Cats and Water

Many cats, indeed, don’t like water. However, some cats are happy to take a nice, cooling swim sometimes, like tigers and your own little moggy. But, as most of us know, most cats will do almost anything to avoid getting wet. But you may have some questions about this.

What are the reasons for most cats’ aversion to water?

There are several possible reasons:

  • Evolution

Cats evolved in dry climates so they were not familiar with the sea, rivers and lakes. As they evolved, it became something they were not familiar with and so, apart from drinking water, most will avoid it.

  • Cats’ sense of smell

Cats rely on their highly-developed sense of smell. This is used to sniff out potential enemies, friends and prey. But it is also used to help the cat to find familiar places. Cats have glands on their heads which give off a smell peculiar to that particular cat, which help them to orient themselves. They will avoid water because it will wash off their vital smell. If they get wet, once they are dry, they will lick themselves all over to restore their smell.

  • Cats’ fur

Just like a woman with a new hairdo, cats tend to avoid anything that will ruin the look of their fur! They spend a lot of time grooming themselves and do not like the idea of messing up their gorgeous fur. If wet, the cat becomes uncomfortable and their fur takes a long time to dry. Wet fur is also very heavy and cats dislike this because it tends to slow them down, affecting their ability to run from any potential threat.

  • Fear Factor

When your cat’s fur is wet, their body temperature will go down quickly. The heating function of their fur and skin is not efficient when they are wet. Most cats may appear to be in shock if they accidentally fall into cold or warm water. This frightens some cats so much that they may avoid water from then on.

  • Bathing

Sometimes, if your cat’s fur gets really dirty, then you could consider a bath. However, this will not happen very often because cats groom themselves very well. If you do need to bath your cat, take it slowly, patiently and carefully, but if your cat shows signs of stress, such as non-stop meowing, crying, panting or heavy breathing, then you should postpone the bathing or leave it to the pet groomers.

  • Playing with taps

Many cats love to play with the water running or dripping out of a tap. The experts tell us that this is because they find the dripping noise and movement of the water, fascinating! It may also stimulate your cat’s instinctive need to hunt prey. It seems that as long as only the paws get wet, water is acceptable.

Do all breeds of cat dislike water?

Maine Coons, Turkish Van and Bengal breed like to take a swim sometimes, partly because their fur is more water-resistant than other cats. They also, believe it or not, have tiny webs between their toes.

Let your cat guide you with regard to getting wet. Remember that cats have got along very well, for thousands of years, without getting wet!


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