Why Do Cats Like to Sleep in Sinks?

Sometimes, cats sleep in sinks, which can be very amusing. However, some cat owners might be curious why cats make such choices. Currently, this remains unclear, but that hasn’t stopped interested individuals from coming up with a wide range of theories. Here are some potential explanations for cats sleeping in sinks:

Cats Like Hiding Spots

Even predators can be predated upon. For those who are unfamiliar, predators that have no natural predators in their food chain are called apex predators, though it isn’t uncommon to see it swapped out for either top predator, alpha predator, or something else along those lines. For instance, wolves are one of the most iconic apex predators that can be found out there. Meanwhile, great white sharks were once considered to be apex predators but had to be reclassified when it turned out that killer whales are very enthusiastic about hunting them, so much so that the latter’s arrival can send great white sharks fleeing for their lives as well as better foraging elsewhere. In any case, while cats are predators, cats are definitely not apex predators. Due to this, cats have certain instincts that encourage them to hide from potential predators. This is the reason that cats are so fond of boxes as well as other potential hiding spots, which have been proven through scientific means to reduce their stress levels. In this line of thinking, cats like sinks for the same reason that they like boxes.

Cats Like Elevated Locations

Speaking of which, cats are also fond of elevated locations. In part, this is because elevated locations let them look further than otherwise possible, thus enabling them to pick up on potential threats before those potential threats can pick up on them. However, it should also be noted that elevated locations are much safer than on-the-ground locations. After all, cats are excellent climbers, but the same can’t be said for a lot of the species that might be tempted to take a bite out of them. As such, an elevated location that cats can look out from while also enabling them to hide when the need comes up is very valuable in their minds to say the least.

Cats Like Cool Locations

Besides safety, there are other considerations as well. For instance, cats aren’t quite as good at keeping cool as cat owners. We can sweat to cool ourselves, which isn’t even counting the wide range of tools that have been invented over the course of millennia to help out with the same purpose. Unlike us, cats are limited to sweating from their paws, with the result that they have to use other strategies as well to keep themselves cool. One example would be their licking of themselves, which is sometimes carried out so that the evaporation of the saliva can create a cooling effect. Another example would be their panting, though this is a rarer cooling method that is reserved for rarer occasions. On top of this, cats can lay on cool locations such as, say, the inside of a sink so that their excess body heat can be transferred into it via conduction.

Cats Like Peaceful Locations

Cats are also fond of peaceful locations. As a result, they will sometimes avoid busier places that see a lot of foot traffic such as the kitchen and the living room in preference for someplace less frequented such as the bathroom. Combined with the aforementioned factors, this can make a bathroom sink a very attractive place for our feline companion to get some rest and relaxation.

Cats Like Freshwater

Water is the basis of life. Thanks to this, terrestrial mammals tend to put a high priority on sources of freshwater because they will die without it. Unsurprisingly, this means that cats will put a similar importance on locations that can offer them this, with the faucet on the sink being an excellent example. Moreover, it should be mentioned that there is evidence that cats prefer running water over standing water. Something that has numerous potential explanations. One, their instincts might tell them that running water is safer to consume than standing water because the latter is likelier to be contaminated in nature. Two, they have a harder time seeing standing water as well as a harder time hearing standing water, thus making it less attractive to them. Three, they might feel vulnerable when they are bent over a bowl of water, particularly if that requires them to head to either a corner or some other location without a convenient means of escape. Four, running water is likelier to be cooler as well as more oxygenated, which might make it more pleasant in taste to the cat. Five, running water is just more entertaining than standing water, as shown by the numerous examples of cats playing with the former.

Cats Want to Be Noticed

In some cases, it is possible that cats are putting themselves in sinks so that they will be noticed by their cat owners, thus enabling them to get more attention as well as other things that are good in their eyes. This can be a self-perpetuating loop because when cats get noticed when they put themselves in sinks, that causes positive feedback. Something that can cause them to spend even more time in such locations in the future.

Is This a Problem?

Generally speaking, sleeping in sinks is harmless. Yes, it is a bit strange, but there are plenty of strange things that are also harmless. However, if cat owners notice that their cats are sleeping in sinks because of a constant need for water, that could suggest some kind of medical condition that should be checked out by a veterinarian sooner rather than later. This is particularly true if that constant need for water is combined with other troubling symptoms such as, say, very sudden and very dramatic weight loss.

In any case, if cat owners are annoyed by their cats sleeping in sinks, they should start by limiting their access to the bathroom. Negative reinforcement won’t work, so it is better to use positive reinforcement to convince the cats to sleep elsewhere. Besides that, it might help to swap out the water in the bowl on a regular basis, thus keeping it fresher for the cat.



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