Why Does My Cat Scratch The Floor Before Drinking?

Seeing your cat scratch the floor before drinking water can be weird. It may sometimes get you worried, but I am here to tell you that it is not something you should worry about. The only thing you should worry about is your cat not drinking water.

As far as it is drinking water, the odds behaviors can be checkmated. In this article, you will be looking at why your cat scratches the floor before drinking water and preventive measures against it.

The Reasons Why My Cat Scratch The Floor Before Drinking Water?

There is no one reason why your cat scratches the floor before drinking water. It can be a result of the cat being unhappy with something, or an instinct or an abnormal habit that it learned while still a kitten. Let’s look at each of the reasons categorically.

  1. To Tell You That They Not Happy with their Water
  2. It May be a Form of Natural Instincts
  3. Formed Habits as a Kitten
  4. To Make the Water Flow
  5. To Release Pheromones

To Tell You That They Not Happy with their Water

One of the reasons why your cat may scratch the floor before drinking is that they are not happy with the water. It may be that they don’t like the temperature of the water, the scent of the bowl used to serve them the water, the location of the bowl water, or the nature of the water.

In this case, you can try changing the water bowl and the location and introducing new water to see how they react.

It May be a Form of Natural Instincts

Naturally, cats in the wild are fond of digging in the ground to get water to drink. It may be that the wild behavior of cats is manifesting in your domestic cat even though they are given a water bowl to drink from and would never have to go dig to search for water.

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However, if your cat was once a stray, it shouldn’t be surprising to you, and they may have to dig to search for water.

Formed Habits as a Kitten

Another study suggests that the reason your cat scratches the floor before drinking could be a formed habit when they were kittens. It could be a result of their kneading while still feeding on their mother’s milk.

If you notice that your cat does more kneading rather than digging, it should know that it is a learned behavior they carried from kittenhood to adulthood.

To Make the Water Flow

Sometimes, your cat will scratch the floor and possibly fall into the bowl to make the water flow. Some cats prefer drinking water from a running fountain. So it helps give them the impression that the water is a running one.  If you catch your cat in between here, I suggest you get a water fountain for it as it will help it achieve the desired feeling.

To Release Pheromones

Cats’ paws have sweat glands, and pheromones are released when the cat kneads and scratches. Here, the cat sees the water bowl as his and scratches the floor to ease and release pheromones. This is most common if you have multiple cats at home.

Why do cats have to release pheromones? Cats release pheromones for many reasons, from telling you they are stressed to self-soothing or to telling you they are happy. You need to study your cat to tell what it is trying to communicate to you.

How to Stop My Cat from Scratching the Floor Before Drinking Water?

You will have to consult a vet doctor if your cat does it often. If you have ruled it out with a vet doctor and confirmed that there isn’t any health issue causing it, you can consider the procedures below.

  1. Change their Drinking Water More Often
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You must know that cats hate stagnant water or water lying in the bowl for so long. The smell repels them. This is why you see your cat going to the toilet to poke their nose into the water closest. Try changing their water always. Make it as fresh as possible, possibly, twice a day.

  1. Clean their Water Bowl Regularly

It is not surprising that bacteria and fungi tend to turn cats’ water bowls into breeding spots, mainly emitting awful smells. Cats are keen to smell and often dig their head into the dish while drinking water. I will suggest you wash the bowl regularly using mild soap. If you can get an odorless soap, it would be perfect as cats hate the smell of scented soaps on the water bowls.

  1. Try Changing the Location of the Bowl.

Cat becomes finickier as they grow older. Usually, you may be keeping the water bowl next to their food while growing up. As soon as they go up, they may not like it again. Also, if the location of the water bowl is an enclosed dark spot that prevents the cat from being able to watch it back or get a clear vision of what is happening outside, they may tend to draw the bowl backward. If you observe that this is the issue, try changing the location of the water bowl to somewhere more bright and well-ventilated.

  1. Replace their Bowls when they Get Old and Very Dirty

As I said before, always clean your cat’s water bowls. But if it becomes dirty, ensure that you change it. When you begin to see scratches and marks on the bowls, please change it.  If it’s a plastic water bowl, ensure you change it regularly as it may contain harmful toxins that may leach into the cat’s water. I will advise that you go for a ceramic bowl or stainless steel while choosing a water bowl for your cat.

  1. Try a Cat Water Fountain
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If you notice that your cat is always pushing down the bowl for the water to flow, it is an indication that your cat loves drinking from a flowing soring. So you can try getting a water fountain as it helps to keep the water flowing.


Although not normal, you shouldn’t exert fear or worry when you notice your cat scratch the floor before drinking. If you have tried out the above steps and nothing happens, you can decide to revert the changes to see the cat’s reactions.

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