The toilet bowl, bathtub, kitchen tap, condensation on windows. Some cats will drink water from anywhere but their own perfectly good water bowls.

Watering Hole

As baffling as it may be for humans, cats have their own perfectly good reasons for doing so:

Fresh water

Your cat may be looking for fresh, clean, aerated water. And yes, as far as it’s concerned, even toilet water fits that bill. By comparison, the water in your cat’s bowl may have been sitting around for longer than your cat would like, becoming stale and accumulating a film of hair, dust and other particles.

Water temperature

Your cat may seek out other water sources because it doesn’t like room temperature water. A cat that joins you in the shower or drinks leftover bathwater might prefer its water warm, whereas one that licks condensation off the windows or drinks straight from the tap might like it cool.

Bowl shape and size

Your cat may be avoiding their water bowl because it finds drinking from it uncomfortable. Some cats won’t drink from deep or narrow bowls because they don’t like their sensitive whiskers rubbing up against the sides.


The water in your cat’s bowl may taste different depending on the material it’s made from. Just like many humans have a preference for drinking from a glass or aluminium can, your pet may prefer ceramic or stainless steel. If it’s flavour your cat is looking for, you might find their head in the ceramic toilet bowl or bathtub.

What you can do:

  • Change your pet’s water frequently and rinse the bowl thoroughly each time.
  • Try water bowls of different shapes, sizes and materials to see what your cat prefers.
  • Place plenty of water bowls around the house.
  • If your cat seems to like fresh or running water sources a pet water fountain is a good solution.
  • Alternatively, if your cat enjoys the taste of Tropiclean water additive then that will help maintain their oral hygiene.
  • If your pet’s drinking habits change all of a sudden, it could be a sign of illness. See your local Greencross Vets for advice.