Why Do Cats Like Running Water? (Explained)

Cats will often be seen taking sips of water throughout the day. They have to stay hydrated just like humans, which makes it important for them to stay close to water sources. When it comes to a subject like this, you will often wonder, why do cats like running water?

Cats associate running water with natural, free-flowing water that’s fresh. In comparison, cats don’t prefer still water (i.e. puddles) unless they have no other option.

It’s very similar to a human not wanting to drink out of an old glass of water because it might be stale and/or unhealthy.

Key factors include:

  • Type of Running Water
  • Cat’s Thirst
  • Quality of Water Source

When asking “Why do cats like running water?” most of your focus should be on understanding what the cat is seeing. Most of them are going to see a running source of water and assume it is fresh. It is more in line with what they prefer.

Whether this is a waterfall or a running tap, they are going to enjoy being around it for a quick sip or wash.

This guide will answer “Why do cats like running water?” with an eye towards highlighting some of the benefits of running water for cats and why they love this type of water source.

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Reasons Cats Love Running Water

1. Fresh

Cats love running water because it’s fresh.

Even if the actual water isn’t fresh, their instinct is going to assume that’s the case. The reason for this has to do with how they are wired psychologically to look for water sources in their territory.

Most cats will want to go towards running streams of water (i.e. rivers, lakes) because they are easier to drink from and are often better-tasting. There is less doubt about how clean the water is in comparison to a puddle of old rainwater.

When asking “Why do cats like running water?” it is best to start with freshness because that’s what a cat is going to be thinking when they hear or see running water.

It will kick their instinct into high gear and they are going to inspect the running water immediately. This is common because in the wild running water is easier to pinpoint and that makes it a more reliable source of water for cats.

why do cats like running water

2. Closer To Natural Sources of Water

When asking “Why do cats like running water?” you also have to understand what the cat is focusing on as it moves towards the running water.

It is going to assume the water is a natural source.

This is key because anything that has been “contaminated” will not be preferred by the cat. They are particular about what they drink and that includes water.

Cats will often prefer going close to a lake, river, and/or waterfall because the water is running and is therefore cleaner compared to a stale puddle of water.

If they find a running stream of water, it is far easier for the cat to rely on what it is drinking.

This alone is a major reason for cats liking running water sources.

why do cats like running water

3. Refreshing

This is an underrated reason for why cats like running water.

Most will want to go to a refreshing source of water that is moving. The reason for this has to do with how the water moves and how it feels when it is running across their body.

They will like dipping inside the water and that is much easier when it is moving.

Cats prefer running water as it can make it a more refreshing experience compared to taking a sip out of a puddle.

While cats don’t mind puddles, they will prefer running water.

It is far more refreshing and that is based on their experience as time goes on. They will start to realize water that moves is refreshing and easier to drink without worrying about contamination or bad taste.

Related Questions

1. Is Running Water Better For Cats?

Yes, running water is better for cats such as a water fountain or running tap. This has because it recreates a cat’s natural sources of water as it’s their instinct to look for free-flowing water in the wild.

2. Do Cats Prefer Drinking Moving Water?

Yes, cats prefer drinking moving water as it is more in line with natural, free-flowing sources of water such as waterfalls, rivers, and/or lakes. Indoor cats will often prefer drinking from a water fountain or running tap in comparison to a water bowl due to this reason.

Final Thoughts

“Why do cats like running water?”

Cats like running water because it is fresher, better-tasting, and is less likely to be filled with contaminants. This is something they have a natural instinct for and it starts from a young age.

Here’s more on cats – how to introduce kittens to each other, how to help a still pregnant cat, reasons for cat acting oddly after visiting the vet, and how to help a cat that keeps walking around.