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If your cat likes to drink from the toilet, you’re probably wondering WHY? Why would a cat choose to drink toilet water when there’s a fresh bowl of water available to him?
There are actually a number of reasons why your cat might prefer drinking from the toilet, so let’s discuss them, and look at what you can do to curb this behaviour.
1. Water Temperature
Let’s look at things from our perspective for a minute. If you’re thirsty, would you rather drink a cool glass of water, or one that’s been sitting around all day, maybe in direct sunlight? That’s right, the water in your toilet might be cooler than the water in his bowl, so he’s making the ‘refreshing’ choice.
2. Water Freshness
How fresh is the water in his bowl? Even though you’re probably thinking ‘but it’s WAY fresher than toilet water!’, if you don’t change his water regularly enough, it’s likely to go stale and not taste that great. The toilet, on the other hand, gets flushed throughout the day, so it probably tastes fresher to him.
I know that drinking from the toilet bowl doesn’t exactly sound fun to us, but if your cat has observed the toilet in full flush it may well have piqued his interest. Lots of cats love running water, so the toilet bowl itself could be a source of fun for him, and while he’s there, he might as well have a drink!
It’s obviously not safe for your cat to drink from the toilet bowl, and while the danger of falling in and drowning is mainly a risk to small kittens, you don’t want to risk it whatever the age and size of your cat. The bacteria that can lurk inside a toilet bowl is going to be bad for your cat’s health if he drinks the water, and any chemical cleaners that you use can be toxic to cats.
How to Stop Your Cat Drinking from the Toilet
The practical way to stop your cat from drinking from the toilet is to keep the toilet lid closed and the bathroom door shut at all times, but that won’t necessarily stop him wanting to drink from the toilet bowl, so you also need to change his behaviour.
Look at making sure that he loves drinking from his own bowl, so make sure you change his water regularly, and wash the bowl in hot water (rinsing well to make sure there are no traces of detergent on there) each time.
If his water is cool and fresh and he still looks longingly towards the bathroom door, he’s probably missing the entertainment factor of drinking from the toilet, so you’ll need to give him things to do that eclipse playing with toilet water.
Look for a pet water fountain that gives him clean running water to play with, and has the added bonus of oxygenating the water as it flows which makes it even fresher.
And, as always, make sure he has plenty of other fun and enriching activities to keep him busy . . . and out of the toilet!
Does your cat drink water from the toilet? What have you done to improve your cat’s drinking water and to deter this behaviour?
Traveling Cats says
That makes a lot of sense. I have noticed that cats drink more if you put several bowls of water around the house, so that might help to prevent them from drinking out of the toilet.
Purrs Full of Love says
Great advice. We always keep the lid down and bathroom door closed so Athena is never allowed in in there. And I always keep her water bowl (actually, it’s a cup!) fresh.
M. K. Clinton says
We always keep out toilet lid down because Bentley loves to drink out of the toilet. BOL
Christy Paws says
The kitties in our house never drink out of the toilet. We couldn’t even if we wanted to. The lid is always down!
Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady says
We have has to start closing our toilet lid because one of our kitties likes to drink out of it! They always have water, but for some reason she likes the toilet!!!
The Island Cats says
That’s one thing we never do. The mom keeps the cover down most of the time.
Brian Frum says
We are doing good here, the lids are always down and we have several fountains, which we all love!
The cats here do not drink out of the toilet but I do keep the lid shut. I just don’t want them to fall in. They have lots of places to drink water where it gets changed every day. I didn’t know it would be entertaining them to do that.
Have a great everning.
Sharon S. says
I never thought that it might be entertaining for a cat to drink from the toilet. I like the idea of using a fountain to entertain them instead. My cats love drinking from the dog’s designated water bowl. They aspire to be just like him. Now my dog only wants to drink from an outside bowl to get away from the cats! Life in a multi-species home is always interesting.
Our cats have shown interest in the toilet, so we always keep the lid closed when it’s not being used. We also bought them a pet fountain, which they all love! 🙂
Fur Everywhere says
I had no idea cats actually drank from the toilet, but I guess it makes sense. I’ve always kept the toilet lid shut in my house so that my cats never got tempted to look in there in the first place.
Victoria Carter says
My cats actually won’t drink out of anything but our water fountain. I don’t mind, I know that they drink more water this way. The fact that I catch them drinking from it more often and that they remind me to ‘refill’ it tells me that they are indeed drinking more frequently.
My husband didn’t believe me until after I had just refilled it and we took the dogs out on a day trip with all four cats left inside the house (we have two that fight us to stay outside). When we came home at least an inch to two inches of water had moved from the reservoir to the active well, proving that they drank more than from a plain water bowl, despite his constantly refreshing the water in the bowl.
Victoria Carter says
Oh, and forgot to mention that we never leave the toilet lid up, which tends to annoy my guests since they never worry about it and I always either remind them or go in afterwards to close the lid. It is a health issue for humans too, leaving the lid up when you flush aerosolizes a lot of the bacteria in the bowl, keeping the the lid shut helps minimize the spreading of that bacterial.
Cathy Connolly says
We keep the lid shut too, Dad had to replace the stool when I was little and threw one of my rubber balls in and it got REALLY STUCK. Oh, Mom was not happy 🙁
The Swiss Cats says
Mum keeps the toilet lid always shut since Angel Hercule decided to have a foot bath in it and almost stayed stuck with the four paws at the bottom (and for the same reasons as Summer wrote) ! Purrs
Oh, this brings back memories to college and all of the signs I had to put up all over my apartment to remind everyone to put the seat down and close the bathroom door. I even had one that let the guys know it wasn’t for me or other girls but for the safety of the cats and the bird!
My human keeps the toilet lid shut always, and it is not only because of us kitties – she read somewhere about how far the drops spread when humans flush and she was disgusted! So she keeps a lid on so it doesn’t spray when she flushes.