The common knowledge goes that cats, in general, have a particular dislike of water compared to other animals. Is this true?
Not all cats hate water.
The leopard cat Prionailurus bengalensis,
fishing cat Prionailurus viverrinus,
flat-headed cat Prionailurus planiceps,
and Geoffroy’s cat Oncifelis geoffroyi
all swim and hunt for amphibians and fish in streams and rivers.
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.
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.”
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.