Why Does My Cat Dunk Her Toys?

Cats can become very possessive of objects. They often hide them away and, sometimes, they even deposit them in their water dishes. Tracey G. writes:

Clarice was about a year old when we adopted her five years ago. She has a TON of toys, and gets lots of attention from my husband and me, along with lots of treats. What would make her put her toys in her water dish? She used to only dunk the stuffed toys; now she dunks all her toys. We did get rid of the stuffed ones. Now they’re all plastic with ribbons and feathers (she loves to throw them up and catch them).

Tracey, this is a surprisingly common behavior in cats. While we can't know for sure exactly what Clarice is thinking, we do know that the items most cats treat this way are the ones they like the best. We believe they do this as a way of protecting the items since they consider their feeding area to be the safest spot in their territory. Some speculate that, since pet cats have no nest, they're treating their feeding area as a nest and protecting the toys as they would their kittens.

It's also important to note that many cats have a hard time seeing the water in their water bowl. They all have relatively poor eyesight up close, and with perfectly clear water, the bowl may appear empty to them. Most cats are naturally drawn to moving water because, in nature, moving water is much less likely to be contaminated. This is why many cats prefer drinking from faucets or water fountains made specifically for them.

You may not be able to keep her toys dry, but it can sometimes help to place a small basket near the food and water dishes. That way, there's an alternative spot, should Clarice choose to use it. This behavior certainly makes us humans shake our heads sometimes, but it's harmless.

We wish you and Clarice all the best!