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Old 08-05-2009, 12:14 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default "Digging" for water makes a mess

Our 6 month old male kitten is compelled to dig around, on and sometimes in the water bowl every time he goes to drink. Almost every time he ends up dragging it around the room with his front paws, splashing water all over the floors and making noise. He has even flipped the bowl over, which could be a problem if we went out of town for a couple days.

We are on our second bowl, which is plastic with a wider bottom than top and rubber base. Pretty common pet bowl, which we thought would solve the problem and be hard to move - yeah right. The first bowl was one of those sets of metal bowls in the wire holder. He would drag that entire set up across the room and usually pull the water bowl out onto the floor.

He doesn't seem to have a problem with water (he's starting to ignore us when we use the spray bottle for undesirable behavior) and always drinks when he's done with this "digging". I have sat with him when he does this and physically taken his paw off of the bowl while calmy saying "no" but as soon as I let go he gets right back to work.

Anyone have any tips to curb this behavior? I'm toying with a plan to build something to make the bowl "undragable" but I'd really just rather he stop.
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Old 08-05-2009, 01:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Digging" for water makes a mess

Welcome to Cat Forum. I feel your pain.

One of my cats DRINKS with her FOOT. She dips it into the water, gives it a little shake so dropplets fly everywhere, and then daintily licks the moisture off her foot. Dip, shake, lick, repeat. I had two other cats who would tap the water with their feet before drinking, but both of those cats had vision and depth-perception problems so I assumed they were better able to judge the distance to the water if it was moving and not have to rely on their eyes/whiskers and risk dunking their nose into the water. Another cat would try to fish his paw into the bowl to find where the water was bubbling out, with those plastic water-jug-reservoir-bowl combinations. He was so persistent he would knock the (sometimes FULL) water jug out of the receiving bowl and then the jug would glug-glug-glug its' contents out until it reached a level lower than the opening. Finally, we have a cat who likes to tip over or drag the bowl, just like your cat, and it causes a HUGE mess.

I gave up and bought a very large, heavy, ceramic bowl that Boo is unable to move.

Cats are creatures of habit and largely governed by instinct, hormones and learned behaviors. I have found it is just easier to work around a cat's specific quirks rather than trying to radically modify their behavior. Redirection is best, or utilizing other things (like the large/heavy ceramic bowl) to keep your home-life manageable.
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Old 08-05-2009, 02:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Digging" for water makes a mess

Charlee is my water cat. I finally just found the heaviest bowls I have and put them on top of paper towels, which made it harder to move around on the kitchen floor. My biggest problem was after she played in the water, she would of COURSE have to use the litter box, and I would have breaded kitty legs!!!! What a MESS!!!! Trying to run and catch her and clean her off. She goes through phases, though, if that helps. She hasn't played in the water for quite some time.

And both girls soon learned to put up with the water bottle as a deterrent. I would pick up the spray bottle and Cali would shut her eyes and brace herself, but wouldn't stop what she was doing wrong. Brat!!!

Good thing they're cute, huh?
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Old 08-05-2009, 02:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Digging" for water makes a mess

Quote:
Originally Posted by marie73
Good thing they're cute, huh?
Sometimes I think that is the only thing that saves them from us.
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Old 08-06-2009, 03:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Digging" for water makes a mess

My boys don't move the water, but mostly because we have a fountain...they'd rather just play with the water fall.

I use a squirt bottle to correct them, but my boys ended up enjoying it. So I added vinegar. At first just a few table spoons, but I'm now up to 1/2 and half. I always make very sure not to spray their faces, but it works...and I use it to clean the kitchen too, lol.

We're having a constant problem with kitties on the counter, and I really need something to dissuade them from getting up there.
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Old 08-06-2009, 06:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Digging" for water makes a mess

Quote:
Originally Posted by librarychick
We're having a constant problem with kitties on the counter, and I really need something to dissuade them from getting up there.
Let "learned behavior" work for you!
Go purchase some poster-board and wide, double-sided sticky-tape. Buy enough poster boards to cover your counters. Place the sticky-tape strips on one side of each of the poster-boards. Lay them flat on your counters, lightly tape the corners so they don't shift/fall, and the cat will teach itself to not jump up there because it won't like the feel of the tape sticking to its' feet and will jump down on its' own.
Also, do not ever leave tempting foods/things up on the counters you do not want them on. Your goal is to make those counters *uninteresting* (no food/toys) and *uncomfortable* (sticky).
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Old 08-06-2009, 07:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Digging" for water makes a mess

I don't think you'll every be able to curb this bahavior. I never could. Just had to adapt!
Twitch LOVED water! Any water! Loved to take showers and loved to dig in his water bowl. I finally ended up buying a cheap litter pan and putting his water bowl (and then fountain!) in that. He could dig to his hearts content and I didn't come home to a puddle on the floor. Everyone was happy!
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Old 08-06-2009, 08:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Digging" for water makes a mess

When my cat Bleu was alive we used to keep water dishes on the bathroom counters to encourage her to drink water because she had kidney problems. She soon decided it was great fun to push the dish right off the counter onto the floor. We went out and bought the steel rubber bottomed dishes that they sell in pet stores and they worked pretty well.
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Old 08-06-2009, 10:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: "Digging" for water makes a mess

"One of my cats DRINKS with her FOOT. She dips it into the water, gives it a little shake so dropplets fly everywhere, and then daintily licks the moisture off her foot. Dip, shake, lick, repeat."

I kno how you feel. My cat used to do that with milk, it made a huge mess and I had to clean it up all the time.
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