The Unexpected Reason You Might See Full Water Bottles Outside Of Houses In Italy

No matter where you are in Italy, it doesn't take long to fall in love with the effortless charm of the streets. Wander off the main tourist strips, and you'll find beautifully worn cobblestone, gelato-colored buildings, flower bushes, and plants dangling off the balconies. However, look closer, and you might start to notice full water bottles placed around houses and beside lampposts.

The plastic water bottles appear somewhat out of place, as if someone forgot them while carrying their groceries home. But the more you walk on these historic Italian streets, the more you'll run into this peculiar sight. TikToker @chiara_in_italy posted a clip showing off the water bottles she encountered while exploring southern Italy. Thanks to an explanation from a local, she learned that the bottles are used to prevent cats from urinating.


I'm confused 🤔 Apparently this is a common thing in Italy? 🇮🇹 Have you ever seen this? #italy #southernitaly #italianculture #italianamerican #cultureshocks #italycultureshock #americansinitaly

♬ Funny – Gold-Tiger

According to the video's comments, Italy isn't the only place you might come across this technique. TikTok users confirmed that the water bottle hack is common in Malta, Spain, and Greece. Even countries far from the Mediterranean, such as Australia and Japan, seem to have adopted the habit to ward off roaming felines looking to mark their territory.

Do water bottles really keep cats away?

The logic behind the water bottle trick concerns the reflection created by the water. In theory, cats get spooked when they see their reflection looking back at them and will run off to another area (presumably one that doesn't have any water bottles). Another belief is that the four-legged felines don't like the glare reflected by the sun and that the glimmer confuses them, so they'll stay away once they spot one of the strategically placed bottles.

In actuality, the DIY hack might not be so effective. There's no scientific evidence that the technique repels cats, and a "MythBusters" experiment even seemed to disprove the theory that cats try to avoid full water bottles. In an episode of the TV show, small water bottles were placed around a planter box and on the steps of cat trees. A group of cats were then released in the room, and all but one approached the planter box and climbed the cat trees without hesitation.

Even if the water bottle method hasn't been shown to work, some people insist it's more than just a myth. When strolling down the streets of Italy, you be the judge. Notice where the bottles are placed and if any feline friends are wandering around nearby. You might have just as much fun finding cats as you do visiting Italy's historic leaning towers and iconic fountains.