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Do All Cats Hate Water? What Cats Like Water?

Sarah Psaradelis

By Sarah Psaradelis

cat looking scared and hating bath time

It is no surprise that most cats inherently hate water. You may have tried to bathe your feline friend and come to find that they just do not want to be in the water. Whether their protests are shown through loud meowing and jumping around the bathtub, your cat just does not want to be wet. But why?

This article has all the answers you need, whether you are searching for a breed of cat that enjoys water or require answers as to why your cat seems to despise being wet.

Why Do Some Cats Hate Water?

There are various reasons your cat may not enjoy water or be wet. These are the five main reasons cats tend to avoid water, namely:

Instinct

Cats are instinct-driven creatures and hating water seems to be instinctual. Cats tend to avoid water because they can’t control it. They naturally fear water because their thick and fluffy coats absorb water like a sponge. In the wild, if a cat was to fall into a body of water, it would be vulnerable to predators as it impacts their agility and speed. This instinct has stayed with cats even through their decades of domestication.

cat in the bathroom
Image Credit: Mathilde Langevin, Unsplash

Grooming

Cats are naturally clean animals and will groom themselves several times a day to keep themselves clean. Cats will not naturally seek out water to bathe themselves in because it is unnecessary. Cats are very different than dogs in terms of their grooming requirements, and cats prefer to keep themselves clean by licking.

Unlike dogs, cats do not have to be bathed as often, so bathing is an infrequent activity that your cat will experience. However, this can also be a bad thing because if your cat is not getting bathed often, they will not see bathing as a normal and structured routine which can cause them to dread being bathed.

Scent Factors

Another reason that cats stay clear of water has to do with their coat. Most household cats have very thick, fluffy, and luxurious coats that feel heavy and uncomfortable when they get wet. Cats also do not want their natural scents to be washed away, which can cause them to become stressed.

The difference between a cat licking themselves and being washed underwater is that licking does not remove their natural scent, but rather increases it because their saliva is being deposited onto their fur. Whereas water and shampoos completely remove any traces of scents your cat is familiar with.

Cats are comforted by their scent, so if you bathe your cat and the natural oils and scents get washed away, they may feel anxious. This can cause your cat to fear to bathe time because they know that it will remove their natural scent completely.

woman bathing a cat
Image Credit: 135pixels, Shutterstock

Previous Negative Experiences

Cats that have been abandoned and survived off the street before being rescued and adopted by you may have trauma from water, mainly from storms with heavy rains that they may have experienced. It is also possible that kittens who have a negative experience from being bathed will fear interacting with water in their adult stage.

Coat and Moisture-retention

Another reason that cats hate water is that domestic cats have fur that absorbs moisture rather than deflects it. So once your cat is wet, they will be wet for a long time. This can leave your cat feeling heavy and weighed down which is uncomfortable.

wet cat looking at something
Image Credit: andriish22, Pixabay

What Do The Experts Say?

A certified cat behavior consultant Ingrid Johnson from Fundamental Feline says that is rare for some cats to like water. She believes that it is the curiosity factor and that some cats prefer to experience getting wet and interacting with water on their own.

As with many cat behaviors, you can’t simply expect to turn your cat into a water-loving feline. There are certain steps you should take to get them accustomed to water without being afraid of getting wet.

Ingrid Johnson also sats that cat evolution can be an indicator as to why your cat may be drawn to water. She also specifies that cats are desert species, which means that they evolved in dry climates. Water is not a big part of a natural cat’s life, so it makes sense why it is not ingrained in their brain to like water. However, some cats must be trained gradually over time in a positive way so that it is not a scary experience for them.

It is possible that water can be a positive experience or at least something that your cat can be acclimated to overtime.

Marilyn Krieger, a certified cat behavior consultant from The Cat Coach backs up Ingrid Johnson by saying, “The theory is that cats have ancestors who lived in desert environments and never got the opportunity to swim or experience water. So, it can be concluded that cats still retain this behavior, and there has been never been any reason for them to evolve into swimmers.”

12 Cat Breeds That Like Water

Even though most cats do not like water, you may be surprised to find there are cat breeds that can tolerate water and get wet. However, even though these breeds are known to appreciate water more than other breeds of cats, there is still a chance that your cat will not like water purely because they have had a bad experience with water in the past or it is part of their personality.

1. Turkish Angora

Tortoiseshell Turkish Angora standing in grey background
Image Credit: COULANGES, Shutterstock

The Turkish Angora has a water-resistant coat, which makes them more tolerant of being wet. The fur does not hold water and can dry more easily. This cat breed is also an excellent swimmer, which makes them naturally less fearful of water.


2. Highlander

a highlander cat lying on grass
Image Credit: SUSAN LEGGETT, Shutterstock

This cat breed is a bob-tailed crossbreed and their love for water is on par with their inquisitive and exploratory nature.


3. Abyssinian

Abyssinian cat in kitchen
Image Credit: Ingus Kruklitis, Shutterstock

This is one of the oldest domesticated cats breeds and seems to enjoy the water. Many Abyssinian cat owners claim that their cat loves to bathe time and will even try to climb into the shower while the water is running.


4. Japanese Bobtail

a japanese bobtail cat in orange background
Image Credit: dien, Shutterstock

The Japanese Bobtail has a short coat and an obsession with water. You may even notice that this cat breed wants to join you in the pool for a swim.


5. Turkish Van

Turkish Van sitting in the garden
Image Credit: Vadim Petrakov, Shutterstock

This cat breed has a water-proof coat which is why they have a high tolerance to water and being wet. They rarely protest during bathes and sometimes even seem to enjoy being bathed.


6. Maine Coon

a tabby maine coon cat at home
Image Credit: Daniel Zopf, Unsplash

Maine coons have a water-resistant coat that encourages them to have an interest in water and swimming. This is one of the most popular water-loving cat breeds.


7. Bengals

bengal cat walking on plank outdoor
Image Credit: Seregraff, Shutterstock

Bengals seem to have an affinity for water and can easily be bathed or go outdoors in the rain, sometimes willingly because they enjoy the feeling of the rain droplets on their fur.


8. Kurilian Bobtail

a kurilian bobtail cat in a forest
Image Credit: Natalia Fedosova, Shutterstock

This lynx-looking Kurilian Bobtail cat breed is known for its excellent hunting skills and love for the water.


9. Norwegian Forest Cat

shell cameo Norwegian forest cat sitting on grass
Image Credit: Elisa Putti, Shutterstock

Norwegian Forest Cats have been known to enjoy spending time in the rain and they can thrive in damp climates.


10. Savannah

savannah cat on leash lying on green grass
Image Credit: Jarry, Shutterstock

This cat breed tolerates water well, and they also enjoy going on adventures with their humans. You can even take them on walks near streams and ponds without them before being fearful of the water.


11. Siberian

siberian cat sitting on a log
Image Credit: Just-Mila, Shutterstock

A Siberian cat’s fascination with water mainly stems from its thick triple-layered coat which was used to protect its ancestors during the hard winters of native Russia.


12. Egyptian Mau

Egyptian Mau Cat
Image Credit: MDavidova, Shutterstock

Along with the Egyptian Mau’s love for the water, they are also a popular form of artwork in ancient Egypt and notorious for being one of the fasted domesticated cat breeds.

Final Thoughts

Cats that enjoy water may not be common, but there are plenty of cat breeds that can tolerate being wet, whether that is from being bathed, going out in the rain, or joining you in activities that involve water. It is also a possibility that you can train a non-water-loving feline to at least tolerate water through a positive informant and plenty of training.


Featured Image Credit: JSep, Shutterstock

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