Why Is My Cat Obsessed With the Sink? 6 Reasons Why

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An amusing image featuring a cat comfortably nestled inside a sink.

Have you ever caught your cat in the sink and wondered what in the world they are doing there? If so, you’re not alone! Cats often curl up in the sink. Although they look very cozy and content in there, it’s hard to believe they are actually comfortable in a cold, hard sink. Let’s explore why some cats are obsessed with sinks.

Key Takeaways

It's common for cats to enjoy lying, sleeping, and hiding in sinks.

Cats might like the shape of the sink, its coolness, the fact that the sink is in a quiet room, or the proximity to running water from the faucet.

If you prefer to keep your cat out of the sink, close the bathroom door, offer your cat a sink-shaped bed, and praise them or give them treats when they sleep elsewhere.

1. Cooling Off

The cold ceramic or porcelain of a sink offers your cat some comfort as it allows them to cool down. If the weather is warm or you have the heating on in your house, the temperature might be too hot for your cat. Cats are covered in a thick layer of fur after all. They will often seek somewhere they can lie down and cool off. The sink is perfect for this as the material is cool to the touch so will allow the heat from your cat to transfer to it.

2. Perfect Shape

Your sink is usually the perfect shape for your cat to curl up in and fit snuggly. If you think about it, sinks are a pretty similar shape to cat beds. Sinks and cat beds also share a few other attractive characteristics for cats. Cats like to feel secure when they lie down or sleep. The sink contains them well, offering a nice, rounded shape that they can lie in comfortably.

3. Water on Tap

An image showcasing a black cat positioned beneath a running faucet, drinking water from it.

Many cats are fascinated with running or dripping water, so they might develop a habit of visiting the sink.

Another attraction for your cat is the proximity to the faucet. Cats just love to drink from running water. Most owners are aware of cats’ fascination with running water. We think this is because it’s easier to spot than still water, so they are attracted to it. This is also why you might catch your cat tapping the top of the liquid in a cup or a glass of water as they want to confirm if there is liquid in there or not.

The tinkling sound of the running water also attracts cats. Though domestic cats are no longer wild animals, they might find running water appealing as evolution has taught them that it is considered safer and cleaner than still water.

Lots of cats seem to prefer the taste of running water. Water in their bowl might taste unattractive to a cat, especially if it has residue from dropped food or if it hasn’t been washed properly. Even if you have washed the bowl really well, your cat might not like the scent of the cleaning products you used. It is best to regularly clean your cat’s bowl with an unscented cleaning product.

4. Vantage Point

The sink offers a great lookout post position for your cat. They can look out over the top of the sink while staying relatively well hidden. Cats like to keep a close eye on the activity in their environment as they are always on the lookout for threats. This is an instinct as cats can be predators or prey in the wild—they both hunt and are hunted.

5. Quiet Time

Cats often crave a quiet space to call their sanctuary. Your bathroom will usually be a quieter place for them to hide in as it is away from the usual hustle and bustle of the house. Your bathroom will usually only be occupied by one person at a time, compared to somewhere like the lounge or the kitchen which will often be busy with people and never quiet or empty.

6. Attention

An image featuring a cat sitting comfortably in a sink, curiously observing its surroundings.

If you respond to your cat’s sink explorations with laughter or other positive attention, they might repeat it to get another reaction out of you.

Some clever cats realize that getting in the sink not only brings them physically closer to us but also that they will get lots of attention. If you are about to wash your hands or brush your teeth and you find your cat there, you will more than likely talk to them and pet them, even if you are doing this as you move them out of the way.

Your cat will begin to associate this with a positive experience and gravitate toward the sink for they some quality time and positive interactions with you, their favorite human!

How Do I Stop My Cat From Sleeping in the Sink?

If cat sink slumbering is not for you, there are a few things you can do to persuade your cat to pick a different spot. The first thing would be to keep the bathroom door closed to prevent your cat from sneaking in and curling up. If you do this, ensure you have other places around the house that they can go to as they might be very upset if their special place is suddenly out of bounds.

You can buy cat beds that mimic the shape of your sink which some cats might like as an alternative. Be sure to place them in a quiet room away from the usual foot traffic in the house. If you think it’s the dripping tap and running water element your cat is attracted to, you can buy water bowls that have a mini water fountain in it so it mimics a little stream or river.

You can also try reinforcing positive behavior, so if your cat decides to curl up somewhere other than the sink, be sure to pet them and make a fuss of them and give them treats. If they do keep going to the sink, calmly remove them and place them gently down somewhere else without giving any attention or fuss. It’s best not to scold your cat for going in the sink as this may frighten them.

Should I Be Worried if My Cat Hangs Out in the Sink?

Usually, if your cat is snoozing in the sink, this is just an adorable (if bizarre) habit they have picked up. However, there are a few reasons they might be going near the sink that could mean something is up. If your cat is hanging around the sink because they are constantly thirsty this could be a sign of something like kidney disease or diabetes.

If you notice your cat is extra thirsty and possibly using their litter box more too, it’s best to get an appointment with your veterinarian. Especially if this has come on as a sudden change. Your cat might have an underlying health problem that needs addressing.

Another issue some owners are concerned about is hygiene. If your cat is padding about your bathroom frequently throughout the day, at some point you know they will have just been in their litter tray.

If they are then walking around your sink where you wash your face and near to your toothbrushes, some people might think this is unhygienic and feel uncomfortable. This does depend on personal preferences.

Final Thoughts

An endearing image of a cat cozily settled within a sink, gazing outward with an expression of curiosity and contentment. The scene exemplifies a cat's innate knack for finding snug and unexpected spots for comfort and observation.

Most of the time, a cat’s sink obsession is a harmless quirk.

There are many reasons you might find your cat in the sink. Most of these are behavioral explanations, however, there are a few reasons that might mean your cat is sick and needs some help from your vet. Once you have ruled out any medical issues you can let your cat lounge about to their heart’s content, as long as you are OK with it too!

Also Read: 8 Reasons You Should Never Punish Your Cat

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my cat obsessed with the sink water?

There are a few good reasons your cat chooses to drink water from a running tap over the still stuff in their water dish. The water from the tap might taste better to them. They might not like the location of their water bowl (too busy, too hot, too cold, too drafty).

Historically, cats would have avoided stagnant water as it might be contaminated. Running water is considered safer as it is cleaner and fresher. So your cat's survival instincts draw them to the running water source.

Is it normal for cats to sit in the sink?

Yes, it certainly is. Your cat might be seeking a cool place to chill out after an afternoon of sunbathing. They might want to sneak off somewhere quiet away from the noise of a busy family home. They might be hanging out until someone turns the tap on so that they can have a drink. The sink is a pretty cool place in your cat's eyes!

Do cats like sink water?

They certainly do. Lots of cats prefer running water from the tap over the still water in their bowl. From an evolutionary standpoint, cats prefer cool fresh water. If the water in their bowl has been there for a while it might become warm and dusty. Your cat might still drink it if they are super thirsty, but they would definitely prefer the fresh stuff.

How do I stop my cat from going into the sink?

There are many ways you can stop your cat from sitting in the sink. You can close the door to the room so they can't enter it. You can get them a similar bed somewhere else to tempt them away from the bathroom. Some owners even manage to clicker train their cat to not use the sink using treats and a clicker. This is pretty labor-intensive though!

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About Dr. Emma Chandley BVetMed PGCertSAS MRCVS

Emma graduated from the Royal Vet College in London in 2011. An expert in cat behavior and nutrition, she also has a keen interest in surgery. Emma went on to do a post-graduate certificate in small animal surgery and was then awarded advanced practitioner status in the same discipline.

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