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