Cat Splashes The Water Out Of Her Bowl All The Time

by Sondi Moore
(Fairfax, VA)

My kitty has always loved to splash water out of her bowl, but it's getting worse. It's to the point that I come home and she has no water left in the bowl to drink! And on top of that, my hard wood floors are getting ruined.

I got her a heavy bowl that she can no longer knock over, but now she just reaches her paw in and sloshes water everywhere.

I know some people say to get a fountain-style bowl, but I'm reluctant to go that route, since lots of people report the splashing continued even after that was tried.

I'm worried about her getting enough water. Please share any successes you've had solving this problem.

Reply from Liz (Editor): This cat behavior is fairly common. Some cats just "stir" the water before they drink it but yours seems to go a few steps further!

The reason for them doing this isn't really known. Some people think it's because they like fresh, running water to drink (a throwback to their wild ancestors), and some think it's because they're trying to gauge where the top of the water is so they don't stick half their face in it by accident. Others think it's because they don't like the taste of the water.

Here are some solutions you can try that don't involve the water fountain route. You may have to try a combination of them to solve the problem.

  • Does she like to drink out of a running tap? If so, it may be that she does like the water totally fresh. If she likes the tap, one solution is to turn it on for her, several times a day, and let her drink the running water until she's had enough. This should ensure she's getting enough to drink, and although you should still leave her water bowl out, she will hopefully be less fascinated by it.

  • What is her water bowl made out of? Some cats don't like the taste of plastic, metal or some other materials. A glass bowl will react less with the water and may just get rid of a taste she doesn't like.

  • Does your tap water have a taste to it she may not like? In some areas, certain metals and other substances that are either naturally present in the water, or added to purify it, can give it a taste that the cat may not like. This may sound ridiculous, but it's worth trying her on either bottled spring water or water filtered using a home filter.

  • Try floating a plastic ball in the bowl. This will allow her to gauge where the top of the water is easier, if this is what's causing her to splash and tip the water.

In addition, you should always make sure her water is fresh and changed frequently (a couple of times a day is usually fine), and when you wash her water bowl out, make sure every last trace of detergent is removed (again to eliminate any taste from it).

Best of luck with solving these cat behavior problems.

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Fountains don't help
by: Randy S.

I have three cats and purchased a water fountain so that they would constantly have fresh moving water. They began "pawing" the water out of the bowl area almost immediately. I covered the bowl area only with a plastic 1/4" mesh so that they could drink the running water but not paw out of the bowl. That helped for a while but then they figured out how to bite at the mesh, lift it, then let go, splashing water everywhere. I've decided to just shut off the power and provide clean water a couple times a day to avoid the pump burning out. Yes, they actually empty the bowl within a short time, leaving no water to circulate. Good luck.

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