Why do cats wet their paws? Uncover 7 shocking reasons!

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a soft, furry cat rubbing up against your legs, or curling up in your lap for a cozy snuggle. But have you noticed that sometimes your cat’s paws are a little bit damp? If you’re wondering why your cat’s paws are wet, don’t worry! Because you are not alone in this situation. It’s a common behavior that many cat owners have noticed, myself included. 

So, join me as we’re going to explore the amazing world of cat’s mysterious behavior and uncover the fascinating truth about why they can’t just resist dipping those precious paws in the water!

What causes cats to wet their paws

There are few cat owners who haven’t experienced their cat’s “wetting paws” behavior. Whether your cat is dipping its paws in water and licking them, or splash water around its bowl or faucet. I know it can be a little frustrating to clean up after our sweet, adorable cat. But what causes them to do that? 

Well, as it turns out, there are few reasons why our furry cat may exhibit this behavior. Let’s take a closer look then-

  1. Instinctual behavior: One reason for cats to wet their paw is their instinctual behavior. They want to make sure that the refreshing drink is safe, which is why cats often lick, or sniff their paws after dipping it in their water bowl.  
  1. Bored or stressed: Some cats may excessively lick, or wet their paws due to boredom or stress. If your cat does not get enough mental stimulation, or physical activity, they may resort to playing with water to distract themselves.   
  1. Curiosity: Cats are naturally curious creatures. They may stick their paws in water or other liquid out of curiosity. Water can be interesting objects for cats as it changes shape, temperature, and sound, especially moving water. They may want to touch it to satisfy their curiosity, and can result in damp paws.

[Do you know cats can be obsessive with your drink? If not, then visit this article why is my cat obsessed with my drink]

  1. Fun and play: Some cats may wet their paws simply for fun and play. As cats love to chase, hunt, catch things, and water can provide a fun challenge for them. This behavior is especially common in kittens, and they may enjoy pawing at water, watching its unpredictable moves and how it splashes around.  
  1. Burying behavior: If you are a cat person, you know that cats have a “burying” behavior. In the wild, cats would cover their waste from predators, or leftovers to hide them from other cats. This behavior can lead cats to try covering their water, which causes wet paws. 

[As we mentioned, cats have an instinct to bury their food. If you want to learn how to stop this doing then read our expert guide How to stop my cat from trying to bury his food]

  1. Whiskers sensitivity: Oh! Cat’s whiskers are incredibly sensitive. They can be irritated if their whiskers touch the edge of bowls or faucets. As a result, cats dip their paws in water or other liquid and then lick it to soothe the irritation. 
  1. Vision issues: If your cat has vision problems, especially an older one,  they may dip their paws in the water to check the depth of their drink. By doing that, cats may get a better sense of where the water is and how much they are drinking. This behavior can result in damp or wet paws.

If you want to see some examples of cats wetting their paws and learn more about this behavior, check out this video why your cats dipped their paws in the water! You’ll be amazed by how clever and adorable cats are when they interact with water.

Is it normal for cats to wet their paws?

So, your cat has a “paw wetting” thing. Does that mean it’s a little….. Abnormal behavior? Of course not! Wetting the paws is a normal and natural behavior for most cats, as long as it’s nor excessive or compulsive.

In fact, there are imaginary cats who keep their paws from getting wet!! It may seem a bit strange or unusual to you, but there are several benefits to this weird behavior. 

First of all, wetting their paws helps to keep them clean and hygienic. Cats are naturally fastidious animals, and they frequently groom themselves. So, if you notice your cat dampening their paws, relax! It’s just a way to stay perfectly groomed. 

Secondly, it can help to regulate their body temperature. Cats do not sweat like us, and instead they lick or soak their paws to cool down. It can provide moisture, especially during hot weather when they become parched. So, whatever the reason, don’t worry, your cat is just trying to stay hydrated. 

Finally, cats love to explore new things, whether it’s a toy, part of your house, or dancing water. And who can blame them for being curious? After all, playing with water, splashing around can be a new sensory experience for them. 

How can you prevent your cats from wetting their paw

Some cats have a fascination with water. They love to paw at their water bowl or splash it around like a mini pool. While this may be cute and amusing, it can also be messy and inconvenient. If you want to keep your cat’s paws dry and clean, you can follow some simple tips to stop their water antics. Here are some ideas to try:

  • Use a larger or elevated bowl: Check that the water bowl is the right size. If it’s too, which can be unpleasant for your cat. So, give your cat a bowl that is wide enough for his whiskers. This way your cat will be more likely to drink from it and won’t knock over the bowl like Chole did from “the secret life of pets”.
  • Provide a drinking fountain: Some cats may enjoy water that moves rather than stagnant water, or they may want to avoid whiskers discomfort. A drinking fountain made for cats can give them a shallow basin that they can drink from without having to soak their paws. 
  • Reduce stress or boredom: As Sadness from “Inside out” said, ‘cats are the most stressed out creature’. So, if you don’t want to make her word true, provide your cat with plenty of toys and interactive playtime. It will help them relax and have fun, as well as distract them from playing with water.
  • Addressing the health issue: Leaving your cat’s vision problems untreated is like leaving the ring on Frodo’s finger in “The Lord of the Rings” which can have dire consequences. So, make sure your cat gets proper medication to improve their eyesight. By solving the sight issue, you will also help your cat avoid wetting their paws when they drink.

What to do if your cat’s paws are constantly wet

So, what to do if your cat’s paws are constantly wet, or damp? Well, first of all, identify why their paws wetted. Is it because they’re playing with their water bowl or jumping in puddles outside? If so, then don’t worry, follow the effective steps we talked about earlier. 

But if your cat’s paws are constantly wet, with other serious medical issues (e.g., infection, or disease), it’s essential to take them to the vet for a check-up. 

Here are some medical or behavioral concern, such as-

  • A skin infection or allergy that causes itching or inflammation
  • A urinary tract infection or kidney disease that causes excessive thirst or urination
  • A compulsive disorder or obsessive behavior that causes over-grooming or self-mutilation
  • A psychological issue or trauma that causes anxiety or depression

If you suspect any of these issues, then seek professional help from any experienced veterinarian as soon as possible. Your vet will be able to identify the underlying cause of the behavior and provide treatment.

Remember, it’s important to be patient and understanding with your cat, as damp paws can be a normal behavior or a sign of underlying issues. With a little love and care, you can help your furry friend stay healthy and happy.


Well, that’s it, folks, everything you ever wondered about why your cat dips their paws in water. From the instinctive reasons to the vision issues, we’ve explained it all. But the best part? You now have a better understanding of your cat’s behavior and needs. So the next time your cat splashes their paw in their bowl, don’t get annoyed, appreciate the gesture and offer them some fresh water.

And hey, if you have any more questions, suggestions, or funny water related stories to share, leave them in the comments below. And don’t forget to share this article with your fellow cat enthusiasts. Let’s spread the water wisdom far and wide, friends.

Leave a Comment