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Water Dish Placement


TCS Member
Thread starter
Alpha Cat
Sep 26, 2015
So I recently read something that said "cats prefer to eat away from their water" due to "instinct". I know some animals have interesting habits, so I very well could believe this, but before I go about changing my entire setup I want to make sure it really is true. My kitty is very sensitive about her diet, but I haven't once seen her drink water. I've had her since she was two weeks old and I can't remember I time I've seen her even interested in her water dish. Now, she lives almost entirely off wet food (I supplement it with dry that she likes to eat from time to time), so I'm not too concerned about dehydration, but sometimes I'm gone all day and she doesn't get fresh food. She lives in my bedroom so its just one water dish and than her one wet food dish and one dry food dish. I could try a fountain if necessary.

Side-note, my cat is special-needs and has always been a little unique in the way she does things.

Anyways, I was wondering if anyone had any idea on whether or not water dish placement affects how cats drink.



Time spent with cats is never wasted.
Top Cat
Apr 14, 2018
I’m not sure if there is much evidence to substantiate the claim that cats prefer to have their water dish away from their food. In actuality, cats rarely drink from a water hole in the wild, they prefer their water to be literally inside their food. A cat that goes to their water bowl a lot is dehydrated. I feed all wet/raw too and two of my cats don’t drink water, the third drinks maybe once a week.

I keep water out for them close to where they get fed (food never sits out because they get timed wet meals). Again though, I really don’t think placement matters that much.


Charlie's Purrson
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Feb 18, 2017
This thread discusses water bowl placement a bit: Food Bowl Placement

When I adopted Charlie, the people at the shelter told me that I shouldn’t put his food and water next to each other, so that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. I’m not sure what degree the placement of a water bowl would affect a cat’s drinking habits. What can make more of a difference is the type of water bowl. Some cats prefer drinking from a fountain, because it makes the water taste fresher. Charlie, on the other hand, will only drink from a standard bowl. I did buy him a fountain, but he is scared of the sound of the flowing water.
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TCS Member
Thread starter
Alpha Cat
Sep 26, 2015
Thanks for the responses! And for the link, that helps. It seems like it depends on the cat. I can see why you wouldn't want food and water close, just because the food falls into the water and contaminates it. I can also see how cat that eat more neatly might not mind. Since Nocturne eats mostly wet food I think she should be okay. I just worry because she is so sensitive that when she gets a stomach upset she gets diarrhea and I don't want her to get dehydrated.


TCS Member
Adult Cat
Jun 17, 2018
Nanning, China
Marx has two water bowls, one right next to his food and another one in our living room - he drinks from that in the living room almost after every meal, I have never seen him drink from the other one (and it's almost always full, so I guess he ignores that one) so I guess there's maybe some truth to it.


TCS Member
Young Cat
Jan 26, 2013
Toronto, Canada
Poppy, a former shelter cat, has been with me for 5 years. Based on the recommendation of the shelter vet, I spent a fortune on various water fountains that Poppy ignored. I've put water bowls next to her food bowl, I've tried them across the room and in different rooms.

I've never seen Poppy at all interested in drinking from the water bowl. She ignores water completely. I still put down a clean water bowl each day, across the room from her food bowl, but I know I do it for me, not for Poppy.

She has had wet food since she's been with me. I brush her every day, and her fur is shiny, rich, and shows she is well hydrated, so I don't worry about hydration. I've read articles on how to get your cat to drink more, and articles that say cats don't have a strong thirst drive.

So ... I suggest you take a clue from your cat. Some cats drink water, some don't. I'd be more concerned to see a cat drink water if that cat is fed dry food. But your cat might be getting all the water she needs from her food.


Kitty on the half shell, tortie power!
Top Cat
Apr 4, 2018
Littleton, CO
Gohan definitely drank more water from the bowl away from the food than next to it. He’s also an avid fountain drinker.

Trin doesn’t seem to care, and prefers a bowl to a fountain. So I think there’s truth to it but some cats don’t care?


TCS Member
Alpha Cat
May 28, 2018
I think it depends upon the cat. For Raja and Mizu we have one fountain that is a distance away from the food, one water bowl near the food and one water bowl in my bedroom that is usually not near food but I will sometimes put dry there for a snack. Mizu prefers the fountain only and ignores the water bowls completely. Raja prefers the water bowls, especially the one nearest to her food.


TCS Member
Top Cat
Dec 13, 2017
my guys are all different, so i think it does depend on the cat. May be worth putting down a few different bowls in different places and watch? I feed in the dinning room, and do not have water bowls there. I have fountains and water bowls in the one living room, two bedrooms, sun room, downstairs in the office, and in the kitchen. ( and yes, my husband makes fun of me :flail:) one will drink out of anything, anywhere, one will only drink from the fountains, and two will only drink from the bowls????? cats are odd, so i keep all the options out to encourage more water :spew: