Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:
Oscar adopted us almost a year ago when he was just 6 months old. He was very playful then, and still is, but one thing that remained a constant for him was the placement of his food and water dishes. He has had the same water dish (it’s a refillable tank that dispenses into a shallow dish) from the first day, though we refill and clean it daily. Recently, he has started knocking the tank off the top, causing most of the water to dispense into the dish, but also spilling it across the floor. He has a fairly consistent day-to-day routine, and I work from home, so he’s not often alone, so it seems odd for him to start doing this now. What can we do?
Thomas: Well, Carly, this may be due to a couple of things. First of all, we cats tend to like to drink from moving water. It’s just an instinct thing — moving water equals fresh water.
Bella: He’s probably knocking the tank off the top of the water dish because that makes the water move, and maybe that makes it fresher.
Thomas: That instinctive drive to drink moving water is why a lot of cat caretakers, including Mama, provide their kitties with drinking fountains.
Bella: Pet fountains come in all sorts of materials from plastic to metal to even hand-fired ceramic.
Thomas: Mama got us a super-nice one made of ceramic, and she spent the money on it because she likes to support independent artists and, as she said …
Bella: … and for some reason I don’t think she was joking …
Thomas: … “If they don’t like it, at least it’ll be a pretty feng shui water feature.”
Thomas: Anyway, Carly, we’d recommend trying a drinking fountain to see if that helps to alleviate your kitty’s water polo activities.
Bella: We would suggest staying away from plastic, though. Metal and ceramic are much easier to clean thoroughly and keep sterile. Plastic can develop tiny scratches in which bacteria and other assorted ickies can grow.
Thomas: Another possibility is that your playful little guy may be getting bored.
Bella: Do you do interactive play sessions with him? If not, we recommend at least one good 15- to 20-minute hard play session every day.
Thomas: That’ll get your kitty all tired out and, when you play with him properly, you can get him all excited and using his hunting instincts.
Bella: I love it when Mama plays with me. She plays Throw and Mousie and Birdie Hunter and all kinds of fun games. Speaking of games … Mama, will you play with me?
Thomas: Oh, for goodness’ sake, Bella, at least wait until we’ve finished writing our post for the week.
Bella: Will you play with me after we’re done writing, Mama?
Mama: Of course I will, sweetie.
Bella: Oh, yay! I get to play, I get to play, I get to play!
Thomas: Not yet, Bella. Just another few minutes.
Thomas: Okay, before Bella goes full-on brat on us, do any of you other readers have a cat that likes to play with his water? What have you done to deal with the situation?
Bella: Please tell us about it in the comments. Now, come on, Mama, it’s time to play!