Cat Drinking From Paw

by Cathy
(San Francisco, CA)

Reader Question: Why is my cat drinking from her paw?

One of my cats recently (last couple of months) started drinking water with her paw - she still does drink the normal way, just not nearly as much as she used to - more often than not, she'll put her paw in the water, scoop it and lick her paw, only. In other words, she is not even trying to clean the rest of her body after drinking-licking the fresh water off her paw. It is simply how she takes in water!

She'll sit at her water bowl and will do this for a good 10 minutes or so!!

From time to time, I do notice she will lightly do the same with her canned food - very gingerly tip the edge of her paw in it and scrap a bit off and eat it - like she is testing its efficacy or something.

Strange behavior - well... (She often sees things in the house the rest of us cannot - sometimes she stares so hard and so long, we actually look, too, to see what she is seeing.) Have you heard of this paw-drinking behavior?



Vet Suggests Reasons For Why Cat Is Drinking From Her Paw

Hi Cathy,

I have seen cats behave in this manner before. It could certainly just be a way that she has found to entertain herself, but I worry that it might be a sign of problems in her mouth – dental disease comes to mind.

If one or more of her teeth hurt, she could be drinking water and starting to eat in this way to avoid pain. Your veterinarian should be able to get a good picture of her oral health with a physical exam.


Jennifer Coates, DVM

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Feb 27, 2013
cat drinking from paw
by: Anonymous

My cat has always been known as the "developmentally delayed kitty" out of a litter of 2. She likes to drink this way, just like she prefers not to bury her poop. It's just the way she is. She isn't sick, she isn't trying to prove anything and her teeth are in excellent condition. This is just something she does that makes her unique. And despite trying to to train her to do otherwise, she continues to scoop water with her paw and not bury her poop. She's odd and we love her anyway.

Jul 05, 2015
Our cat Jane
by: Kellye Brown

So my cat is the same but she doesn't have any type of problems but she is 2 years old and we got her when she was 8 months and she's always done it but when her foster mom which who we got the kitty from found her abandoned and looked after her and so we think that even with the kitties time at Petsmart she just never learned without getting her fur and everything wet and after she finishes she sling it everywhere and on the mirror which is so funny and every once in a while she uses her tongue but it just makes her unique like the fact that she plays fetch with pipe cleaners so but we know theres no problems and we just love her and the caring and loving personality she has

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