We all know that it is a long-held belief that cats hate water. And they do not just hate it, they detest it and avoid getting wet at all costs. As far as we know, cats and water are sworn, enemies. There are the occasional outlier felines who chose to cautiously explore water; however, most felines choose to watch from a distance. Where did this original hatred for water come from?
Many experts are not quite sure. Some theorize that this H2O aversion has an evolutionary component to it. Many domesticated cats evolved from arid desert conditions and throughout their early history, they were not exposed to rivers and any other body of water for that matter. A second theory is that cats prefer a meticulous coat. We have all caught our cats cleaning their fur for what seems like hours, just for them to begin the cleaning process all over again. In fact, cats spend approximately a third of their waking hours grooming. If their fur is wet, it becomes exponentially more difficult for our cats to maintain their pristine condition. Fur also becomes heavier as it gets wetter and this may make your cat feel uncomfortable.
So, while a lot of cats may abhor getting wet, many of them are fascinated by water in motion. Whether it is a leaky faucet, a running showerhead, or even a pet drinking fountain, your cat may be drawn to stare at it or even play within the moving water. This too has an evolutionary component to it. Your cat’s instincts associate running water with cleaner, fresher streams that would be safer to drink in the wild compared to a puddle.
If your cat happens to be one of the outliers and enjoys taking baths, swimming, or getting wet in general, fear not, this is well within the normal range of their behavior. In fact, the large cats of the animal kingdom, such as tigers, love to get in the water and use it to cool off after a hunt. Maine coons, Bengals, and Abyssinians are a few breeds of cats that generally love the water as well. If you find that your cat’s aversion to water is creating significant problems during their bath time, feel free to bring up your concerns with your vet during your next visit.