Cats and water are not a combination that instantly springs to mind, but do Bengal cats like water?

This guide looks at the relationship Bengal cats have, or at least can have, with water whether that be playing in or drinking it.

What You Will Discover

Do Bengal Cats Like Water?

Bengal cats are known to have an unusual fondness for water compared to many other cat breeds.

They often enjoy playing with water, whether it’s splashing in a sink, dipping their paws in their water bowl, or even joining their owners in the shower.

This love of water is believed to be a trait inherited from their wild ancestors, the Asian leopard cats, which are known to be good swimmers and often hunt near water sources.

Asian Leopard Cat
Image by paVan CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

You may witness your Bengal flicking water out of its bowl- a trait that is said to echo the Asian leopard cat removing surface water debris to see fish more clearly underneath.

However, it is worth noting, individual preferences can vary, so while many Bengal cats love water, not all will necessarily share this trait.

My Bengal, Hazel, used to flick water out of her bowl, but to say she has an affinity for water would be too strong.

She’s really not a fan of the stuff. 

So we’ve established many (but not all) Bengals like water, so now we’ll look at some of the reasons why…

Why Do Bengal Cats Like Water?

Bengal cats’ liking for water could be attributed to several factors.

Firstly, their wild ancestry is a major factor.

As mentioned, Bengal cats are descended from the Asian leopard cat, a wild species known to be comfortable around water.

Asian leopard cats often hunt and fish in around bodies of water, so this trait may be genetically ingrained in Bengals which are more closely related to their ancestors than other domesticated breeds.

Bengals are intelligent, highly curious, and playful cats.

Photo by Andreas Krappweis

Water can be an intriguing and stimulating element for them to explore and interact with, fitting their active and inquisitive nature.

Unlike many domestic cats that may have developed an aversion to water due to negative experiences or lack of exposure, Bengals are often introduced to water in a positive way from a young age.

Breeders and owners familiar with their tendencies might encourage water play, reinforcing this behaviour.

In warmer climates or during spells of hot weather, Bengals might seek out water to cool down as many animals, both wild and domesticated, often do.

From playing in water to drinking it, we’ll now look at Bengals and water consumption.

How Much Water Do Bengal Cats Drink?

The amount of drinking water a Bengal cat consumes can vary based on several factors, including their diet, activity level, health, and environmental conditions.

On average, cats need about 3.5 to 4.5 ounces of water per 5 lbs of body weight per day.

For example, a 10 lb Bengal cat would need about 7 to 9 ounces of water daily.

There is an online calculator you can use to establish how much water your cat should drink based on weight and diet.

Cats that are more active, like Bengals, may require more than this due to increased physical exertion.

The need for drinking water will also be more pronounced in hotter climates or dry indoor environments.


Bengal cats that eat primarily dry kibble need to drink more water to stay hydrated compared to those on a wet food diet.

Wet food contains about 70-80% water, significantly contributing to their hydration (see ‘The Best Wet Food For Bengal Cats’)

Indeed, cats derive the vast majority of fluids from the meat they eat.

Therefore, it is generally advised to avoid feeding your cat dry food owing to a lack of moisture, which in conjunction with a cat’s low thirst drive, can eventually lead to serious kidney problems.

Certain health conditions, such as kidney disease or diabetes, can also affect a cat’s water intake.

Cats with these conditions may drink more water than usual.

To ensure your Bengal cat stays properly hydrated:

  • Always have fresh drinking water available. Some cats prefer running water, so consider a cat water fountain (which we will discuss shortly)
  • Feed your cat wet food with a moisture content of 70-80%
  • Keep an eye on how much your cat is drinking. If you notice any significant changes in their water consumption, it may be worth consulting a veterinarian

Individual water intake can vary, so it’s essential to observe your Bengal cat and ensure they receive adequate hydration for their specific needs.

But what if you suspect your Bengal is not drinking enough?

What Can I Do If My Bengal Cat Doesn’t Drink Enough Water?

If you suspect your Bengal cat isn’t drinking enough water/taking on enough fluids, or shows some symptoms of dehydration, you can try the following:

Switch to Wet Food: Incorporate or ideally, exclusively feed wet food with high water content to your Bengal cat.

Multiple Water Sources: Place several water bowls around the house in different locations. This can make it easier for your cat to access water wherever they are.

Use a Water Fountain: Many cats are attracted to running water. A cat water fountain can be more appealing than a regular water bowl and can encourage them to drink more.

Keep Water Fresh: Ensure that drinking water is fresh and clean. Change it daily and clean the bowls regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria.

Flavour the Water: Add a bit of tuna juice, chicken broth (without onions or garlic), or clam juice to their water to make it more enticing. Be sure these additives are safe for cats and used in moderation.

Ice Cubes: Some cats enjoy playing with and licking ice cubes. Adding ice cubes to their water can make drinking more fun and interesting.

Broth: Offer low-sodium chicken or beef broth as a treat. This can help increase their fluid intake. Make sure it does not contain any harmful ingredients like onions or garlic.

Use a Different Bowl: Some cats are particular about the type of bowl they drink from. Experiment with different materials (ceramic, stainless steel, glass) and sizes to see which your cat prefers.

Interactive Play: Since Bengals are playful and active, incorporate water-based play. Let them play with a dripping tap or gently spray a mist of water for them to catch.

Monitor and Consult: If your cat still isn’t drinking enough water despite your efforts, consult a veterinarian. There might be an underlying health issue causing the decreased water intake.

Rarely do I see my own Bengal drink from her bowl, but as she’s fed a wet food diet, I feel confident she’s sufficiently hydrated as she doesn’t exhibit any symptoms of dehydration.

I mentioned water fountains earlier. Let’s find out if Bengals need them…

Do Bengal Cats Need A Water Fountain?

Bengal cats, like all cats, benefit from having access to fresh, clean water to help maintain proper hydration.

While they don’t necessarily need a water fountain, there are several reasons why a water fountain can be particularly beneficial for Bengal cats.

Many Bengals are attracted to running water. A water fountain can make drinking more appealing, which encourages cats to drink more and stay hydrated.

Water fountains continuously circulate water, keeping it fresh and oxygenated. This can be more enticing for cats compared to stagnant water in a bowl.

Not this sort of water fountain…
Photo by Tom Wheatley

The continuous movement of water in a fountain can also reduce the likelihood of bacterial growth, helping to ensure the water stays clean.

Bengals are known for their playful and curious nature and providing drinking water from a fountain can stimulate their interest and provide an additional source of entertainment.

If a water fountain appeals, look for a fountain:

  • made from safe, durable materials like stainless steel, ceramic, or BPA-free plastic
  • with a good filtration system to ensure the water remains clean and free of debris
  • that operates quietly to avoid startling your Bengal and indeed, disturbing you
  • easy to disassemble and clean
  • with an adequate water capacity for your cat’s needs and fits well in your home

From water fountains to showers…

Do Bengal Cats Like To Shower?

Again, as you may have guessed some Bengals do and others don’t.

Each Bengal cat has a unique personality.

Some may be naturally curious and enjoy being around water and their owners, while others may be more cautious or indifferent.

Cats that are introduced to water and showering at a young age and in a positive manner are more likely to enjoy it.

Positive reinforcement and gentle handling can make a big difference.

Associating shower time with positive experiences, like treats, petting, or play, can help a Bengal cat feel more comfortable and even look forward to showering with their owner.

Additionally, gradually introducing your Bengal cat to the idea of showering with you can help them feel more at ease.

Can’t say I’ve tried getting Hazel to shower with me. Can’t say she’s ever shown any interest.

Neither of us are bothered.

Now, most cats do not or cannot swim. But what about Bengals.. ?

Do Bengal Cats Like Swimming?

Again, without sounding repetitive, it’s all about the individual.

Some Bengals will engage in swimming; others will avoid doing so.

If your cat or kitten was introduced to water and swam and a young age, then there’s a good chance that will continue.

Of course you may never find out if your Bengal likes to swim or not.

I don’t know for sure if Hazel happens to enjoy it, but I think if given the option, based on her past behaviour around water, it’d be a distinct ‘no’ from her.

A quick look at kittens and water…

Will Bengal Kittens Outgrow Their Love Of Water?

While Bengal kittens are often known for their playful and curious nature, including a fascination with water, it’s possible for their behaviour to change as they grow older.

However, many Bengals retain their love for water throughout their lives.

Positive early experiences with water can reinforce a Bengal’s love for it.

If a kitten has fun and feels safe playing with water, they are more likely to continue enjoying it as they grow older.

Using water fountains, playing with water toys such as those below, and allowing supervised water play can keep this behaviour consistent.

Equally, if a Bengal has a negative experience with water, they might become less interested in it.

Each Bengal cat is unique so some Bengals might grow out of their fascination, while others might continue to love water.

As cats age, they might become less playful and more cautious.

Health issues can also impact interest in activities like playing with water.


The take home message is that although breeds have typical traits, not all individuals within the breed will exhibit them.

This is true with the belief that Bengal cats like playing in and with water- something you will discover quickly when observing your cat or kitten.

All cats however, Bengal or otherwise, must intake a sufficient level of water to maintain health, and ideally this should be through meat with additional water accessible in bowls or fountains.

Further Reading:

Featured image by Roberto Shabs CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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