Cat drinking water from a water fountain

The Strange Habit of Our Feline Friends: Why Do Cats Dip Their Paws in Their Water Bowl?

Reading Time: 3 MIN

The Strange Habit of Our Feline Friends: Why Do Cats Dip Their Paws in Their Water Bowl?

We’ve all seen it before—our cats dipping their cute little paws into their water bowls. Sometimes they just take a quick dip, while other times they may splash around like they’re having a full-on pool party. But why do cats dip their paws in water? As a fellow cat owner with a curious mind, I’ve done some research and am ready to share the answers with you. So, sit back, relax, and become an expert in feline paw dipping behavior.white and gray cat drinking out of a blue automatic water bowl


First of all, let’s get one thing straight: cats dipping their paws in their water bowl isn’t really a strange habit. In fact, it’s quite common. There are a few reasons why cats do this, but one of the main ones is that it’s instinctual. Back in the days when cats had to hunt for their food, they would sometimes come across sources of water that reminded them of stagnant pools, which could be dangerous to drink from. To make sure the water was safe, they would dip their paw in to create ripples and check for any movement or signs of danger. Cats also used to drink from rivers and is a big reason why the like running water. Consider getting a pet fountain, like the PetSafe Butterfly Pet Fountain, that encourages your cat to drink water through the trickling sound and sight of running water.


tabby cat drinking water outside in a red bowlAnother reason why cats dip their paws in their water bowl is that they simply like to play with the water. As we all know, cats can be easily entertained, and playing with water is no exception. Some cats even enjoy the sensation of the cool water on their paws, which can be soothing on a hot day.

Could be a Medical Issue

Cats dipping their paws in their water bowls can also be a sign of a medical issue. For example, if the water is too hot or cold, they may dip their paws in to test the temperature. If the water is too hot, it could indicate a problem with your cat’s overall health. On the other hand, if your cat is always dipping their paws in the water bowl, it could be a sign of a urinary tract infection, as cats are known to use paw dipping as a way of relieving discomfort during urination.


Lastly, cats dipping their paws in their water bowl can simply be a way of getting our attention. As we all know, cats like to be the center of attention, and if they see that we’re not paying enough attention to them, they may resort to splashing water around as a way of saying, “Hey, look at me!” And it’s such a cute thing, that we usually praise them for dipping their paws in the water! Which makes them want to dip their paws in their water even more. It’s the constant cycle!

In the end, there’s no one definitive answer as to why cats dip their paws in their water bowls. It’s likely a combination of instinctual behavior, playfulness, and medical needs. But one thing is for sure: it’s one of the many quirks that make our feline friends so lovable and entertaining. So, next time you catch your cat dipping their paws in their water bowl, don’t be alarmed—just enjoy the show.

Related blogs: What Foods are Toxic to Cats? Keep Your Feline Friends Safe and Healthy!, What Plants are Poisonous to Cats? A Guide for Pet Owners, The Benefits of a Good Litter Box Routine and Automatic Litter Boxes, 7 Spring Cleaning Tips for Pet Owners

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