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Why Does My Cat Drink Out of the Toilet? 3 Vet-Reviewed Reasons

Annaliese Morgan

By Annaliese Morgan

White ad grey kitten drinking from toilet bowl

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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We often associate cats sitting by a faucet fascinated by the running water, watching a trickling stream, or dipping their paw into a glass or vase of water, but many pet parents can find their friendly feline drinking out of the toilet. It’s a sight that may not please you and leaves you wondering why on earth they would want to be drinking out of the toilet when they have their own bowl full of fresh, clean water. We’ll explain the three main reasons why it is thought cats do this, but it is important to try and stop this activity.

The toilet is a pool of bacteria and other microorganisms, with many of them being harmful with the potential to make your cat sick. It’s worth considering also that if you have close contact with your cat, these bacteria could be passed on to you too. Toilet cleaners and other cleaning agents, such as bleach, can be toxic to your cat. There is also the potential, especially for smaller cats and kittens, to fall head-first into the toilet water. While this risk is low, it does exist, and no one wants their cat to drown in the toilet!


The 3 Reasons Why Your Cat Drinks Out of The Toilet

So, your cat finds the toilet attractive, inviting, and luscious to drink. Why? It is likely down to one or all the following reasons:

1. The Water Is Cool

Felines love cold and cool water. While our pet cats are domesticated, many of their primal instincts from their original wild times remain. Wild felines like to drink from lakes, streams, and rivers because the water is generally cool and regularly running.

Due to the ceramic or porcelain material the toilet bowl is made from, the temperature of the toilet water is, for the most part, always cool and therefore very appealing to cats.

2. The Water Is Fresh

Cats dislike stale water, and since the water in the toilet is constantly changing due to flushing, the reoxygenation from the act of flushing makes it seem fresher.

3. It’s Fun!

Cats love a bit of fun and games to entertain themselves, and this activity could well be an enjoyable time for them.

Black and white cat on toilet seat
Black and white cat on toilet seat(Image Credit: Rosiesugrue, via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0)

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How to Stop My Cat From Drinking Out of the Toilet

Strategies to stop or prevent your cat from drinking out of the toilet include:

Provide Fresh Water

Cats are fussy and very particular. They dislike stale, dirty, or warm water. Refill their water bowl several times a time to keep it fresh, cool, and free of any debris, dirt, or dust which may have landed in there.

Water Fountains

Often, the reason for toilet drinking is because of the running water aspect and its freshness. Trade the toilet for a water fountain! Water fountains provide fresh, clean, running, and oxygenated water while giving you peace of mind.

cat water fountain
Image Credit: Vershinin89, Shutterstock

Offer Multiple Drinking Bowls

Place additional bowls elsewhere in the house. Do not place them near their litter tray, feeding bowls, in corners, or near any bathrooms or toilets.

Keep the Lid Shut!

Keep the toilet lid down or close bathroom doors to prevent your cat from wandering in.

toilet area
Image Credit: Hakim Santoso, Pexels

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This behavior can be more common than one may think, but it does need to be curbed or ideally stopped entirely due to the health and safety of your cat. There are methods available as discussed, such as purchasing a cat-friendly water fountain, and picking a few of them is the way to stop this habit. Alternatively, contact your veterinarian for help or a cat behaviorist who will be able to assist you if you are not winning at the toilet drinking game!

See also:


Featured Image Credit: Olivia Lorot, Shutterstock

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