Why do cats hate water? This is a question that has stumped cat owners for years. Even today, there seems to be no definitive answer to this question. However, we have compiled a list of some of the primary reasons why cats hate water.
Moreover, we also delve into some of the factors as to why some rare cats like water. Yes, you heard it right! There are actually some cats, and particularly some specific breeds, which are not averse to water. Let’s get into the reasons why cats do not like water first and then talk about why cats like water after that.
1. Fur that absorbs water
The primary reason why cats hate water is that it makes them slow and heavy. Unlike other animals, cats have fur that absorbs moisture rather than resists it. In other words, water does not simply slide down their coat but soaks into it, increasing their body weight. This makes it harder for cats to move.
Given that our feline friends are sleek animals known for their agile movements, no wonder they hate being slowed down. Cats like water if they are able to shake it off, but since that is not possible for most breeds, they end up hating the experience of being wet.
2. The smell may bother them
Cats are famous for their sharp sense of smell. Water contains all kinds of chemicals, minerals, and fish products which may be bothering your cat. When cats like water, it is because they can ignore the smell.
However, for most cats, these various water-related odors are too problematic to overcome, which is why they hate going near them. This may also be a reason why your cat is avoiding bath time. The smell of chlorine in normal bathwater is noticeable to humans, so imagine how intense this smell is for cats!
3. The importance of evolution
Cats do not like water for the simple reason that they never had the need to do so. From an evolutionary perspective, cats have always lived in dry climates. While they are predatory animals, their prey lives on land as well, and they never had the need to go in the water.
If some cats like water, it may be because a few hundred years ago, their ancestors learned to swim and passed down these skills. Since most cats did not learn to swim, they do not like going into this unfamiliar area.
4. Unpleasant experience
Like human beings, cats also learn to associate different environments with the experiences they have in them. If your cat does not like water, it may be because it had a particularly negative experience in it. For instance, it may have had a near-drowning incident or some fight with another animal in a water-related setting.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, some cats like water because they had a pleasant or memorable experience in it. This is why it is necessary not to push your cat to face water since you may be bringing back some scarring experience.
5. Having the ability to swim
Some cats like water just because they have learned how to master it! The Turkish Van, for instance, is a breed of cat native to Turkey. This breed is relatively rare and has learned to swim in Lake Van, where it gets its name. This shows that once cats know how to overcome their fear of drowning in water, they can start liking it and perhaps even enjoying it as well.
6. Braving the cold
If a cat is able to fight the cold sensation of being in the water, it might end up liking it as well. The Siberian Cat, for instance, has an extremely thick coat with almost three layers. This protects them from any chill they may feel from being in the water and is the main reason why such cats like water.
7. Water-resistant coats
Another reason why cats like water are simply because their coats do not absorb water! This prevents them from becoming heavy when they step into the water. It seems natural that when cats are not weighed down when they are in the water, they can actually enjoy the light-feeling sensation of feeling in the water. The Norwegian Forest cats like water because of this exact reason.
8. Curiosity helps the cat!
Some cats let curiosity gets the best of them. There are certain breeds that are so inquisitive in nature that when they see something interesting, they will follow it wherever it takes them, even if it means going into the water. The Highlander cats like water primarily because of their inquisitive nature, which takes them to water bodies if the need arises!
9. Treating water as a play place
Some cats like water for the simple reason that they enjoy the sensation of playing in it. It may not seem like much of a reason, but like human beings have different temperaments, cat breeds have different natures too.
Some breeds, such as the Main Coon, enjoy playing in the water. While this breed is generally low maintenance, their sweet and docile nature includes enjoying the water and actively participating in water-related activities.
10. Historical Significance
Like all living creatures, some cats have changed according to their historical background. The Abyssinian cat, for instance, is not one to shy away from water. It is suggested that these cats like water because historically speaking, they traveled to Europe for the first time through a boat. If these cats could cross seas to make it to Europe from Asia, we doubt any fear of water remains in them!
While the general rule is that cats hate water, there are some exceptional breeds in which cats like water. We have tried to break down why these cats like water and the scientific (or historical) background behind this. However, if your cat hates water, do not force it to face it unless absolutely necessary!