Most cat owners know that their furry companions are not fans of getting wet. In fact, some cats absolutely hate water and will get downright angry when you try to bathe them (and won’t mind clawing their way out of the situation!). While cats’ aversion to water is now widely accepted as fact, the truth is, not all felines feel the same way about taking a dip! Whether you’re looking for a cat that loves to be around water or in it, you’ll be pleased to hear that there are a number of breeds that not only don’t mind water but actually enjoy it.
Why Cats Hate Water
Before we jump to cat breeds that love water, let’s quickly talk about the reasons why most kitties do not like getting wet.
The main reason why most cats don’t like water is evolutionary. Feline species evolved in dry desert climates where they had no access to rivers, lakes and other great bodies of water like some other species. Because they had no exposure to water throughout their early history, felines naturally fear it – simply put, it’s unfamiliar territory.
Also, cats are natural hunters. Agile and capable, they’re quick and precise on land. In water, on the hand, they’re anything but. Water makes it hard for cats to move freely, partly because of their coat. Which leads us to the second reason cats hate water…
- The Coat Issue
The top layer of a cat’s coat is somewhat water-resistant, however, when submerged in water, this coat becomes like a sponge – it soaks up large amounts of fluid, weighing a cat down. This not only makes swimming difficult but getting out of the water becomes tough too. A cat’s fur also takes quite a long time to dry, which makes them feel wet and cold even when out of the water. This can put a cat in a vulnerable position – not something you’d want to be in when in the wild!
Additionally, cats are fastidious groomers who spend between 30 to 50% of their waking hours licking and cleaning themselves. Besides being good for their physical health, good hygiene is also great for cats’ mental health – it is, in fact, a sign of confidence and happiness. Having a drenched coat would make their grooming habits very difficult.
- Sensitivity to Smells
Finally, your cat may hate baths because they can smell the scent of chemicals from tap water. Sure, you may think your water is pristinely clean, but your cat may not feel the same way– felines have a much more sensitive sense of smell than humans which can lead to aversion to tap water. In fact, cats have twice as many receptors in their noses as humans do, which makes them naturally much better at picking up even the tiniest odor particles. This is also one of the reasons why some cats don’t like drinking tap water.
Cat Breeds That Like Water
While it’s true that most cats don’t like water due to the reasons explained above, there are a number of cat breeds who actually enjoy it. Some of these breeds will love spending time near large bodies of water, some will occasionally dip their paws in puddles and shallow pools of water, while others will actually want to get in the shower with you!
Maine Coons are known to be water lovers. They have a thick coat that is water resistant, helping them dry quickly and keeping them warm even after a quick swim. They’re believed to be descendants of European ship cats who served as chief vermin controllers, so their water-loving personalities do not come as a surprise. Maine Coons are agile cats, excellent climbers and good swimmers, so they’ll often play with water (like dunk their toys in water bowls!) and even swim if they get a chance. Don’t be surprised if your Coon meows to be bathed!
Take a look at our review of Water Bowls for Cats for more info.
The exotic-looking Bengal loves to play with and in the water. They’re known to dip their paws in puddles, fountains, water dishes, bathroom and kitchen sinks and, if they get a chance to, in fish tanks too. In fact, Bengals love water so much, they’ll often follow their owners to the bath or shower! They’re quite active too, and will spend their days around rivers and lakes if there are any in your neighborhood and you allow them to. Bengals don’t mind being bathed either, so they’re a perfect match for folks who like bathing and pampering their pets often.
For more options, check out our detailed review of Cat Food for Bengals.
Friendly, lively and water-loving, the Turkish Van cat is an ideal pet for families who like to keep active. They will happily join their owners for a swim if they get a chance to, but if not, they’ll find their own water fun – dunk their toys in their water dishes, play in puddles and jump in toilet bowls. In fact, if you want a pet that behaves both like a cat and a dog, the Turkish Van is for you! These cats will not only frolic in water, but also play fetch, explore new places and some will even shower with their owners.
Beautiful and playful, the Turkish Angora is best known for its gorgeous white coat. Similar to its cousin Turkish Van, this breed is a huge fan of water. While some may not love swimming in large bodies of water, all Angoras will absolutely love playing with it and many will also ask to shower with you. Because they have a strong attraction to water, it’s not unusual to see an Angora running to the bathroom when it hears the sound of the tap being turned on.
Known for its unique-looking short and fluffy tail, the Japanese Bobtail is an unusual cat all-around. They’re very friendly and affectionate, yet highly playful and independent. Best of all? They’re huge fans of water. Many Bobtails (both Japanese and American) just love playing with water, dunking their toys in their water bowls and even splashing about in puddles. While some won’t like swimming, many will enjoy being around water. Many Bobtails are known to turn on a water faucet by themselves!
Savannah cats are large, distinctive-looking and highly active felines who were created by crossing a serval (medium-sized African wild cat) with domestic cats. They’re more closely related to wild cats than most domestic breeds are (similar to Bengals). As such, they’re quite playful and curious – almost all Savannahs like to explore and play, especially with and around water. Any type of water will do – rivers, lakes, puddles even water bowls! This is also one of the few cat breeds that likes being bathed.
Originating in Ethiopia (Abyssinia is actually a historical name of Ethiopia!), the Abyssinian cat is one of the oldest breeds in the world. It’s also one of the few breeds that actually loves water. The Abyssinian likes to play with water more than anything, and is known to be a frequent bathroom visitor, especially if there is a faucet running! Many owners of Abyssinians find their cats turning on the taps themselves, either so they can drink fresh water to satisfy their thirst, or to play with it.
The Manx is a breed of domestic cat that hails from the Isle of Man. It looks similar to the Japanese and American Bobtail thanks to its unusually short tail. And, like the Bobtail, the Manx loves water. It’s not unusual to find this cat dabbling its paws in its water dish or dunking toys or food in there. If you live near a river or a lake, you can expect your Manx to spend most of its time there, enjoying the water and even playing in it. Sometimes, this adorable cat will even ask to join you in the shower!
Norwegian Forest Cat
The Norwegian Forest Cat, also known as Wegie, is a breed of domestic cat that originates in Northern Europe. Beautiful and majestic, with a top coat of water-resistant hairs and a thick undercoat for insulation, this cat has no problem dealing with both water and wet weather. The Wegie cat is also a skillful fisher and is known for catching fish from lakes and streams. While this is an admirable trait in general, you need to be careful if you have an aquarium!
The Snowshoe is a beautiful, bright-eyed and intelligent breed of domestic cat originating in the United States. The name comes from the adorable white “boots” they usually sport on their feet. Speaking of their feet, you’ll often find them in or around water – this breed enjoys being near water and may even swim if given the opportunity. Despite looking chubby due to their fluffy coat, the Snowshoe is an excellent swimmer so if you live near large bodies of water, you can expect to see your kitty swimming from time to time. Snowshoes are particular fans of running water though so don’t be surprised if they learn to turn on the tap themselves!