Why Does My Cat Always Dip His Paw In The Water Before Drinking From His Bowl?

by Tamsin
(Berkshire, England)

My two year old un-neutered male cat - since he was a kitten - has always put his paw in his water bowl before taking a drink. I'm baffled by this behaviour - can you tell me why he does it?



Reply from Liz (Editor): This cat behavior is quite common, but it does leave a lot of people baffled, as it seems so bizarre. No-one knows for sure why some cats do this, but there are a few plausible explanations which are the most likely answers:

  • They like fresh, running water to drink. Tapping the water surface swirls it round - i.e. stirs it before the cat drinks it!


  • They're trying to gauge where the top of the water is. Cats' eyesight isn't great when it comes to seeing things like the surface of water, so it's possible they stick their paw in before drinking to avoid sticking their nose (or half their face!) in by accident.


  • They don't like the taste of the water. If the water has been standing for a while, it may have gone a bit stale as far as Kitty is concerned, so a quick stir improves the taste!


Thank you for your cat behavior quetion.

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Paw in water bowl
by: Penny

Thanks for that information my cat has only recently started to do that I think it maybe the eye sight explaination as he has not done this before and he will soon be 17.

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