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How to Prevent Your Cat From Spilling Their Water Bowl

I'm a cat lover to the max! I have helped rescue and re-home over 100 cats. My family cats fill my heart with joy every day.

Cute Bowl, But Spills Easily

This is a standard ceramic bowl, the type that you can buy individually or with a set of dishes. These look really pretty but are easily tipped.

This is a standard ceramic bowl, the type that you can buy individually or with a set of dishes. These look really pretty but are easily tipped.

Why Cats Spill Water Bowls

Many cats like to "break" the top of water before drinking. They do this by tapping the water with their paw, or they pull on the bowl to shake the bowl which causes ripples in the water. Breaking the water allows the kitty to see where the top of the water is, and it also breaks the invisible layer of film which sometimes covers water, allowing the fresh water underneath to be easily reached.

Some cats play with water bowls just for the fun of it. Tipping a bowl and watching water spill is kind of fun, after all. LOL!!

So, what are your options for keeping water off the floor?

Black Cat with Water Bowl

This bowl has a wider bottom so doesn't tip over as easily as many standard bowls.

This bowl has a wider bottom so doesn't tip over as easily as many standard bowls.

Solution #1: Catch Cat Water Spills

One option is to put something under the bowl to catch spilled water and keep it off the floor.

Here are some ideas:

  • Non-slip pet tray (Cats can't push it around and it's easy to wash)
  • Baking Pan (Can be unsightly but easily available)
  • Towel (Soaks up the water, but if not changed frequently, can start to mildew)
  • Place mat (Same issues as Towel)

Solution #2: Wide Bottom Non-spill Pet Bowls

Another solution is a bowl that the cat can't spill. A wide-bottomed bowl with rubber bottom is one great option. The wide bottom helps prevent the cat from tipping the bowl, and the rubber bottom prevents the bowl from easily being pushed, or sliding on the floor, so this one is a double whammy!

Solution #3: Heavy Bottom Weighted Non-Spill Pet Bowl

A heavy-bottomed bowl works well because the bottoms are weighted, which helps prevent a cat from easily tipping the bowl.

I have a ceramic bowl with straight walls, no rubber bottom and heavy, weighted bottom and it works good most of the time. I have one cat that will actually drag the bowl though, so having a rubber bottom would be helpful.

Solution #4: Stick bowl to floor

Use museum putty to stick the bowl to the floor. The downside is that makes the bowl difficult to re-fill and wash.

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Solution #5: Bowls in Stands

There are many varieties of stands made to hold bowls off the floor. The great thing about these is they're not easy for cats to tip over and harder for a cat to push around. Using a bowl stand makes it much less likely that your cat will spill water.

A secondary benefit is that some of the pet bowl stands are decorative which is nice for the pet owners.

Other Suggestions?

If you have suggestions that also may work, which have not been included, please include them in the comments section. Thanks!!

Cat Water Fountain

And as one commenter so graciously added, a pet water dispenser, AKA water fountain is another great option. Some cats really enjoy trickling water and so love these luxury items. There are some cats that won't drink out of them, so you may just have to try it with your kitty to see what his/her preferences are. My cats prefer eating and drinking out of ceramic or glass bowls with stainless steel coming in a close second. If I put down ceramic and plastic bowls with food, they always go for the ceramic.


Amber Killinger (author) on November 17, 2017:

Last year we got a new stainless steel water fountain and my cats still love it. That's their go-to now for water most of the time since they like the running water.

Amber Killinger (author) on February 12, 2017:

Many cats enjoy drinking running water so any fountain is worth a try. My cats seem to prefer drinking from metal or ceramic. I see that there are many videos of cats drinking from this Catit Flower fountain, and even a dog. That seems like proof enough that there are many pets that enjoy it.

Amber Killinger (author) on April 13, 2015:

I also want to add that these types of bowls can also assist with kitties who push food out of their bowls. I purchased a bowl from Amazon with a very wide bottom, curved's pretty heavy bowl, and it's the only bowl one of my cats can't push around and doesn't push food out of. It was well worth the money.

Amber Killinger (author) on November 29, 2011:

That's a great solution too! Thanks.

Elsie Nelson from Pacific Northwest, USA on November 28, 2011:

We use a cat water fountain and my three kitties love it. It's pretty much impossible for them to knock over, well at least they haven't managed to do so yet.

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