Due to territorial reasons, cats will frequently drop food, toys, and/or other stuff in their water bowl. Remember that an indoor cat doesn’t have designated storage areas, which is why the water dish is frequently utilized as a substitute.
Cats put food in their water bowl because it’s a cat’s natural instinct that they want to hide their prey in a safe place. They can also be doing this just to have some fun.
This sort of behaviour isn’t limited to water bowls; it may also occur in places like the cat’s bed or playpen.
Keep a watch out if it begins to affect the cat’s food and/or drinking habits, which may occur when the water dish is used to store objects!
Why Do Cats Put Food In Their Water?
Cats place food in their water bowls because they mark it as their domain or territory. It’s a widespread habit related to hunting and collecting impulses.
Indoor cats, unlike wild cats, do not have a designated place to store their “prey,” so they utilise their water bowl instead. Aside from that, cats may do this to relieve boredom and to play inside their realm.
Cats like playing with their food and water dishes. Most cats regard these bowls to be their territory, their happy spot, so it’s natural for them to want to engage positively with them. For example, they throw food scraps into the water dish.
This is comparable to the behaviour of wild felines. Cats in the wild frequently reserve some of their food for later consumption since they have tiny stomachs and prefer to graze rather than consume everything in one sitting.
Moreover, when cats drop food in their water, it’s typically because they had some food trapped in their mouth, such as a piece of dry food stuck on their cheek, and when they attempted to drink, the food fell in.
The objective is not to soften the dry food. My cats have a large water crock that is changed every morning, and everyone avoids it like the plague if there is even a single bit of dry food floating in it. Nobody bothers to try to get it out.
The cat is genuinely hungry, especially if it can see the bottom of the bowl and believes it will run out of food in the next few hours (cats despise running out of food and prefer the security of knowing something will be available when they need it, which is why they leave a few pieces of food in their bowls when they finish).
And, of course, rather of hunting for additional food, they prefer to keep what they have.
Even though indoor cats don’t have to save food for later, they nonetheless have the instinct to do so. Because there are other cats in the house, indoor cats are sometimes compelled to keep their food safe.
Caches or unique sites where wild felines may store their reward are common. Most indoor cats, on the other hand, lack caches and instead store their food in places they consider safe, such as their water bowl.
This rationale is connected to the first hypothesis. Strong scents may give away their whereabouts to predators or scavengers in the wild, putting them in risk. Cats have a natural survival urge to erase their prey’s scent.
That is why, in order to survive, wild cats frequently conceal or bury uneaten food.
Regardless of whether your cats conceal their uneaten food or not, they are protected. However, they may still feel the urge to hide their footprints because they developed in this manner. As a result, your cats may throw uneaten food into the water to clear the odour.
Have your cats ever brought you “gifts” like dead mice, leaves, or bugs as a way of saying “thank you”? Domestic cats provide “gifts” to their owners in order to teach them how to hunt, much like they would with their own kittens.
Perhaps they’ve observed how often you replace the water in their water bowl. So, to catch your attention, show off their hunting abilities, and teach you how to hunt correctly, your cats drop food in there on a regular basis.
You probably interact with the water bowl to remove food that your cats have dropped into the water. Furthermore, it may prompt you to chastise your cat, which instructs your cat on how to elicit a response from you.
Cats don’t seem to mind if you praise or chastise them. This might be gratifying for your cats, so they’ll keep doing it anytime they want attention.
Cats are known for being playful, especially when bored. They like playing with just about anything, including their water bowl.
Some cats just like playing with water, while others relish the sensation of dropping food and retrieving it. So it’s possible that your cats are acting this way because they require more stimulation and enrichment.
Should My Cats Water Bowl Be Away From Food?
Yes, your cat’s water bowl should be placed away from his food.
It may appear that the arrangement of your cat’s food and water dishes is random. Many owners actually put the two bowls right next to one other. Some cats will adjust and have no problems with this, while others may rebel. Your cat may refuse to sip the water, knock over the water dish, or dump food into the bowl.
Eating and drinking in the same area might be dangerous for nervous or jumpy cats. Moving the water dish away from the food dish a few inches at a time is the best approach. Some cats, especially those that are already possessive of their food or water, may be distressed if the bowls are separated all at once.
How Far Apart Should A Cats Food And Water Be?
The water bowl for your cat should be 3-5 feet apart from its food bowl.
Many cats are sensitive to the smell of food near their drinking source. Mixing food and water in the wild frequently leads in bacterial development and sickness. Cats may also choose to drink and eat in various locations in order to avoid predators. Even the task of locating the many bowls in various locations might feel more natural to a cat.
Your cat’s water bowl, like their food, should be kept somewhere quiet. Even if they are quite friendly, a corridor may be too crowded for them. Place your cat’s water bowl away from their litter pan, where it will be clean and odour-free.
Whatever their motivation, their water dish is a secure haven for them. That’s why cats enjoy interacting with it and playing with it. As a result, offer them with more water sources and pay more attention to them.
Cats detest having water near their meal, yet the reason for this may appear trivial. That’s especially true if you shift the water dish to the left a few feet and the cat suddenly accepts it.
Do Cats Like Their Food Next to Their Water?
Cats don’t like their food right next to their water.
While it may appear little, your cat will have strong feelings about the placement of its water and food bowls. Most significantly, having these two dishes right close to each other will irritate it.
Some cats will refuse to eat from a water-filled bowl. Other cats, meanwhile, will drink from the toilet, sink, potted plants, and even puddles before drinking from a water dish near food.
All of this is due to your cat’s natural inclinations. For thousands of years, humans have kept cats as pets and a natural pest management method. Cat genes, on the other hand, haven’t altered much throughout the millennia. Cats have not been bred as intensively as certain dog species. This indicates that their hunting impulses have not yet been bred away.
It’s no surprise that your cat will have preferences similar to those of its wild predecessors.
Even though it’s a domestic pet, it uses the same common sense as its wild counterparts when it comes to food and water. Keeping the water dish around 3-5 feet away from the cat’s food will give it the impression that it is being cautious.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does my cat put socks in the water bowl?
It’s a natural inclination, albeit it’s not as powerful in some cats as it is in others. He simply adores his toys and wishes to keep them ‘safe.’ Many cats consider their bowls to be their domain and a secure location to store their prized possessions.
Why does my cat put clothes in her water bowl?
Outdoor cats are notorious for bringing in prey and bringing it to you. Despite being a bit nasty, it’s a social gesture and a huge praise. Clothes, particularly warm and worn ones, can elicit the same instincts, and your cat will ‘kill’ and bring this ‘prey’ to you.
Why won’t cats drink water next to food?
If the water is too close to their food bowl, some cats may not drink it. The assumption is that in the wild, cats would keep their food away from water sources to protect germs and other contaminants from contaminating the water.
Cats are highly intelligent creatures, and they, like other animals, may establish small eating and drinking habits. One of them might be putting food in their water dish.
It might be difficult to figure out why your cats are acting this way. Despite the fact that this behaviour is perplexing, we hope the science underlying it has clarified some of your doubts.
Leave your questions in the comments section below.