Some cats have behavior that may seem very strange to us, especially when they are young. Among these feline oddities, having a cat dipping its paw in water is no exception. But then why does my cat dip his paw in water?

There could be several reasons for this strange habit that makes it totally understandable or even essential from your cat’s point of view.

In this article, I explain all about behavior so that you can understand the cause. Follow the leader !

Why does a cat dip its paw in water: The different causes

Cats do not necessarily have this habit for the same reasons, here is everything that can lead your cat to do so, with detailed explanations of this behavior for each type of cause.

To measure a distance

Cats have an overpowered sense of smell, more than 70 times superior to ours and which is their main sense, incredible hearing making seasoned hunters, but catastrophic sight from near and far and touching water with their paws allows them to measure the distance precisely so that he can drink without getting his nose wet, which they hate, especially since they cannot breathe through their mouths.

If you see your cat having this habit before drinking water, you now know why he is doing it, especially if it is a new bowl or the height of water is unfamiliar to him. and too blurry for his ability to see up close.

For this reason, there is no need to fill your bowl with water to the brim, a fine depth of water renewed every day is perfect for cats, combined with a sufficiently humid diet to meet its water needs.

To avoid rubbing their mustaches

Cats have whiskers for a specific reason: to be able to orient themselves in space. This is what you can see when he is outside and hunting. But the whiskers are very sensitive and they hate when they are in contact with something, like a bowl for example.

If the water is in a glass, you can be sure that your feline will put its paw in it to see if it can drink without its whiskers touching the rim of the glass. It is for this reason that it is necessary to give them a sufficiently large bowl .

Avoid tickling his whiskers, which he hates and will only make your relationship with him worse. Here too, putting too much water in his bowl, in addition to being useless, will not encourage him to drink.

For fun

Here, it is especially young cats who are used to it, especially when the water is flowing. Touching water amuses them and has no other purpose than amusement. He does not necessarily want to drink but just play with water.

Most young cats do it for this reason and you can see that they don’t drink the water, they just have fun wiggling it. During their young months, cats learn to better use their bodies through play, especially to become the hunters they are destined to be.

If your cat splashes water all over the place while having fun with water, don’t upset him because he can’t understand and he’ll be angry with you for being so hard on him. Just redirect his attention when he does and reward him when he plays with something other than water.

To avoid standing water

In the wild, stagnant water is not edible and cats, even in the domestic state your cat retains its natural predatory instincts. So if you see him stir the water before drinking it, it’s because he prefers it to flow, a sign of potability for him in nature.

If your cat really has trouble drinking water from his bowl, you can get him a cat water fountain so that he can drink without fear and without spilling water everywhere with his paws.

To guard against danger

If your cat does not feel confident, if a new animal is in the household for example, then he will not lower his head to drink for fear of danger and will take the water in his paw before drinking it.

When he does his natural business, your cat must feel safe because he will necessarily be in a vulnerable position which in the wild can put his life in danger, there too he retains his natural instinct.

Make him feel completely safe and that he is. And don’t forget that there must be a bowl for each animal in the household. Cats are very territorial and really need to have their own space (litter, food, water).

The myths

There are some beliefs about this cat habit that do not correspond to reality.

The first is that cats take the temperature of the water but they don’t because if the temperature of cool water is preferred to them, they don’t use their paw to measure it but rather their tongue.

The second myth is that your cat uses water to bathe, but cats hate having water on them and always clean themselves with their saliva. In addition, if your cat does this with the water in its bowl, then it will inevitably dirty it and refuse to drink from it immediately afterwards.

Also know that cats are made to move and having their paws filled with water will slow down their movements, they will never use water for these two reasons.

Cat dipping its paw in water: The final word

If your cat dips his paw in the water, he does it for specific reasons, nothing serious behind this habit but make sure that he can drink without difficulty and that he does not put water everywhere when he drinks.