Walking into the washroom and finding the tail-end of your cat sticking out from the toilet while they have their head in there may seem like a funny sight at first, but it’s actually a bad habit you need to break. You need your cat or kitten to drink water, but it’s important that it’s from a safe source.
This article explains potential reasons your cat may be drinking from the toilet, why it’s dangerous, and ways to stop the behaviour.
Why does my cat drink from the toilet?
Your cat is likely drinking from the toilet because the toilet water is cold and fresh. It’s their natural instincts to be drawn to fresh, cold, moving water so your toilet bowl may be the better option when compared to the stale, still, room temperature water in their water bowl.
Toilet water is cold
Porcelain toilet bowls help keep toilet water cold, likely colder than what’s in their water dish. In the wild, cats are drawn to moving water such as streams, which have much cooler water than still water.
Toilet water is fresh
Each time you flush the toilet, the water is changed. Fresh is always better so you can’t blame your cat for wanting fresh water over water that has perhaps been sitting in their dish for days.
Is it safe for cats to drink from the toilet?
It is not safe for your cat to drink from the toilet because they are being exposed to harmful bacteria, they may even pass that bacteria on to you. Not to mention, if you use toxic cleaning products, your cat can ingest them.
Danger #1 – Bacteria
Our toilets are full of harmful bacteria. The water that fills your tank is clean water, but when it comes in contact with the toilet bowl, it becomes contaminated. You can also pass certain diseases onto your cat if you’re sick and they drink water from the toilet you use. (source)
Danger #2 – Cleaning Products
Harsh chemicals are often used on toilets to help kill all the bacteria they harbor. If your cat has a habit of drinking from the toilet bowl and does so right after you clean the toilet, or while cleaning products are sitting in the toilet, they can get very sick and potentially even die. Also, understand the risks of your cat drinking out of the toilet if you use toxic cleaning products that go in the tank and release with each flush.
Danger #3 – Falling In
Your cat may slip and fall into the toilet. If you have a healthy adult cat, it will likely be easy for them to climb back out. But if you have a kitten or cat with mobility issues, them falling in the toilet can obviously be a real danger. A kitten can drown in a toilet bowl. Not only would that be a dangerous and scary situation for your cat, they’re now covered in toilet bowl water and more than just their paws have touched the toilet bow, which is much dirtier than the water.
Danger #4 – Transfer
Your cat may leave the toilet bowl and hop right up onto the kitchen counter where you prepare your food, spreading that toilet bacteria. Or, they may come to you for some cuddles and kisses.
Talk to your Vet if this is new behaviour
If your cat suddenly can’t seem to get enough water and is drinking from the toilet bowl, or the tap, or your water glass, it may be a sign of an illness. Increased thirst, water intake, and litter box use, may be symptoms of kidney disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, or a urinary tract disease. Contact your veterinarian if your cat has increased how much water they drink and are looking for it in places they didn’t previously.
How do I stop my cat from drinking toilet water?
The easiest solution is to put the toilet seat down. It may require you and your family members to form a new habit, but it’s an important one for your cat’s health. You can even take it one step further and keep the doors to bathrooms closed, and not allow your cat in the bathroom when you’re using it. This may help them form a habit of staying out of your bathrooms.
However, it’s not as easy to control when you have houseguests or children who might forget to put the toilet seat down or close the door behind them. In this case, it’s important to keep the toilet bowl as clean as possible, and to use non-toxic toilet cleaners.
Here are a few other tips to try:
New water dish
Try a porcelain water dish for your cat. This may help keep their water cooler longer and encourage them to stop drinking from the toilet bowl if cold water is the reason behind the behaviour.
You may try adding a few ice cubes to your cat’s water dish to also keep their water cold longer.
If your cat prefers running water to still water, cat water fountains are the perfect solution. Swapping their regular water bowl for one that constantly keeps water circulating may stop your cat from drinking out of the toilet.
You can purchase one for around $25, such as this cat water fountain that will also be beneficial if your cat has a tendency to paw at their water. Or go for a super quiet cat water fountain like this one.
More water bowls
Try placing a few extra water bowls around the house, particularly next to the toilet.
Water bowl location
You may try moving your cat’s water bowl to see if it helps resolve the issue. They may not like their water bowl being so close to their food. And a cat’s food and water should never be next to their litter box.
Give your cat fresh water each morning and make sure they’re in the room when you do so. If they see and hear the tap turning on and watch you fill their water bowl with that fresh water, they may be drawn to it more than the toilet bowl.
Clean water bowl
Be sure to clean your cat’s water bowl once a week so that it’s free of any bacteria and is fresh for them to drink from.
No matter what type of dish or container your cat drinks out of, be sure to give them the best kind of water. Just as you don’t want your cat drinking toilet water, you also don’t want them drinking Christmas tree water.
I hope this article helps solve the problem of your cat drinking from the toilet 🙂