Raising cats is never easy. They look cute and cuddly on TikTok or when you visit your friend’s kitties, but once you get your own feline friend, you soon discover a world of hidden antics and quirks your fellow pet parents were suspiciously silent about.
Your cat poking its paw into its water bowl is a perfect example of such questionable quirks. Why is your cat using its paw to drink? Don’t cats usually use their tongues to lap up the water? There are several reasons behind this strange behavior, as well as a few things you can do to prevent it. Let’s first take a look at what’s causing this peculiar paw dipping.
Your cat’s whiskers are very sensitive. They’re rich in nerve endings that aid your cat’s vision and help them sense the environment around them. They can even sense the flow of air currents or the slight brush of an object as you cat prowls past.
This level of sensory awareness is great for your cat’s survival, but it has a few downsides when it comes to drinking from their bowl.
If your cat’s water bowl is too narrow or deep, their whiskers squash against the sides. This is uncomfortable for your cat. The constant stimulation of those nerve endings overwhelms their senses, resulting in your cat to use their paws instead to avoid discomfort.
Inconsistent Water Depth
Cats are very fussy. Any change to the status quo can lead to yowls of displeasure and strange behavior, such as paw dipping. If you’re inconsistent in how much water you pour into your cat’s bowl, your furbaby might use their paw to test the depth of the water, checking to see if you’ve topped it up to the level they’re used to.
Water Bowl Placement
Many cats dislike being backed into a corner. It sounds all kinds of alarm bells inside their brains. Now, of course, your home is a safe place for your furbaby, but this behavior is rooted deep in your cat’s genetics.
If their water bowl is up against the wall, they’ll have their back to the rest of the room while drinking. This makes your cat feel vulnerable if they lower their head to drinking normally. They wouldn’t be able to see the rest of the room, and thus couldn’t look out for potential dangers. As a result, they use their paws instead so they can still keep an eye out.
How Can This Paw Dipping Affect My Cat?
While this behavior is undeniably cute, there can be negative consequences that can affect your cat’s health.