Why Do Cats Dip Their Paw in Water Bowls?

Cats have certain behaviors that can be puzzling to their owners. One common cat habit is to stick a paw in a bowl of drinking water. So, why do cats do this? Cats have a number of motivations for wetting their paw. One relates to the sensitivity of their whiskers. If a cat dips their head into a bowl before sampling how shallow or deep it might be, they run the risk of feeling pressure on their whiskers. To avoid the discomfort, cats will assess the bowl’s “feel” by dipping their paw into the water. Another reason cats dip their paws is to create ripples in the water. Cats have an instinct to choose water sources that are flowing rather than stagnant. The act of dipping their paw in the water creates the ripple effect, which makes the cat feel more comfortable that the water is not stagnant. The very best bowl — and one that will eliminate the need for paw dipping — is a pet fountain. The constant water circulation helps to promote good pet hygiene, while the filters refresh your pet's water.