Skip to Content

Why Do Cats Hate Water? Do Some Cats Like Water?

Why Do Cats Hate Water? Do Some Cats Like Water?

Because cats are known for their independent attitude and their ability to do or allow things only when they want to, they have contributed to being less understood than their eternal competitor in the heart of man: dogs. One of the main questions or urban legends that arise in relation to cats is why do they hate water but love fish? Is it ok to give a cat a bath?

Not many people know that one of the most solid theories regarding cats’ hatred of water goes back to their own origins, as most cat breeds come from desert climates, so they were not familiar with water. But on the other hand, we can find some specific breeds that do get along very well with water.

Over the years, the cats have moved to other regions and therefore to other climates where the presence of water is much more common than in the desert and have gradually become more familiar with this strange element of which they have been so fearful for so long. It is important to note that cats are not shy or cowardly animals, they are simply distrustful and cautious by nature, which means that when faced with something surprisingly unfamiliar, they initially prefer to analyze it from a distance, seeing it from different perspectives and angles until they are confident enough to approach and understand that this element does not represent a potential danger to them.

cat under bench rain

Why Do Most Cats Hate Water So Much?

The historical origin of cats’ aversion to water has already been broadly established. But why does the cat’s feeling for water make its owners intrigued and, in some cases, even worried? The truth is that man’s main pet throughout the ages has been the dog, followed by cats. It is unavoidable in many cases to enter comparisons between the personalities of these noble pets without recognizing that dogs could have a more docile and obedient character than cats, however, this analysis could be exaggeratedly superficial by failing to consider multiple factors that should be considered to value the great contribution of affection and good vibes that each pet, no matter what animal it is, deliver to each home where they live.

Perhaps one way to begin to relate better with your cat is to understand their behavior before expecting the obedience and docility that dogs do. If you understand the cat’s behavior you are much more likely to get responses that are closer to what you expect. Specifically speaking about his rejection of water, it is fundamental to understand the actual reasons why he prefers to be away from this element.

What Are The Main Reasons Why Cats Do Not Like Water?

Have you ever seen your cat completely stupefied watching a falling stream of water? If your answer is “yes, on many occasions”, it is important for you to know that this is completely normal. What you are witnessing is your cat going through a series of contradictory feelings, on the one hand, he is observing something that he finds completely bewitching and fascinating to watch, and on the other hand, this magical and powerful element could mean danger because he does not know what to expect from it.

For all these reasons, the following are the current possible reasons why cats refuse water.

The Weight Of Water In The Cat’s Fur

When a cat is given a bath, the water on its body represents a significant additional weight that is not at all pleasant for it. Imagine a breed of cat with a large coat that has been totally wet, this wet coat is very heavy for the cat, and if you add to that the likelihood of its owner wrapping it in a tight towel while it dries off from the bath, the feeling of weight is significantly increased and the water-disgust relationship is reinforced.

The Origin Of The Cat’s Rejection Towards Water

As discussed above, the current cat’s rejection of water is intimately linked to its historical provenance. The ancestors of today’s cats had virtually no interaction with water for a long period of time, so these indelible traces have remained engraved, although to a much lesser extent, in today’s cats.

cat shaking up water

Chemicals In The Water

It is well known that the sense of smell in cats is one of their most powerful and sensitive senses. Although for humans’ water is simply water and nothing else, because, unlike cats, the sense of smell in humans is not as developed. The cat does have the ability to perceive all the chemicals contained in water and consequently feel affected by these odors that it will detect in an amplified form thanks to its hyper-developed sense of smell. Knowing this situation, it is not difficult to understand why in this case water could be so unpleasant for most felines.

Cats’ Memory Of Past Experiences

Puppy cats may have been repeatedly bathed and submerged in water by their owners. This unintended situation could be another important reason for cats not to be too close to water. Although it may seem surprising, these events can cause trauma in felines, and their negative effect will continue to emerge every time they are faced with a similar situation or in this case when they encounter water.

The Sensation Losing Control

There is nothing more effective to upset a cat than the sensation of losing control, being controlled, or being exposed to unfamiliar and sudden situations that may represent an imminent danger to its safety and dominance. Forcing a cat to face the water without first having taken the time to familiarize itself with the bathing process is not the best way to improve this relationship. Imagine a cat placed in a bathtub filled with soap and water, on a slippery surface, away from the firm ground and the possibility to have multiple escape options when it so desires. It may sound exaggerated but for the cat it is not, its process is different and goes at a different pace, and this is something that each owner must understand and respect if the desire is to improve the relationship with their peculiar pet every day.

Why Do Most Cats Hate Water So Much?

Although the reasons why most cats do not get along with water have been widely discussed, it is correct to say that there are also a minority of cat breeds that enjoy water and do not have the barriers previously explained. As surprising as it may seem, this group of cats greatly enjoys playing with water, chasing jets of water from hoses, showers, or taps, splashing in bathtubs, and even swim, ing like the best of swimmers. Some of these breeds are Turkish Angora, Maine Coon, Savannah, Manx, Pixie Bob, Japanese Bobtail.

cat wet shower

Tips To Consider When Bathing Your Cat

It does not matter if your cat is among the majority of the breeds that hate water or on the contrary, is in the small group of felines that adores it, it is possible and real that your cat gets used to this element and ends up accepting it You just have to be patient, understand that it is a process and like any process, it will require time and dedication until the expected results occur and finally love your pet.

You must begin to accustom your cat to water since it is a kitten, but in a loving and subtle way, without taking advantage of its vulnerable condition or forcing it to submerge or be in contact with water in a forced way, because the only thing that will be achieved is to accentuate the natural rejection of the animal towards the element.

It is highly recommended to start contact with hot water. Cats love hot water because it causes no significant change in the feline’s body temperature. Therefore, it is totally ill-advised to start with cold water, since it will cause precisely what you want to avoid.

As with humans, with animals it is no different, the process of your cat’s contact with water must be started at the right time. You must wait and be patient to find the most appropriate time for this action, and it will be the cat himself who will say when that time is. We must observe his behavior until they are in a good mood, playful, affectionate, and take advantage of this positive state of mind to start the approach with the water.

Another important technique to incorporate into this process of rapprochement between the cat and the water is to use warm water compresses. With these compresses you will begin to touch the kitten delicately and in the form of a caress, seeking to achieve familiarity and confidence towards the element.


Regardless of the type of cat you have, it all comes down to a single factor: introducing water in the most loving way possible. Cats’ independent nature should not be confused with the fact that they do not need affection or special care according to their personality.

They are special, with unique personalities much like people, and they require personalized care, understanding their needs. The main thing for each owner is to take the time necessary to understand their pet and accompany them in a loving way in each activity or process necessary to achieve the best possible coexistence and avoid any trauma in the future.

More like this post: