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Why Does My Cat Guard The Water Bowl? (Too Greedy?)

If your cat has been guarding the water bowls you may be wondering why this is happening and what you can do if you have more than one cat (click here for my best solution, on Amazon #Ad)

Why does my cat guard the water bowl?

Cats may guard their water bowl for several reasons such as showing dominance, because they are ill and need to keep drinking, getting older and feel they own it, or just being greedy. In most cases, it can be resolved with additional water bowls, but if it’s a health issue it is not that easy. 

Use these if your cat is guarding the water bowls

Description Image My Rating
01. Cat water bowl (My Best)
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5 stars
02. Cat Water Fountain
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03. Wet cat food
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4 stars

So, now you know. But, could some older cats do this? How much water do they need? What can you do about this? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

What can you do if your cat keeps guarding the water bowl?

Why does my cat flip her food bowl?

A cat guarding its bowl.

As discussed earlier there can be several reasons why your cat is guarding the cat bowl. But, depending on which one there is usually a simple workaround. Here are some suggestions for this:

01. Offer alternative bowls

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The most obvious, simple, and most effective is offering multiple water bowls (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad). This will help you keep your other cats, if you have them, happy and access to their bowl.

Also, this may sound obvious, but make sure that each bowl is in different locations. Why? Well, if they are all side-by-side your cat could just guard all of them.

02. Use a water fountain instead?

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A water fountain (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad) is a great way to offer water on demand to your cat. This may help it stop guarding and if you have this as well as the standard water bowl it may work even better.

03. Put them on wet food

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Another option is to use wet food if you are using primarily dry food right now. This is because you will find that your cats will get most of their daily water intake from the food and won’t need the water bowl so much.

How much water should a cat consume per day?

Cats should be consuming 3.5 – 4.5 ounces of water for every 5 pounds of body weight, according to this site. This will help it to stay hydrated and keep it healthy. However, that does not mean it needs to get all of that from its water bowl.

As discussed earlier, cats on wet food get the majority of their water from their food. So, don’t be confused if your cat, that eats wet food, does not seem to be consuming much water directly, this is quite common.

Why would a sick cat hover over a water bowl?

A sick cat may hover its head over the water bowl because it needs a lot of water. This is known to happen if it has kidney disease. When this happens the cat will need to drink constantly hence the reason it may have its head over the bowl for hours in some cases.

If the cat is hanging its head over there for shorter periods it may just be very thirsty. But, when it is this long it is usually a health issue such as diabetes or kidney disease.

Could some older cats start to guard the water bowl?

My cat doesn't drink water but eats wet food.

A cat near its bowl.

You may notice that older cats increase their time around the water bowl. This may be for several reasons such as health issues, showing dominance over younger cats, or just feeling greedy.

It is even possible to see an older cat seeking water from other places, such as your toilet bowl.

Why do some cats dip their paws in the water bowl?

You may notice that a cat will dip their paws in the water bowl because they are not comfortable with their bowl. One common reason for this is the bowl size. Meaning, it may be too small, or narrow. When this happens it may irritate their whiskers forcing them to dip their paw in instead.

This is why you may see some cats knocking their bowl onto the ground as well. It’s out of frustration and looking for a workable alternative.

Why do some cats bat the water in the bowl?

When you see a cat batting the water in the bowl it is usually because they are seeking movement in the water. this stems from their instinct to get flowing water. Their wild ancestors would prefer this water because it was deemed to be safer than still/stagnant water.

This is why some cat owners insist on a water fountain (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad) for their home. This is a great way to emulate the flowing water that cats prefer and encourage them to drink more water.

Could a cat guard more than one water bowl?

Some cats do guard multiple water bowls. This can happen if the dominant cat has all the bowls in one communal area, rather than being separate. It has also been known for a cat to guard the door leading to the water bowls.

This is why it is a good idea to have multiple cat water bowls (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad) and have them located in different places around your home.

Could your cat be guarding the water because of a health issue?

Your cat could well be guarding the water due to a health issue. An example of this is kidney disease or diabetes. These diseases are known to cause a drastic increase in water consumption. When this happens it may make your cat anxious about the water they need, hence the guarding of the bowl.

If you fear this is the case it is important to take them to the vet as soon as possible. And, in the short term, you will need to offer more water bowls to keep the other cat’s water intake at bay.

How can you monitor your cat’s water intake?

To monitor your cat’s water (Click here if its dumping it) intake you need to look at the water level of their bowl. Basically mark the starting level, or take note of it. Then at the end of the day, or several hours later, note down how much has been consumed.

This is much more effective than trying to watch your cat drink and see how much they are drinking at that time. Why? Well, what the chances that you will always catch your cat drinking? Quite low I would say, right? So, let them drink naturally and collect the data at a later time.

Lindsey Browlingdon