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3 Possible Reasons Why Your Cat Scratches the Floor Before Drinking Water

3 Possible Reasons Why Your Cat Scratches the Floor Before Drinking Water

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Just about anyone who owns a cat knows that they are strange creatures that seem to have thoughts as inane as a toddler’s. Much like people, cats will form their own habits that they may practice throughout the house.

For instance, some cats prefer to sit in the middle of the hallway, seemingly wanting to bask in the attention they get from everyone needing to walk around them. Some will often be found hanging out in the bathroom. Other cats can be found pawing at their food and water dishes before using them.

The latter habit can be strange and even concerning to people who are caring for cats for the first time.

To some people, it might indicate that there is something wrong with the water or food. To other people, it is a noisy and annoying habit that needs to be stopped.

No matter what the cause is, it is important to understand why cats commonly exhibit this behavior.

Once you understand why your cat is doing this, you will be able to find a solution to the situation much more easily.

1 – Instinctive Behaviors

Cat Drinking Water

You may notice that your cat exhibits quite a few unexplainable behaviors similar to pawing at the floor before drinking water.

One of the most common examples out there is the way that cats will “bury” their droppings by scratching the sides of a litter box.

To them, it is an instinctive behavior to bury their droppings, and in an enclosed space like a litter box, sometimes scratching on the wall is the only thing that feels right to your cat.

The idea behind scratching at the ground before drinking water is a similar one. For cats, it is an instinctive behavior to paw and dig for both food and water. When your cat gets ready to drink its water, they may have an instinct to try and “dig” the water up.

In a home environment, the closest thing that they can do is paw at the ground in front of the water.

2 – An Unhappy Cat

Cat Laying on Chair

Some cats express their distaste for things by burying them the same way they would bury droppings.

If you know that your cat expresses discontent through an attempt at burying something and you see your cat pawing at the ground beside its water bowl, it might be because your cat is unhappy with the water.

You should consider checking the water to make sure that it is clean and that there is nothing in it that would affect the taste.

You should also consider the location of the water, as many cats do not like to drink their water beside their food and a particularly picky cat may be expressing its distaste for the water placement.

The key to knowing what your cat is doing is knowing what your cat’s typical behavior is.

3 – A Curious Cat

The third, and final, reason your cat may be pawing in front of or at the water dish is that it is simply a curious creature. Curious cats and younger kittens might see a water bowl as something fascinating and hard to understand, especially if the water bowl is clear.

This can lead to them trying to “dig” around the bowl, leading to this type of behavior.

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Monday 17th of April 2023

The reason cats do this is much more likely instinctual behaviour related to scent marking and/or caching.


Monday 30th of August 2021

My cat is 7 years old and her habits with the water bowl used to be normal. But lately I had been noticing that she was very thirsty all the time, and developed the habit of scratching the floor while drinking and trying to knock her bowl over. Also, her urine was almost as clear as water. So I took her to the vet, and she was diagnosed with stage 3 kidney disease. I think while sometimes it's normal for cats to display weird behavior like this, it's important to pay attention, because it could be a sign something is off with their health.


Thursday 24th of March 2022

@Shin, my cat has hipper thieroed but my 1 cat Bella in 2020 we found out that she had cancer and she loved water a lot she would tip her bowl over and roll arowd in it so ya we had to put her down 2 years ago sadly so you are right look for all sing for a illness