The cats’ aversion to water may vary in its severity. Not all the animals dislike it – there are cats that have a completely neutral attitude to water. Some breeds, like Bengal cats, actually love to bathe and swim, but they’re an exception to the rule.

In general, it’s hard to find a cat that enjoys getting wet. For some, it’s a source of great discomfort. Just touch your pet with a wet hand or spill a drop on its fur – it will likely be very unhappy. But what is the reason behind these hard feelings cats have for water? 

Why are cats afraid of water?

Contrary to common conviction, cats are not afraid of water (unless they have some traumatic experiences). Of course – if they suddenly fall into the bathtub or get a ricochet shot of water out of the garden hose, they can get scared, as any animal would. But they’re actually good swimmers! 

We often think the opposite, since seeing the cat swimming is really rare. Nevertheless, cats can swim, and this ability seems to be innate since the mothers do not teach them this skill in their infancy. Even if your pet has never been in the water before, once it’d enter, it would most likely know how to stay on its surface. 

When you look at the behaviors of felines, you’ll notice that most of them – including tigers, pumas, and lions – love to play in the water and swim from time to time. It’s the domestic cats that have grown a little picky. That doesn’t mean that they’ve lost their natural ability to swim. Cats can swim as well as dogs – they just have fewer occasions to boast with their skills since they avoid it like the plague!

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Some cats are curious about water, too. They like to observe drops falling from the faucet and chase them or touch running water with their paw. The reason behind it may be the prey drive. The movement and sound just don’t let the felines stay still. When the water moves, the dancing reflections of light catch their interest, too.

Why don’t the cats like water?

So, what makes the cats feel so ambivalent about water? We can suspect that it’s mainly the unpleasant sensation that comes with wet fur. When it soaks with water, it becomes much heavier, making it more difficult for the cat to move around. Its weight increases, which may be a burden for the animal. And cats love to feel light and agile. Thus, the sensation that follows getting wet may not be their favorite.

It’s not only about the heaviness of the fur. When the cat’s hair is wet, it doesn’t protect its body against the low temperature, while it’s its fundamental function. So, your kitty may intuitively avoid water for its own security, since the wet fur may make it more prone to catching a cold.

Do hairless cats like water more than furry ones?

You could suspect that the hairless breeds wouldn’t mind water, since the wet fur is the main issue here. However, it’s not a rule. A lot depends on the personal preferences of your pet. 

Undoubtedly, the hairless cats need water baths much more than the furry breeds. Fur is a natural protection for the cat’s skin, which the Sphinxes don’t have. Their skin secretes much more sebum to compensate for the lack of hair. It works as a protective mechanism but may cause dermatological issues such as, for example, acne. Thus, it’s worth giving hairless cats a bath, at least from time to time. Of course, to do so, you should use a shampoo dedicated for cats that is safe for its sensitive skin.

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Which cat breeds like water?

As we’ve mentioned, there are quite some breeds of cats that actually adore water. Among them there are Bengals, Turkish Van, Abyssinian cats, and Maine Coons. Persian cats tolerate water, and they need baths from time to time because of their fur, but they’re not the most enthusiastic about it. The breeds described below – quite contrarily!


This beautiful animal comes from crossing the wild leopard cat with a domestic cat. It’s easily recognizable because of its leopard-like coat and extended, flexible torso. We would risk stating that there’s no other race of cats that loves water as much as Bengals. They adore swimming in different bodies of water and jumping into a shower or a bath tub.

Maine Coon

This race also comes from the United States of America and is known for its affection for water. The Maine Coons stand out with their impressive size and beautiful long fur that requires regular care. There is no consensus on the origins of the breed. One of the most popular hypotheses indicates that it could be related to Norwegian forest cats brought to the American continent by Vikings during their exploration expeditions through the Atlantic. That would explain their love for water!

Turkish Van

This cat comes from the Anatolian region of Lake Van. They’re known for their heterochromia and stunning fur. Among the breeds listed here, this one is the most adapted to living in a water environment. Their fur is not only beautifully colored but also water-resistant. It dries very quickly and doesn’t get entangled since it has only one layer. Its paws are also unique. The excessive skin that connects its claws creates a sort of webbing that facilitates swimming.

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This elegant race with African origins is one of the most ancient. The Abyssinian cats stand out with their big ears, slim torso, and almond-shaped eyes. Let’s not forget about the affection for water! Abyssinians are generally curious and love observing and playing with tap water. They often swim with pleasure, too! Their short fur is semi-water resistant and dries up quickly, so they don’t experience the heaviness caused by soaking with water.

Summing up

If your cat doesn’t enjoy the water, there is no point in trying to change it. By forcing the pet to take baths, you’ll traumatize it rather than encourage it. There are other ways to help the cats to groom, like brushing and using special powders for the fur. 

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