When cats dip their paw into the water to drink

Some cats dab their paws in the water and lick them off instead of drinking from the bowl. There are many different reasons for this curious cat habit - from instinctive behavior to boredom to possible symptoms of illness. Lick-lick, from the paw the water tastes much better - Shutterstock / Ysbrand Cosijn

Most of the time, however, there is no need to worry if cats dip their paw in the water. A visit to the veterinarian is only advisable if there are additional behavioral problems.

Cats instinctively dip their paw into the water

A possible explanation for the paw drunk can be found in the wild ancestors and relatives of our domestic cats. The fallow cat and other smaller wild cats are not only predators, but can themselves become prey for larger predators. In addition, the water in the great outdoors is not always clean and unpleasant surprises can also lurk below the water surface.

Wildcats therefore poke their water sources with their paws and lick them afterwards to check whether the water is edible and whether there are no enemies in it. In addition, this method allows you to drink water and still keep an eye on the surroundings and be able to escape at any time in the event of danger. It is quite possible that your cat will dip its paw in the water because it follows its instincts.

Bowl too small? Cat whiskers are very sensitive

However, it may also be that the water bowl is simply too small so that your fur nose bumps the whiskers on the edge when it wants to drink from it. To avoid this uncomfortable feeling and to protect the sensitive whiskers, she prefers to dip her paw in the water. If you observe that your cat is reluctant to drink from the bowl, but likes to use flower pots or drink from the toilet, it could actually be because of the bowl size - try a wider bowl or a drinking fountain for cats.

The kitty in the video apparently also prefers the paw dip method to drink, although she changes her mind at the end and tries out the classic variant:

Drinking normal water is too boring

Cats are naturally playful and curious; dipping your paw in the water could also be fun. After all, it splashes so nicely when you splash on the surface of the water, and the water moves so funny afterwards. However, you should take boredom with cats seriously and check whether your kitty has enough employment opportunities and you play enough with it. If so, it may also be that your fur nose simply does not like standing water and therefore prefers to drink when the surface circles. A drinking fountain could help here.

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Paw drunk as a sign of uncertainty?

If your cat looks nervous or anxious while dipping its paw in the water, uncertainty may be the reason for its strange behavior. If she takes a break after each paw dip and looks around hectically, she may be under stress. Have there been changes in the cat household that could have unsettled them?

Perhaps the space for the drinking bowl is unfavorable, for example because there is a lot of through traffic and your kitty is constantly disturbed. Try other places and distribute several water bowls in the house, then your velvet paw feels safer and can drink in peace.

Cat's eyes don't see as well anymore

Cats may dip their paw in the water to test the water depth. Normally, the subtle animals can best recognize them by looking at the water source. But when the eyes get worse, it doesn't work as well. In case of doubt, a visit to the veterinarian is particularly recommended for older cats, in which eyes and eyesight are checked.

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