Should a cat’s water be away from food?

The placement of your cat’s food bowl can cause him to give up drinking. The scents can be intermixed to create a scented cocktail that doesn’t appeal to your feline senses.

Should a cat’s food and water containers be kept separate? Yes, keep your pet’s food and water dishes separate. 

The proximity of water to food is just one reason why cats are reluctant to drink . Felines are picky when it comes to water and always find excuses not to drink.

In this article I will show you where you should place the water bowl to avoid dehydration in your cat .

Should you keep your cat’s food and water separate?

It is important that the water bowl is kept away from the food bowl .

Cats have a hard time drinking water when it is placed too close to their food, explained by a cat’s survival instincts in the wild.

In the wild, cats eat their prey and food at a distance from their water sources, to avoid contaminating their water supply with decaying debris.

This instinct is preserved in our domestic cats, even if you give it food from a can or a bag, the cat continues to maintain its instinct.


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Consider that any food, dry or wet, is a fresh death for your cat, remember, cats have a stronger sense of smell than humans.

Your pet’s food and water supplies should never be placed side by side, it is advisable to place them on the opposite side of the room. Your cat should also have access to several sources of water.

If your house has several floors, put at least one water fountain on each one. You may notice that your cat drinks more of one than the others. Also don’t forget to place the water away from their litter boxes, this is even worse than the food bowl.

If you’ve been collecting your cat’s food and water, don’t make a sudden change and remove the water. That  will cause stress for your cat .

Instead, add a second, or third source of water in different places. Once your cat gets used to drinking elsewhere, you can remove the bowl with her food completely, she will hardly notice.

Why has my cat stopped drinking water?

If your cat stops drinking water, you should be concerned. Like all mammals, cats need to drink to stay healthy.

Domestic cats are descended from desert animals, which means they can last up to three days without hydrating.

If your cat is suddenly no longer drinking, first of all, check the location of his bowl. If he is too close to food or the litter box, the cat may not have much motivation to drink.

There may also be other reasons for it:

  • The shape and size of the water bowl can irritate the cat’s whiskers.
  • You don’t keep the amount of water in the bowl constant.
  • Your cat considers the water to be contaminated.
  • Still water in a bowl may be boring.
  • The smell of tap water may be unpleasant for you.

The last of these reasons is easy to solve. Your cat’s sensitive nose will detect chemicals, such as chlorine, in tap water. Try offering bottled water, or filtering and purifying tap water.

You should also know that cats like water in motion. That is why they often drink from a fish tank, faucets, or toilets. You may need to buy a water fountain. This will maintain a constant supply of fresh running water.

If a source of water is not feasible, try to make your cat’s water more attractive, for example you can add canned tuna oil. However, it will not work for all cats. Remember, cats do not want to mix food and water scents.

Changing the water bowl is easy too. If your cat’s whiskers rub against the water bowl it can be painful, this is called whisker fatigue .

Don’t fill the bowl with water one day and leave it half empty the next. This will make your pet consider that something has changed, and you already know that cats are “enemies” of change.

Where is the right place to put your cat’s food bowl?

Although cats are food-focused animals, it does not mean that they will eat anywhere.

Don’t be tempted to place the food bowl in a corner of the room, your cat almost certainly doesn’t like corners.

Your cat will feel vulnerable when it is eating. If it’s cornered, the food, in a corner, you can’t see if someone or something is coming.

Put your cat’s food bowl in a quiet room . In theory, the kitchen is the ideal place. That’s where you cook and surely eat, which can make your cat feel like part of the family. Most of the kitchens also have clean floors, which helps.

However, cats tend to be uncomfortable eating when there is noise and people around. It is a distraction, and they prefer to eat quietly.

Ideally, you provide your feline with a free room as a place to feed, he will appreciate it. You can use the room in which your cat spends the most time throughout the day.


If you have several cats, it is advisable to have several feeding bowls and conveniently separated. If there is a dominant cat, it can intimidate your way to more food. The same also applies if one cat eats fast and another savors his food.

Don’t forget to keep food and water as far away from trash trays as possible ; in another room, if you can.

Finally, always remember that your cat must have access to clean, fresh water at all times, and their water bowls must be cleaned and refilled with fresh water at least once a day.


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