My cat scratches the floor before drinking water. Is this normal? Some cats habitually scratch the floor before drinking or even before eating. Why is that?
Cats scratch the floor before drinking water because they want to locate where the water is since their closed-up vision is not that good, or they want to tell you that the water bowl is not cleaned, or they try to leave their scent near it. Finally, they might have whisker fatigue.
Let’s explore the various possibilities.
WHY DOES MY CAT SCRATCHES THE FLOOR BEFORE DRINKING?
Cats are, for sure, a constant question mark. Every day they find a way to surprise us. We must add to the list the habit of scratching the floor around the water bowl.
Let’s explore why my cat scratches the floor before drinking water:
Cats do not do well with objects very close to their face. If you have ever played with your cat, you know that he may seem not to see it if you put the toy close to his face.
Nearsighted, but not close-sighted. Because their eyes are so large, cats can’t focus on anything less than a foot in front of them — but their whiskers can swing forward to feel what they can’t clearly see.
This means that some cats may test the field with their paws and start drinking when they know where the water is.
However, things placed under the cat’s chin may not be so easy for him to spot; scratching around the water bowl can give them the absolute certainty that there is no water and they will not get wet if they come close.
2. SEARCHING FOR WATER OR FOOD
Some cat breeds were used to dig to find water. This could have gone on for a long time, generation after generation, mainly if cats lived in places where water was underground. Some cats have it in their DNA to dig before drinking, more appropriately, dig to find water and then drink.
This explains why my cat scratches the floor before drinking water and other cats. There isn’t conclusive evidence of this belief. However, I thought it was worth mentioning.
3. WATER IS NOT CLEANED
Cats are famous for being picky about cleaned environments; they do not like their litter box dirty or their food bowl dirty. My cat is a perfect example of this. He will not eat if I do not clean his food bowl before I put new food.
I have to feed him. Then, once he has eaten, I have to clean to bowl for the next meal each time. I always thought that only my cat was a snob, but it turns out cats are like this: crazy about cleaning.
The same goes for the water bowl; if I do not change the water and clean the bowl every day, he will not drink.
Therefore, when my cat scratches the floor before drinking water, it means he is trying to cover the water’s foul smell and clean it. Consequently, it is a signal for you to start changing the water.
4. WATER BOWL NEAR THE FOOD BOWL
Some cats do not like the water bowl being near the food bowl. In fact, they may not drink water in such a case and thus scratch around. In addition, the food smell can get too strong, and they may consider the water contaminated. Therefore, separating the water bowl and the food bowl is better.
Sometimes cats scratch around the food bowl in an attempt to bury the food for various reasons; either they do not like the food, or they are trying to bury it to come back and find it later. In their minds, they are preserving food for when they need it.
My cat scratches the floor before drinking water and eating dry food mainly. My younger cat was scratching around the food bowl all the time, creating a mess, and since the water bowl was nearby, she would hit it and throw water and food all over the place.
I always thought she was trying to bury the food since she was digging on the floor exactly as she did with the litter box.
But she would not do it if the dry food was far away from the wet food. In other words, she would dig mainly the dry food throwing it all over the floor. So I am not sure she had a problem with the water bowl.
5. CLEANING THE WATER
Some cats paw into the water to ensure leaves and other elements are out of the way before they drink; scratching around the water bowl can be an instinct to clean the water.
6. MARKING TERRITORY
Cats used to scratch surfaces to leave their scent and mark their territory. For example, my cat scratches the floor before drinking water because he wants to mark territory. Cats do this with furniture and other objects in the house.
Similarly, they may want to keep the food and water environment marked as their territory.
7. WHISKER FATIGUE
Some cats have very sensible whiskers. If the water bowl is too small, the whisker touches the bowl and hurts the cat. For this reason, cats might react weirdly before drinking.
They could meow, scratch the floor, paw at the water bowl, and other things. One solution could be to get your cat a nice large water fountain.
Here are some ideas:
Sometimes there are no reasons for cats to do what they do. Maybe they just wanted to play or they saw a bug into the water, and they tried to catch it. Who knows!
WHY DOES MY CAT PUT HIS PAW IN THE WATER WHEN HE DRINKS?
Sometimes, due to the closeness of the water and the fact that cats can’t see what is under their chin, they may want to find out where the water is; therefore, they stick their paws into the water to figure out where the water is.
Cats typically use their whiskers to sense the water below them. However, if the water bowl is too small, cats can’t fit their whiskers into it, so they can’t do their job. In this case, they have to use their paws.
Another reason cats put their paws into the water is because they are playing with it. They may like to see the water moving and play with it. You can notice better cats playing around water if you get a water fountain.
They usually like to paw the falling water and play with it, and finally, they end up drinking it. Some other cats used to put their paw into the water, get it wet, and then lick their paws; in other words, they drink by licking their paws after the paw had been in the water.
They do this because they do not trust to lower their guard and start drinking, they may be attacked, so they want to keep alert to what is happening around them.
HOW TO STOP A CAT FROM SCRATCHING THE FLOOR BEFORE DRINKING WATER?
Preventing your cat from scratching the floor before drinking water can be challenging. The best way to go about it is to find the reason behind this behavior. You can try the following things:
- Get larger water bowls to prevent whisker fatigue
- Get a water fountain to attract your cat to drink from the falling water
- Clean ofter the water bowl
- Separate the water bowl from the food bowl
- Replace water often
- Test more locations for the water bowl
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why do cats scratch the floor before eating?
Cats scratch the floor before eating, mainly for territorial reasons. They are trying to place their own scent in the area and remove one of the other animals.
Some cats scratch the floor after eating for similar reasons, but they may want to bury their food. Again, the marking is done, so they later remember where the food is.
Why does my cat shake her paw when she drinks water?
If cats find something unpleasant or get wet, they may try to shake it off by shaking their paws. Although, they rarely have a medical condition if they do it often. If you observe that it becomes suspicious, don’t hesitate to ask the vet.
Why do my cats knock over their water bowl?
Typically, they try to play with it, and in their play, they knock on the water bowl. In addition, they may not like the water bowl; therefore, they keep knocking it out.
I usually have glass water bowls. They are a bit heavier than plastic ones and better for their health. I also use water fountains since my cat stopped knocking the water bowl around when I did that.
Do cats like ice in their water?
It depends on the cat; some cats like the water a bit colder, some drink only from a water fountain, and others do not mind any water.
For example, my cat gets water from water bottles I keep in the fridge in summer and winter. I use water bottles at an average temperature.
Why do cats not drink water next to their food?
Cats do not drink water next to their food because the food smells too much and covers the water odor. It can also be that food fragments spilled into the water, and your cat now doesn’t want to drink it.