For some felines, the prospect of having a bath (or even getting dripped on) is scary and a cause for retreat. However, for other cats, water is a source of fun to be embraced whenever possible.
Have you seen the YouTube video of a cat playing in the shower? It’s adorable and for some pet parents, unbelievable.
For those of us with “normal” felines, that detest the wet stuff, we’ve checked with the experts to see what they know about why cats hate water. Plus, we’ve scratched through the internet to find those top breeds that enjoy a good splashy romp.
Scientists think cats may dislike water because their descendants were a desert species and therefore they were not exposed to rivers, lakes, or even heavy rainfall. As a result, they did not “evolve” with the tolerance for the wet stuff.
Anyone that pet parents a cat knows they are meticulous about their coats. Wet hair is very difficult to manage, which will not sit well with Kitty. Drenched coats are also very weighty and uncomfortable. According to Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), cats spend ⅓ of their time grooming themselves, sopping-wet fur also makes this task very difficult.
Phew! That Stinks!
Cats have very sensitive noses, so some speculate that the feline species may have an aversion to the smell of the chemicals in our tap water. Add in the scent of pet shampoo, and a drenched coat and you may find yourself with one unhappy pet.
Why is Dripping Water, Okay?
While our cats may not like to have a bath, why is dripping water okay? The simple truth is curiosity. Cats find the steady drip, drip, drip of a faucet or even the trickling stream in a bathtub fun to play with, as long as it’s not drenching them.
Another possible explanation for the faucet may be instinctive. In nature, dripping or running water is less likely to be contaminated over standing water in a puddle.
Although most domesticated cats detest water, their wild “cousin” the tiger loves to cool off or even hunt for its dinner in a shallow lake or river.
There are also a few breeds of “household” cats that may be prone to puddling in your shower or in the water dish. They include the Bengal, the Maine Coon, and the Abyssinian.
If you’re looking for a cat that loves the water and will actually gravitate towards swimming, then the Turkish Van is the one for you. This relatively new breed has been nicknamed the “swimming cat” because of its love for the water (and its skills in it).
According to The International Cat Association (TICA), the Turkish Van’s cashmere-like coat has a unique texture that makes them virtually waterproof, so they can enjoy all the in-water activities they want, without the drippy aftermath.
Cats & Water
A cat hatred towards water may be a genetic predisposition due to the feline’s desert-dwelling lineage, or the fact that cats spend a lot of their time grooming and wet coats make this task even more difficult. Or maybe it’s simply because the aroma of the water and shampoo is displeasing to the fussy feline good senses. We may never know for sure. All we can do is live with this little idiosyncrasy that makes the feline species what it is today.