Why Does My Cat Drink From the Toilet?

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Cats drink from toilets due to thirst, fascination with unusual sounds and playfulness. They sometimes even prefer drinking toilet water over the water in their bowls because it tastes fresher and therefore better to them.

Water Freshness and Coolness

Toilet water often seems fresher to cats than the H20 that's been lingering in their bowls for a couple hours. When you flush your toilet, the water switches out so it's never stale. If you just flushed your toilet, it has increased oxygen in it, too.

The water in toilets is also usually cooler. Animals are innately attracted to cool water. In nature, cool, flowing water often indicates water that's a lot less potentially hazardous than warm and motionless water, too. If the water in your toilet is currently running, your cat may find it even more exciting to drink from it.

Water and Survival Instincts

Cats hail from the African savanna. Not only do savannas lack trees, but they also lack a lot of water. If a cat in the wild locates a water source such as a flowing river, that can help sustain her. If your cat likes drinking from the toilet, it could be related to her survival instinct.

Curiosity and Playfulness

Cats are curious creatures who like to investigate new and unusual things in their surroundings. If your cat has a penchant for drinking from the toilet, it could be because the bubbling and swirling noises it produces are fascinating to her.

The desire to play can sometimes encourage cats to drink water out of the toilet. If your cat's living environment has a shortage of stimulating options, she may resort to drinking from the toilet as a means of entertaining herself. Cats sometimes enjoy looking at water whirling down the toilet. If your cat zooms to the toilet right after you flush it, it could mean she wants to look at the water moving. Clever cats are occasionally even able to flush toilets on their own.

Potential Risks

Although it isn't unusual for cats to want to drink from toilets, it's still not a good idea. Not only do toilets contain bacteria that can give cats gastrointestinal woes, but they also sometimes contain cleaning products that can upset their bellies or be toxic. Cats can fall ill if they drink water from toilets used by people who have salmonella or E. coli infections, too.

Prevention Options

You can protect your pet from the potential hazards of toilet water by always shutting the lid. You can also discourage toilet drinking behavior by feeding your cat wet food that will help satisfy her thirst. Moist food consists of roughly 75 percent water.

Investing in a drinking fountain designed for cats can also be effective. These fountains offer the advantages of toilet water without any of the drawbacks. The water is cool and flowing but isn't chock-full of bacteria.

Changing your cat's water bowl also may help. If it's plastic, like many are, it'll likely retain unpleasant smells. If your cat turns her nose up at drinking the water in her bowl, it could mean that the taste -- and smell -- is off-putting to her. Invest in a ceramic or stainless steel water bowl for your cat. Cleaning these bowls is simple. Ceramic and stainless steel bowls also don't usually contribute to unpleasant water flavors, either.

If your cat's toilet drinking is the result of playfulness, you might be able to prevent it by playing with her more, getting her interactive toys and improving her environment with a window perch or cat tree, for example.

Tip

  • If your cat has started drinking from the toilet bowl, it could signify increased thirst, a potential symptom of many medical conditions including diabetes. Schedule an appointment with the veterinarian to make sure your pet's habit isn't associated with an illness.

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