Many cats will shun their water bowl in favor of the kitchen or bathtub faucet. They seem to actually prefer getting their moisture from the occasional drip rather than the bowl filled with water. So why do cats prefer the faucet over the bowl?
Cats have desert dwellers in their genetic history. Therefore they have learned to survive on very little water. In the wild, much of their water can be garnered from their prey. The feline body is also a great conservator of water. If you examine their urine it is extremely concentrated because their kidneys are so effective at retaining water and eliminating only waste. Fecal material is typically very dry too as the bowel is expert at absorbing water back into the body through its mucosal lining.
So while cats do not need water as often as a dog or a human, they still require it. The issue in the home is how the water is made available. The reason your cat may not prefer to drink out of the bowl is because he cannot see the water. Cats react to sound and movement. A still water bowl does not make a sound nor does it move. Your cat may not even notice the water bowl is there. Another issue your cat may have is a feeling of vulnerability. If the water bowl is in a corner or you have a multi-pet household your cat may feel unsafe drinking from the bowl. Finally, their feral instincts may tell them standing water could potentially be dangerous or contaminated.
As a result of the feline issues surrounding the water bowl cats can prefer to drink from running water. Water from a faucet or a hose or a fountain can be seen and heard so it is easy to find. Because the water is constantly running dangerous contaminants are flushed out. In addition, the faucet is typically in an area where the cat feels safe or is able to reach safety if threatened. In addition running water may be cooler and more preferable in a hot environment.
Cats like to drink out of a faucet because the dripping sound the water makes is attractive to the thirsty kitty. And, not only does it quench their thirst but some cats can have fun playing in the water. Cats can be seen batting the water droplets around, trying to catch them with their paws or taking a shower under the drip. Some cats love water so much they will learn how to turn on the faucet. Also it is not true that all cats hate water. Cats in the wild like tigers can often be seen bathing in ponds or crossing rivers. So genetically speaking cats can have an innate affinity for the wet stuff. If you find your cat turning on water faucets and your money is going down the drain….try purchasing a pet fountain. This may help prevent water waste. And you will have a happy hydrated kitty!