Drinking habits of dogs and cats: the differences

The drinking habits of dogs and cats are very different. While cats gently and carefully slurp from the surface of the water, dogs create puddles around the water bowl. But how do these differences come about?

Cats and dogs have different drinking habits - Shutterstock / Monika Wisniewska

Cats and dogs have different drinking habits – Shutterstock / Monika Wisniewska

Unlike humans, dogs and cats cannot create negative pressure in their mouths. That’s why their drinking habits are so different from those of their masters and mistresses. You can read about the differences between dogs and cats here.

anatomical differences

Dog owners know this all too well: as soon as the water bowl is set up, the dog happily and loudly laps away – leaving a huge puddle on the floor. Cats tick differently: They take the water almost silently and very gently. But how does this big difference come about? Finally, both animals convey the liquid into their mouths via their tongues.

The reason lies in the different anatomy of dogs and cats. Dogs have smooth tongues. In order to get water into their mouths, they penetrate deep into the water bowl with their tongues, fold their tongues back and, as it were, hurl the liquid into their mouths. This creates a small fountain that, after several strokes of the tongue, transports the water to the esophagus. The dog’s tongue forms a kind of ladle or spoon. This is made clear in the following slow-motion shot:

Cats have a certain advantage when drinking because of their rough tongue. By tapping the water surface and pulling your tongue back into your mouth, a kind of water column is created that your cat only has to swallow. You can see what it looks like in this video:

Dog and cat can cuddle together - Image: Shutterstock / gurinaleksandr
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Dog and Cat Drinking Habits: The Place

But the difference between dogs and cats is not only in the way they drink. Dogs usually quench their thirst in front of their master – either in the bowl or in a puddle while walking. Cat owners are regularly surprised that they rarely get to see their kitty drinking. The water bowl also seems to empty slowly or not at all.

However, this does not mean that the cat is dying of thirst. Velvet paws love to look for liquid in different places. Particularly popular: stagnant water. If you have a filled watering can or a flower vase lying around, your cat may help itself from here. However, letting your cat drink from planters and other sources of stagnant water is not recommended. Despite their sometimes strange drinking habits, you should always provide your furry friend with fresh water. If your cat only drinks stale water, there is a risk of bacterial infection if too many germs have accumulated in the water.

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