Why Do Cats Like Moving Water?

Why Do Cats Like Moving Water

Cats never cease to amaze us with their quirks and antics! If you have ever caught your feline friend staring at the faucet and batting the water with their paws, it might have made you think – why do cats like moving water?

There are several reasons cats go crazy about running water! The primary reason is probably that they see moving water as the cleanest and safest source to drink from. Moving water also fascinates them – that is why you might often see your feline friend rushing to the sink when they hear the tap running.

Keep reading below to understand more about your cat’s love of water, as well as some tips to improve their water intake.

The importance of hydration

Hydration is important for your cat’s health and wellbeing. Keeping your pet properly hydrated is essential for their bodily functions, like lubrication of the joints, regulation of body temperature, and proper digestion. Not to mention, it is also incredibly important for preventing urinary diseases.

But how much water does your cat need? A good rule of thumb is an ounce of water for every pound of body weight. So, for example, if your cat weighs ten pounds, they should be drinking about ten ounces of water every day.

But let us face it – many cats would rather suffer dehydration than take a sip from their water bowl! This may seem strange, considering how important water is for their health, but it all comes down to their wild ancestry. Consuming live prey is often the primary source of hydration for wild cats, so they do not have to drink water from a bowl. However, because domesticated cats do not hunt, the only way they can get water is from their bowl.

If you have trouble getting your cat to drink enough, veterinarians suggest adding a bit of tuna water or chicken broth to their food bowl. This will likely help your pet to meet their daily hydration target. You can also give them wet food or canned food, which is more palatable and contains more fluid than dry food.

Of course, while cats can get some of their hydration from their food, it is still important to provide them with plenty of fresh, clean water every day. If your furry friend seems to hate their water bowl, then providing them with a water fountain might do the trick! Cats cannot resist the trickling sound of crystal-clear, moving water. Overall, this is a great way to increase your cat’s water intake while also keeping them entertained.

Why do cats like moving water?

There are several (valid) reasons cats hate their water bowls but enjoy lapping up moving water – either from faucets or elsewhere:

1. Drinking from a stream is instinctive

Cats have an innate attraction to fresh flowing water. As it turns out, this instinct is one that modern cats have retained from their ancestors – and for good reason. 

Stagnant water can harbor bacteria and other harmful organisms. Flowing water, on the other hand, is typically fresh and clean. Cats instinctively recognize this and go out of their way to seek out running water. 

You can witness this behavior in action if you leave out a bowl of water – odds are, your cat will choose to drink from the faucet instead! So, the next time you see your cat heading to the sink, do not be surprised – this is just their natural instinct kicking in.

2. The trickling sound of water is appealing

The trickling sound of running water is often enough to trigger a cat’s curiosity. If you find them running toward your kitchen sink when you open the faucet, that is because they are determined to investigate the sound! 

Our feline friends find the trickling sound incredibly appealing, as has been noticed by a lot of fur parents. In fact, it is believed that cats are so drawn to flowing water because it reminds them of running streams which provide them with a source of fresh drinking water. 

3. Water bowls cause whiskers fatigue

Another reason your cat might refuse to drink from a bowl may have to do with their sensitive whiskers. These hair-like antennae help cats navigate their environment and keep them aware of their surroundings – and they are incredibly sensitive. 

Drinking from a bowl can cause what is known as “whisker fatigue”, which is when the whiskers become overstimulated and uncomfortable as they touch the sides of the bowl. This is why some cats refuse to drink from a bowl, and will tilt their head back to drink straight from a running faucet.

4. Water bowls placed next to a wall

Ever wondered why cats avoid water bowls placed in a corner or next to a wall? It all comes down to their survival instinct. 

Cats are predators, but can also be seen as prey to certain larger predators – and they know this. Therefore, they like to stay alert and observe their surroundings while drinking. If the water bowl is placed in a corner or next to a wall, they have to turn their backs on their surroundings in order to drink. This makes them uncomfortable as they feel exposed and vulnerable to potential predators. Instead, they prefer a place where they can keep an eye on all the entrances and exits, and feel in control of their environment.

5. Running water is easier to see

Cats have an amazing ability to detect even the slightest movement – including that of water. While they cannot always see still water, they can easily spot running water. This is why cats are often seen tapping the water in their bowls with their paws to “feel” the water level. It is also another reason cats are more drawn to faucets and dripping taps. 

6. Moving water is fun

Cats find running water incredibly fun, and even mesmerizing! It triggers their hunting instinct, just like when they see small, moving prey. That is why a lot of cats love staring at the faucet, waiting for any sign of movement. The next time you turn on the faucet, watch how your cat reacts with excitement and fascination! 

7. Running water tastes better

Cats have very sensitive taste buds, and they can definitely tell the difference between fresh and stale water. Running water is cooler and fresher than standing water, not to mention it tastes so much better. This is why cats find running water more palatable. So, if you think your furry friend hates the taste of the water in their bowl, then a running water source might help them drink more.

Tips to help your cat drink more water

It can be very challenging if your feline keeps ignoring their fresh bowl of water! But fret not – there are clever ways to entice them to drink more fluids. Follow the tips below to keep your cat healthy and well-hydrated:

  • As mentioned, the location of your cat’s bowl matters a lot! Make sure not to place it in front of a wall or in a corner. Instead, position it in an area where your cat frequently spends time, and from where they can survey their surroundings while drinking.
  • Avoid using bowls that are too deep or narrow, as this can trigger whisker fatigue. 
  • It is highly recommended to use stainless steel bowls, as this material is non-porous, sturdy, easier to clean, and does not alter the taste of food or water.
  • Clean your cat’s bowl thoroughly and regularly. Keep in mind that cats can be very finicky about their water bowls – the lingering smell or taste from previous leftovers (or strong scents from liquid soaps) can be off-putting for them!
  • Consider adding a variety of wet food or canned food into their diet. If your cat is not a fan of drinking plain water, you can opt for tuna juice (without the oil) or bone broth to increase their fluid intake. Just keep in mind that tuna juice may also contain a lot of salt, so go easy with it!
  • Offer your cat some ice cubes or catsicles. Make sure to place the icy treats in a spill-proof bowl to avoid a mess!
  • As mentioned, cats like moving water, so definitely consider investing in a cat water fountain.   

Are water fountains better for your cat?

Cats naturally love running water, and a fountain will provide them with a steady stream of cold, filtered water that they can drink and play in. The sound of the water is also very soothing for cats, and the fountain can be a great place for them to relax. Plus, it will give them something to do and keep them entertained. 

Cats that do not drink enough water can be at risk of developing serious health problems, so hydration is extremely important! If your cat hates drinking from a bowl, investing in a water fountain could be the solution. 

There are many reputable brands you can choose from, one of which we highly recommend is Veken Automatic Cat Water Fountain. Unlike a water bowl, cat water fountains provide a steady stream of cold, filtered water which your feline friend will surely love. Thus, keeping your cat well-hydrated will no longer be a challenge!


Cats like moving water for a number of reasons. They have inherited the behavior and instincts of their wild cat ancestors, who perceive moving water to be cleaner, colder, and fresher than still water. Plus running water is fun for most cats. So, take advantage of these preferences by investing in a cat water fountain. This way, it will be easier to help your furry friend get their daily dose of hydration!

Image: istockphoto.com / Nils Jacobi