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why do cats love running water and hunting

Why Do Cats Like Running Water? Satisfy Your Cat’s Weird Obsessions with Running Water and Hunting

Our beloved Turtie Cat passed back in 2019. But I still wanted to share the story of how much she had been enjoying her new fountain and feeder. Her sister Olivia will get to enjoy them now. ~Kristen

Every morning, Turtle follows me into the bathroom, jumps up on the sink, and waits for me to turn on the faucet! What amazes me is how long she will sit there lapping up the flowing water—like she’s parched! Despite the fact that I have diligently kept her water bowl clean and filled with fresh water, she always drinks more from the faucet than anywhere else.

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how to satisfy your cat's obsessions with running water and hunting pin

Is Running Water Better for Cats?

Yes. Though it’s not necessarily better than the water in your cat’s water bowl (provided it’s always kept fresh and clean), the gentle babble of running water might just tempt your kitty to sip a bit more and stay hydrated!

Why Do Cats Like Running Water?

So cats may drink more if there’s running water, but why exactly did Turtie love running water more? Let’s jump in on some reasons why some of our cats like drinking running water:

  1. Instinctual Preference: The truth is, cats (and dogs) would prefer to drink water from a trickling stream than from a still bowl. It’s a nature thing. Think about it. In nature, a standing pool of water may be dirty, warm, or stagnant. Stagnant water, often found in ponds or puddles, has a higher risk of being contaminated with bacteria or parasites. Yuck! But a moving stream offers cool, clean, fresh water. Can you blame them for pre-furring that?
  1. Sensory Engagement: The movement and sound of running water can capture a cat’s attention. The shimmer, the glisten, and that soothing babble—it’s like a water show just for kitty! It tickles their curiosity and keeps them engaged, making water fountains more enticing compared to standing water (i.e., water in a bowl).
  1. Perceived Freshness: Cats prefer running water because they can be particularly discerning about the freshness of their water. It might taste and smell better to them than the water that’s been sitting around. This perception might make them more inclined to drink water from water fountains or faucets, ensuring they stay hydrated.
  1. Temperature Consistency: Running water often maintains a consistent cool temperature. Especially in warmer conditions, this water might be cooler than that in a stationary bow. So who wouldn’t want a cool sip, especially on a warm day?
  1. Interactive Element: The flowing nature of running water from water fountains or faucets provides an opportunity for cats to interact. Some cats like pawing at streams of water, which can be both a source of hydration and a playful activity.
  1. Whisker Sensitivity: Ever brushed up against something unexpectedly? That’s what it’s like for cats when their ultra-sensitive whiskers touch the sides of a bowl. Your cat’s whiskers aren’t just there for looks, cute as they are; they’re vital for navigation and understanding their surroundings. When they drink from a narrow or shallow dish, their whiskers might touch the bowl and water, overstimulating them and causing “whisker fatigue.” Fresh running water in a water fountain will allow them to lap up without a whisker out of place.
  1. Bowl Placement Concerns: We know our cats may be quite finicky, and yes, this includes where we put their bowls! Cats like a little separation between their food and water. It’s a contamination concern. In the wild, you wouldn’t want your water near your kill. Placing the bowl in just the right spot matters. And sometimes, the allure of running water bypasses these fussy feline placements.

Should I Get a Water Fountain for My Cat?

If your kitty is anything like Turtie, yes, a water fountain is an absolute must! But even for cats who are content with drinking from their regular water bowls, introducing a water fountain can be beneficial. The flowing water often gets their attention, and the continuous movement from the water fountain can make the water seem fresher. As a result, your cat might be tempted to drink more frequently. It’s a win-win for both you and your furry friend.

Turtle loved her Catit Flower Fountain designed specifically for felines. I fell in love with these fountains and the whole line of Catit Senses products when I discovered them at SuperZoo a few years ago.

Here’s a peek at the video I shot with Damian as he toured me through the Catit line.

The Catit Flower Fountain is as cute as can be and looks great in my home, but has some super practical features too:

  • It holds a lot of water.
  • It has a robust filter to keep clean water flowing freely.
  • It’s easy to take apart to clean.
  • It’s designed so that kitty’s whiskers don’t get bent to drink, and they stay dry too. That may seem like a small thing, but it’s a game changer for cats!
  • The Catit Flower Fountain is so sturdy that it simply cannot be knocked over!

Within an hour of me setting it up in her room (yes, she has her own bedroom!) Turtie was happily drinking water from the water fountain.

Next, I set up another surprise for her (she must think it’s her birthday).  I love the idea of interactive feeding as a way to give kitties both entertainment and exercise at the same time. A bowl of cat food is not a challenge at all for a creature whose ancestors lived to hunt for their food.

The way we typically feed our feline friends these days leads to overeating and obesity. There’s a feline obesity epidemic in this country, with over 50% of cats being either overweight or obese. Cat parents need to take notice of this and make feeding decisions that help their cats to lose weight and live longer.

The Digger is a purrfect tool for this! It has six tubes in two different sizes. All you have to do is drop your kitty’s kibble into the tubes. They will be intrigued and will have to use their brain and body to fish out the kibbles! This burns calories and engages the brain, which is great for their mental and physical health. And since it’s easy to use and clean, it’s great for cat parents too!

The whole Catit Senses line is interactive and is designed to appeal to a kitty’s natural instincts. It’s a great way to keep a cat’s indoor environment fun and stimulating. The Senses line has over 10 smart stations for kitties, all designed by people who love cats and know what they like and need. The stations are all amazing, but adding even one of them to your cat’s world will make their life more interesting!

Kristen Levine is a nationally acclaimed pet expert, influencer, and Fear Free Certified® Professional with over 30 years of experience working with pets.

Through this blog and her book, Pampered Pets on a Budget, Kristen has helped millions of pet parents solve problems and provide the best care for their dogs and cats.

Working alongside hundreds of pet professionals, including veterinarians, behaviorists and trainers inspired Kristen to become a pet parenting “guide”, providing readers with reliable information about health, wellness and lifestyle for dogs and cats and the people who love them.

A dogged advocate for pet adoption and rescue, Kristen has featured over 1,000 adoptable dogs and cats from the SPCA on live television and radio appearances to get them adopted. Her blog, has been featured in over 100 media outlets – including the New York Times, USA Today, FOX & Friends, Good Morning America, Women's Day, Reader's Digest, Good Housekeeping, Pop Sugar and more.

To stay up to date on the latest health and lifestyle trends for pets, Kristen regularly attends the top veterinary and pet product conferences, where she’s often a featured speaker.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. My cat is so crazy about water and after numerous water bowls, I finally got a Catit water fountain. My cat has managed to tip it over several time. So, I attached two gallon jugs full of water to the fountain with bungee cords and he still manages to tip it over. I truly don’t know what to do. I love him, but he is driving me crazy. Do you have any advice for me?

    1. Liz,
      Oh my goodness – I’ve never heard of a cat doing that before! I can understand how frustrating that would be. The only things I could think of that might help would be either weighing the fountain down on the inside or setting it inside a weighted or heavy base or bucket to provide more support. If you put a weight inside I would make sure it was thoroughly cleaned, sealed inside a couple layers of ziploc bags, and set to the side so it wouldn’t interfere with the pump.
      Sorry I couldn’t come up with anything more specific to help – I hope it all works out for you and your cat!

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