Why Do Cats Sleep in Sinks?

If you constantly find your cat lounging in your bathroom sink, here's why.

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Cats can have some pretty quirky behaviors. There might not be an explanation behind all of them, but those habits are what make our cats so lovable. One of the weirder behaviors—and inconvenient if you’re trying to wash your hands or brush your teeth—that some cats engage in is catching some Zs in the bathroom sink. Here are some other behaviors your cat would love to tell you about.

Why do cats like sleeping in sinks?

“There are several theories as to why cats have an affinity towards sleeping in sinks, but it remains a bit of a mystery,” says Dr. Rebecca Greenstein, vet expert with Rover.com. One theory is that cats like the shape and contour of sinks because it fits them perfectly, similar to a covered bed or box, and makes them feel safe. “There have been studies to show that cat stress levels are significantly decreased when they have access to a hiding spot like a box, so we can extrapolate a sink may have a similar appeal,” she says.

Another theory is that cats are attracted to the cool, smooth surface of sinks. After basking on the windowsill in the sun with all that fur it can be nice to cool down for a bit. Sinks are also relaxing for cats because they’re typically in quiet areas. A bathroom isn’t as loud or crowded as your kitchen or living room might be, giving your kitty some peaceful alone time. Make sure to avoid doing these things that your cat actually hates.

“Sinks are elevated, which may give them a safe vantage point from which to overlook their ‘territory,’” says Greenstein. “For some cats, that also affords them the opportunity to get closer to their pet parents and perhaps score some extra snuggles and attention.” If you get into the habit of petting your cat or giving them attention while they’re sitting in the sink, they’ll start to associate the sink with praise from their human and want to go to the sink to get some extra scratches.

And the final theory is that sinks always come with a nearby faucet, and cats typically prefer drinking from moving water sources rather than their bowls.

Is something wrong with my cat if they like to sleep in the sink?

Typically, sleeping in sinks is just a bizarre preference for cats, but if they seem to be seeking out the sink to constantly get more water, there might be something going on. “The first step is to ensure that there isn’t any underlying medical concern, like diabetes or kidney disease, that could be driving your cat to seek excess water to drink,” says Greenstein. “If you have a middle-aged to an older cat, a cat who seems to be drinking and urinating more, losing weight, or showing any other signs of illness, a vet visit is in order to rule out any latent condition that might be leading your cat to show a new and excessive interest in faucets and water in general.”

How can you get your cat to stop sleeping in your sink?

The first thing you can do is limit your cats access to the bathroom. Close bathroom doors around the house and use positive reinforcement to encourage them to nap in other places around the house. You can try getting them a cat bed that is similar to a sink, such as this raised cat bed, and putting it in a quiet room in your house. If it seems like they love the sink for the freshwater, try a water bowl that keeps the water fresh by circulating it. “And just like you would with any pet behavior you are looking to modify, consult your veterinarian for guidance. That’s what we’re here for!” adds Greenstein. To learn more about your feline friend, check out these cat “facts” that are actually false.

Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is the Assistant Digital Managing Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. When she’s not writing for rd.com or keeping the 650+ pieces of content our team produces every month organized, she likes watching HGTV, going on Target runs, and searching through Instagram to find new corgi accounts to follow.