Does your cat love to play with their water bowl, often knocking it over and creating a mess?
While it may seem like a harmless habit, it can lead to wet paws, floors, and sometimes even electrical hazards.
If you’re a cat owner who’s tired of cleaning up water spills and trying to keep your pet hydrated, here are some effective ways to stop your cat from knocking over their water bowl.
1. Use a Heavier and Wider Bowl
One of the easiest ways to prevent your cat from knocking over their water bowl is to use a heavy bowl.
Look for bowls made from stainless steel, glass, or ceramic material, as these materials are both durable, easy to clean, and less prone to bacteria build-up.
A heavier bowl is less likely to move when your cat bumps into it or tries to play with it.
2. Use a Non-Skid Mat
Place a non-skid mat underneath your cat’s water bowl so that it won’t slide around when your cat bumps into it or plays with it.
You can easily find these mats online or at your local pet store.
My cat drinks her water from a glass bowl, and I am currently using a non-skid mat that helps keep her food and water secured.
So far, it’s working great.
3. Reduce cat stress and anxiety
Many cats knock over their water bowls due to stress or anxiety, which can be caused by boredom or unfamiliar environments.
Provide your cat with toys and activities to keep them stimulated and relaxed, and don’t forget to spend quality time with them.
Laser pointers, puzzle feeders, and catnip toys are all great options for you to consider.
4. Choose a Spill-Proof Water Bowl
There are many spill-proof water bowls on the market designed specifically for cats who like to knock things over!
These bowls have special lids or covers that possibly prevent spills when they are knocked over by your pet.
5. Train Your Cat Not To Knock Over The Bowl
With patience and consistency, you can train your cat not to knock over their water bowl by using positive reinforcement techniques such as treats and praise whenever they leave it alone!
Try to teach your cat to drink water from the fountain or bowl without playing with it.
To be honest, depending on your cat, I think this might be one of the hardest things to do!
6. Provide Multiple Water Bowls
In addition to providing your cat with a spill-proof water bowl or fountain, you can also offer multiple water bowls in different locations around your home.
This will ensure that your cat always has access to water, even if they knock over one bowl.
7. Get a Running Water Fountain
Cats love running water, so why not give them what they want?
Investing in a running water fountain for cats is one way you can keep their water fresh and encourage them not to knock over their bowl while trying to get at it!
This will also add to their hydration levels and is perhaps one of the best things that you can offer your cat, in my opinion.
A cat fountain mimics the sensation of flowing water and can encourage your cat to drink more.
Why do cats knock over their water bowls?
Cats knock over their water bowls for a variety of reasons.
Some cats may find their bowl too small or too shallow, causing them to paw at it in an attempt to get to the water.
Others may be testing the water’s temperature or trying to retrieve a toy that has fallen in.
In some cases, your cat may also be experiencing whisker fatigue – a condition where their sensitive whiskers become irritated from rubbing against the sides of the bowl.
Other reasons may include:
1. Cats love fresh water
Cats are natural predators and are programmed to prefer running water sources instead of stagnant ones.
That’s why you may have noticed your cat trying to drink water from a dripping faucet, the toilet, or even the shower.
When they see the still water in their bowl, they may try to paw at it or tip it over to make it move, thinking that it’s fresher or simply because they want fresher water.
2. Loving to explore
Cats are curious and like to play and explore, and knocking over their water bowls may be a form of play or curious exploration.
They may enjoy watching the water splash onto the ground or even batting the bowl around.
This behavior is common in kittens, who are still discovering the world around them and trying out their coordination skills.
3. Cats are creatures of habit
Cats are creatures of habit, and if they’ve been fed in the same spot or with the same bowl for a long time, they may want to switch things up a bit.
If their water bowl is in the same spot as their food bowl, they may knock it over to create separation and avoid having their water smelling and tasting like their food.
Similarly, if you have moved their water bowl from where it used to be, they may knock it over in an attempt to return it to its original location.
4. Being territorial
Cats are territorial animals, and knocking over their water bowl can be a sign of ownership or dominance.
This behavior may be common in cats that live with other felines or pets in the same household.
Cats have a way of communicating their status or claim; in this case, knocking over a water bowl could be their way of claiming ownership of the feeding space.
One overlooked possibility is the sheer clumsiness of a pet’s actions.
Cats, especially those with large tails, tend to have a little depth estimation of things around them, and therefore, they might accidentally knock things over, including their water bowls.
Not all kitty actions are purposeful, as there may be some accidental knocking that occurs during their normal movements.
Don’t mistreat your cat; punish or yell at them for knocking over their water bowl.
They deserve every bit of love we can give them. Nothing but love.