Why Your Cat Drinks Your Water (And Ways To Help Prevent)

Cats are infamous for a wide variety of eccentric quirks, but one that many cats seem to share is their fascination with drinking out of their owner’s water glass.

This is an annoying habit that can be difficult to break, but why exactly do cats do it in the first place?

Cats drink out of water glasses out of curiosity and sometimes because they don’t have access to enough fresh water. If a cat doesn’t like drinking out of its own water bowl, using a cat fountain with flowing water can help encourage them to get their water elsewhere.  

If your cat drinking out of your water glass is driving you crazy, never fear. There are a few ways you can get them to stop so that you don’t have to drink after them.

We often find our cats drinking out of our glasses when working upstairs because their water is downstairs, and probably can’t be bothered to go all that way when they can just drink ours instead!

It’s funny to see them do it but it means we have to go get another fresh glass of water each time.

Read on to learn more about why cats drink out of water glasses and how to keep them from doing it.

The Reason Cats Drink Out Of Glasses

There are many different reasons that cats can be tempted to drink out of water glasses.

These range from mild personal quirks to serious medical issues. Here are some of the potential causes of a cat drinking out of water glasses:

  • They’re curious. Some cats have a personality to stick their nose, paws, and mouth into anything. These are usually the first cats to learn that they can steal unattended food or jump up on counters they know they’re not supposed to be on. If a curious cat wants your water, they’ll wait for your back to be turned.
  • They’re thirsty. Cats are finicky drinkers, and since cats in the wild usually get their water from a moving water source for freshness, they may not want the water in their bowl if it has sat for several hours and stagnated. Cats with kidney problems or other medical issues that cause them to be thirsty can lead to excessive water drinking.
  • They have low social standing. In a multiple-cat household, cats that are at the bottom of the social hierarchy may feel intimidated when drinking or eating out of bowls that are shared with more dominant cats. This can lead them to seek out food and water elsewhere in the household if it’s available, which in turn leads to water stealing.

Since excessive thirst can be a sign of several illnesses in cats, a cat that insistently drinks out of any available cup despite being offered plenty of its own water should be checked over and cleared of medical causes.

If they check out okay at the vet, it’s safe to assume that your cat has different reasons for drinking your water.

How To Stop A Cat From Drinking Your Water

Regardless of why your cat has developed a fascination with drinking water out of your glass, it’s not something you want to encourage them to do.

Besides generally being unsanitary, cats are prone to knocking water glasses over in an attempt to drink from them. This can lead to a ruined phone or a soaked bed if your cat knocks over your bedside water glass.

Here are a few different ways you can prevent your cat from drinking your water:

  • Get a water mug with a lid. This is the simplest answer to a cat who drinks your water, and it also does double duty by preventing the cat from knocking the water over when it tries. Using a covered water glass by your bed can help teach your cat that your drink is off-limits.
  • Train the cat not to drink from your water glass. This can be easier said than done if your cat has a habit of sneaking around behind your back and drinking your water, but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t scold them and remove them if you catch them doing it. Allowing the cat to do it in your presence tells the cat you’re okay with it.
  • Use lemon slices in your water. Many humans enjoy the taste of lemon juice in their drinking water, but cats can’t stand the taste of it. Adding sliced lemons or limes to your water glass will discourage your cat from trying to drink out of it.
  • Add more water bowls. It’s easier to teach a cat that they’re only supposed to drink out of their bowl if you can redirect them to a nearby water bowl immediately whenever you catch them trying to drink out of your glass. This can also keep the cat more hydrated.
  • Keep their water fresh and clean. Some cats may see alternative water sources if the water in their bowl is stagnant and has pieces of food or litter floating in it. Make sure that the water in the bowl is fresh and cool even if you have to change it twice a day.
  • If all else fails, use a spray bottle for discipline. Using a water bottle to spray the cat when you catch them trying to drink out of a glass can help create a negative association with drinking from glasses in the cat’s mind and discourage them from trying it again. This method may not work on all cats, however, as some do not mind getting wet that much.

It may take several weeks or even months to train a stubborn cat not to drink water out of human glasses, especially if they’ve been given leeway in the past with the behavior.

If you’re consistent in disciplining your cat and redirecting them whenever they attempt to drink your water, you should eventually curb them of the habit.

Tools To Keep Cats From Drinking Your Water

Along with some training techniques to teach your cat not to drink water out of your glass, there are a few tools you can use that make keeping your cat away from your water a little bit easier.

Here are some of the tools you can use:

  • Cat fountain: Many cats are naturally attracted to cool and flowing water. Using a cat fountain can encourage your cat to drink more and can also prove a more tempting target for their water-based play than your glass. Many cats also enjoy playing in cat fountains.
  • Spray bottle: A spray bottle filled with water is a good deterrent to a stubborn cat who won’t stop drinking water out of human glasses. It can also train cats to stay off surfaces they’re supposed to avoid such as tables or kitchen counters.
  • Glass with lid: Investing in a mug or glass with a fitted lid can teach your cat that there’s nothing to drink out of with your glasses. After just a few weeks of using a covered glass, your cat will not be as tempted to try drinking your water. These lids can also help keep dust or other debris out of your water too.

While there are several tools you can use to make training your cat not to drink your water easier, you should be sure to never strike or shout at your cat for drinking your water. This can cause your cat to mistrust you and avoid your presence.

Physical discipline should never be used on a cat.

Cats Drinking Out of Human Glasses Is Common

It might be unpleasant for your cat to drink your water, but it isn’t unusual behavior.

It’s unlikely that you’ll get sick from drinking after your cat, but a cat that is allowed to drink from glasses will quickly learn to steal food off plates too.

If you want to avoid this unsanitary behavior, it won’t go away by itself. Training your cat not to do it, providing plenty of fresh water on the floor, and covering up your glasses with a lid are three failsafe ways of solving this rude habit.