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Why Your Cat Knocks Over Their Water Bowl? – 5 Possible Reasons

Patricia Dickson

By Patricia Dickson

bengal cat playing water in the bowl

Cats are mysterious and odd creatures; most cats are a mystery to their owners. Many owners are baffled by their cat’s strange and usually unnecessary behavior. One of these baffling acts is when they knock over their own water bowl.

While we will probably never fully understand cats, we can answer many questions, including why they knock their own water bowl. So, if this is a question you’ve asked yourself, whether you are just curious or worried for your furry friend, keep reading. Below we’ll tell you all you need to know about why your cat knocks over their water dish.

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The 5 Possible Reasons Your Cat Knocks Over Their Water Bowl

1. They’re Curious

Your cat might simply be trying to investigate or play with the water; their natural curiosity may have gotten the better of them. This is more likely if they’re a kitten. Kittens are still exploring the world around them and are more likely to play with water. That’s not a say an adult cat won’t; some cats never outgrow playing with water.

Young orange tabby house cat sitting low near empty bowl
Image by: Leo, Shutterstock

2. They Want Your Attention

Although they have the stereotype of being distant loners, many cats enjoy their owner’s attention and will seek it out. If your cat feels it’s been too long since you paid attention to it, it will do something to gain your attention. This can include knocking their water over, so you have to clean it up and get them more. Try spending more time with your pet every day to see if it keeps your cat from knocking over the bowl.

3. They’re Dissatisfied with The Water

If your cat doesn’t approve of the quality of the water, it may knock over the bowl. Cats usually prefer fresh water, although their definition of “fresh” may differ from yours. Even after you’ve refilled it, they still might knock over again because they, for some reason, dislike the taste. If you usually use unfiltered tap water, try giving your cat filtered water to see if they prefer the taste.

White cat asking for food with an empty bowl placed on the living room floor
Image by: Chetorkina, Shutterstock

4. It Was an Accident

Your cat might have been drinking and accidentally tapped the bowl and knocked it over; this can happen if the bowl is light. The bowl might also have been in their way, and they ran into it. If your pet keeps running into the bowl, try placing it in another spot away from your cat’s play area.

5. They Don’t Like Where You’ve Put the Water Bowl

It’s possible your cat disapproves of where you put its water bowl. Some cats do not like their food bowls close to the water bowls, and most will not drink water if it’s too close to their litter box. Try placing several bowls throughout your home to determine which location your cat prefers.


How to Stop Your Cat from Knocking Over Their Water Bowl

a tabby cat sitting next to a bowl of water
Image by: Impact Photography, Shutterstock

The easiest solution is to replace your cat’s water bowl with one that has a rubber grip. The rubber grip on the bottom of the bowl increases friction and makes the bowl significantly harder to knock over. Housecats carry the instincts of their wild ancestors, and some still have problems drinking from stagnant water. You can purchase a water fountain for your cat to see if it drinks more when the water is moving.

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In Conclusion

There are a variety of reasons your cat could be knocking over its water dish, but none of them are cause for concern. Your cat might simply be bored, want your attention, or dislike the water’s taste. Although it is annoying to have to clean your cat’s water up constantly, there are a few solutions.

You can give your needy cat more attention, refill the water more often, or make sure your cat’s water bowl isn’t in its way. If changing the location doesn’t work, you can switch their bowl out for one with a rubber bottom or try a water fountain.


Featured Image Credit: kalyanby, Shutterstock

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