So why do cats lay next to the water bowl? It can be just her natural habit or she may do it because she is always thirsty, she is feeling ill, or worse, it could be a symptom of diabetes or kidney disease if she is doing it for hours on end and regularly.
Senior cats tend to show this behavior more often. They may lay next to their water dish or even hang or loll their head over it because they’re overwhelmingly thirsty and they may also be feeling nauseated.
Why do cats lay next to the water bowl?
Here are the common reasons why cats stay near or lay next to the water bowl:
1. It could be a sign of dehydration.
Your cat may lay next to the water bowl because she is always thirsty and very dehydrated. Here is what you can do to check if your cat is dehydrated:
- Check her skin – Try to gently pinch the extra skin between her shoulder blades, it’s called a tent test. The skin should go back to normal after you let go but if it doesn’t drop back quickly then she may be dehydrated.
- Do the eye test – Check your pet’s eyes and if you notice that they’re sunken, dull, and lack focus then most likely she lacks moisture in her body.
- Check her gums – Your cat’s gums should be pink and moist, however, if it’s sticky, dry, and has a pale color then she could be dehydrated.
2. It could be a sign of kidney disease
Dr. Eric Barchas, a veterinarian in the San Francisco Bay area states that the culprit is usually chronic kidney disease (CKD). He added that even well-cared cats are prone to this illness and symptoms may start off as very subtle so most cat owners won’t easily notice them.
Here are the signs that your cat may have kidney problems:
- your cat is drinking a lot of water
- frequent urination
- your pet has bad breath and the mouth has an ammonia-like odor
- weight loss and decreased appetite
- vomiting, diarrhea, and bloody urine
- presence of mouth ulcers
- bacterial infections in the bladder and kidney
3. It could be a sign of diabetes.
Diabetes is a debilitating condition among felines that tend to manifest more often in overweight or obese cats with a carbohydrate-rich diet.
Here are the signs of feline diabetes:
- excessive urination and thirst
- increased weight loss and loss of appetite
- inability to jump or loss of interest in doing so
- change in gait
- lethargic and vomiting
- lack of appetite
What you can do to address the behavior
Cats love to lounge, sit, or lay down in specific areas of your home and if she does so next to her water bowl then it may just be a natural habit. However, it’s another case if she does it for hours or even for most of the day and regularly. Even more so if she seems lethargic and not as interested in playtime as she used to be. In this case, there is a reason for to worry.
Observe your cat’s behavior while laying next to the water bowl.
Closely observe your cat while she’s in that position. Does she do it every day or only for a while? Is she feeling lethargic, nauseated, or weak? If you try to interact or play with her, does she respond quickly or she seems to be disinterested? Is she just laying next to the water bowl but not approaching the bowl to drink water? Observing her actions and behavior will give you clues if there’s something wrong with your pet that may need to be addressed promptly.
Monitor your cat’s drinking habit.
Take special notice of your cat’s drinking habit as it may also give clues why she is laying next to the water bowl. A typical cat normally consumes 3.5 to 4.5 ounces of water daily per 5 pounds of body weight so if you have a 10-pound cat then she should be consuming between 7 to 9 ounces of water daily. Take special note of the water level in your pet’s water bowl and check how much water is left over at the end of the day.
This will give you clues if she has been consuming the usual quantity or if there have been changes in her water intake. If there’s a major change in the water level, it’s more likely that she is laying next to the water bowl since she’s frequently drinking water because she’s constantly thirsty.
Take your cat to the vet.
If you feel that your pet’s habit of laying next to the water bowl is already out of the ordinary and you’ve noticed symptoms of dehydration, then it’s best to take your cat to the veterinarian right away. Your vet will do the necessary work up such as laboratory tests and perform a thorough check-up so that proper diagnosis and treatment shall be made.