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Historically, my cat's water bowl has always been in the vicinity of his litter box. Not adjacent to it, but close by and in the same room. He has recently adopted the habit of jumping up on the bathroom counter (different room than the litter box) in hopes of drinking from the faucet (regardless that the water bowl is clean and full).

In order to dissuade that behavior, I have placed a second water bowl in the bathroom, which he seems content with. However, I've noticed that he seems to prefer drinking from that one; I find myself refilling it more often that the primary bowl.

Is there any possible explanation for this behavior?

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    Short answer: cats (and dogs) seem to prefer running water over bowl water. – JoshDM Dec 17 '13 at 19:01
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It's possible that your cat, like some people, has simply gotten more finicky with age. Or perhaps there's been an environmental change that makes the original placement now undesirable; for example, if heating or ventillation has changed in that room with the change of seasons, maybe the odors are trapped for longer. Or perhaps he's discovered that the bathroom faucet is fun.

I've often heard advice to not place food and water near litterboxes. In my case the food/water are in the basement hall and the litterboxes are through an open door in the utility room. It's no more than 10 feet but it's far enough that the box contents aren't unappetizing.

A second water bowl is not a bad idea in any case. I have one upstairs and it gets more use than the one in the basement (except at meal-time).

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As far as I'm aware of, it's instinctual, to avoid contamination. For one, running water is safest because it doesn't allow for bacteria to grow, as it would in stagnant water. But, given the choice of two puddles, pick the one furthest away from visible contaminants.

Some cats, though not all, will also defer to the sink/bathtub if their water dish is too close to the food dish. Instinct says that if the food is sitting near the water, then the water is contaminated. Likewise water near the litter box is contaminated. Which in reality, it probably is, as cat litter is really dusty and gets everywhere.

Usually it's best to have some space between the food, water, and litter box. But some cat's don't mind the food and water being next to each other. The easy solution is to get one of those water fountain bowls.

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