they may prefer running water, and it can provide additional health benefits. Proper hydration is crucial for a cat’s overall health and well-being.

How often should I clean my cat’s running water fountain?

It is important to clean your cat’s running water fountain regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria and other contaminants. Most fountains come with instructions on how often to clean them, but a good rule of thumb is to clean the fountain at least once a week.

How do I introduce my cat to a running water fountain?

Introducing your cat to a running water fountain can take some time and patience. Start by placing the fountain near their regular water bowl and allowing them to explore it at their own pace. You can also try enticing them with treats or moving the water stream to get their attention.

Why does my cat only drink from the sink and not their water bowl?

Your cat may prefer the taste or temperature of running water, or they may simply find it more visually stimulating. Giving your cat a fountain or freshwater daily can encourage them to drink more water.

Do all cats prefer running water?

While most cats are naturally attracted to moving water, every cat is different. Some cats may prefer still water sources, so it is important to pay attention to your cat’s preferences and provide them with a water source that they are comfortable using.

Wrap Up!

Cats prefer running water over still water for a variety of reasons. Their sensitive whiskers, natural instincts, vision, and playfulness all play a role in this preference. When cats drink water directly from the source, they feel considerably safer.

Understanding these factors and providing your cat with plenty of fresh water can ensure they stay healthy and happy.

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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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