Why Do Cats Dunk Their Toys in Their Water Dishes?

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Cats are known for their eclectic personalities and strange behaviors. But none is more perplexing than seeing them dunk their toys in a water dish. But have you ever thought, why do cats dunk their toys in their water dishes? Well, this curious habit lets your cat express its natural hunting skills, cool down, get attention, and entertain itself. Understanding why your cat does so will strengthen your bond and help you prevent your cat from making a mess.

Why Do Cats Drown Their Toys?

Dunking toys in water dishes is just one of many curious and perplexing behaviors exhibited by cats. Let’s explore the possible reasons for this behavior-

1. They Like to Play in Water

If your cat loves to drown its toys in water, it could love to play with water. Domesticated cats enjoy pawing water and even swimming. Playing with water stimulates them mentally and physically and cools them down in the summer.

2. They are Trying to Eliminate Prey Scent:

In the wild, cats tend to submerge their prey in water to eliminate its smell, which stops other predators from finding it. Pet cats dunk their toys or other trinkets in water to mimic this instinctual behavior.

3. They are Trying to Get Their Owner’s Attention:

Cats usually jump on shelves, throw stuff from height, or dunk their toys in a water bowl because they understand that you’ll react to their antics and engage with them. Most cats do well on their own when you are busy at work. However, it is essential to remember that social beings require love and attention. Destructive behavior like this indicates their need for socialization. 

4. They are Bored:

Cats that spend most of their day alone get bored quickly. So, if you catch them playing with a toy in their water bowl in your security camera, your cat is trying to entertain themselves. To prevent your cat from getting bored, you can scatter TEMPTATIONS Cat Treats around your house or garden or use the treats to engage your cat in a puzzle. These treats are low in calories, nutritionally balanced, and irresistible for cats.

5. They are Exhibiting their Collecting and Gathering Instincts:

Cats have an instinct for hunting and gathering. Some cat behaviorists believe that dunking toys in water is an extension of that behavior.

How to Stop Your Cat from Dunking Their Toys in Their Water Dishes?

Watching your cat plop things in its water dish and make a big mess is adorable, but this behavior can become very frustrating. Try the following tricks to stop your cat from putting its toys in the water dish.

TricksHow Can They Help You?
Restrict Access to the Water BowlOver time, water spillage from the bowl can damage wooden floors and increase fungal growth on your cat’s body. Therefore, you must restrict your cat’s access to the water bowl.
Provide EnrichmentProviding enrichment to your cats through training, playtime, and puzzles can be an excellent way to reduce their boredom. Use their favorite treats or toys and engage them in a bonding session for a few minutes daily.
Ensure Water CleanlinessWhile cats enjoy playing and dunking toys in dirty water, they do not prefer drinking it. Therefore, ensuring your cat has access to clean water will stop it from dropping toys in its water dish.


While your feline companion’s habit of dunking toys in their water dish might initially perplex you, it is crucial to understand that it stems from their desire for stimulation and prey instincts. You can direct your energy towards less destructive behaviors with proper enrichment and even training.

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