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5 Reasons Why Your Cat is So Obsessed with Water (Explained!)

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By Nicole Cosgrove

grey cat swimming on the river

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Dr. Lorna Whittemore

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Most people are aware that cats dislike water. We are taught by cartoons, pop culture, and the like that cats hate the rain, taking showers, and getting wet as a whole. With this idea, you may notice your cat avoiding areas with water, such as swimming pools, bathtubs, and even sinks.

While this may be true to a certain extent, each cat is different, and some cats actually find themselves enjoying water! Although picky, cats have an instinct for seeking out sources of fresh water—something they inherited from their wild, desert-dwelling ancestors for survival. In fact, there are cats that actually have an obsession for water!

You may ask yourself, why is my cat obsessed with water? Here, we discuss five possible reasons that answer this question.

The 5 Reasons Cats Like Water

1. Some Breeds Like Water

cat swimming in the water
Image By: Frida Lannerström, Unsplash

Most cats find their ancestral roots among desert-dwellers who don’t care much for water, other than for survival, due to the scarcity in their hunting environment. Some cat breeds, however, evolved to adore the water! Although in varying degrees, these are some cat breeds that enjoy getting wet one way or another:

These breeds of cat are known to enjoy the water. The Bengal and Savannah are known to splash around puddles of water and even jump in for a swim. The Turkish Van was even given the nickname as the “swimming cat” because of their love for swimming!

You may find these cat breeds enjoying the water, from simply getting wet and feeling the moisture on their fur, to swimming and splashing in puddles! If you find yourself adopting one of these breeds, expect your cat to enjoy getting wet and wild!

2. They Are Curious

Cats are naturally curious creatures. This behavior is rooted in their survival instincts, and this can be seen when they inspect and explore water. For instance, you may notice your cat staring and pawing at their water dish before drinking. They may be inspecting the water first, cautiously making sure it is safe to drink and gauging the water level. Alternatively, they may be measuring the water level prior to diving in, as some cats don’t like getting their face and whiskers wet. They may also do this for bigger bodies of water, like puddles, pools, and even the water in your sink. Water may just be the tool to feed their curiosity as cats!

3. They Are Entertained and Like to Play with Water

Tabby maine coon cat playing with water in metal bowl
Image By: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

Cats also find ways to entertain themselves. You may notice that many toys made for cats are eye-catching and have a lot of movement, making them interesting for cats. Similarly, the unpredictable nature of water, along with its naturally shiny and reflective look, can provide entertainment for cats. Running bodies of water, such as the faucet or outdoor streams, can intrigue cats to watch or play with it—even encouraging them to splash, spill, paw at, and or even jump in!

4. It Helps Them Cool Off

Cats can also find an obsession with water during the hotter days of the season. In the wild, the bigger cousins of domestic cats will spend time in bodies of water, such as rivers or lakes, to cool off from the heat in high temperatures.

The same goes for house cats. Domesticated cats prefer warmer house temperatures, and are also able to cool themselves with their tongue. Although not exposed to the outside environment like their ancestors in the world, some cats still prefer cooling themselves with trusty water. You may find your cat drinking more water, splashing in puddles, or maybe even full-on swimming if they find a large enough source of water!

5. They Learned to Love the Water

bathing cat
Image By: ilmarinfoto, Shutterstock

Like any other skill or behavior, a natural liking of water can be developed if exposed to at a young age. Pet parents can provide continuous positive experiences to their cats while they’re still kittens, so that they can grow up building an affinity towards water. This can be done by making bathtime a fun, pleasant experience by treating it as a bonding activity, rather than a chore. This early exposure to water can help your cat cope with water while making bathing much easier when they become adults.

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Why Do Cats Generally Dislike Water?

Again, cats are generally not water lovers. Cats are fastidious animals, especially with their fur, and wet fur can cause them discomfort. For example, wet fur can be heavy, affecting their agility and speed of movement. Cats also groom themselves by licking their fur, and wet fur can be a complete headache for cats to groom.

Cats are also very sensitive to their environment. Water can trigger drastic changes in temperature and provide a “shock” or “surprise” element. Experiences like falling into a body of water or getting wet from an unexpected splash can provide a negative perception of water.

cat looking scared and hating bath time
Image Credit: JSep, Shutterstock

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While most cats dislike water, it is important to understand that cats are independent thinkers and that not all cats are the same. If your cat seems to enjoy water, they may be a naturally water-loving breed, or they may simply have fun playing with water. We would like to point out that if your cat is drinking more water than usual, especially if combined with any other signs, you should discuss this with your veterinarian. As cat parents, it is important to know our cats—especially their likes and dislikes—so that we can always ensure our fur babies are happy!

Featured Image Credit: ALEKSEI SEMYKIN, Shutterstock

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