The Fascination: Cats' Preference for Tap Water

Cats are intriguing creatures known for their independent nature and quirky behaviors. One curious behavior often observed in our feline friends is their preference for drinking tap water.

While it might seem peculiar that cats would choose tap water over other sources, there are various reasons behind this behavior that are rooted in their natural instincts and sensory perceptions.

The Curious Cat Tongue

Understanding the Cat's Sensory Perception

To comprehend why cats favor tap water, it's important to delve into their unique sensory perception. Cats have an extremely sensitive sense of taste and smell, which can make them wary of unfamiliar scents and flavors.

Tap water, being relatively odorless and tasteless, is less likely to trigger their cautious instincts.

Preference for Moving Water

Mimicking the Wild

In the wild, cats often drink from flowing streams. This behavior is driven by their natural instinct to avoid stagnant water, which may harbor harmful bacteria.

Tap water, due to its constant flow, can replicate the sensation of fresh, moving water found in nature. This familiarity can make tap water more enticing to cats.

Temperature Matters

The Goldilocks Principle

Cats are sensitive to temperature, and their drinking preferences reflect this. Tap water tends to be cooler than water left in a bowl for an extended period.

Cats might be drawn to tap water because of its refreshing and optimal temperature.

The Role of Minerals

Trace Minerals in Tap Water

Tap water contains trace minerals that can add a subtle taste to it. While these minerals might not be appealing to humans, cats' taste receptors are wired differently.

The presence of these minerals can give tap water a more palatable flavor for cats.

Social Learning and Behavior

Copying the Cat Next Door

Cats are observant animals and often learn from one another. If one cat in a household starts drinking tap water and appears satisfied, other cats might follow suit.

This social learning aspect can contribute to a group preference for tap water.

Convenience and Accessibility

The Ease of Access

Cats are creatures of convenience. They might choose tap water simply because it's readily available. Unlike humans, cats aren't concerned with the source of water as long as it meets their basic hydration needs.

The Quirks of Individuality

Cats Just Being Cats

It's important to remember that cats, like humans, have individual preferences. Some cats might adore tap water, while others might turn their noses up at it.

Understanding that each cat is unique can shed light on their water-drinking habits.


In conclusion, the question "Why do cats drink tap water?" is rooted in a combination of sensory perception, instinctual behavior, and individual preference.

Cats' penchant for tap water can be attributed to their sensitive taste and smell, their preference for moving water, temperature considerations, and even social learning.

While the reasons might vary from cat to cat, it's clear that tap water holds a certain allure for our feline companions.

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