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cat drinking out of toilet

Should I Worry If My Cat Is Drinking Out Of The Toilet?

For humans, the toilet is considered one of the dirtiest and most germ-infested water sources. This is because we know that it’s the place for us to discard our bodies’ unwanted substances. However, for dogs and cats, they do not know the purpose of the place. They simply think it’s another water bowl for them to drink from. Thus, any owner would be horrified to find their cat drinking out of toilet.

This is not an uncommon habit for house cats. Even if you try to stop your cat from drinking the dirty water, they’ll likely do it again when you’re not at home. Understanding what might cause this behavior can help you train them out of this bad habit.
Let’s look at a few reasons why a cat drinks from the toilet, and ways to stop them from doing so with NRV Animal Shelters.

Why Do Cats Drink Out Of The Toilet?

Your cat thinks the toilet water is fresher

The reason behind a cat’s drive to drink toilet water might be more simple than you think. There are many instinctive behaviors that your house cat still carries from their undomesticated time. One of those is the preference for flowing water instead of a stagnant source.
Cats prefer moving sources of water
Imagine that you’re an animal in the wild, and most of the time, you’d find the best supply of fresh water from the river. On the other hand, still water from small lakes or puddles are easily contaminated by germs collected over time.
Therefore, a moving source of water is definitely considered more hygienic. Even though the water in your cat’s bowl is fresh from the tap, they prioritize other moving fluids more. Your cat might try to drink from the kitchen sink, garden tap or even the toilet.
For cats, the new water after every flush is still better than the stale water that has been sitting in their bowl at room temperature. In addition, the ceramic material of the toilet will make the water colder, hence giving a refreshing taste to the cat.

Your cat doesn’t like its bowl

A cat’s sense of smell is extremely sensitive, that’s why they are so picky about what they eat and drink. If their water bowl carries a strange plastic or metallic odor, your cat is unlikely to drink out of it and try to find an alternative instead, such as the toilet.
In other cases, cats won’t drink the water that is close to their food. It’s very common for pet shops to sell a set of food and water bowls next to each other. However, it’s another instinctive behavior of cats to avoid drinking water while being able to smell their food.
In the wild, the food smell might indicate that the water next to it has been contaminated. This also makes cats hate having even the slightest amount of food in their water. If you are putting your cat’s food and water bowl next to each other, this could easily be the cause of them drinking toilet water.
cat drinking out of toilet
There's a chance that your cat won't drink water because it's too close to their food

Your cat wants to drink in peace

The location of a cat’s water source also affects their tendency to drink from it. If you put the cat’s bowl in the kitchen where a lot of commotions happen, then the cat will avoid drinking in that place.
This is even more important if you own more than one cat. One cat can attack another during drinking time, which is when they’re the least defensive. Therefore, sensitive cats will prefer a safe and secluded spot to eat or drink, like your toilet that’s far away from the crowd.
cat drnking out of toilet

Can Cats Get Sick From Drinking Toilet Water?

The toilet is never a clean place, and you know it too well. Although this water source may seem fresher to your beloved pet, it’s not a good idea to let them keep this habit.
If you don’t clean your toilet regularly, the water from the bowl may pose great threat to your cat. They can suffer from infection and other digestive issues because of the bacteria from our feces. E-coli infection is one of the biggest threats for them.
When the humans in the house are sick, the risk can increase significantly. You might pass on parasites and other hazardous substances onto your cat if it drinks the contaminated toilet water.
Moreover, the toxic in your toilet cleaning products can be deadly. Your cat may suffer from poisoning and chemical burns if it accidentally consumes even a small amount of these chemicals.
cat drnking out of toilet
A problem may arise when you try to put an end to this behavior is that the cat will not drink enough water. They refuse to drink from their bowl, and now that you’ve cut off their alternate source, the cat won’t have any water. Your cat can’t go without water for a long time, and this may cause serious health problems.

How To Stop Your Cat From Drinking Out Of Toilet

First, check which of the possible reasons why your cat is drinking from the toilet applies to your household. After that, you can apply the method accordingly, in order to stop this unwanted habit.
If it’s because your cat doesn’t like the water in the bowl, consider changing it into a fountain instead. This will encourage your cat to drink more, and the fresh water will certainly satisfy their needs.
Provide your cat with a safe environment to eat and drink in. Avoid placing the water fountain near their litter box or food bowl. If there are more than one cat at home, you might want to consider placing multiple fountains at different places in the house.
Reduce the chance that your cat can get access to the toilet by keeping the door closed all the time. If your cat still refuses to drink the water you give to them however hard you try, consider talking to a vet for professional advice.

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