The Curious Case of Cats and Running Water

You pour a fresh bowl of water for your feline friend, only to find them fascinated by the dripping tap in the sink. What’s up with cats and running water? Do they know something we don’t? This article dives into the flowing fascination cats have with running water.

The Basics of Feline Hydration

Importance of Hydration

Like any other living creature, cats need water to survive. Proper hydration aids in digestion, keeps the coat shiny, and is crucial for overall well-being.

Natural Sources of Water for Cats

In the wild, cats prefer running streams or rivers as opposed to stagnant water. This instinct may carry over to our domesticated buddies, explaining their fixation on running water sources.

Why Cats Are Drawn to Running Water

Sound Attraction

The sound of running water can be captivating for cats, perhaps mimicking the sound of a stream or river.

Freshness Factor

Cats are naturally inclined to believe that running water is fresher and cleaner, and thus, safer to drink.

The Scientific Angle

Evolutionary Reasons

It’s hypothesized that cats evolved to distrust stagnant water as it could be contaminated. Running water, in contrast, is usually safer.

Sensory Triggers

Cats have acute senses, and the movement and sound of running water could trigger their natural curiosity and hunting instincts.

Safety Concerns

Not All Running Water Is Safe

Not all running water is created equal. Some can contain harmful chemicals or be too hot or cold for your cat.

When to Intervene

While it’s fascinating for them, it’s essential to intervene if your cat tries to drink water that isn’t safe, like from a toilet or chlorinated pool.

Benefits of Running Water

Stimulates Drinking

Cats are notoriously poor drinkers. Running water can encourage them to drink more, keeping them hydrated.

Mental Stimulation

The sight and sound of running water can also serve as mental stimulation, keeping your cat engaged and curious.

Popular Water Solutions for Cats

Cat Water Fountains

These fountains are designed to provide a constant stream of water, enticing your cat to drink more.

Dripping Taps

Some cats are satisfied with a dripping tap, although this is less efficient than a cat water fountain.

Tips for Cat Owners

How to Encourage Safe Drinking Habits

Provide multiple water sources and consider investing in a cat water fountain to make hydration more appealing for your cat.


  1. Why does my cat prefer running water?
    • Your cat may find running water fresher and more stimulating.
  2. Is it safe for cats to drink running water?
    • Generally, yes, but ensure the source is clean and free from chemicals.
  3. How can I encourage my cat to drink more water?
    • Consider buying a cat water fountain or setting up a safe dripping tap.
  4. Do all cats like running water?
    • No, some cats may prefer still water, but many are attracted to the movement and sound of running water.
  5. Can running water be a form of entertainment for my cat?
    • Absolutely, the sight and sound can serve as mental stimulation.


Understanding why your cat is fascinated by running water can help you make more informed choices about their hydration and overall well-being. Whether you choose to invest in a cat water fountain or find another way to keep them hydrated, knowing why they are drawn to running water is the first step in ensuring their health and happiness.

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