Does your cat or dog constantly move their water or food dish?
There are lots of reasons this can happen: craving attention, not wanting to put their head in a narrow bowl where they can’t see things approach, wanting their food further from the water, or sometimes, like our cat Bob, they like to spill water on the floor and drink from there.
Bob was abandoned as a kitten and spent his first 4 months on the street, then a few weeks in a shelter until we adopted him. He was constantly moving his water dishes to spill the water, then he’d drink off the floor. We figure it’s because that’s what he was used to. Outdoor cats are likely to drink water from a puddle on the ground.
It was a highly annoying activity, and he did it about five times a day. We’d have to clean up the mess each time. It was also surprisingly noisy, and he’d often do it in the middle of the night.
We tried moving the water away from the food. Didn’t work. We tried wider dishes so he see better around him while he drinks. Didn’t change a thing. We tried heavier dishes. Bob could still move them, plus the were nosier when he moved them.
We finally solved it by putting the dishes on a high-side tray and using Velcro to hold the tray to the floor:
Use a dish that’s high enough your pet can’t get the dishes off, but not so high or so far wide that the pet can’t get to the dish easily.
Use a wide dish so the pet can see while they drink or eat.
I suppose if this still didn’t work, you could Velcro the dishes to the tray. But don’t use much with a water dish, or you’ll spill when you rip it from the tray to change the water.
Also, change the water frequently (we do twice a day), and rinse the dish out when you change the water (but do NOT use soap or a soapy brush). And have two sets of water dishes (and food dishes) so you can run them through the dishwasher once a week, and there will be dishes out while you do that. Sometimes pets moving dishes can be a pet’s disgust with hair or dirt in their water. Also give them water from a water filter. Filtered water is good for you and it’s good for them.
Get the sticky-back Velcro-like hook and loops HERE. That’s more than you need, but it’s the best kind, and you’ll be amazed how often you’ll find uses for it.
You’ll want a tray that’s longer than it is wide. If it’s too wide, it will stick out on the room and you’ll bump into it. The one we used is 11.5″ x 16″ and about 2″ high. We bought it at WalMart, but here’s one that will work and here is another.
Tip: First make sure it’s clean and dry where you’ll be sticking the tray. Cut the right lengths of the hooks and the loops from the two rolls, and stick the loops to the back of the tray. Then Velcro the hoops to the loops on the tray before placing on the floor. Remove the backing from the ones going on the floor, and place the tray the floor, for perfect alignment.
Bob was a little confused but after about a half-day he was drinking from it like nothing was ever different. And he did not spill the water dishes in the tray. (But if he had done that, it would be easier to clean, and would not eventually damage the floor, like what he was doing.)
It didn’t change his mood either. He is still his usual joyful self, and also did not find any other way to “act out.” Only difference is: not dragging of water dishes (he doesn’t even move them in the tray) and no spilled water to constantly clean up.
The other cats quickly got used to it too.
If this doesn’t completely solve your problem, try moving your pet’s food dishes a few feet further from the water.
–Michael W. Dean
Freedom Feens radio show