Why Won’t My Cat Drink Water? Tips And Solutions

You know that providing your cat with fresh drinking water is essential, but they simply won’t go anywhere near the stuff.

There could be many issues at play here. Is it the bowl? Maybe the positioning of everything? What about the taste and freshness of the water?

Fresh water helps to keep kidney infections and crystals at bay in cats, and they should drink around 60ml for every kilogram of weight each day. It is important to keep an eye on how much they are drinking as it could be a sign of a health issue if they drink too much or little.

Here are some tips and solutions to the reasons why your cat may not be drinking out of their water dish, what you can do to rectify that, and why we suggest a cat water fountain.

Cats prefer running water

Still water rings alarm bells if they are in the wild because it may be stagnant or not fresh, therefore posing a threat to their health. Some cats also prefer to drink from slightly higher up as opposed to low on the ground or from a bowl, as when their head is bowed low, they are less wary of any attacks from opponents.

Cat always drinking from the kitchen tap? This is why

Even though an attack is unlikely in your kitchen, cats often never let go of their wild instincts. It is a particular issue in multi-cat or animal households, especially if they all share the water, or with cats who have previously been threatened by other animals when they go outside.

Both of these issues can be resolved by using a water fountain as opposed to a bowl. It not only replaces and refreshes the water, but there are also streams and river-type flows which they can drink from as opposed to being restricted to the bowl.

It has to be fresh, too

Would you take a huge glass of water to bed on a Monday night, and still drink the leftovers on the following Saturday morning? No, and neither should your cat have to.

The longer a bowl of water sits out, the more dirt, grime and cat hairs will gather in it. And as we said before, a cat knows if their water isn’t good for them.

Fountains with filters can keep the water clean without you having to waste and replace any which isn’t drank after a few days.

Sometimes, it is the bowl

It could be too wide, so they are getting their whiskers wet when they do to drink. But if it is too small, they may be squashing their whiskers as they lean into the bowl.

A large shallow bowl is often the best bet or a running water source which they can reach up towards. Also, consider the shape of your cat’s face – large flat faces will likely not be able to reach into a bowl as much.

Think about the material. If your kitty is really fussy, then a plastic bowl could be giving off a slight smell which they don’t like, so ceramic or metal bowls are often best for keeping everything neutral.

cat drinking from bowl of water

The depth matters

Water isn’t always clear to see in a bowl. They may avoid sticking their head into a bowl if they can’t tell how deep the water is, so will stick their paw in to check first. Then this means there is dirt in there, which they don’t like.

Cats hate getting their whiskers wet so will not drink from really deep wide tubs

Don’t make the water too deep, but just so they can see it. Try to keep this consistent every day so they become more trusting of the water source. If they get water up their nose, it can be hard for them to clear it and they generally won’t try again.

This is another reason why a fountain is a good idea – the water will usually remain at a standard level until the capacity drops, but even then, they can drink from the running water.

Don’t place it near food

You may be wondering “Why won’t my cat drink the water that is near their food?”

Again, this is because of their behaviours in the wild. They would go to great lengths to keep their food and water separate in these conditions because dead food would be a poison or contamination threat to water.

There is also proof to suggest they don’t like their water to smell or taste like their food, as it has to be neutral to ensure it is both fresh and uncontaminated.

Studies have also suggested in the past that if wild cats find dead food near a water source, there is a possibility it was the water which killed them, so they should avoid both.

Think about the environment

They won’t drink if they can’t get to the bowl because they have to dodge through kids playing or if they have to come into a busy kitchen.

Just as with their food, their water should be placed somewhere where they can access at any time and where there are no other threatening activities about.

Keep it clean

Even cat water fountains need to be cleaned regularly, despite having filters and running water. While the likelihood of bacteria and mould build-up is lower, they still need some help remaining 100% sanitary.