Q: My cat keeps turning on the faucet because she prefers to drink from it instead of her water dish. How can I get her to stop?
A: Some cats prefer running water because they can see and hear it better than still water. But before we tackle your problem, first things first: If this is a new behavior, take your cat in for a vet check to make sure the change isn't related to an underlying illness. If she gets a clean bill of health, the following changes may help.
Many cats prefer high places. The sink may seem like a safer place to fill up her tank than down on the floor, especially if the water bowl is in a heavily trafficked area such as the kitchen, or if she shares it with other pets. Try placing her water bowl up high in a less frequented area, maybe on a guest bath counter. If you have multiple pets in your home, provide several water dishes, each in a different area.
Make sure the bowl isn't near the litter box. Cats don't like to eat or drink in the same area where they pee and poop.
Water from the faucet may taste better, especially if you aren't washing pet bowls daily. Use an unscented dish soap and rinse thoroughly to make sure there's no unpleasant soap residue. And use glass or ceramic bowls instead of plastic, which can retain odors.
Cats that like drinking free-flowing water may enjoy a pet fountain. Providing one could help redirect your cat away from the sink. Place a soft treat on the edge to garner her attention, or ask your veterinarian about flavored additives that could pique her interest.
Reward her anytime you see her drinking out of the fountain or bowl.
Marty Becker and Mikkel Becker
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