Why Do Cats Knock Over Water Explained | Glasses, Dishes etc.

Okay, so I have been thinking of covering this topic on the peculiar relationship of cats with water from a long time.

I am fairly sure that if you have ever seen even one random funny cat video, you have seen cats knock water over to the annoyance of their owner.

And not to mention for a good laugh of onlookers like us.

Why am I so keen to discuss this topic is because, there are multiple facets to this attitude of cats.

Some cats love water and you will often find them in your bathroom playing with water faucet or splashing water from your bath tub.

Siberian cats as we discussed in our do Siberian cats get along with dogs post, do indeed enjoy water faucets and water splashing.

On the other hand, some get possessed and start howling like a demon when they sense bath time.

And also, there are multiple questions around cats and water.

For example, some cat owners ask why do cats knock over water in general, some ask why do cats knock over their water glasses, some complain their cat knocks over her drinking water bowl and so on.

You get the idea, right?

So, in this post let’s learn what is this mysterious relationship of cats with water that they find it particularly pleasurable to knock it over.

Reasons Why Cats Knock Over Water

Well, in all honesty why exactly your particular cat is knocking water over can be very difficult to pin point.

As I said there are various facets to the query and will depend on so many factors.

However, these are the most probable reasons why your cat may be knocking over water.

  • She is being playful.
  • As a way to learn more about their environment.
  • She senses that the stagnant water in her dish as stale.
  • She is uncomfortable using the water bowl or water dish.
  • She doesn’t like the water bowl location.
  • She prefers drinking from fresh running water sources.
  • As a way to get your attention.
  • She is bored and is using the water bowl as a toy.

These are the most likely reasons why your cat may be knocking over water.

As I said, why putting a finger on the precise reason why your cat maybe knocking over water may be difficult.

But I am fairly sure one or more of the reasons listed above should be triggering her.

Let me now narrow the domain a little bit and pick up certain particular cases which appeal to a majority of cat owners and explain why cats do what they do.

Let’s start with water glasses. So,

Why Do Cats Knock Over Water Glasses?

Remember this video?

I think the title of the video does great justice to the video and also give us the reason why he is knocking the water glass over.

He is just being a thug, you see.

He is just being a cat. He is being playful and using his innate capacity cats are blessed with to make you suffer without being apologetic about it.

Seriously, imagine if a dog did this.

There will be guilty written all over his face.

Anyways, the point being the context is important.

He first throws off the remote of the counter and then proceeds to do the same with the water glass.

This is a typical playful behavior of cat and you shouldn’t be too worried about it.

So, these are the reasons why cats knock over water glasses.

If he is not being playful, he or she maybe knocking over water glass because,

  • Cats are cleanliness freaks and it may just happen that his water bowl may be dirty or filled with stale water and as such he is just hunting for fresh water.
  • Another reason can be that he is just thirsty and far away from his water bowl. He wants to be around you and using the immediately available water source is just convenient.
  • He’s bored. He isn’t receiving as much stimulating play experience as he should and is using the water glass to get your attention, affection or play time.

Now, you see what you need to do?

If you find any of the above reasons being the case, take the appropriate corrective action.

Don’t worry I will lay out exact steps in the section below.

Why Do Cats Knock Over Their Water Dishes Or Bowls?

Okay so here is where things may get a little tricky.

Knocking over water glasses maybe attributed to her quirky and weird behavior.

But when she is knocking over her water dishes or water bowls there are few more reasons that come into play.

Here are the most probable ones.

  • Bad Bowl Design
  • Your cat’s affinity to drink from fresh flowing sources.
  • Water in the bowl isn’t replenished regularly.
  • Water bowl being shared by more than one cat.
  • Your cat may have associated bowl tipping with attention.

So, your cat is knocking over her water dish or bowl because,

The water bowl that she might be using currently has bad design. A cat’s water bowl must be shallow and broad so that it’s walls don’t obstruct her whiskers.

And must also have a heavy base so that she doesn’t accidently knock it over or learn to knock it over to harness your attention.

Cats have retained their ability to find fresh water in the wild. They associate flowing water as a safe and fit for drinking.

So, it is possible she might be receiving her dose of fresh water from flowing source like your water faucet and is expressing her displeasure with her bowl by knocking it over.

If you have lived or at least observed a cat attentively you know cats are neat freaks. If the water in her bowl isn’t replenished at regular intervals, you are giving her a valid reason to knock her bowl over.

If cats are neat freaks, the other thing they most definitely are, are territorials.

If you have more than one cat in your household, it is always good to have separate food and water bowls for each of your cat.

Many cat owners claim that their cats have no problem in sharing water bowls, but I recommend if you are experiencing a water bowl knocking over problem, try switching to separate water bowls.

Cats learn fast. Sometimes cats associate various acts as a means to harness your attention.

And if she sees that knocking her bowl over brings you to pay attention to her, guess what.

She is training YOU.

Why Does My Cat Paw At Her Water Bowl?

Ever observed your cat looking at her water dish as if it is the most interesting object in the world.

And after a good couple of minutes she paws at it similar to what we do before checking if the temperature of our bath water.

But what exactly are cats doing when she paws at her water bowl.

Here are the most probable reasons for this behavior,

An Attempt To Draw Food Or Water Out

As explained, cats have sensitive whiskers, which have their own nerve endings.

They use to gauge and sense their environment.

If the bowl and its walls are causing discomfort to your cat, she may be attempting to knock over the food or water bowl to bring the contents out to eat or drink it.

Your Cat May Prefer Flowing Water Over Stagnant Dish Water

The evolutionary memory in your cat may be kicking in where she relates flowing water with freshness.

Her attempt at pawing her water may be to emulate a flowing water source that she regards as fit for drinking.

If this is indeed the case, it is highly likely that you will find your cat drinking out of your water faucet.

She Is Insecure About her Environment

This usually happens in a house that home multiple cats.

Especially in the beginning when the new cat has not yet been accustomed to the presence of other cats.

She may be keeping her guard up and not lowering herself into her bowl because she may be insecure.

Therefore, it goes without saying that proper placement of feeders is very important.

She Is Just being Playful

Hey cats are weird, alright.

In a cute way of course.

We may lay out different reasons to the best of our ability but here is the fact, cats are just cats you see.

They won’t stop being one.

So, just like she finds other things you can’t predict as her play toy, she may be messing around with the water surface.

This is especially true with kittens who are trying to figure out the world with their new eyes.

If you establish that you cat or kitten is pawing around with water a lot in a playful way, try and increase her playtime with interactive and puzzle toys.

You can learn how to make simple but effective play toys using household materials here.

How To Stop Cat From Spilling Water Bowl?

Okay now that we now why do cats knock over water, I feel its my responsibility to also teach you how to stop cats from knocking their water bowl and spilling water.

Well, I think reading the reasons you probably would have guessed all the corrective actions.

Nevertheless, here are the different things that you can do.

Use Water Bowls With Good Design

You won’t believe how common this reason is and how many bad bowl designs there are.

If you have a water bowl that is deep and has a narrow opening, your cat will likely develop a dislike towards it.

This is because it is common knowledge that cats have sensitive whiskers. Cat whiskers contain their own blood supply and nerves.

And obstruction to these whiskers from bowl walls while eating or drinking cause a lot of discomfort to them.

Therefore, whenever she feels hungry or thirsty, she is likely to knock the bowl over to drink or eat.

So, never skimp out on quality especially when essential supplies for cat is concerned.

In addition, to bowls being shallow and broad, they must have a heavy base so that they don’t get knocked or tipped easily.

At the end of this post, I will relay the best untippable and spill proof cat water bowl that have great designs.

Get A Recirculating Water Fountain

I think I have mentioned this in a lot of places in this blog how cats have still retained many of their wild traits in the process of domestication.

In the wilderness, cats consume fresh water from flowing resources like rivers and small waterfalls.

Because of this reason you will sometimes find them trying to drink water from the faucet in the bathroom.

If you see this behavior expressed by a cat often, invest immediately in a good fresh water automatic water fountain.

I have listed out some of the best water fountains you can get your hands on in this post in addition to mentioning some in the bottom of this post.

Do that and you will see that your cat will stop knocking your water dish over in search for fresh water.

Replenish Water In The Bowl Regularly

Till the time you get a better bowl or a recirculating cat water fountain make sure you are replenishing her water bowl regularly with fresh water.

As mentioned, cats are very particular about cleanliness, routine, territory and fresh water.

So, make sure you keep regularly replenishing her dish with fresh water at regular intervals.

Choose The Right Place To Keep Her Food And Water Bowls

I can’t stress enough how important this is.

You need to find a place to feed your cat where there isn’t a lot of traffic and she can eat and drink her meal in ease and peace.

If you have multiple cats see that none of them have their guards up and are eating in a relaxed way.

In other words, ensure that the environment where she eats is secured and comfortable and doesn’t cause sudden shocks or disturbances.

Have More Active Playtimes With Your Cat

If after reading the entire post, you have established that your cat is bored and that may be the reason she is knocking over her water.

Ensure that you have active playtimes with your cat.

I think I need to point this out here that you may say I give a lot of attention and affection to my cat but please understand while attention and affection is important its isn’t enough with cats.

For their proper physical and behavioral cats need a lot of active playtimes that stimulates them at physical and mental levels.

So, if your cat is sufficiently exercised and stimulated you will find that your cat won’t develop any unwanted behavior patterns.

Best Untippable Cat Water Bowls

So now that we know the precise reasons as to why cats knock over water and how to stop them from spilling their water and water bowls, its time for some actionable steps.

Probably the best thing that you can possibly do is get one of these untippable and spill proof cat water bowls for cats.

I am not going to go into absolute details of each of these bowls, but all of the selections are chosen on the basis of quality, ruggedness, pet friendliness, research and my own personal experience.

So, you don’t need to give a single thought and choose bowls that appeal to you, directly.

1.No Spill Stainless Steel Pet Water Bowls By URPOWER

  • Perfect two in one food and water feeder station held down using non-skid silicone material.
  • Ideal for cats who are notorious in splashing water everywhere.
  • Convenient elevation.
  • Good for large cats as well.
URPOWER Dog Bowls Stainless Steel Dog Bowl with No Spill Non-Skid Silicone Mat 53 oz Feeder Bowls Pet Bowl for Dogs Cats and Pets
  • Full Dinner Set - Set of 2 Dog Bowls (30 OZ for each bowl). Double bowls design holds water and food at the same time, making feeding time more manageable.
  • Non-Skidding & Flipping - Silicone stand keeps the bowl from skidding on the floor and doesn’t slide all over the place when your dog is eating.
  • No-Spill Silicone Mat- The extra large base of the silicone stand catches any spills so your floor stays clean.
  • Rust Resistant Stainless Steel - Made of high quality stainless steel with an unique silicone bottom, it's your BEST choice for your pet's feeding time. Both silicone stand and stainless steel bowl are dishwasher safe.
  • Perfect for Medium Sized Dogs and Cats - Dogs, cats and pets of all kinds love these neat, attractive and convenient feeding stations.

2. No-Spill Resin Station By UPSKY

  • Great design with multiple color options.
  • 0.8-inch base elevation for comfortable eating.
  • Easy to clean and replenish.
  • Smart spill protection keep the floor clean.

3.Necoichi Porcelain Elevated Heavy Base Bowl

  • One of my personal favorites.
  • Porcelain construction.
  • Beautiful design and available in attractive styles.
  • Unique heavy base, curved design avoids toppling and spills.
  • Nice elevation and easy to clean
Necoichi Raised Cat Water Bowl, Elevated, with Measurement Lines, Dishwasher and Microwave Safe, No.1 Seller in Japan! (Cat, Regular)
  • HELP YOUR FELINE FRIEND HYDRATE IN COMFORT with the Necoichi Raised Cat Water Bowl that will serve your cat water at mouth-level, to help it drink with ease, without putting a strain on its neck.

4. Catit recirculating Water Fountain.

I have created a separate post relaying the best water fountains for cats.

You can either check it out or go ahead and choose my personal best which is this one.

If you find your cat busy with water faucets too often, get this now.

Catit Flower Fountain with Triple Action Filter, Cat Drinking Water Fountain, 3 L, Green
  • Cat fountain features 3 different water flow settings for picky drinkers and offers maximum oxygenation for fresher, better tasting cat water; the unique design filters water so that it always stays fresh
  • Can hold up to 3L in the cat water bowl and takes up little floor space; dimensions are 9.0 x 8.3 x 7.7 inches
  • Includes triple action softening cat water filter and small energy-efficient pump with power cord (if an extension cord is necessary, connection must be watertight and dust proof); made of BPA-free materials
  • Ergonomic design matches the Catit Multi Feeder; combine the cat water fountain and cat feeder to create a cat feeding station for a complete dining experience
  • If the cat water fountain pump is making excessive noise, be sure to check the water level as it is most likely low

5.Hepper Whisker Friendly Spill Free Dual Bowls

  • Designed specifically to prevent whisker fatigue.
  • Clean and simple design.
  • Nice spill proof base.
  • Shallow and wide stainless steel bowls.
Hepper 360 Cat Feeder, Stainless Steel, Anti-Chew Material, Dishwasher Safe, 2-Pack
  • NO MESS - The 360° tray on this cat food and water bowl set has a raised design to catch and contain stray crumbs and drips. Protect your indoors and floors from wet and messy meals!
  • WHISKER FRIENDLY - Shallow and wide metal containers with flat bottoms ensure your kitty can enjoy mealtime free from whisker fatigue!
  • CHEW-SAFE MATERIALS - Kittens and cats love chewing on silicone and soft rubber - but it's a choking hazard. Our cat feeding station materials are anti-chew for a 100% safe feeding frenzy!
  • SWIFT CLEAN - Every part is dishwasher-safe, including 2x stainless steel cat dishes for food and water that snap in and out of the pet bowl stand for easy cleaning and filling!
  • HEPPER MADE - NomNom's designer was trained at the Pratt Institute of Design and worked for Harvard's Wyss Institute. Our modern and ergonomic designs bring love to homes and cats. Patent pending.

Alright guys, with that we are at the end of this article on why cats knock over water.

I really hope I was able to put the peculiar relationship of cats with water into perspective and answer some of the most commonly asked questions.

I also dearly hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

If you have any other query regarding the post or cats in general leave them in the comments section and I will answer it to the best of my abilities.

Do not forget to subscribe to this blog(see subscription box below) and our fun YouTube channel that has raving animal fans from all over the world.

Take great care of yourselves and I will see you in the next one.


why do cats knock over water glasses, dishes, bowls etc.
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A Humble Parent To Two Cats, One Dog, One Turtle And One Indian Ringneck. Have Been With And Around Pets And Animals For My Entire Life. Everything You Read Here Is An Expression Of my Love Towards Animals And The Innocence They Embody.

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