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Why Do Cats Like to Sleep in Sinks? 8 Likely Reasons

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By Nicole Cosgrove

cat sleeping in sink

Cats are headstrong, laser-focused creatures. If they set their minds on something, best believe they’re going to do it. Let’s take napping in sinks, for example: if you don’t know the right techniques, it won’t be easy to persuade your kitty to leave the fixture alone. But wait—why do cats like to sleep in sinks, exactly? Don’t they have a strong antipathy towards water?

Well, it’s not that simple, and if you’re a bit worried about your furry bud’s love for sinks, this guide is for you! Join us, and let’s solve this mystery. First, we’ll go over the eight most likely reasons for this behavior. After that, we’ll talk about the best solutions to this peculiar habit. Here we go!

The 8 Reasons Why Cats Like to Sleep in Sinks

1. They Crave Peace and Quiet

Are you the proud owner of an active, energetic, and ready-to-rumble cat? That’s great news, but it doesn’t necessarily mean peace isn’t important for the pet. Since the bathroom is vacant for most of the day, cats like how quiet it is in there. That’s right: it could be that the sink is not necessarily what the catty is drawn toward. If you have little kids in the house that make lots of noise, this might be what’s causing this behavior.

Other pets (like fellow cats or dogs), loud TV, and noisy appliances are even more reasons for a cat to seek solitude in the bathroom. In this case, the sink will just be a “bonus feature”, nothing more. So, before you start physically removing the domesticated animal every time you catch it in the restroom, try to lower the noise levels. That might just fix everything!

2. The Sink’s Shape Is Comfortable

In many ways, the sink looks and feels like a bathtub. So, for a cat that’s much smaller than a human, the sink is a perfectly shaped tub where it can take a nap and relax. Most sinks in the States are made of ceramics, cast iron, and composites and stay cool for long periods. Imagine how great it feels to dip into a cold sink after spending most of the day under the sun!

As for the cold days, while sinks do take some time to heat up, once they do, these fixtures turn into the ideal resting grounds. Cats are always looking for ways to make their lives safer and more comfortable. Plus, it’s important for them to be and feel secure, especially while they’re resting and letting their guard down. That’s another common reason. Let’s talk about that next.

The cat is sleeping or dead cat
Image Credit: PHONSIN AUPPACHAI, Shutterstock

3. Cats Appreciate Elevated Surfaces

Cats perceive their surroundings a bit differently than we do. To a cat, a sink is not just that: it’s a vantage point. Like most feline creatures, kitties like to climb as high as they can for that “bird’s eye view”. First, it protects them from predators (some simply won’t be able to reach them). Secondly, it’s much easier to escape from a raccoon, coyote, or dog when you see them from afar.

More than that, the higher the cat’s observation point, the better its chances of catching prey. We’re talking about mice, rats, and moles. Lastly, let’s not forget that the air near the ceiling is warmer than on the ground because hot air always goes up. So, it’s only natural for a cat to swing its tail from a warm spot. While most sinks only “sit” 28”–36” from the floor, for cats, that’s still high enough.

4. The Cat Craves Your Love

Have you been paying less attention to your cat lately than it deserves? Sometimes, we forget how important it is for our pets to feel connected with their owners. Therefore, sleeping in the sink might be the cat’s way of trying to get on your radar. A little bit of love and care—that’s all kitties really need! So, try to give it a bit more “you time” for the next week or two and monitor its behavior.

And don’t worry: this doesn’t mean you’ll have to put a stop to everything else in your life. On average, cats require less than an hour of playtime a day to feel loved. Ideally, you should break that into four 10-minute sessions, as cats only stay active for short periods. With some luck, the catty will see that it’s got your back and will stop using the sink to earn your attention.

A ginger cat sleeps in box paper, selective focus
Image Credit: CPM PHOTO, Shutterstock

5. The Bathroom Is a Perfect Playground

Cats like to follow us into the bathroom—that’s a known fact. Again, while it might feel a bit like a violation of privacy, this is your cat’s way of saying that it likes to be with you when there’s no one around. Although cats don’t like to get wet, they often cross that bridge and follow their owners into the shower.

More importantly, while you’re busy with your mourning ritual, the cat will be quick to get a “read” on the bathroom. The towels, robes, toilet paper, and rugs on the floor are fun to play with for a cat, along with the bathtub and the sink. Thus, what starts as a genuine desire to spend more time with you might slowly turn into the cat’s affection for the sink!

6. The Pet Likes to Be Near Water

Not all cats like to drink water from bowls. Instead, they prefer to get their moisture levels up by drinking the water running down from a faucet. It’s always cool and fresh, just the way cats (and humans) like it. Also, for most felines, still water is almost impossible to see. Being near a water source is another common reason why cats tend to curl up in sinks and stay there for hours.

Besides, if you’re a long-time cat owner, we bet you’ve seen how fascinated they get around water streams. The way the water flows from a faucet/tap and the sounds it makes play tricks on most pets. They think it’s prey that they can mess around with. So, while most domesticated felines hate being bathed, they don’t at all mind playing with water.

7. This Might Be Caused by a Medical Condition

Sadly, not all cats are drawn to sinks simply because they feel good to sleep in. Sometimes, this can be a clear sign that your furry family member requires immediate attention. The most common causes of constant trips to the bathroom looking for water to drink are various kidney diseases and diabetes. As mentioned, cats like to drink from faucets. That’s why they often pick the sink.

When a cat is diabetic or has faulty kidneys, it tends to urinate and drink more. Also, take a long and hard look at your pet: does it look like the kitty has lost some weight? If so, get in contact with a vet ASAP. Or, better yet, visit a veterinarian that you know and trust and ask them to check the cat thoroughly. The sooner you treat any medical condition, the easier it will be to beat it!

a black cat with swollen nipples is sleeping on concrete floor of a building
Image Credit: WKanadpon, Shutterstock

8. Just Because!

Cats are spontaneous, adventurous fur balls. So, if you find it crawled up and wheezing in the sink, that might be simply because it’s feeling like it. Sometimes, cats like to “investigate the premise”, and once they find a spot that’s equally safe, comfortable, and away from prying eyes, they stick to it. Or, at the very least, they give it a try.

In other cases, it’s a combination of some of the reasons we mentioned earlier. The takeaway here is that as long as the feline is not drawn to the sink for medical reasons, you shouldn’t worry about it. This is especially true if you just moved into a new house or apartment and your wild-at-heart pet is eager to check out every spot and leave its mark.

calico cat sleeping
Image Credit: biglinker, Pixabay

Why Is Playing Important for Cats?

Doctors of Veterinary Medicine believe that one hour of constructive playtime for a cat can make it happier, improve the pet’s health, and take most of the stress away. Much like children, cats are social creatures that want to build strong relationships with their family members, be it other cats or human moms/dads. Besides, playing will help you keep the cat in shape.

Unfortunately, obesity among domestic cats is slowly turning into an epidemic. It doesn’t only make them slower and less active but also affects the quality of their lives and often leads to severe health issues. Fortunately, you can fight that and make the kitty more social and adaptive by introducing a little more playtime into your daily routine.

Stopping Your Cat From Sleeping in the Sink: A Quick Guide

Alright, now that we’ve found out why cats use sinks as improvised beds, it’s time to learn how to talk them out of it. Here’s what you can do to solve the problem while keeping the cat happy and maintaining the same level of love and trust between the two of you:

  • Buy a similarly-shaped cat bed. So, your furry friend likes the smoothness of the bowl and how comfortable it is? Well, why not try and introduce it to a comfy raised bed that looks and feels exactly like it? In most cases, that will be enough to make the fur ball abandon the sink—for good. But don’t be harsh about it! Gently offer the cat to switch instead of pushing it.
  • Make sure the door is closed. Cats are curious by nature and will always want to check what’s behind a half-opened door. One way to counter this is to keep the door closed at all times, no matter if you’re home or away. While this will take training and positive reinforcement, give it some time, and the kitty will lose interest in the bathroom door.
  • Stop petting the cat in the sink. Nothing feels as rewarding as petting the cat early in the morning. On the downside, if you do it frequently while the kitty is cozied up in the bowl, that might give it the wrong impression. That’s right: the cat will think that it will only get love from you while it’s in the sink!
  • Use scents that cats don’t like. There are quite a few odors that draw cats away yet pose zero threat to their health. So, if you want the little troublemaker out of the sink, do consider putting some of these to good use. The list includes lavender, eucalyptus, cinnamon, thyme, curry, and various citruses. Be patient, and the results will come!
Nebelung cat affectionate cuddle sleeping happy
Image Credit: Henk Vrieselaar, Shutterstock


If you’re a veteran cat parent, you already know that they like to catch some Zs in the most unusual spots. And the sink is definitely one of those places. A first-time cat owner, in contrast, might be caught off-guard when they see this. But don’t you worry: unless it’s caused by a medical condition, this behavior is totally okay.

Now, there’s more than one reason for fur balls in the bowl. And the best part is, there are some tried-and-true techniques for convincing the cat to let you use the sink to wash/brush your teeth. All you have to do is use the right approach, be patient, and show love and respect to your four-legged friend—that’s all there is to it!

Featured Image Credit: Lizavetta, Shutterstock

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