Most people know that cats don’t like water, but some breeds actually don’t mind it. Some cat breeds are even inclined to invite themselves into your bath. You probably aren’t interested in bathing with your cat, but you might want to know which cat breeds like water and why they like it in the first place.
Today, we’re listing 21 cat breeds that enjoy the water, as well as some information about each breed. Let’s dive in!
The 21 Cat Breeds That Like Water
1. Maine Coon
The Maine Coon is a native American cat breed known for its rugged face and large size. It’s America’s second most popular cat breed, and it loves water.
The Maine Coon traveled to America via ship in the colonial days, building up a resiliency for water and cold weather. They also have thick coats and long fur on their underside and backside for extra protection. The Maine Coon truly is a cat bred for the water.
Bengal cats are a hybrid between a domestic cat and a leopard cat. They have unique spotted features that set them apart from other cat breeds.
Bengals are very active and curious, pushing them past the typical cat boundaries. They love to play and can even learn new tricks, so don’t be shocked if your Bengal decides to play in the bathtub and sink.
3. American Bobtail
American Bobtail cats have a naturally short tail from a genetic mutation. What they lack in the tail, they certainly make up for in personality and curiosity.
American Bobtails have a wild look in their eyes that you’ll see anytime they play. These cats are not shy and love to have fun, especially with water. This breed will enjoy playing in its water dish and often looks forward to its next bath.
4. American Shorthair
The American Shorthair was given its name in the 1960s because they look similar to other domestic cat breeds. Where this breed originated from is uncertain, but we do know it was exported here on ships during colonization. With all that water on board, this breed had to learn how to like water. These cats are independent and hardy and don’t mind making a splash every now and then.
5. Turkish Angora
Turkish Angoras are an ancient breed known for their grace and silky white coat. They’re brilliant and devoted cats and excellent swimmers.
Most Turkish Angoras are more than happy to submerge in water and enjoy a nice swim. However, they like to be in control, so you might have a Turkish Angora here and there that doesn’t like the water.
6. Turkish Van
The Turkish Van is a semi-longhaired cat well-known for its fascination with water. Water fountains are a good source of entertainment for this breed. Your Turkish Van may stare at the water or decide to bat the running water.
Turkish Vans don’t shy away from pools and bathtubs. Legend has it that the Turkish Van was aboard Noah’s Ark and swam to the nearest spot of dry land.
7. Norwegian Forest Cat
The Norwegian Forest Cat originates from Norway. The climate isn’t as harsh in Norway as most people would think, but it does stay cool even throughout the summer. The Norwegian Forest Cat’s double layer coat helps keep them toasty and even protects them from cool water as they fish for food. Keep a lid on your fish tank because this breed loves to fish for dinner.
8. Egyptian Mau
The Egyptian Mau is 5,000 years old, dating back to ancient Egyptian times, and is the only naturally-domesticated, spotted cat breed.
The Egyptian Mau almost went extinct in the 1940s but thankfully made a full recovery. This breed is playful and active with a high prey drive, perfect for duck hunts, which the ancient Egyptians used them for. This is most likely where they developed their resilience to water.
Manx cats are intelligent, playful cats that love spending time with their owners. This breed loves water, most likely from their centuries of living on the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. However, their love of water doesn’t mean they want to go for a swim. Instead, they’d much rather stay in control, so a stream of water is their preferred choice of splash time.
10. Japanese Bobtail
Another short-tailed kitty, this breed is no stranger to the water. As it says in the name, Japanese Bobtails originate from the island of Japan, which, as we all know, is surrounded by water.
This breed has existed for centuries and was most likely kept on ships to protect silks from rodents at one point in history. Japanese Bobtails are fearless cats with a playfulness that few other breeds can match.
The Highlander is a curly-eared cat with a stubby tail. This breed is relatively new to the cat world. It used to be called the Highlander Lynx, but it was changed to Highlander in 2005 since there isn’t any Lynx in its bloodline. These cats are very social and affectionate and love the water, too. They don’t even mind being fully submerged.
Abyssinian cats are among the oldest cat breeds globally, yet no one knows where they came from. Some people believe they originated on the coast of the Indian ocean. This might be where they learned to enjoy the water.
These are highly active and playful cats that don’t care for cuddles. They like to act like a class clown by running around the house, performing cat acrobatics, and dipping their toes in the water.
13. Kurilian Bobtail
The Kurilian Bobtail cat has a bobbed tail and thick coat with wild markings. Kurilian Bobtails have a high prey drive and excellent fishing skills, so it goes without saying that this breed isn’t afraid of water. Families with aquariums should keep a tight lid with this kitty around! Even if you don’t have fish, your Kurilian Bobtail will likely jump in the water during bathtime.
The Savannah cat is a large, athletic breed that’s highly intelligent. The savannah cat is a hybrid of a Siamese and Wild African Serval cat, so it literally has a wild side.
Savannah cats are known for their lean bodies and spotted coats. They are very active and will find anything to stimulate their minds, including water. Don’t be surprised if you see a Savannah splashing around inside a bathtub or outside in a puddle.
Siberian cats are Russia’s native forest cats and first appeared in history around 1,000 AD. Siberian cats don’t shy away from survival. Their large, stocky bodies and long hair is an evolutionary result of hardiness and outdoor independence. They have triple-layered coats to help them endure the harsh Siberian winters. This is probably why they don’t mind the water.
12. Selkirk Rex
Selkirk Rex cats have soft curls at the tips of their fur from a spontaneous mutation. Selkirk Rexes are the newest breed of Rex to be recognized by the North American Cat Associations.
Many people are still learning about this breed’s characteristics. We know that these cats are friendly and sociable. They also enjoy the water as long as their human companion is there to keep them company.
When you think of a Sphynx, you might imagine the wondrous Egyptian Sphynx built thousands of years ago by ancient Egyptians, or you might imagine a naked cat—either one works! This breed is a hairless breed that loves to play and enjoy quality time with its owner. It’s not an independent cat breed and requires frequent bathing. This need seems to be the reason for its appreciation for water, as long as its beloved human is nearby.
Most people know what to imagine when they think of a Siamese cat. They have white or tan torsos and chocolate brown legs, tails, and faces. This breed is talkative, active, and needs regular attention. Its energetic personality and curiosity cause this kitty to paw at the running water in the kitchen or bathroom.
Burmese cats are intelligent and friendly kitties that are loyal to their owners. This breed seems to have the perfect amount of energy and gentleness. They’re highly playful cats with enough independence that make them the perfect house cat for some.
Not every Burmese cat likes water, but their docile personalities make bath time easier than with other cat breeds.
16. British Shorthair
British Shorthairs are another favorite cat breed amongst the cat community. This breed is laid back but does enjoy moments of affection and playtime. The most outstanding feature of this cat breed is the short, dense coat. This physical feature, combined with the docile personality, is why water doesn’t bother them so much.
If you’re a fan of Grumpy Cat, you’re likely a fan of the Snowshoe cat. Snowshoe cats are relatively new to the cat world. They didn’t appear until the 1960s, when a Siamese cat breeder found three kittens with a Siamese pattern but with white socks. The breeder crossed the Siamese with an American Shorthair, and the Snowshoe kitty was born.
These kitties are very sweet, highly intelligent, and love attention. Snowshoes love the water even more than Siamese cats and will even go for a swim just for fun.
Why Some Cats Aren’t Afraid of Water
So, now we know which cat breeds love the water—or at least tolerate it—but how can this be? Aren’t cats supposed to hate the water? There are three main reasons why some cat breeds are naturally drawn to the water versus other breeds.
As we mentioned in some cat breed descriptions, certain cat breeds developed physical traits to help them adapt to their environment, like thick coats for cold winters. Some cat coats are so thick that the water isn’t as shocking to them. Usually, these same cat breeds had to survive in the wild by fishing. House cats don’t need to do this, but that same instinctual drive is hotwired in these breeds.
2. Prey Drive
Many cats had to fish to survive in the wild, so their need to find food was enough to jump into the water. Even cats that don’t care for the water may be inclined to touch it if it means capturing delicious prey.
3. Movement and Sounds
Cats are attracted to movement, especially moving water. This is another form of prey drive that cats can’t seem to forget, no matter how tame they are. Cats that don’t appreciate water are at least sometimes willing to dip their paws in the water for a bit of fun.
Why Do Most Cats Hate Water?
No matter how intense the prey drive or the desire to play, most cats hate water and always will. It’s a characteristic in cats that nearly everyone has heard of. Many cats will even go out of their way to avoid some water spilled on the floor. Where did this hatred of water come from?
We just discussed evolution being a factor for some cat breeds liking the water, but it’s also why many cats hate the water. Many cat species originate from dry landscapes and never had an opportunity or desire to swim. All their food was available on dry land, so there was no need to get wet.
Water Weighs Cats Down
Picture jumping into a pool and feeling the weight of the water crash down over your head. Could you imagine swimming in a jacket or a winter coat? You probably wouldn’t like it, and neither do cats.
Loss of Control
Cats don’t like to feel uneasy. They need to have a sense of control; otherwise, they lash out in fear. Cats prefer to be grounded, and water doesn’t give them that ability to run, claw, and bite like they usually would in a survival situation. Of course, shallow water is a different story, but most cats prefer to avoid water altogether.
Even if you have a cat breed that’s supposed to like water, a bad experience will ruin everything. If this is the case with your cat, try to respect its boundaries as much as possible. If you have a kitten, try exposing it to water from a young age and with plenty of positive reinforcement.
Most cats hate water—it’s a fact of life. The upside to this fact is that there are some cat breeds that do enjoy the water. If you want a cat that likes water, try searching for a breed on this list. If you just stopped by for a fun FYI blog post, we certainly hope you enjoyed learning about these aquatic kitties!