Why does my cat push the water bowl around and make a mess?

Our question this week was:

Dear Dr John, I have a 6-year-old cat that last year started to push his water bowl all over the kitchen floor making a mess of the water all over. Is this a quirk he has developed in his personality or is he trying to tell me something? I have changed his dish he shares with 2 other cats to see if he does not like the dish-but no matter which dish I put down he still pushes it all over the kitchen? I would love any insight and/or solution.

Thank You,

Lorrie – Bethlehem, Pa


Hi – thanks for your email. You wrote asking why your cat is pushing his water bowl all over the kitchen floor and making a mess. This is something new to your cat. I’ve seen this happen with cats and is often because one of three reasons.

1.They are having fun. Some cats find out that out that pushing the water bowl around and making a mess is fun.

2.They are bored. Some cats that are bored will try to make games or do different behavioral things to break up their boredom.

3.Stress. Some cats that have stress – a new cat or child in the home –can also have behavioral changes.

The most common reason I’ve seen is 1. Watch your cat and see if he is having fun when he is doing it.

Regardless of the cause, if your cat is otherwise in good health, engage him in play and make sure you have plenty of toys. Spend at least 10 minutes twice a day dedicated to playing with your cat. Also make sure there are plenty of windows to look out of and interesting places to nap and lay around.

Read more on this subject here: How to Enrich Your Cats Environment.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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