My cat suddenly doesn’t use water fountains anymore?!


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Young Cat
Aug 5, 2018
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Ok so this story goes a bit back. My cats grew up learning to drink water from a water fountain. They had no issues with it at all and have been drinking from water fountains for more than a year now.

Then I went on a vacation for a week. When I returned, I started to observe that none of the cats wanted to drink from the fountain anymore. I kept experimenting with this theory - I cleaned the fountains several times (thinking it was perhaps dirty?) then when they still didn’t drink from it, I went ahead and purchased several types of water fountains and all to naught.

Long story short - suddenly my cats just don’t like water fountains anymore?

But I could tell that one of my cats still had desire for water because she was always trying to drink water from the sink so I started putting out water bowls, along with the fountains. I see my cat trying to drink from the water bowls but she always does this weird thing where she tries to dig around the water bowl and paws at it aggressively like she doesn’t know how to drink from it?

What a strange few months it has been! Cats are so finicky and strange! Anyone else knows how cats like to drink water?


Time spent with cats is never wasted.
Top Cat
Apr 14, 2018
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Cats have low thirst drives so it's actually really unnatural for them to drink water, although some cats will show a liking for it. They are more likely to drink water when they eat a low moisture diet of primarily kibble because kibble is dehydrating. Did you change their diet recently? Have they been eating more wet food?


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Jun 13, 2018
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Central FL (Born in OH)
Hi. Who watched your cats when you were gone? Did they do anything differently regarding the fountain, or water dishes in general?
I think the one cat who is pawing at the water is trying to make the water move like the fountains, as that is what she has been used to.
I don't even have a clue as to why all of them don't want to drink from the fountains anymore; but you could turn on a water faucet on in a sink and see if they drink from that. I am sure you don't want to leave it running all the time, but if they do use the faucet, perhaps try setting a fountain inside the sink and see if that makes a difference. Do any of your fountains mimic free falling water like a faucet?

Caspers Human

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Super Cat
Feb 23, 2016
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Casper never drinks from one place.

He's got three main drinking spots in different places around the house. None of them are what you would call a "regular" water bowl.

First, he has a glass fish bowl where we used to have a Siamese Fighting fish. Casper used to play in the fish bowl and drink from it so, when the fish expired, we cleaned out the bowl and kept it for Casper to drink from.

Second, we noticed that he liked to drink and play under the dripping bathtub faucet so I never bothered to fix it. I let it drip, slowly, for him. We can always tell when he's been in the tub because his head and neck will be all wet. When Casper jumps up on the bed or sofa for love and attention and we feel his fur all wet, we know exactly where he's been! ;)

We also have a watering can that we use for the house plants that Casper seems to like the most. We'll see him hop up to the shelf where we keep it to take a drink, sometimes, several times per day. We don't put any plant food or anything else in the water just because we know Casper likes to drink from there.

So... Taking from Casper... I don't think that cats like to drink from any one place. I think they like to have different sources of water and I think that they'll drink from different sources, in rotation, throughout the days, maybe weeks at a time.

I also know that cats don't necessarily care to have their water and food in the same place. I suppose humans consider it the right way but I bet cats think use humans are weird for doing it. ;)

I suggest putting out more than one source of water, in different places, away from food then just let the cats rotate from one water source to another. I bet they'll eventually come back to the fountain.

Also, try moving the cats' existing water source to a different location. Casper's fish bowl is on a table next to the breakfast nook window. His watering can is in the living room, near the patio door and his faucet is in the upstairs bathroom. None of them are in what humans would think of as a traditional watering place.

As I said, I bet cats think that their humans are weird for the places where they get their water. ;)


May the purr be with you
Dec 22, 2005
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Two of our cats, past and present, prefer to drink out of the dog's water bowl. :biggrin: It just goes to show they have their preferences and as long as they drink that's the most important thing.

Who watched your cats when you were gone? Did they do anything differently regarding the fountain, or water dishes in general?
I had the same exact thoughts, great minds think alike! :thumbsup: Did the person watching your cats change the water in their bowls daily?