IF YOU’VE ever wondered why your cat will drink out of the toilet, dirty puddle, garden pond, in fact anywhere except the clean bowl provided in the kitchen, then I have the answer for you.

He/she is just being contrary!

No, I’m joking. That’s not the answer at all.

But it’s probably what most of us think when confronted by the sight of a furry bottom and tail emerging from the lavatory bowl.

Having masqueraded as a vet at a recent lecture on cat behaviour I can tell you that those of us proving bowls of clean water on nice little mats next to the food bowl are being BAD cat owners.

What we don’t understand is that cats never, if they can help it, drink from the same place as where they eat. In the wild this is a natural instinct, as water supplies near a kill may become contaminated. The fact that our domestic pets don’t have to kill their pouch of Whiskas before consuming it means nothing.

It’s also important to realise that wild cats don’t drink a lot anyway, as they get 80% or more of their fluid intake from their prey. Because of this cats are particularly rubbish at drinking. Anyone who has seen them laboriously lapping from a glass perched on a table top will be able to testify to this.

GOOD cat owners provide their pets with wide, shallow bowls of water (ceramic or glass to prevent plastic taint) at a different site to their food. If you have more than one cat then there should be more than one water bowl.

And, said the charming and witty cat behaviourist delivering the lecture, Sarah Heath, we should throw away all double diners - plastic food and water bowls joined together.

Domestic cats eat processed diets and have a higher requirement for water so, she added, it’s vital that owners encourage them to drink and make it easy for them to do so.

So now you know, all you bad cat owners.