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Why Is My Cat Drinking Out of My Water Glass? 7 Possible Reasons


May 1, 2023
bengal cat drinking water


bengal cat drinking water

Most cats love to drink water from glasses. It’s one of the odd feline behaviors that cat companions sometimes wonder about. Many cats just can’t seem to help themselves when it comes to drinking from glasses! Some even go so far as to sneak sips behind their owners’ backs. But why do cats seem congenitally unable to resist drinking from water glasses? What causes this particular feline behavior? Read on to learn more about why cats are drawn to drinking from water glasses and ways to address the behavior.


The 7 Reasons Why My Cat Is Drinking Out of My Water Glass

1. Instinct

Cats in the wild are predators and prey, meaning they don’t like being predictable! Cats often prefer to drink and eat in separate locations since it makes it more difficult for predators to find them. Even though cats have lived alongside humans for millennia, they still retain the instincts that allow them to thrive in the wild without human assistance, like preferences for separate eating and drinking spots. Your cat may be drinking from your water glass simply because it’s a source of fresh water that’s not near its food bowl.

Maine coon cat drinking water with tongue from tap
Image Credit: GrashAlex, Shutterstock

2. Illness

Cats that aren’t feeling well often exhibit changes in their eating and drinking habits. Sick pets sometimes drink from glasses when they’re just thirsty. If your cat has suddenly started drinking from your glass, it may be a sign of increased thirst, which can indicate conditions such as kidney disease.1 Make sure to call your veterinarian if you see any other signs of illness, such as lethargy or weight loss.

3. Freshness

Most cats prefer to consume fresh water. Cats are naturally drawn to running water in the wild because it’s clean and fresh and often contains fewer germs and bacteria than standing water. If you’ve just poured yourself a nice glass of cool water, it makes sense that your cat would be interested in taking a sip. The water in your pet’s bowl may be less appealing if their water bowl isn’t regularly cleaned.

Cats can be pretty particular regarding their environment; many will not drink water if their bowls aren’t clean. Cats can pick up smells that humans can’t even imagine. They often shy away from drinking from bowls that retain bacterial traces, even if the water is fresh. Plastic bowls are notorious for retaining germs and odors. If your cat isn’t happy with their water bowl, they may turn to the clean water in your bacteria-free water glass.

cat drinking fresh water in a bowl
Image Credit: Yuliya Papkova, Shutterstock

4. Height

Cats love to monitor their territory from higher elevations. Water-filled glasses often end up on tables or shelves, which provides easy access for felines that hang out in cat trees and walking platforms.

5. Sensitive Whiskers

Cats’ whiskers are incredibly sensitive, and they often prefer to drink and eat from receptacles that don’t come into contact with their whiskers. Drinking from deep narrow bowls can cause a painful condition called whisker fatigue. Water glasses filled almost to the brim are perfect for feline preferences, as they allow cats to sip away without anything touching their whiskers.

longhair cat drinking water from a pet drinking fountain
Image Credit: Lightspruch, Shutterstock

6. Bullying

Cats with multiple companions sometimes have issues with food bullying, which is when one cat prevents other household pets from enjoying mealtimes. Pets that don’t feel comfortable eating or drinking may turn to less stressful options to meet their basic needs, like your water glass. Why bother dealing with an annoying housemate to get a drink when there’s a glass full of cool water on the table?

7. Temperature

The water in your glass is likely a different temperature than that in your pet’s water fountain or bowl. Cats generally prefer cold water, and if your buddy is drawn to the water in your glass, they may like the temperature. Refreshing your cat’s water multiple times daily or adding an ice cube or two to your pet’s fountain or water bowl might tickle your cat’s taste buds.

white Persian cat drinking from water bowl
Image Credit: Punyaphat Larpsomboon, Shutterstock


Are There Ways to Keep Cats from Drinking from Water Glasses?

Because drinking from water glasses taps into so many natural feline behaviors, convincing cats to stop is often challenging. But you can do a few things to encourage your pet to consume water that’s not in your glass.


Cats usually prefer to drink running water; it’s often a safer choice in the wild, as standing puddles and pools often contain bacteria and parasites. Cat fountains encourage cats to drink more, and most models have filters to keep things fresh.

Daily Cleaning

Regularly washing your cat’s water bowl with soap and hot water can prevent bacteria and odors from accumulating. Consider switching to a stainless steel or ceramic water bowl since plastic bowls are harder to clean and can harbor bacteria.

cat drinking from water bowl
Image Credit: Vershinin89, Shutterstock

New Water Bowls

A cat may dislike its water bowl because it’s pungent, too deep, too narrow, or made from a material they don’t like. A new water bowl may be just what your cat needs. Giving your cat a new, wide stainless steel or ceramic bowl may convince your pet to avoid your water glass.


Are There Ways to Deal With Feline Bullying?

Bullying often happens in multi-pet households when one animal essentially controls the other’s access to food, water, and litter boxes. Providing each cat with its own food and water bowls sometimes helps calm the situation down, and having at least one litter box for each cat is a must. Feeding your pets in different locations may also help.

Is It Safe for Cats to Drink from Water Glasses?

It’s usually not that big of a deal if your cat takes an occasional sip or two from a water glass. However, because cats can carry parasites such as Toxoplasmosis, it’s best not to drink after your cat. Pregnant women and individuals with compromised immune systems should consult a medical professional for guidance on staying safe around pets.



Cats drink from water glasses for all sorts of reasons, from enjoying the taste of fresh water to whisker fatigue. Drinking water from glasses makes sense from a feline perspective! The water tastes great, and it’s in a clean container. It’s not concerning if your pet occasionally sips from your glass, but if it occurs frequently, you should ensure their water bowl is clean and refreshed often, prevent bullying, and find a bowl or fountain your cat prefers.

Featured Image Credit: kalyanby, Shutterstock

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