In my 20 years of experience with cats, the biggest problem I faced was that almost all of them hated water. They would howl, scratch, or bite, whenever it was shower time. So, color me surprised when I saw one of my kittens splashing water from its water bowl. 

At first, this behavior seemed adorable, however, with time I got a little bit concerned. So I went online and tried to find out the reason. 

So, a kitten may play with water due to its natural instinct, having a small bowl, underlying physical condition, or just because it prefers drinking moving water. 

Let’s discuss the causes a bit and then let me tell you how I stop my cat from pawing water.

Reasons Cats Put Their Paws on Water

Reasons Cats Put Their Paws on Water

Cats commonly use their whiskers and paws to gather information about their surroundings as these body parts are quite sensitive. Some cats may simply dip their paws to check the water level, while some may splash all around the floor. But why is your cat projecting this behavior?

The most common reasons are the following:

  • Natural behavior: Your cat’s dipping its paw into water behavior before drinking may originate from instinct. While your kitten may have been domesticated, it can exhibit their wild counterpart’s traits, like testing water with its paw before drinking. 
  • Small drinking bowl: As mentioned earlier, a cat’s whiskers are very sensitive, and a smaller drinking bowl can hurt its whiskers or the cat may hate touching the bowl with them. If that’s the case, you can prevent your cat from water playing by replacing the bowl with a larger one.
  • Stressed or bored: Cats can get easily bored and may project it by knocking over their drinking bowl. Additionally, they prefer drinking while in a quiet area. So, you can bring your cute kitten new toys and move the bowl to another area of your house to prevent them from splashing water.
  • Vision problems: Kittens are far-sighted in nature, so they dip their paws in water to check water levels. However, if your cat is older and projecting such behavior recently, they may be facing problems with their vision and need an eye exam.
  • Mobility issues: Older cats often suffer from mobility problems like arthritis where they don’t like to move much. These cats may dip their paws in the water and drink from their paws. If your older cat is showing this behavior, make an appointment at the vet.
  • Preferring moving water: Some cats who are obsessed with dipping their paws in their water bowl may also enjoy drinking from any moving water source. A cat water fountain can be the perfect solution for reforming such behavior.

Preventing Cats from Water Playing

Preventing Cats from Water Playing

While cats playing with water may seem harmless, it can be dangerous for your cat, especially if you have multiple felines or your cat roams outside your house. 

Germs, feces, and dirt can be stuck to your cat’s paw and mixed with drinking water. This can cause diseases for your beloved cat. So, how do you prevent it?

I have 5 suggestions which worked exceptionally for my cat:

1. Deploy Multiple Water Sources

It is well known that cats are very snobby when drinking water. So, you should arrange multiple water bowls for your cat to drink from.

If your cat prefers drinking water from running sources, get some cat water fountains. It will significantly reduce your cat’s obsession with water.

2. Neat and Clean Water Bowls

Cats’ sensitivity to dirt is a well-known fact to any cat parent. A feline may be dying of thirst, but it will not touch a dirty water bowl. It may dip its paws, have a taste, and then just walk away with swag.

Therefore, you should regularly clean your kitten’s drinking bowl and periodically change the water. This will help stop your cat from pawing water and stay hydrated.

3. Try Shallower Water Bowls with a Higher Placement

Some cats may like to splash water just because they like the sensation. Using a shallower water bowl with a wide surface area can allow the cat to play with water without making a mess.

Additionally, some cats hate losing their peripheral vision while leaning in for drinking water. In this case, you can find shallow water bowls with stands for a higher position. 

Also, avoid placing the water source near walls or corners. It can make the cats insecure and avoid it altogether. Some cats also try to move the water source from the wall and spill water all over. 

4. Keep Your Kitten Busy with Toys

If your cat is splashing water because it is bored or stressed, you should think of investing in cat toys. You can easily find interactive toys and puzzle feeders to amuse your cat and feed its curiosity.

Adding scratching posts is another great way to keep your kitty away from dipping paws in water. These posts keep your kitten physically and mentally stimulated and their nails well groomed.

5. Use Obstacles to Stop Cats Playing with Water

If any of the abovementioned tips don’t work for your cat, try to use obstacles to stop the cat from playing in the water bowl. Cats tend to hate the texture of double-sided tapes and aluminum foils, which can be placed around the water bowl to prevent splashing.

You can also put a ping-pong ball that flows on the water in your cat’s water bowl. It helps the cat to determine the water level without dipping its paw. Using a crock-type water bowl may also prevent your cat from sliding it.

Final Words

Here are the 5 tips that helped me train my kitten to stop playing with water in its bowl. Additionally, now I keep its water bowl inside a bigger bowl, which catches the spill if my kitty tries to play with water occasionally.

Try these tips to see which one suits your cat better. If your cat is still pawing water, take it to a vet to check its eyesight and joint conditions. Use heavy water bowls to prevent cats from water playing. If you want to know more about feline behavior, check out our other blogs.