Caturday Blogging: What’s the Deal with Cats and Water?


One of the most widely circulated myths in the animal world is that cats hate water. But is that really true? For Caturday, we break it down.

For some reason, cats appear to be really anti-water. When I first got into the cat game, I read a lot of “cat-rearing” articles that basically all said the same thing. If you spray your cat with water as a deterrent, they will develop an aversion and become impossible to bathe.

Well, I haven’t tried to bathe my indoor cat yet or developed a way to say no, but she loves to stick her face under the faucet while I’m brushing my teeth in the morning. Which begs the question as to whether cats actually hate water. Or if we, as the humans entrusted with their safety, taught them to fear water.

Now, some say that a cat’s fear of water goes back centuries upon centuries.

As John Bradshaw, a Ph.D, Astrozoologist and all-around smart person from the University of Bristol explains:

"“Domestic cats were descended from Arabian wild cats. Their ancestors lived in an area with very few large bodies of water. They never had to learn how to swim. There was no advantage to it.”"

In addition to being anti-swimming, it’s really hard for cats to get dry. So it’s less about the water and more about the feeling. I mean, imagine getting caught in the rain and stuck in your own wet clothes for more than an hour or two. Not only would you feel uncomfortable, but you’d also probably get sick!

Moreover, Pet360 posits that a wet coat makes them feel vulnerable. If they feel weighed down, then they can’t make a run for it. And what is a cat if not an agile predator?

For a further breakdown, our trusted pal, Simon’s Cat, breaks it down for us:

Fun fact: Turkish Vans have water-resistant coats and are encouraged to swim.

Related Story: Caturday Blogging: Who Wants to Go to the Vet?

The moral of the story, which I think applies to every cat situation, is to pay attention to what works for your cat and what doesn’t. And while it’s simple to understand the “cat logic” basics, don’t ever force your cat to do anything that the cat doesn’t want to do. When it comes to bathtime, be patient.

And, of course, have a happy Caturday!