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?

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.

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

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Reader Comments

Karen    Canfield, OH

5/19/2014 10:17:27 AM

My ten year old has played with the water in the bowl all her life. I keep it in the bottom of my shower with the door always open so she can come and go as she pleases!

Kat    Springfield, MO

12/28/2013 1:03:23 AM

My kitty Blue is over 10; birthday was Christmas Eve, he loves to drink from tub faucet and play in the tub. Hes even tried to jump in while we're showering. Is this unusual?

janet    bethlehem, PA

9/13/2013 4:20:53 AM


gic6191    NY, NY

9/30/2012 3:39:59 PM

I have 4 cats, they all wash the paws before they are feed. If feel we have a prefect set of Jewish cats. Then, my large 28LBS baby, sleep across the water bowl to keep the others away during the night. Is the power control or what. We have other water system but they have their favorites which is the one baby sleeps on, rests on, lays near.
Is there a relationship to the control of the water bowls as well????

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