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cat parent basics
Cat drinking from the faucet

The essentials

  • They could just be bored — Cats crave stimulation and your sink might be their choice of enrichment.
  • There are ways to break the habit (if you really want to) — If you want your kitty off the counter, try offering them an alternative.
  • It’s nothing to worry about — There’s nothing inherently unsafe about sips from the sink if it’s what your cat prefers!

Why do cats like to drink out of the sink? 

Cats drink from the sink for many of the same reasons you might notice them drinking from their paw. They could be bored, dislike their water dish, or enjoy the vantage point. Either way, it’s not unsafe and might even be a good way for you to sneak some extra water into your cat’s daily diet.

Let’s dive into some of the top reasons your cat might be drinking from the sink.

Some cats just like water

It’s a myth that all cats hate water. In fact, some actually enjoy playing in it, and others even like to swim! If your faucet is on and you catch your kitty pawing at the water, they could be interested in taking a drink — or they might just want to play.

Your cat doesn’t like their water bowl

If your cat prefers drinking out of the sink, it might be because they don’t like their water bowl. This could be because it’s too small and their whiskers touch the sides when they try to take a sip, causing whisker fatigue. Or they might simply not like the material it’s made out of.

They’re bored

Like all of us, cats crave stimulation. Free-roaming cats will spend their days patrolling and hunting, but indoor cats don’t have that ability. They have to find ways to entertain themselves inside, which can sometimes lead them to scratch at your furniture or play in a running faucet. Finding ways to enrich their indoor environment can help prevent them from turning your sink into their latest toy.

They like the height

Cats love high spaces like the countertop or even the top of the fridge. Part of the fun of drinking from the sink is the vantage point. Just be aware that falling can be quite dangerous, especially for older cats. If you want to keep your cat off the counter, try giving them other options, like a cat tree or a fun cat-safe shelf.

They’re looking for a quiet place to drink

If you have other pets or kids, your cat might not feel comfortable or safe when trying to drink from their water bowl. If your cat frequently drinks from the faucet of a less-used sink in the house, they might just be trying to find a quiet and safe place to enjoy their water.

They like the taste

Like all of us, cats prefer fresh water, and there’s no better source of that than the sink. This might also be your indication that your cat’s bowl isn’t clean enough. It’s super important to clean your kitty’s water bowls every day and provide them with plenty of fresh water, especially since cats can be picky about taste and smell.

They like the temperature

Some cats might not like the temperature of their water, and the sink water might be a more suitable temperature for them to drink from. If you find your cat sips from the faucet during the summer months, it might be because they’re trying to cool down.

They’re not getting enough water

Every day, cats should drink at least four ounces of water for every five pounds they weigh. If your cat isn’t getting enough, they might turn to the sink to look for more.

How to stop your cat from drinking out of the sink

If you prefer to keep your kitty off the counters, here’s a few tips you can try to help your cat break their sink-drinking habit:

Try positive reinforcement — Provide your cat with a treat every time they drink out of their bowl.

Add other elevated options — Cat trees, cat shelves, and window perches are a few examples that your cat may like.

Switch to a different water bowl — An elevated bowl can be a great alternative to counter surfing. A cat water fountain might also be of interest since the water flow mimics that of the sink.

Move their water bowl — Try relocating their water dish to another location that’s more secluded so your kitty will feel safe.

Change the material of their bowl — Switch the bowl to one made out of another material that your cat may prefer, like a fountain made of ceramic.

Is it possible for cats to drink too much water? 

It’s typically not possible for a cat to drink too much water, but if you notice your cat has recently started to drink more than usual, there could be something wrong. If you notice a change in your cat’s drinking habits, it’s a good idea to have them evaluated by your veterinarian.

Some causes of excessive thirst

Below are some potential culprits behind your kitty’s increased thirst:

  • Kidney disease. Cats with kidney problems will typically lose the ability to filter their urine appropriately, which can lead them to urinate more frequently and drink more water to compensate.
  • Diabetes. Diabetes causes high levels of glucose in the blood, which makes sugar leak into a cat’s urine. This makes a cat need to pee more often, causing dehydration and excessive thirst.
  • Bladder and kidney stones. These stones can cause partial or complete blockages if they get lodged in your cat’s urethra, making it hard to pee and leading them to drink more water to try to help.
  • Urinary tract infections. Cats with UTIs will feel the need to pee frequently, which, in turn, can cause them to drink more water than usual.
  • Vomiting and diarrhea. Your cat may become dehydrated if they’re vomiting or have excessive diarrhea. As a result, they’ll likely drink more water than they usually do to try to stay hydrated.

Frequently asked questions 

Is it bad for my cat to drink from the sink?

Nope! There are many reasons why your kitty may drink from the sink, but it’s typically harmless. If you notice your cat’s drinking more than usual, it might be time to visit the vet.

Why does my cat like to drink out of the faucet?

Your cat could just enjoy fresh water or dislike the material of their current water bowl. In most cases, it’s nothing to worry about.

Is it unsanitary to let my cat drink from the bathroom sink faucet?

It’s safe to let your cat drink from the sink, and it’s actually more unsanitary for them to drink from a water bowl that hasn’t been cleaned in several days.

How do I stop my cat from drinking out of the sink?

You can start by giving them an elevated bowl or a cat water fountain, swapping out their water bowl with one made from another material, and making sure they have access to fresh water every day.

Is it possible for cats to drink too much water?

It’s typically not possible for a cat to overdrink. But if you notice your cat is drinking more than normal (four ounces per every five pounds of weight), they may have an underlying medical condition that should be checked out by a vet.