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Why Does My Cat Jerk When Drinking Water (Scared?)

If your cat is suddenly jerking when drinking water, you may be worried, and wondering why this may be happening…

Why does my cat jerk when drinking water?

Your cat may jerk, or shake, when drinking water because it either detest getting its hair wet, and its hair is dipping in the water, it is genuinely scared of the water, or the temperature of the water is too cold. There could be other reasons but these are some of the most common reasons.

So, now you know. But, what can you do to prevent this from happening? Do cats even enjoy drinking water? How much water should a cat be drinking? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

3 reasons why your cat will jerk when drinking:

Why does my cat jerk when drinking water?

A cat drinking/lapping up water from a bowl.

Earlier I explained, briefly, some of the most common reasons why your cat may jerk when it drinks your water. Therefore, in this section, I will explain each one in more detail:

01. Do not like getting their hair wet

It is no secret that cats do not like getting their hair wet. However, it may sound weird when talking about a drinking bowl, I get it. Well, this can trigger their dislike of the bowl being too low, or too big. When this happens they can accidentally dip their fur into it and start jerking.

This can be quite difficult to detect for some owners. Why? Because not many people will assume, or even suspect such a small bowl of water could have such an effect, are you with me?

02. Scared of the water

Some cats are just terrified of water, full stop. And, I am not talking about just getting their fur wet, I mean a real fear. This level of fear is rare, in my opinion. But, it could stem from a bad experience they may have had with water in the past.

03. The water is too cold

We, humans, love to drink cold water, especially on hot days. But, the same cannot be said for cats. They are likely to refuse to drink it or jerk in this weird manner.

Let me clarify, some cats do like cold things, like ice cubes, but this is not safe to assume they all will. So, to be safe go for room temperature.

What is cat jerking?

Cat jerking is when a cat shakes or twitches. Basically a jerky kind of movement. Depending on who you are you may use any of these terms interchangeably. Basically, in this context, if your cat is jerking while drinking, it is shaking in a weird reactive way.

What can you do to prevent your cat from jerking when drinking?

So, now you know why your cat may do this and exactly what it is I will now explain how to prevent this happening, depending on the reason for the cat doing this:

01. Get a water fountain

Click here to see the price, on Amazon #Ad

If your cat is acting this way because they do not like getting its fur wet, you can try a water fountain (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad). This can stop it from having to stoop over the bowl and dropping its fur into the bowl.

Also, for cats that do not drink enough, this is a great way to get them to drink more and keep them hydrated.

02. Serve the water at room temperature

Most cats will appreciate the water at the right temperature. And, in most cases, room temperature will be fine for them. The best thing to do is to try a sample and see how your cat responds.

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03. Get a smaller bowl (if it’s scared of water)

If you have noticed that the bowl is too wide and your cat’s fur is dropping in, you could try using a smaller cat bowl. This is quite easy to test and see if it helps your cat.

Do cats like drinking water?

Most cats are not naturally big drinkers. They will drink but may struggle to consume enough in a day to meet their daily requirement. Therefore, to help them achieve that you will need to look into different ways to get them to drink more.

There are several ways for you to get your cat to drink more, such as offering it wet food, and many other tactics (more on this later).

How much water should your cat drink?

A cat should be consuming at least 3.5 – 4.5 oz of water for every 5 lbs of body weight, as a guide. However, many will struggle to meet that requirement while drinking the water directly. This is even more of a challenge if it’s standard, still water in a bowl.

Also, if the water is not clean, your cat may just completely ignore this bowl. Therefore, you will need to keep it clean and offer other options to keep it hydrated (more on this later).

How can you get your cat to drink more water?

So far you have learned why your cat may be jerking and some of the reasons why it may not be drinking as much as you require. So, now I will explain what you can do to get it to consume more water:

01. Use a water fountain

Earlier I explained the benefit of using a water fountain (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad) so that your cat can stop jerking. However, you can also use this to make them consume more water. this is because cats appreciate running water (click here if you see foam in your cats water fountain) more than still water.

This stems from their ancestors, from the wild, that understood that running water is fresh and less chance of being contaminated.

02. Offer them wet food (if they are eating dry food)

Another way to increase their water consumption is to offer them wet food. This is assuming that they are currently eating mainly dry food. This switch to wet food (click here if it won’t eat it) will keep them hydrated.

Why does my cat make a mess with water?

If your cat is feeling really thirsty, this can be triggered by health issues such as diabetes or kidney failure, then they may be in a real rush to finish off drinking and this can result in a mess of water on your room floor.

If you fear that this is the case then you may need to get them checked out with your local vet.

How do I know if my cat is drinking too much water?

The best way to check if your cat is drinking too much water is to look out for some of the signs such as their water bowl levels, or your cat requesting water regularly. Meaning, is it trying to ask for more water than usual? This can be a bad sign.

In some cases, this could indicate that your cat has a health issue. as diabetes, or another problem.

Could your cat have Twitchy cat syndrome?

If a cat has twitchy cat syndrome, also known as hyperesthesia, you will need to look out for symptoms such as its muscles spasming, random twitches, chasing its tail, etc. It is more than just jerking around water. But, if you have any suspicions it’s worth checking it out with your vet.

Lindsey Browlingdon