Why Do Cats Hate Water? Can You Give a Cat a Bath? Can Cats Swim?
Why Do Cats Hate Water? Can You Give a Cat a Bath?
One of humankind’s most beloved creatures is mysterious in many ways, and a popular feline myth is that cats hate water.
Some cats may fear water because of how we use it around them. Many a noisy tom cat has had a bucket of water thrown its way, and mischievous kids might tease a kitten with a spray from the garden hose. Forcing a bath on a cat is a sure way to get it to loathe the water, but that’s no different for any other animal. There’s actually a lot of evidence that cats love water. Many cats don’t hesitate to jump into a filled sink or running shower and actually seemed amused as water from a faucet drips over their heads. One reason for the positive reaction is that cats are attracted to the motion and sound of water.
Among the larger cats, climate makes a difference. Tigers, lions, Jaguars, and ocelots from the hot savannahs are likely to fancy a plunge into cool refreshing streams and ponds to get a break from the heat. Logically, cats that live in cold environments, including snow leopards, lynx, bobcats, and cougars, show little interest in getting wet.
Cats are, of course, creatures of habit, so a pet that has been exposed to water since it was young will tolerate a bath much better than one whose human companion shielded it from water out of fear for its safety.
Although many people believe that cats can’t swim, they’re actually naturals in the water. The fishing cat is a non-domesticated breed from Malaysia and parts of Indonesia. It dives head-first into the water to grab fish with its jaws. Another water-loving cat is the Turkish van, a domesticated breed that lives near Lake Van in Turkey. You don’t have to coax this cat into the water! It will swim in a small pond or pool and has even been spotted swimming into the harbor to greet fishing boats.
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