Cats will splash water out of their bowl if they don’t like the water bowl you’ve purchased for them, if they’re trying to get your attention, or if they’re trying to find where the water starts. This can be, not only bizarre behaviour, but also dangerous if your cat splashes all the water out of their bowl while you’re away, and then has nothing to drink for several hours. Not to mention, it can make your floor slippery or even damage the finish.
4 Reasons your Cat Splashes Water out of the Bowl
Before you can correct the behaviour, you must first try to understand why they’re doing it. The following are 4 common theories for why cats splash water out of their bowl.
1. They don’t like their water bowl
Your cat may splash water out of the bowl and onto the floor if they don’t like drinking from their water bowl. It may be that it has a funny smell, isn’t clean, is too high or too narrow. If you notice that they drink the water from the floor after they’ve splashed it out, their water bowl is likely the reason behind the splashing.
2. They’re looking for attention
Cats love to have our attention and may not care if the attention they get from you is positive (cuddles, playtime, etc.) or negative (getting upset at them for spilling water). If your behaviour has changed recently and you don’t spend as much time with your cat as you used to, they may be acting out by splashing water out of their bowl.
It may not even be you who has changed, but rather your cat. They may simply require more attention from you than they once did. They may also feel this way if there are other pets in the home, which could have your cat feeling a little insecure about your love for them.
3. They’re trying to find the water
The fact that they’re “splashing” the water makes this theory less likely but it’s worth mentioning. If they can’t tell where the water starts, they may dip their paw in to get the water moving so they can better see it. However, if this is the case, it’s more likely they’ll paw at the water a couple of times and then drink it from the bowl.
If your cat is splashing the water, to the point that most of it ends up on the floor and they’re not actually drinking it, it’s unlikely that this is the reason.
4. Underlying health issue
Although you may not be able to understand the connection between a health issue and splashing water, cats do express their discomfort or illnesses in odd ways. The behaviour could be related to a urinary tract infection, kidney disease, diabetes, or other health issues. If you notice other odd or new behaviours in your cat, such as them drinking more water, using the litter box more or less, etc. it’s best to get them checked by your veterinarian.
The splashing may also be due to a mental disorder. Cats can suffer from anxiety, stress, compulsive disorders, etc. just like humans do. If it’s not just the water splashing that seems out of the ordinary, there may be an underlying issue, and be worth talking to your vet about.
How do I stop my cat from splashing water?
If you’re worried about the reason behind your cat’s behaviour or that they might be left for too long without water when they splash all of it out of their dish, consider the following steps to correct it.
1. Vet Checkup
If this behaviour is new and you’re noticing other new and strange behaviour from your cat, a vet visit is always a good idea to rule out any health issues. If they get a clean bill of health, try the following solutions on this list.
2. More Playtime
When your cat is bored, they can act out in strange ways, such as splashing water out of the dish. Help kick that boredom to the curb and give them more of your attention by getting some playtime in.
A lot of cat owners insist they give their cats plenty of attention and “lack of attention” couldn’t possibly be the reason behind their “bad” behaviour. But just remember, you’re likely your cat’s entire world and there’s no such thing as “too much attention” in their eyes. There’s no harm in increasing the play and affection time, even if you believe they already get plenty.
If you notice your cat exhibits the “bad” behaviour at a certain time of the day, such as in the middle of the night or while you’ve left the house, try playing with them before those times. You may spend some time playing with your cat before you go to bed. Or, if you know you’re going out at night, schedule some playtime in before leaving. You may also purchase some new toys that help keep them occupied.
3. Ignore the Behavoir
If you react when you find them splashing water, or after discovering water on the floor, it may be just what they’re looking for. If they want a reaction from you and you give it to them, they’ll continue splashing water in the future. If you ignore that behaviour, but give them lots of attention when they’re engaging in a behaviour you deem more appropriate (e.g. playing with their toys), they may stop using splashing water as a way to get your attention.
4. Change the Water Bowl
If you’ve just spent a pretty penny on a cat water fountain and you have other cats that like to use it, you could try putting a cookie sheet under the fountain to catch the water they splash out.
This ensures it won’t leak all over the floor and potentially ruin your carpet or hardwood. It will also ensure your cat(s) has something to drink until you fill up their bowl again.
It may also help you determine if your cat is splashing the water out because they don’t like drinking from the dish they have. If you watch them when they’re splashing, see if they drink the water from the cookie sheet after they’ve splashed it out of the bowl/fountain. If they do, try getting them a lower, shallower dish to drink from.
I hope this article has helped determine why your cat splashes water out of their bowl 🙂
You may also be interested in reading:
- Why Your Cat Moves the Water Bowl & How to Stop Them
- Why Does My Cat Scratch the Floor Before Drinking Water?