The common knowledge goes that cats, in general, have a particular dislike of water compared to other animals. Is this true?

  • 1
    As far as I know it's just a myth. Jul 31, 2012 at 16:21
  • This one has no problem with getting wet. It's necessary for survival.. Aug 3, 2012 at 16:04
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    if you want an animal that doesn't like water, my parents' former dog disliked it so much she'd refuse to go out when my father wanted/needed to walk her if it rained ever so slightly. She'd in fact check the weather through a window and refuse to go anywhere near an outside door in case it rained.
    – jwenting
    May 30, 2013 at 12:41

2 Answers 2


San Diego Zoo:

Not all cats hate water.

all swim and hunt for amphibians and fish in streams and rivers.

Animal Planet:

Cats' aversion to water is widely accepted as fact - but in truth, not all cats feel the same about taking a dip.

One domestic breed, the strikingly beautiful Turkish Van cat, actually delights in getting wet.

Scientists contend that cats’ dislike of water comes from house cats’ owners shielding them from the elements since the earliest periods of domestication and from their ancestors -- wild cats in Europe, Africa and China’s desert cat -- whose limited experience with water did not require adapting and evolving to deal with it. Lions and leopards avoid river-dwelling predators (like crocodiles) by staying away from water.

University of Wisconsin-Madison:

There are plenty of cats that love water, according to Sandi Sawchuk, a clinical instructor at the School of Veterinary Medicine.

Big, wild cats, especially those that live in hot, arid areas, often love to swim. An Asian species known as the fishing cat uses webbed paws to dive for fish, frogs and crayfish.

Among domestic breeds, the Turkish Van is known for swimming. But most house cats shy away from water.

Because cats groom themselves, we as owners tend not to introduce them to bathing like we do our dogs,” Sawchuk says. “Ask somebody who has show cats, which have to be bathed regularly and have been in the water since they were young. Those cats will tolerate it. There’s no fight at all.


  • 1
    Just as an anecdote: I adopted two stray cats and neither of them mind water. Both go out when it's raining and come back inside soaking wet.
    – Tjaart
    Jul 30, 2012 at 11:07
  • 3
    Add some CC pictures of these animals playing in water, a couple of bedraggled house cats looking miserable, and simplify the title to "Do cats hate water?" and you probably have a hit answer.
    – Oddthinking
    Jul 30, 2012 at 18:13
  • don't forget tigers...
    – jwenting
    May 30, 2013 at 12:40

The cat's hate of water is widely accepted as fact, yes. But in truth, not all cats feel the same about taking a bath. The Turkish Van cat actually delights in getting wet. Scientists contend that cats dislike of water comes from house cats owners shielding them from the elements since the earliest periods of domestication and from their ancestors. If a cat's experiences with water are mainly exposure to a sopping rainstorm, a forced bath or being sprayed with water as a disciplinary measure, why wouldn't she shy away from water?

Some big cats in the wild, especially those in hot, arid areas, regularly swim and bathe to stay cool or catch dinner. The Asian fishing cat is a skilled swimmer, with partially webbed paws, that dives to nab its prey.


  • Welcome to Skeptics. Unfortunately, your answer does not satisfy the standards imposed on this site: Please provide references for all notable claims in your answer. Claims like “scientists contend” should be fairly easy to reference, but make sure that the references themselves are of high quality. A tabloid probably isn’t a good reference – a scientific publication, on the other hand, is. Jul 30, 2012 at 10:36
  • All you've done is changed the link from inline on the word "Scientists" to a link at the end. Looks like some of your quote is also from animal.discovery.com/healthy-pets/cat-health-101/… you could also reference swimmingcats.com (would that domain be registered if all cats hated water!!)
    – Jamiec
    Jul 30, 2012 at 10:40
  • Also on the big cats bit, Wiki's article on the Jaguar states " It is strongly associated with the presence of water and is notable, along with the tiger, as a feline that enjoys swimming" - Im sure there is a notable source of this info that could be found
    – Jamiec
    Jul 30, 2012 at 10:42
  • Thanx for the input. My first answer at skeptics so I'm new to all the referencing. Will think of it for my next answer. Didn't know about swimmingcats.com :)... Will check it out. I myself had a "normal" house cat that loved to bathe. Jumped into the tub when I was bathing :)
    – inquam
    Jul 30, 2012 at 10:44

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