Have you ever observed this behavior in your cat? He puts his paw in the water and is visibly satisfied after performing this funny gesture. There are several reasons for this habit.
If all these explanations have no scientific basis, you will see that some of them can be funny, even completely crazy. Others, on the contrary, are very well founded.
In any case, this original behavior has the merit of making us think about our favorite felines!
1 – Your cat is looking for freshness
Most cats enjoy water, and some even need to dip their paws in water to relax or invigorate themselves.
So every time your cat dips her paw in water, it means she’s looking for the warmth or coolness of the water temperature.
You should know that his paw pads are a particularly sensitive area to temperature changes. This would explain this.
2 – Your cat has dermatitis
If your cat has sensitive skin, he may develop dermatitis, most often related to an allergic reaction to certain foods.
This usually results in the appearance of a thick gray fuzz around his mouth and/or hind legs.
To counteract this aggression, your cat may dip his front paws in water, and sometimes even his back paws and belly, to relieve the itching.
It is then advisable to turn to your veterinarian for medical confirmation.
3 – Your cat shows you love
Studies show that cats, under certain circumstances, can dip their paws in water to express their feelings.
In fact, scientists have observed that several times a day, particularly loving cats will approach their caregiver after placing their paw in water.
They then come and rub themselves on you with their wet paws, to refer to the friendly contact they have with their fellow human.
Convinced? Let your cat get you wet, it’s a ball of love!
4 – Your cat feels a biological need to clean itself
Cats and humans have little in common, but they do share some behaviors, including the need to clean themselves and stay clean in all circumstances.
Cats like to keep their fur clean and clean themselves with their tongues. They also like to get rid of the remains of a meal by rubbing their head against the baseboards, for example.
They’ll probably dip their paw in water to clean the baseboards when they’re dirty or when the odours bother them.
5 – Your cat simply enjoys playing with water
Water can be a source of pleasure for your cat. Contrary to popular belief, not all felines hate water, and some are very fond of it.
Very playful by nature, it’s quite possible that your cat will simply play with water. Dipping his paws in it, seeing drops in the bowl and shaking his paw to spread the water is indeed a playful activity.
You can observe the same phenomenon with cats who drink from the tap. They often put their paw under the water before they come to drink. Sometimes they even just play, fascinated by the movement of the water.
The explanation is simple, they like moving water and avoid stagnant water as much as possible. Investing in a water fountain would undoubtedly make your cat happy.
6 – Your cat wants your attention
Cats are seemingly very quiet animals. But underneath their mysterious exterior, they can sometimes hide a good dose of stress, anxiety and nervousness.
They may mis-coordinate their movements or act inappropriately if they feel left out and want your attention.
So putting her paw in the water and creating a wading pool around her bowl is sometimes just one of the ways your cat tries to get you to respond.
Give him affection, that’s all he’s looking for: petting, a play session, a soft voice to talk to him… So many loving gestures that will make him happy and strengthen the bond with his human.
7 – Your cat doesn’t like his bowl
Do you know the phenomenon of whiskers fatigue? It’s a feeling of discomfort that cats experience because of the sensitivity of their whiskers.
The whiskers, also known as vibrissae, are connected to the nervous system and send a lot of information to your cat.
If his bowl is too narrow or too deep, his whiskers will inevitably touch either the rim of the bowl or the surface of the water.
Consequently, he will prefer to catch the water with his paw and lick it afterwards, rather than undergo this sensory overload. Don’t hesitate to opt for large, shallow containers, preferably made of glass, which are more suitable for felines.
8 – Your cat assesses the distance
You’re more likely to observe this practice if your cat has access to the outdoors. A puddle, a stream, are all obstacles for him to his little stroll.
So, if for some reason he doesn’t want to go around this body of water, he will evaluate its depth to know if he can cross it easily.
His goal? To cross or drink at the source, while avoiding getting his nose wet, because he hates that!
9 – Your cat must stay on the lookout
Your cat, especially if it lives with other cats or a dog, for example, likes to dominate and know everything that’s going on in its environment so that it doesn’t get caught out.
Their hunting instinct and their predatory habits are not foreign. Thus, he can put his paw in the water, both in his bowl and in a source outside, to avoid lowering his head.
This way, Grisou keeps an eye on what’s going on around him. By staying on the lookout, he avoids being surprised by another animal or even a human.
10 – Your cat communicates with his reflection
Cats don’t instinctively recognize themselves. It’s only through learning that it will be able to identify its reflection, and not all cats are able to do this.
For example, your kitten or adult cat may see his reflection in the water. She dips her paw in, the reflection moves, and then returns to normal when the water is calm.
So he dips his paw in the water several times to try to understand who this mysterious double is. We can observe surprising reactions, going from curiosity to fear and even aggressiveness.
Indeed, he may want to make a friend by playing with his reflection, or on the contrary chase away from his territory this undesirable individual who seems to come out of the water!
11 – Your cat wants to catch a fish
If you have an aquarium, and one that’s open at the top, you’ll probably have noticed that your cat likes to stand in it to watch the fish, but not only that.
He may spend many minutes identifying their movements and trajectory, and then give in to his hunting instinct. In the wild, it’s not uncommon for a cat to catch a fish for food.
And its modus operandi is to pounce on its prey, as soon as it is close, to seize it. For that, no need to dive into the water, it prefers to wait until the fish approaches the edge to seize it with its paw and its claws. As a good piscivore, it will then take the fish in its mouth to go taste it in the calm…