6 Reasons Why do Cats Hate Water

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Last Updated on March 14, 2024 by Aftab Tariq

Why do cats hate water? If your cat has ever ended up in a garden pond or checked out the sink and then quickly dashed away, you’re not alone. Cats feel uncomfortable when wet because their fur gets heavy, making them feel less nimble.

Cats are known for their sneaky moves and graceful ways of getting around. That’s why they’re usually not big fans of water. It’s all about staying comfortable and agile.

However, not all cats feel the same. Some breeds really don’t like water, while others don’t mind it at all.

Luckily, cats are experts at grooming themselves. They don’t need baths often because they’re so good at cleaning themselves. But if you’re curious about why some cats avoid water, get ready to explore their H2O personality.

1: Being In Water Makes Them Feel Out Of Control

Sometimes, being in water can make both humans and cats feel uncomfortable and not in control. Cats have natural ways to control their surroundings, like hunting and marking territory.

“Dr. Petri argues that it is vital for a confident cat to feel in control.”

If they feel like they’re not in control, they can easily get scared. So, if your cat feels scared in water, they’re likely to get really stressed out. This helps explain why many cats don’t like water.

Individuals, much like felines, may acquire fears or phobias based on past unpleasant encounters. Dr. Petri says:

“Cats might dislike water if they’ve had bad experiences with it, no matter when it happened.”

For instance, if your cat had a negative experience with water as a kitten, like falling into a bath or pool, they might develop a fear of it. Introducing your cat to bathing slowly and gently when they are young can lead to long-term benefits. Dr. Petri says:

“If you slowly introduce kittens to water in a safe and gentle manner when they’re young, they’ll probably become more comfortable with it as adult cats.”

3: Cats Dislike the Smell of Water

Cats have a dislike for certain smells, especially strong scents in water like those from treatment chemicals. For example, the smell of chlorine in swimming pools can be overwhelming for them.

According to FirstVet, cats have a significantly higher number of smell receptors in their noses compared to humans – up to 200 million versus around 6 million in humans.

Because of this heightened sensitivity, it’s no surprise that cats would quickly steer clear of unpleasant odors, much like how humans would react if faced with the possibility of falling into a stinky pool.

4: Cats Evolved to Avoid Water

While some animals are naturally adapted to water environments, cats are not one of them. Domestic cats originated in the hot, arid conditions of the Middle East, where water sources such as lakes and rivers are scarce.

This means that when cats encounter water, it can be more startling for them compared to animals that have evolved to live around it. According to Dr. Petri:

” cats evolved in dry areas and didn’t encounter much water.”

5: Cats Dislike Getting Wet

Have you ever found yourself in the situation where you step out of the shower only to realize your towel is nowhere to be found? Being left wet, cold, and dripping is definitely not a pleasant experience. Similarly, your cat may feel discomfort when they become wet.

Molly DeVoss, who is a certified feline training and behavior specialist and founder of the non-profit organization Cat Behavior Solutions, explains that a cat’s fur isn’t meant to keep water away. So, she points out that it takes a while to dry and feels heavy when wet.”

Felines dislike the sensation of heavy, wet fur not just for comfort reasons but also due to their evolutionary need to maintain agility and quickness.

6: Water Makes a Cat’s Coat Feel Unpleasant

If a curious cat accidentally ends up in your bubble bath or gets caught in the rain, it might steer clear of water for good. But why do cats develop this aversion after just one experience? While it may seem like one of those puzzling cat behaviors, there’s a theory.

According to this theory, when a cat gets wet, its fur becomes heavier, colder, and uncomfortable. Plus, it takes quite some time for a cat’s fur to dry naturally. Moreover, cats are known for their agility and nimbleness, but in water, they might feel a loss of control, which slows them down and makes them feel uneasy.

Just one bad encounter with water can make a cat avoid it altogether.

What Cat Breeds Enjoy Water?

If your cat doesn’t mind bath time, it might be due to its breed.  Conversely, if your kitty isn’t fond of getting wet, it doesn’t mean they dislike water altogether. According to Dr. Petri:

“Some cat breeds, such as the Maine Coon and Turkish Van, are known for their tendency to enjoy water.”

On the contrary, many cats are fascinated by running taps and water fountains. But why? Some experts suggest that the sound and sight of flowing water are appealing and playful to them, and cats may perceive these smaller amounts of water as safer.

“The Cat Fanciers’ Association identifies several breeds known for their comfort in water, including the Siberian, Sphynx, and Bengal. Turkish Angora and Manx cats also enjoy water activities.”

Bathing a Water-averse Cat

Cats spend lots of time grooming themselves, about half the time they’re awake! They use their tongues to clean their fur and keep it shiny. But if they lick too much and make bald spots, it means they’re grooming too much and you should talk to the vet about it.

Sometimes, though, cats need a bath. This could be because they got really dirty outside or have a bad smell. Also, they might have an infection like fleas or ringworm. Older or overweight cats might have trouble cleaning some parts of their fur.

When you give a cat a bath, it’s best to do it in a small space like the sink filled with warm water. Here’s what you do:

  1. Hold your kitty gently by the scruff of its neck.
  2. Use a mug to pour warm water over your cat’s body until all the fur is wet. But remember not to wet the head, and use cotton wool to keep water out of their ears, as recommended by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
  3. Use special cat shampoo to carefully lather up their fur.
  4. Rinse off all the shampoo so there’s none left.
  5. Dry your cat gently with towels, not a hairdryer. If your cat has long fur, you might need to comb it too.
  6. Don’t forget to give your brave cat a treat!

If your cat needs attention for its face or head, the ASPCA suggests using a damp washcloth to carefully wipe away any dirt or debris.

Key Points

  • Despite the common belief that cats dislike water, some actually do enjoy it.
  • The cat’s breed and early experiences play a significant role in determining its affinity for water.
  • Cats can be trained to enjoy water, even if they’re not naturally inclined to.
  • Warm water at around 102 degrees Fahrenheit is preferred by cats.
  • Creating positive associations with water, such as giving treats, can make it a more enjoyable experience.
  • Respect your cat’s preferences and avoid forcing it into activities it dislikes.
  • Seek assistance from a professional groomer if your cat struggles with bath time, even with water at the ideal temperature of 98 degrees Fahrenheit.

If anyone wants to learn more about pets, they can read our articles at harpersatelier.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do Cats Hate Cucumbers?

Cats are scared of cucumbers because they look like snakes.

Why do Cats Hate Water, But Dogs Like it?

Cats dislike water because of their desert ancestry and slow-drying fur. Dogs, bred from water-loving species, typically enjoy it more.

Why do Cats Hate Water but Love Fish?

Cats typically dislike water due to their desert background and slow-drying fur, while they love fish because of their natural hunting instincts and the strong smell and taste of fish.

Why do Cats Hates Dogs?

Cats might not like dogs because they have different behaviors and instincts. Past bad experiences can influence as well. However, it varies between individual animals.

Cats Hate Bathing in Water True or False?

True. Many cats dislike bathing in water due to natural instincts and discomfort when their fur gets wet.

Why do Cats Hate Tin Foil?

Cats might not like tin foil because of its texture and the crinkling sound it makes, which can startle or scare them.

Why do Cats Hate Belly Rubs?

Cats might not like belly rubs because it makes them feel vulnerable, as they instinctively protect their sensitive belly area.

Why do Cats Purr?

Cats purr for different reasons like happiness, stress relief, or communication. They may even purr when nearing death. In a veterinary hospital, purring could show high stress or be a way to calm themselves.

Why do Cats Sleep so Much?

Cats sleep a lot due to their crepuscular nature and to conserve energy for hunting. Indoor cats may sleep even more because of the lack of stimulation and the comfort of their environment.

Why do Cats Lick you?

Cats lick humans for various reasons, including showing affection, grooming behavior, or seeking attention. It can also be a sign of trust and bonding between the cat and its owner.

Why do Cats Hate Water so Much?

Cats typically dislike water due to their desert origins and slow-drying fur. They may also perceive it as a threat to their safety.

Why do Cats Hate Water Spray?

Cats don’t like water spray because it surprises them and disrupts their comfort. They also prefer to stay dry, so they see the spray as unwanted.

Why do Cats Hate Water Bottels?

Cats might not like water bottles because they’re unfamiliar and make sudden movements and noise. This can startle or scare them, making them avoid water bottles.

Aftab Tariq

I am a dedicated content writer with more than five years of experience, particularly skilled in the art of storytelling. My writing journey commenced during my college years, where I pursued journalism and unearthed my talent for creating captivating narratives.

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