Why do cats drop their toys into their water dish?

Misty has always taken her toys or post it notes from my desk and dropped them in her water dish. She then attracts her brothers attentions and all five cats will attempt to fish the toy or piece of paper from the dish with their paws splashing water on the floor.

I was curious what instinct made Misty want to take her toys or my post it notes to the water dish, so I started looking into it.

I was surprised to find there wasn’t one definite answer.  Scientists are guessing at why cats take toys to their water dish.  There are several theories.  One is that cats are using their fishing/hunting instinct by putting the toy in the water and pawing at it.  Another theory is that cats view their food and water dishes as a safe place.  Since domestic cats don’t have a ‘nest’, they use their food and water dishes as a safe hiding place for their ‘catch’.  A third theory is that the cat is trying to teach it’s human to hunt/fish by showing off their skills. 

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