Competing With Your Cat for the Kitchen Sink?
What it Means When You Have a Water Obsessed Cat
More and more often, I find myself standing in line waiting to use my sink, my tub, and sometimes even for my water glass.I live with three older cats who are all water obsessed.
Oh you thought cats and water were mortal enemies, right?
Wrong! Especially as cats grow older, they become more and more fixated on water, especially (but not exclusively) running water. If you find yourself constantly turning on the faucet even though your cat has full bowls of water, it can be a little annoying unless you understand just what is going on with your water obsessed cat.
Reasons for the Water Obsessed Cat
Mostly it’s older cats who get extremely and stubbornly fixated with water to the point of annoyance, although younger ones certainly can and do enjoy a good splash. In this article, I am really addressing the issue of cats who will lay by, or even in, the sink, tub, or water bowl for hours on end. They often cry for you to turn on the faucet 23 hours day and won’t let you alone until you do it. They are relentlessly fixated, and nothing you do deters them from what they want most.Unfortunately, there can be medical issues contributing to the behavior of your water obsessed cat:
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Urinary Blockages
- Kidney Stones
- Kidney Disease/Failure
A visit with your veterinarian is in order to rule out these or other medical reasons for your cat’s keen interest in water, especially because these diseases can seriously affect your cat’s longevity and quality of life if left untreated.
As I mentioned, I have three cats who are water obsessed. My Trouble, pictured above at the sink, screams all the time for me to turn on the water for him. I cannot wash dishes without him rushing for the faucet the moment he hears me turn it on. While he has not been diagnosed with it, at age 15 he is approaching that age when Kidney Disease often sets it. His numbers are fine right now, but I can tell he is headed for it soon. Sweet Pea, directly above, is Trouble’s sister. For her, it’s Hyperthyroidism that has her laying down in her water bowl, even though she is on medication for it. Sadly, at age 18 my Sebastian (below) is now in full blown Kidney Failure, and he too is obsessed with water.
Accomodating the Water Obsessed Cat
Now that you have ruled out, or ruled in, medical reasons for your cat’s focus on water, there are some things you can do to make life easier.
- Offer a Pet Fountain: Cats in the wild never drink from still water, they look for fresh running streams and other moving sources of water. You may even notice your cat pawing at the water to make it move. Offering your cat a pet fountain that simulates running water will satisfy this natural instinct. The fountain will also encourage your cat to drink more often, even if he is not a water obsessed cat. My cats love the Pioneer Stainless Steel Raindrop Fountain. Also offer a large water bowl, like my Sebastian is using here. He may want to stir it with his paw.
- Add Water to Wet Food: This is a good strategy to get more water into your cat’s diet, whether or not he needs it for one of the medical reasons listed above. Many cats do not get enough water into their diets, and this can lead to kidney stones and urinary blockages. A totally dry food diet can also contribute to these issues.
- Give Milk Replacements: While a cat should never be offered cows milk because cats are lactose intolerant, cat milk replacements can be given to get more liquid into your cat’s diet. Cat Sure Liquid Nutrition is great for the older cat. It will give him a nutritious liquid supplement that also adds additional hydration to his diet.
If you do all of the above and your cat still prefers your faucet, you might just have to give in and learn to live with it. After all, I’m sure you love your water obsessed cat just as much as I love all 3 of mine. I gladly share my sink, my tub, and even my glass of water with all three of my water obsessed cats.
Martee Quillen says
Hello, I just wanted to drop you a line to say thank you for writing about this problem. My 15 year old cat just recently started his obsession with water. He sits by his water bowl and lays in the tub and the kitchen sink. It was really starting to worry me and freak me out. It was a great relief to find out that this is a common thing in older cats.
Rita Reimers says
How are things going with your kitty? Is he still water obsessed? You might want to have your vet take a look at him just to be sure he isn’t diabetic or that his kidneys aren’t in decline. Both issues can be controlled with medication and diet should that be the case.
My kitty Nicky is not an older cat in fact he is 10 months old. Almost from the moment we got him we noticed he always played with his water, after being fed up with constantly wiping up his splashed water we began leaving his dish in the sink. He obsessively plays with it, turn on the sink he’ll come running from where ever he is. Leave the toilet seat up and he is head first up to his shoulders in the water. Turn on the tub or shower again he is right there. We have tried everything suggested and nothing has changed. All though all the advice is great, we finally have just concluded that Nicky is who he is, sweet, loving, funny and obsessed with
Rita Reimers says
Awww I love that story, Carolyn. Thank you for sharing. I too have a couple of kittens, and they also love the water 🙂 Hugs to Nicky!
My cat may be three. She likes to put her toys in water among the other water obsession games. She just started this obsession this year. Should I worry since she is so young?
Rita Reimers says
If this is a habit she’s always had then no I would not worry. Some cats just love water, I know my Punkin has loved it since he was a kitten and he used to get into the shower with me lol! If it’s a new fascination and she is drinking and peeing a lot, then a vet visit would be in order to rule out a medical issue 🙂
I have a neighbor cat that sit in the bird bath with his butt in the water, why is that?
Rita The Cat Analyst says
Hmmmm Linda, that is an odd one! Some cats actually do like the water, my Punkin for example will actually climb into the shower with me! Rita
Eileen smith says
our dearly loved 18 y old cat Molly has hypothyroidism and heart failure and has recently become obsessed with water. she lies staring at her water bowl for ages and if she can she will even lie in the outdoor water feature – something she would never have done before she became ill. thank you for helping us to understand this behaviour which we have been so worried about. Molly is on several tablets a day for her heart and thyroid problems but is gradually declining. we will be heartbroken when we finally lose her.
Rita The Cat Analyst says
It is SO hard to see our cats in decline, we wish they could live forever. Enjoy the time you have with Molly, and she will take that love with her when she makes her journey. I recently lost a thyroid kitty myself, my Sweet Pea. It was hard to see her go, but at nearly 18, she had a very long and happy life.
Hi. My cat Sunday is 13 and just was diagnosed with renal disease. I switched her to a prescription diet, K/D wet food. I also mix in a gel that the vet gave me, RenaCare (Potassium Gluconate) into her food. She eats it, but is obsessed with the kitchen faucet now. She doesn’t drink from her water dish as much. I can see that this is a common phenomenon for older cats, but will my course of action (switching food, gel) improve her condition and consequently her comfort? It’s so hard to know if I’m doing all I can do. Thanks, J
Linda Sorensen says
My 14 year old cat Miki has always scooped his water with his front paw into his mouth. But now, he has his paw in the water so much that it is constantly wet, even his front leg. Plus, he has started peeing on me! I took him to the vet and she acted like she had never heard of a cat scooping water into his mouth with a paw. She looked at his paw and found nothing wrong and told me to bring him back when I had the money, and she would give him an antibiotic shot, jus in case! In case of what?
Patricia Nickols says
I have a female who is approaching her 24th year. She has lately begun laying by either her or the dog’s water bowl a lot. She is still eating, peeing and getting around though her hips are not the greatest. we just try and make sure she is warm and comfortable considering her advanced age. I fear a vet trip would be so traumatic for her…should i introduce more wet food for her ?
Mary Lee says
My cat Lucy is estimated to be around two years old. We got
Her a year a go after she just had babies. She has always been obsessed and very fond of water. We thought it was fun and embraced it. The vet is saying it may not be a good thing, could mean she has kidney problems and best to run labs on here. Love my Lucy so of course I’m doing it but wondering is this standard? Cost is $350.
I have an 18 month old and very healthy & strong cat who is obsessed with water and other fluids. Though we managed to teach him not to jump on the table, he keeps jumping on the kitchen sink as soon as we turn on the tap. If he’s been home alone, he will ‘angle’ out the metal covers of the drains from sink, shower and wash basin. If he gets the chance, he’ll jump on the toilet seat behind you in an effort to see whats going on there. He does the same with our other cat.
Lately he is particularly fond of my water & milk cooker. I can’t leave them on the sink anymore, for as soon as they have cooled down he will topple them over and I may find them back on the floor.
I bought him a water fountain, but he’s just taking it apart, drags it around and won’t rest till most of the water is on the floor, so I took it away again. He is not keen to get in the shower though.
He is the joy of our lives and a very social cat, but I wonder what’s behind this. I’ll post a link to ‘his’ Facebook page below so you can see what he does to the fountain.
Hi! I have a 12 year old cat who has recently become obsessed with water, but no just any water, oh no. He will not, and I mean WILL NOT drink water unless it’s from a water bottle. If he sees me carrying a water bottle or hears the crinklenof the plastic, he comes running. He will drink it from his bowl, or the bottle cap, or even the bottle itself; if I tip it for him. I don’t know if that’s normal?