I adopted a shelter cat a year ago and from the first day I brought him home he has washed his feet in water, not to assist in drinking but getting his front paws soaked up to his elbows.

After cleaning up spilled water too many times I put his water dish in the tub. I watched him spill his water and dance all over the water. I also intentionally left the toilet lid up and there he was with his front feet in the water splashing like he was swimming. After he's wet enough he licks his feet and is happy but repeats this often.

Is this something I should worry about? Other than his foot washing he's a wonderful, happy cat. I couldn't have gotten a better cat. Teddy is 2 years old and was in the shelter for 3 months. I saw his picture online and fell in love with him.

  • unless your cat keeps its paws wet all the time i do not think you need to worry.do the feets of your cat feel warmer than normal,if they do you need to ask your vet about it and if not no problem. Nov 9, 2018 at 11:56

2 Answers 2


This sounds like perfectly healthy, though odd behaviour. Most cats have some weird stuff they like.

I would make sure his paws feel fine, aren't dried out, and don't feel abnormally warm or cold. Other than that I'd try to keep him out of the toilet bowl (for sanitary reasons) and put a large bath mat under his water bowl, so he dries off a little when he's walking away from it. Also try to replace the water in the water bowl often, to prevent nastiness building up.

Also: how about making a daily or weekly event out of water playtime with your cat? Get a large area like a bathtub filled with a few cm of water, and see if he'll play.

  • I would provide a small, additional dish or Tupperware container near his food for his washing behavior. Maybe he was reared by raccoons?
    – M.Mat
    Nov 19, 2018 at 15:49

Despite what common knowledge tells us about cats, some do actually like playing in water, in particular splashing it around; a few breeds are known for their love of water. Some will even get in a tub to play with toys; you can try anything that floats, but there are motorized fish that are made specifically for cats to play with. There's nothing inherently wrong with it, provided the water is clean and a reasonable temperature.

However, do not let him play in the toilet for sanitary reasons, and I'd recommend a water fountain (heavy enough he can't tip it over) for drinking, separate from his playing water, to ensure he doesn't spill it all and then get dehydrated.

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