Why Is My Cat’s Slimy Water Bowl a Health Concern?

Title page with the text Why is My Cats Slimy Water Bowl a Health Concern. Picture of a cat drinking water from a bowl.

Is Your Cat’s Water Bowl Slimy?

How often do you think of cleaning your cat or dog’s water bowl? More than one pet owner has forgotten to clean the bowl, only to find a film has created an almost invisible sludge lining your cat’s slimy water bowl.

Is this sludge just gross or potentially harmful?

This sliminess is often thought of as something minor, but cleaning a slimy water bowl is important to any pet’s health. In fact, it’s a task that deserves daily attention. 

So why does your cat’s (or any pet’s) slimy water bowl need regular washing? This slimy film is a congregation of bacterial growth that can render your pet’s drinking water unclean and unsafe.

It’s very important that your pet stays hydrated, while keeping their drinking water fresh and potable!

Picture of a white and brown dog drinking water in a stainless steel bowl.

What Causes a Slimy Water Bowl?

That slime is a biofilm that isn’t confined to your pet’s water bowl. It’s in many areas of your home and even in your body. Curious about biofilm in your home? Our sister testing company CBH Energetics discusses the location of biofilms and how to reduce them in your household.

Biofilm is a bacterial colony consisting of numerous types of organisms. These single-cell beings start to work together to ensure survival. Each single-cell organism does this by secreting a substance that forms a matrix that works with carbohydrate-binding proteins and other components to create a structure to live in. 

Inside this structure are nutrients that help the colony survive and adhere to surfaces and each other. 

Where does this bacteria come from?

Your pet’s mouth, for one. Every mouth, human or animal, has its own bacteria makeup. The mouth microbiome is diverse and different in every person or pet. Some bacteria are pathogenic if allowed to grow unchecked.

This biofilm can actually stink!

The good news is that there are four factors that you can control to keep your pet’s water clean and prevent a slimy water bowl.

  1. Stagnant water
  2. Food in the water
  3. Lack of hygiene
  4. Type of bowl

Health Risks Associated with Slimy Water

What types of bacteria live in that water bowl biofilm? For one, The type of bacteria in your pet’s mouth. Not only bacteria –  but fungi can live in your cat or dog’s mouth, too!

Please keep in mind that not all bacteria are created equal. Some are beneficial, and some can live in a biofilm without causing harm. When bacteria’s growth goes unchecked, problems and health risks arise. 

What happens when you don’t brush and floss? Bleeding gums and cavities. That’s because the oral microbiome of your mouth went unchecked.

The residue in your cat’s slimy water bowl is no different.

This means there can be “healthy” forms of bacteria such as Porphyromonas gulae, Moraxella Porphyromonas Porphyromonas circumdentaria, and Bacteroidales. These types of bacteria are seen in healthy cats’ mouths. 

Scan tip: If your pet’s bioresonance test shows bacteria under the energetic toxins, this may be an indication of the microbiome. Look for Digestive Stress or Teeth and Jaw Drainage. 

So, what’s the big deal if there are healthy bacteria in the bowl? The catch is that there is always a mix of healthy and unhealthy bacteria. The unhealthy kind may lead to health risks. There are also forms of fungus in our pet’s mouths that work with bacteria in confined spaces. 

Let’s break down some microbes!


Bacteria can be in our drinking water via the pipe network that is part of our infrastructure. Bacteria that have been shown to inhabit kitchen drinking water include:

  • Acinetobacter
  • Pseudomonas 
  • Klebsiella

Other Toxins

Home drinking water may be contaminated with these top 6 metals:

  1. Arsenic
  2. Cadmium
  3. Nickel
  4. Mercury
  5. Chromium
  6. Zinc (an essential mineral in the proper amount)

Biofilm shelters harmful bacteria but also trap heavy metals like copper and lead, potentially leading to toxicity. These contaminants can hinder nutrient absorption and weaken your pet’s immune defenses, exposing them to further health risks.

Impact on Pet Hydration

The unpleasant taste and smell of stagnant water with its inevitable biofilm can deter pets from drinking enough water, leading to dehydration. This is particularly concerning for cats, who naturally have a low thirst drive and can suffer from renal issues due to inadequate hydration. 

Combine this with a dry diet – and this can spell stress on your cat’s Urogenital System.

Regular cleaning of water bowls is essential to prevent these risks and ensure your cat or dog remains healthy and hydrated.

Stagnant water is easily preventable!

The Four Factors That Prevent Slimy Water Bowls

  1. Stagnant water
  2. Food in the water
  3. Lack of hygiene
  4. Type of bowl

To ensure your pet’s health and maintain a clean environment, follow these preventive measures:

Stagnant Water and Regular Cleaning Routines:

  1. Wash your pet’s bowl daily with hot, soapy water to prevent bacteria and biofilm buildup. Depending on the type of bowl you have, you may need a scrub cloth. After use, the cloth should also be laundered in hot, soapy water. 
  2. If your pet’s bowls are dishwasher-safe, use a dishwasher for thorough cleaning. Set the highest heat setting to eliminate bacteria. Tip: throw the scrub cloth in the top rack of the dishwasher!
  3. Some tips on the internet recommend disinfecting the bowls weekly with a mild bleach solution. We discourage this, especially if you are using plastic water and food bowls. If you don’t have a dishwasher, soapy water and scrubbing are still fine, and you can also soak the bowl in vinegar once or twice a week.
  4. Do not let food sit in the bowl to dry out. This is important if feeding canned or raw food. Bacteria multiply on the surface of a bowl when food products are left there for long periods. This is not ideal if your cat or dog goes back to snack!

Using Suitable Bowl Materials

Your best option is to ditch the plastic bowls due to their porous nature, which harbors microbes like fungi and bacteria. Opt for stainless steel, ceramic, or high-quality food-grade steel, which are easier to clean and maintain.

Use placemats under your pet’s bowls to keep the feeding area clean and contain spills. 

Many times on bioresonance testing, bacteria that are normally in the gut are discussed in client consultations. These bacteria and pathogenic bacteria may be related to stagnant drinking water.

Brown and black pug - dog laying next to a stainless steel bowl.

Can Dental Water Additives Prevent Slimy Water Bowls?

The trend to use dental water additives to try to improve cats’ and dogs’ dental health is a growing category in pet supplementation. The goal of these is to try to reduce plaque in your pet’s mouth, with the added bonus of trying to reduce biofilm. 

Trisodium citrate, which acts like citric acid, is used in some dental water additives. It contains antimicrobial properties as well. Please note that we do not advise replacing brushing teeth with a dental water additive if your pet can tolerate a soft and gentle brush. 

Understanding the causes and consequences of the slimy residue in your cat’s water bowl underscores the need for diligence in pet care practices. The formation of biofilm, laden with bacteria and potentially harmful substances, not only poses a range of health risks to our feline companions but also signals the importance of regular cleaning and proper bowl selection. 

By addressing these key factors—from choosing non-porous bowl materials to establishing routine cleaning—we safeguard our pets’ health, ensuring their drinking water remains clean, appealing, and free from harmful contaminants.

Implementing preventive measures, such as washing water bowls daily and using appropriate cleaning solutions, plays a crucial role in mitigating these health risks. Maintaining a hygienic drinking environment for our pets is integral to their overall well-being. 

As pet owners, it’s our responsibility to be proactive in these practices and recognize the significance of these seemingly minor tasks in promoting a healthier, happier life for our cherished companions.