Do All Cats Hate Water?

True, many cats don't like water, but these seven cat breeds love water.

By Anastasia Thrift; Video by Susan Logan

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Savannah Kitten
Yes, most cats hate water. But some, like the Savannah, love to play in baths, water dishes or any body of water they can find.
Common knowledge holds that cats hate water: They hate baths, hate swimming — some misinformed people even spray water as a behavior deterrent for cats. But beyond asking why cats hate water, let’s find out whether this is myth or fact.

In truth, many cats enjoy water, and have for some time. Egyptian hieroglyphics depict cats hunting in marshes with their owners. Cats have been seen hooking trout and other fish out of streams with their paws. Cats have even been observed teaching other cats to fish.

This behavior isn't reserved for ancient cats or wild hunters. Domestic cats today still enjoy water. The following seven breeds of cats like water:
  • Turkish Van In the breed’s native Turkey, the Turkish Van cat is referred to as "The Swimming Cat.” This could be due to the Van’s native region in Turkey, which reaches 100-plus-degree temperatures in summer. Apparently, cats have gone into the water to cool off; some report that they would catch fish.

  • So says Erica Tadajewski of Halima Turkish Vans in Michigan. "The Turkish Van has a natural affinity for water: The more they are exposed to it, the more you see this trait come out in them. The kittens love to walk along the tub or get into it while it is filling, run through the water and then jump out.”

  • Maine Coons These cats take to the water like their pattern namesake animal, the raccoon. Many Maine Coon cats enjoy playing with (or in) their water bowl or attempting to turn on the sink faucet.

  • Grace Reger of Regalcoons in Florida witnesses this behavior near the water bowl and beyond. Her Maine Coons dig water out of dishes or jump in tubs after showers to roll around in the water. The instincts start early. "They start playing in their water dish as kittens,” Reger says. "They put their toys in it, too.”

  • Bengals Bred from a cross between an Asian leopard cat and a domestic cat, Bengals display some characteristics of their wild ancestors. They are comfortable, and even enjoy playing, with water.

  • "The Asian leopard cat, where the Bengal is bred down from, is known in Southeast Asia as the water cat,” says Dave Clark of Clarkstone Bengals in Texas. "With webbed feet, kinda like a duck, they are excellent swimmers.”

  • Savannahs Savannahs are another wild cat hybrid, descending from African servals crossed with domestic cats. Savannah cats can be walked on a leash, learn how to fetch and often enjoy playing in water.

  • "African servals will wade in shallow waters to hunt for frogs and small fish,” says Patrick Kelly of SavannahCat.com in California. These ancestors passed it to their domestic relatives. Kelly has found that his Savannahs love bouncing drops of water on the bathtub when the shower is on and "jumping in the tub, chasing water droplets and eventually splashing around in the shallow water.”

  • Siberians The Russian-born breed Siberians seem to take their tolerance for snowy, rainy weather and turn it into a love for water.

  • Diane Gamble of Murlyka Siberians in British Columbia, Canada, thinks so. One of her kittens insisted on pawing the center of a water fountain, splashing the water out. "He would do this over and over again, getting himself and everything around him soaked. He was never happy until he had the fountain emptied and water all over the floor.”

Do you want to read more about cats that like water. Check out Help! My Cat Plays in Water. Need more proof? CAT FANCY editor Susan Logan dispels the myth in this video.

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Do All Cats Hate Water?

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Reader Comments

denise    International

11/22/2013 3:47:12 AM

I have a Snowshoe that LOVES to not only swim but walks on the beach on a leash and rides in our speed boat. I bathed her daily after rescuing her because she had 2 wounds on her back. Ever since then she loves to get into the water. You can see video of her on utube under the title Boo-Boo Boat Kitty:-)

Cindy    Ellwood City, PA

8/8/2013 2:54:31 PM

My cat Magellan is a tuxedo domestic short hair and he loves water. His name was given to him when he was only about a month old. He followed our golden retriever to her big water dish and he fell in put he swam out and shock him self off but went right back for more water fun. He is now 12 years old and although I have never seen him swim he loves his regular bath and lets us know when it is time.

Tana    Rapid City, SD

8/7/2013 10:14:51 PM

Both my females, Sassy 9 a long hair Maine Coone and Mittzi 3 a Siamese Himalayan that looks like a cougar, both jump in the tub and wait for me to turn on the water so they can drink and Mittzi, sometimes just likes to sit their and watch it run!! Mittzi drinks ALOT of water!!

Joy    Pittsburgh, PA

6/6/2013 4:44:45 PM

I have a Ragamuffin (9yrs) who drinks water a lot! Simon drinks from the bathroom sink occasionally...and my Ragdoll (7mths) loves water, he jumps up on the counter and sticks his whole head under the running water and then drinks for a while..both drink out of their bowls as well)

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