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Kitty paws his water out of bowl...

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I searched the forum for similar issues, but no luck... so here goes:

One of my two cats feels compelled to stick his paw into his water bowl and knock a fair amount of water out of the bowl and onto the feeding tray (which often spills out onto the floor). He then drinks from the bowl, not the spilt water. He does this almost every time he goes to drink. It rather annoying to have to clean up the water all the time, and it's starting to do some minor damage to the baseboards, tile grout, etc.

It's almost as if he needs some reassurance that the water is actually in the bowl before he attempts to drink it. This behavior occurs with all my water bowl types (shallow stainless steel, deep stainless steel, shallow black ceramic, etc).

Maxwell is about 8 months old and he started doing this when he was about 4 or 5 months old.

Does anyone have any ideas as to what might be causing this behavior and/or ways to repel the behavior?

post #2 of 19
I don't know if this is helpful or not, but another of my parent's cats Ms. Moppet does the same thing. She was also drinking a lot of water so my mom took her to the vet. Turned out, she had a thyroid condition and needed surgery. She recovered just fine, but still splashes like crazy! Her eyesight seems fine so I am not sure why she does it.
post #3 of 19
Originally Posted by chris.dg

Maxwell is about 8 months old and he started doing this when he was about 4 or 5 months old.


My Max (Maxwell when he's being a toad) is nearly 8 months and has always stuck his paw in his water when drinking. He balances it on the surface whilst he drinks, then shakes it off when he's done. I find it incredibly cute, but then he hasn't got to the stage of tipping the bowl over yet (lthough has done it once).

The only thing I can suggest for you is a heavier bowl, one that's shallower but with with a larger surface area so it can't be tipped, or a fountain.
post #4 of 19
Sophie drinks her water with her paw but hasn't tipped it over.....yet!!
post #5 of 19
My Buttons used to paw at the edge of his water bowl to make the water move rather than get himself wet by sticking his paw right in. This of course would result in the bowl ending up upside down or eventually empty with the floor being soaked. I got tired of them not having water because of what they did themselves so I bought a water fountain and let me tell you that is not going anywhere.
post #6 of 19
My kitty does the same thing.. She loves to play with the water and make ripples I think. She also scoops with her paws to drink. I've heard it was a maine coon thing (and she's a mix) , and there are a few other breeds that are known for it as well.
post #7 of 19
Kitty does something similar. She dips her paws into the water and drinks it off her paws. I'm not sure why she does this. She doesn't do it all the time. Sometimes she drinks out of the bowl normally.
post #8 of 19
Sophie Grace does the same thing, both when drinking from her bowl or the dog's bowl (much to the dog's chagrin, believe me). Dips the paw in, licks the water off, over and over. Occasionally, I'll catch her drinking normally from the bowl, but not very often!
post #9 of 19
Are you using one of those dishes that has the food right next to the water? You might want to get him a separate water dish & keep it far away from the food bowl, both to keep the food dry and to keep bits of food out of the water. It might also be helpful to put the water bowl in a large shallow pan to keep the splashing from damaging the floor boards.

I've been told that that behavior might have to do with cats not being able to determine the depth of the water in the bowl, and that it may help to put some small plastic object to float in the bowl so he can see the water level. I'm not sure if that would help but it might be worth a try.

Another idea would be to try a pet drinking fountain. Mr Underfoot always drinks with his paws - he dips his paw into the bowl and licks it off. I got a Petmate fountain for my cats to keep the water cleaner between changes because he kept getting bits of stuff in the water bowl. Drinkwell and Cat-It also make very nice fountains.

If you're interested you can do a search for fountains, and find threads about different TCS members' experiences with water fountains.
post #10 of 19
ChanChan (7) used to do it, now he does not. Pete (1+) does it big time. I had to use a gallon plastic ice cream pot to put water out because he knocked over EVERY thing else.

I almost wonder if they do it because water is invisible. Maybe to see where it starts before they dunk their nose in it.
post #11 of 19
This is especially common in Persians, it's very hard to see "still" water for cats. Perhaps you might do well to get a cat fountain for him, the running water will both be enticing, and will discourage the water smacking.

Or, put icecubes in the water, it will give some sense of depth.

Hope this helps.

A note though, We have a cat that just likes getting his paws wet, and that could be your kittie too.
post #12 of 19
Hi, my kitten does this too, but i expected it from him being of bengal breed.
Anyway~We got him a large dogs stainless steel water bowl, and he still dips his paw in but doesnt get as much on the floor.Also i stand his water and food on a large tray so that it doesnt get onto the floor or you could use newspaper.
post #13 of 19
My girls and I would recommend a Drinkewell water fountain for Maxwell. Another idea for determining depth of the water is to find some pretty stones, boil them to sterilize, and place them in his water bowl.
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for your great suggestions.

My answers and clarifications:

- Max doesn't actually knock the water bowl over...he just splashes the water out of the bowl.
- Yes, the water bowl is not near enough to the food bowl, so the food stays dry.
- I will now try and float a ping-pong ball in the water to see if that helps with the still water visibility/depth perception thing. I think some of you may be right - this is likely the issue.
- I will also check out the Drinkwell fountains, or similar. I think (hope) this is likely to be the long term solution.

now, on to our christmas tree problem!

Take care,
post #15 of 19
Chade likes to dip her water out. I keep a dishtowel under the bowl to catch any spills. She particulary likes it if I will float 2 or 3 ice cubes in the water. She moves them around a bit and then gets her drinks. She a small kitty (8 pounds) and will stretch herself out over the water bowl with paws on the opposite side of where her body is as if to say "It's all mine". This is a big bowl purchased for our labrador. It's so funny to watch her water antics. And if our labrador is getting a drink then Chade has to go and have some too. So funny to see a 100 pound dog and an 8 pound cat drinking side by side.
post #16 of 19
Marv had the same problem. I will try the ice cubes - sounds like a solid plan. To stop him from tipping the bowl over (which he did many times) I took to taping the bowl down - now he paws at it, but it goes nowhere. This seems like a good solution.
post #17 of 19
Originally Posted by Kitty's Mom
Kitty does something similar. She dips her paws into the water and drinks it off her paws. I'm not sure why she does this. She doesn't do it all the time. Sometimes she drinks out of the bowl normally.
My Pepper does the same thing....
post #18 of 19
Someone told me once that a cats depth perception isn't very good and that they put their paw in the water to figure out where the water level is before they drink. I've had this problem with one of my cats since he was little. He will plunk his paw in the water and splash it around a bit and get water all over the floor, or tip the bowl completely over. I finally found a water bowl that he can't tip over called the buddy bowl. It's supposedly spill proof. I've been using it for a couple of weeks now and I have not had a problem since! I noticed when the cats first started to use it that they would stare into the bowl (cylindrical type in the center) and I think they couldn't really see the water level and they didn't want to get their whiskers wet. They've gotten used to it now and are all drinking out of it fine.
post #19 of 19
Swanie will put his paw in the water before he drinks, but he doesn't spill any. Cynthia will put her paw in and drink off her paw.
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