You’d think a cat would always choose the clean bowl if given the option between a bowl of clean, fresh water and one filled with murky, muddy water. While most of the time this is true, some cats simply do not distinguish between pure and unclean water, while others virtually always prefer the impure to the pure. They have their reasons, however weird and incomprehensible they may seem to us.

To find out more about why cats drink contaminated water, keep reading.

What Are the Five Reasons My Cat Drinks Dirty Water?

Although we don’t know why cats occasionally drink contaminated water, we do have a few suggestions as to why they would prefer contaminated to clean water.

1. They dislike the position in which your water dish is situated.

If they don’t like where you’ve placed their water dish or fountain, cats will choose unclean water sources to clean ones. Because their prey would contaminate their water source and make them sick, cats in the wild don’t drink where they hunt. Despite not having to search for food, your cat still has these instincts ingrained in him. As a result, if you put your water bowl close to where he feeds, he might assume the water is tainted and not be interested in drinking your lovely, clean water.

Place your cat’s water dish away from where he eats as a solution.

2. The water may not be as fresh as you believe.

The clean water you’ve provided may not be as fresh as you think, which is another possibility for why your cat is consuming tainted liquids. A cat’s water bowl can soon accumulate an astonishing accumulation of dust, fur, and litter particles when it is left to stand still. Your cat can taste these impurities even if you might not be able to see them.

Offer daily access to clean, fresh water as a solution.

3. The water’s temperature isn’t optimal.

Like some people, some cats might be picky about the temperature of the water. While some prefer it cooler, others prefer it at room temperature. Your cat might even like having ice cubes added to his water bowl on warmer days of the year to keep it cool and pleasant.

Find out what temperature your cat prefers for his water as a solution. Put your finger into a rain puddle that has formed after a summer storm to determine whether it is on the cooler or warmer side.

4. They dislike the water bowl.

This blog should have taught you one thing, and that is that cats are finicky little creatures. Your dog is likely to seek for alternative water sources if he doesn’t like the size, shape, or height of his water bowl.

I’m sorry, but the only way to solve this issue is through trial and error. While trying out several bowls and fountains to locate the one your cat prefers can cost you a little extra money, you can recoup these expenses by returning the bowls he doesn’t like or selling them on your neighborhood market.

5. They dislike the taste or smell of it.

The chemicals used to treat tap water are typically so potent that your cat can smell them. This stench has the potential to be quite repulsive and potent enough to make your cat stop drinking. The potency of the compounds can also impact how the water tastes.

Purchase a pet water fountain with a filter to remove all the unpleasant tastes and odors. As an alternative, you can purchase a filter for your sink’s faucet, which will accomplish the same task and provide you with clean, filtered water to drink.

Considering that my water fountain filters the water, shouldn’t it be clean?

Some cat owners spend money on water fountains for their pets and are duped into believing that the fountains’ reservoir will hold enough clean, fresh water for several days. Then, rather than disassembling the entire apparatus and thoroughly cleaning it, they will simply refill the reservoir when they notice the water level is getting low.

Any bacteria in your cat’s mouth get into the water when he drinks from his fountain. Your pet’s saliva coupled with leftover food fragments, hair, dust, and other airborne impurities creates a favorable environment for the growth of dangerous bacteria. Unfortunately, bacteria can even grow inside the pump of a fountain, making it impossible to detect germs bloom without disassembling the entire fountain.

Give the water filter a thorough cleaning, then check and replace the filters as needed to avoid this.

Can my cat safely drink contaminated water?

You must make sure the water your cat has access to is constantly clean and fresh if you are aware that he likes to drink from unclean sources. Even from natural outside sources, polluted water can include pathogenic bacteria or parasites like:

  • Cyanobacteria: The cyanobacteria that cause blue-green algae. The bacteria that generate this overgrowth can turn water blue or green. Bacterial colonies may float on the surface of the water or be blown into mats along the shore that resemble algae. Affected animals may experience shock or go into a coma because blue-green algae can create toxins that harm the liver, skin, or central nervous system.
  • Giardia: This parasite, which is spread throughout the world in lakes, rivers, streams, and ponds, is brought on by a minute protozoan. Even in sources of high-quality water, it can be found. Although it is uncommon in healthy adult cats, the condition is more frequently observed in kittens or adult cats that already have other health problems. The parasites result in greasy feces, persistent diarrhea, and weight loss.
  • Coccidia: One-celled organisms called coccidia are responsible for this. In some major cities, public water supplies have contained certain sorts. Cats with coccidia infection may not exhibit any clinical symptoms at all. In kittens and weak adult cats, it may result in watery or mucous diarrhea, stomach pain, dehydration, and vomiting.
  • Leptospira: An animal with this condition excretes the bacteria that causes it in its urine. This urine has the potential to pollute surface waters, making the illness water-borne. From minor infections to multiple organ failure or even death, leptospirosis can have a wide range of outcomes. The most typical symptoms include fever, painful, stiff, and shivering muscles; depression; a lack of appetite; dehydration; and vomiting.


Cats are foolish little creatures, and they occasionally prefer to drink from unclean sources of water to the clean and fresh water you supply. If your pet behaves in this way, you need to run some experiments at home to figure out why. Once you understand why your cat refuses to drink your clean water, you can take steps to break his bad drinking habit. Hopefully, one of the suggestions above may assist you in encouraging your cat to drink healthier water so that it won’t become ill from the pathogens frequently found in dirty water.