H2O, No! Why Do Cats Hate Water?

A cat getting a shower

Most cats are averse to water. It’s kind of a thing with them, and avoiding baths is something most kitties will do at all costs. Cats and their opposition to water is the thing of memes and comedies. Cats, after a bath or falling into water, don’t exactly look their happiest. But what is it about the splashy stuff do cats dislike? And, why do some odd cats enjoy water?

It seems like a good mystery to investigate. The team at Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital is here to take on this case of why cats hate water.

The Reasons Why Cats Hate Water

Unlike most dogs, who like to splash around in a creek or body of water, you’ll likely never see a cat out there doggie-paddling. To get to the bottom of this, let’s take a look at cat’s wild processors for some clues. 

Have you seen images of big cats, like lions and cheetahs? Chances are, you have seen them splashing around and cooling off in a body of water. Big cats who have evolved and adapted to warmer regions of the world, such as the African Lion, Leopards, and Ocelots are actually really good swimmers, and tend to enjoy it. Staying cool and expanding their hunting territories require that they be comfortable in the water, and it seems they are.

On the other hand, cats from cold regions, like Snow Leopards, Bobcats, and Lynx are averse to water. By getting wet, they would not be able to stay warm, so they avoid falling into creeks and other watery spots.

How does this impact domestic cats? Not really at all. Domestic cats are descended from a single wild species of wild cat that still exists in the Middle East. Even though this species roams within a warm region, they do not like to swim or get water, and only have interest in water to drink.

The thinking behind why cats dislike water has to do with their coat. They have coats that trap water and therefore make it hard for a cat to speed away, or hunt prey. Cats also groom themselves and do not need to submerge themselves in water to get clean.

These reasons, along with their wild cousins’ preferences, are why most cats hate water. But what about the ones who do? We can answer this question, too.

Cats Who Like Water

It’s interesting to know that there are some feline breeds who enjoy water. Here are some of these water-loving unusual breeds:

  • Bengal Cat
  • Norweigien Forest Cat
  • Maine Coon
  • Savannah Cat
  • Abyssinian
  • Turkish Van

Along with these breeds, some domestic cats just defy the stereotype and like water. Some of this has to do with positive association. If a young cat was given baths and received rewards for dealing with the H2O without a fuss, they can grow accustomed to water. Playful cats sometimes like to splash around in running water, and some have been known to try and dive in to catch fish.

Cats are, after all, unique individuals and each have their own preferences. If you have a story about a cat who loves water, we’d love to hear it. Simply give us a call or comment on our Facebook. We hope you have enjoyed uncovering the mystery of why cats hate water!