Some cats adopt a strange behavior to say the least: before drinking, they dip their paw once or several times in their bowl of water, as if they wanted to test the temperature of the water. It even happens sometimes that they create a real flood around their bowl! But what does this funny ceremonial mean? There are several explanations!
1. To estimate the distance
Indulging in this amazing practice would be a way for our feline friends to estimate the distance that separates them from the surface of the water. Indeed, they are almost incapable of distinguishing stagnant water. They know it’s there, but they can’t see it.
This way, when they approach their head to drink, they won’t risk being surprised and touching the water with their nose. Indeed, cats hate it!
2. To avoid whisker fatigue
It’s no secret that the whiskers of cats, which they use to orient themselves in space, are particularly sensitive. Thus, when the cat rubs its whiskers against a surface, it can generate information overload and therefore a feeling of discomfort. It might even be painful for some. This phenomenon is called mustache fatigue.
This somewhat particular fatigue is most often caused by bowls or bowls that are too deep and too narrow. Indeed, if your cat’s whiskers touch the edges of their water bowl every time it wants to drink, this explains why it prefers to dip their paw into it and then lick the water there. It’s exactly the same for cats who tend to take their food out of their bowl to eat it off the floor. In this case, choose wide and shallow bowls.
3. For fun
Felines are great players, and we must admit that dipping their little paws in water is a rather fun activity for them. Indeed, even if many of them do not like baths, water tends to fascinate them.
In this case, if you notice that your cat regularly plays with the water in its bowl, make sure to place it in a place where it will be easy to clean up the mess afterwards. Another solution can also be to install a litter mat (new) under the water bowl.
4. To drink moving water
Many cats prefer to drink water that comes out of the tap rather than that which is in their bowl. The reason is simple: in the wild, cats have become accustomed to being wary of stagnant water, which may contain many bacteria, and prefer moving water, which is always fresh and clean. It kept them from getting sick.
So if your cat likes to move the water around with its paws and then bends down to drink from its bowl, it may be because it prefers moving water. Then you might want to consider investing in a water cooler!
5. Not to be surprised
If several cats live under your roof, conflicts may arise between them. In this case, a cat may not like the idea of lowering its head to drink because it could give another cat the opportunity to jump on it without it seeing it coming (yes, cats can sometimes be real angst…).
Thus, dipping its paw in water to drink allows it to always stay in position to monitor its surroundings. In this case, try adding other water points in the house. But be careful not to place them in places where the cat could feel trapped, such as the corners of a room or against a wall.