Why does my cat lie in the sink?

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2024. January 27 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

Cats have some particularly strange habits that we may never fully understand. However, that doesn't mean we can't contemplate them.


If you have a cat, you may have walked into the bathroom to witness the peculiar scene of your pet peacefully sleeping in the sink. At such moments, everyone probably wonders why the cat is lying in a place typically associated with water. After all, cats dislike water and hate getting wet. However, they often ignore their aversion to water (and personal space) and visit their human during activities like bathing or showering. So, for a cat lie in the sink might not be the strangest thing they do. Let’s delve a bit deeper into this behavior! We’ve compiled the most commonly theorized explanations for this peculiar habit.

What could be the motive?

If we search for a scientific answer to this question, we won’t find one, so speculation remains. There are serious ideas about the reasons behind this behavior, but there are also humorous and lighthearted comments.

Easy answer! Cats are liquid state, so they are attracted to taps and sinks. A creative response from a Reddit post: Jokes are often made about cats being able to squeeze into the smallest spaces because they are in a liquid state. Interestingly, this idea is not entirely detached from reality: a scientist recently received an Ig Nobel Prize for this concept.

Taking a slightly more serious approach, there must be a reason why our cats choose a specific place for relaxation.

Perfect design

Most likely, our sinks are designed ergonomically for cats. If we consider that cats like to sleep curled up, the sink provides an ideal space for this position. Additionally, it offers them security by surrounding them, protecting their more vulnerable body parts. It’s similar to a box or a basket, which are also typical resting places for domestic cats. If that’s not enough, in the summer, the cool ceramic helps them stay cool, while in winter, it absorbs and retains their body heat, providing a cozy spot.

Elevated air

Due to their instincts, cats strive for heights. They climb trees, go on rooftops… They enjoy observing the world from above, as it allows them to survey a larger area. This behavior helps them spot prey more easily and identify potential dangers. It can be seen as an evolutionary need. Another crucial aspect is that warm air rises. Cats’ normal body temperature ranges between 37 and 39 degrees Celsius, so they appreciate warmer places. It’s not a coincidence that they lie on radiators or snuggle under blankets.

The island of calm

No matter how social a cat is, sometimes it needs a bit of solitude, quiet, and peace. While it might easily get these in a two-person household, it becomes more challenging with children or other pets around. Therefore, they seek out a place where small children can’t reach, far from the noise of the TV and everyday life, and where the dog is unlikely to find them. Hence, it’s common to find them in the sink.

Fresh water

Cats prefer drinking from running water. Firstly, they are picky about cleanliness, and water from the tap is fresh and unlikely to be contaminated from their perspective. Secondly, drinking from a flowing stream is more exciting for them, as they can play with the flowing water.

Basically, if it doesn’t bother us, there’s no problem with this peculiar habit. However, it might be worth considering if there’s anything we can do to make sure the sink isn’t their only refuge. For example, we can modify the setup a bit, creating more cat-friendly spaces at elevated positions. Alternatively, we can get a water dispenser for our pet that circulates the water. This way, they don’t have to wait for us to turn on the tap; they have access to fresh water without our intervention.

Your pet might be happy with a drinking fountain.

It might be worth having your pet examined

Of course, it’s adorable when cats enrich their owner’s daily life with such peculiar habits, but there could be more than harmless reasons behind this interesting behavior. If your pet is a frequent visitor to the sink, not just for sleeping but also for constant drinking, it might be worth considering a visit to the vet.

Increased fluid intake (and urination) is associated with diabetes and kidney disease. If you notice that this behavior is relatively new and very regular, it’s advisable to take your pet for a check-up. Diabetes can be very dangerous, and many cats, especially older ones, leave us due to kidney disease. By the time you notice bloody urine, it might be too late to do anything, so it’s crucial to spot even the smallest signs early on.

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