Why Does My Cat Spill His Water? Here’s The Reason

Trying to feed your cat some water & your cat is doing something strange?

May be you’re wondering, why does my cat spill his water?

​I just finished researching on this topic and here’s what I found..

No matter how adorable and innocent-looking our cats are, they have their fair share of habits ( such as gags ) that can be frustrating and annoying for us humans. One of which is how they spill their water from their water bowl.

Not only it is annoying, but cats knocking off their water source can be potentially dangerous, too. Especially true if you have slippery flooring.

But, before getting frustrated, pause for a while and understand why they are acting in such way.

Cats and Water

The reputation of water phobia in cats and kittens may be to blame. However, while most cats avoid getting wet nor near the waters if possible, some actually love to play.

With cats getting so amused easily, a tipping water dish that spills water is just as thrilling for them as if it were some high-speed car chase.

It could also be something else. Aside from being curious about water, it could also be an indication of health-related issues.

This is especially true if you notice your cat splashing the water instead of drinking it.


  1. Reason why cats lay next to the water bowl

Why does my cat spill his water?

Being playful and fun-spirited, cats have an expected impulse of manipulating things with their paws.

It could be one reason why they play with or in water. We all know that felines groom themselves by licking all over their body, so it isn’t likely that they are splashing the water to bathe themselves.

Kittens who play with water are most likely doing it to understand and learn more about their surroundings.

Certain breeds, like Maine Coons, tend to be more tolerable of water. If cats have been exposed at an early age to lots of water plays and bats, they can tolerate water, bathing, and getting wet as they age.

It could also be that they have difficulty accessing the water. Cats don’t like narrow and deep bowls.

Experts suggest that since cat’s whiskers are highly sensitive​, it causes irritation when it touches the sides of the walls causing them to tip the bowl and splash the water entirely.

Another reason cats splash and spill their water is their preference for freshwater. Most cats aren’t fond of drinking stagnant water in water dishes. It could be that they are playing with the water to get a recreation of freshwater’s rippling effect.

Health Issues

Before we jump to correcting such behavioral predicament, we have to make sure there are no health-related concerns that may be causing cats to spill their waters.

Diseases like diabetes, kidney failure, or thyroid problems can cause your cats thirst.

This makes them drink a lot and create a mess by splashing or pawing at the water, especially when they are not feeling very well.

If they spill or splash waters and show symptoms like lethargy, confusion, and change in appetite, it could be a health-related problem.

Although young kittens are very unlikely to have one of the conditions mentioned, it won’t hurt to observe them when they drink.

If they are taking in excessive amounts of water or they are focused on water, better make an appointment with the vet.

Another thing that could trigger cats to spill their water could be anxiety or stress. He may put his paws into the water bowl or sometimes, they would even try to climb in. Anxiety sometimes pushes the cats to show abnormal behavior to get their attention.

Resolve any health issues with your cats with the help of your vet. When the vets determine the underlying cause of your cat’s behavior, they will surely have treatment options.

It could be prescribed medication for the condition. Most of the time, treating the health problem resolves untoward water bowl behavior.


  1. Do cats understand human meows

Stopping Your Cats From Spilling Water

If medical conditions have been ruled out, and your cat still continues to spill his water, it could just be him playing and patting around the water.

For young kittens, object play is most active up to their 5th month of age. Behaviors like splashing the water could be an inclination for them as they assume the water bowls are toys, too.

The best solution, especially during your cat’s younger days is truly a lot of patience.

By the time they reach their 6th or 7th month, the kitten’s playfulness starts to decline. Playtime may not be as active as they were when they were below 6 months old.

This is another indication of whether your cat’s situation is health-related. If the behavior does not wane by the time the cat reaches maturity, it could be something else.

Try redirecting their focus to a worthier outlet for play. Give them other toys to distract them from playing with water.

If redirection of their behavior towards the water to toys is successful, then you are sure you have a healthy cat.

Stressful “Watery” Situations With Cats

Sometimes, all the tips and tricks you have read may not work and it could be stressful for you and the cat.

If you cannot identify exactly why your cat acts up, a visit to a pet behaviorist may help. And, while you are in the process of booking your appointment with them, try the following tricks:

  • ​Switch your cat’s water regularly – at least once a day. Make it cold but not with ice cubes. These floaters may appear as toys to cats and might just cause them to play with their water even more.
  • ​Try the fountain type of water dish. Having a continuous flow of water makes it always fresh.
  • ​Consider placing a water dish filled with water in the shower or bathroom. Encourage them to play with water bowls inside the bathroom only by reinforcing them with treats and praises. From there, spoilage and the stress in cleaning up won’t be so much of an issue.
  • ​Try alternative water dispensers like non-spill bottles that guinea pigs use.


Contrary to what most people believe, cats actually love to play. And when there is no one to play with, they play with anything that’s available for them to play – like the water dish.

Make time to play with your furball every day. Exercise and stimulate them to play with other toys to divert them off of their water splashing activities.