Water Bowl Playtime

A feline behavior expert explains why a cat may have developed a sudden interest in her water bowl.

By Pam Johnson-Bennett

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Q: I have two 15-year-old indoor cats, Harry and Sally. Recently, Sally began playing in the water bowl. She makes a big mess! Do you have any suggestions?

Pam Johnson-Bennett talks about renal failure in cats.Feline behaviorist Pam Johnson-Bennett, author of Think Like a Cat, says:
I have two suggestions for you. First, because of your cat's age, I would recommend a trip to the veterinarian because older cats are prone to renal failure. Chronic renal failure (CRF) causes the cat to drink more water and so the cat may be playing around the water bowl or pawing at it due to an increased interest in it.

Many cats do play in the water and to help with that, you can get a pet water fountain. They are available at pet supply stores and the running water entertains the cat and encourages her to drink more.

To help with any spills, you can place the water fountain on a pet placemat that has raised edges also available at pet supply stores. If you can't find a water fountain at your local pet supply store, they are easily found online.

Best,
Pam Johnson-Bennett, CABC
IAABC-Certified Animal Behavior Consultant

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Reader Comments

janet    bethlehem, PA

6/30/2009 4:44:00 AM

good article thank you

Donna    Austin, TX

7/4/2008 6:38:04 AM

I got my kitty a fountain with the water flowing down a "chute" years ago. That went in the kitchen to supplement the bowl of water that sits by her food bowl in "her" room (the middle bedroom). She only eats dry food, so she needs to drink more water than a cat who also has wet food in her diet. Because my girl is 13 now, she has another fountain at the other end of the house. This one is the kind where the water falls into the bowl. She loves it and has been drinking more water since she got it. I made sure to tell her vet about the increased water intake so he could check for the problems that can signal, but she got a clean bill of health. Yea!

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