Cats are notorious for disliking water. Many will stick their face under the faucet to nab a quick drink or splash around in their water dish, but most cats hate being drenched from head to paw. If you have ever tried bathing Fluffy—or if she has accidentally fallen into the sink or tub filled with water—you’ve seen firsthand how frantically she tries to put some distance between herself and the water. What makes cats hate water so much?
Reasons Why Cats Don’t Like Water
Here are the top reasons why your cat might avoid getting wet at all costs:
- Cats are nervous about new experiences: Some cats are averse to being dunked in water simply because they have never had that happen before. As naturally skittish animals, cats like to take on new experiences slowly, so being bathed can be quite traumatic.
- Cats are fastidious: Your cat is picky about her treats, her sleeping area, and her toys, so you can bet she’s picky about the smell and overall condition of her fur. When you dunk your cat in water, her fluffy coat suddenly feels and smells unfamiliar. This can be frightening, or at the very least, annoying.
- Being wet drops your cat’s body temperature: Cats love to be warm. They sunbathe and snuggle close to the fire. When a cat’s fur is drenched, her body temperature drops and she becomes cold.
- Waterlogged fur is uncomfortable: If you’ve ever been caught in a rainstorm without an umbrella, you know how uncomfortable it is to walk around in soaking wet clothes. Your cat may feel the same when her fur becomes waterlogged.
Some Cats Don’t Mind Getting Wet
Big jungle cats such as lions and tigers spend quite a lot of time in the water. They bathe to get clean and cool off, and they’re excellent swimmers. However, domestic cats are ancestors of felines that lived in dry, arid deserts. There was no evolutionary need to learn how to swim, so they never did. This trait has passed on to most domestic cats today.
Still, you’ll find the rare instance where a friend or neighbor’s cat actually enjoys the water. One particular breed of cat, the Turkish Van, is nicknamed “the swimming cat” because of its natural affinity for water.
Tips for Bathing Your Feline Friend
As avid groomers, cats rarely require baths, especially if they live indoors. However, if your furry friend gets dirty or sticky, a bath may be in order. Try these tips for bathing a cat:
- Fill the tub with plain warm water.
- Line the tub with a towel so your cat has something to cling to.
- Ease your cat gently into the water while stroking speaking softly and to her.
- Pour water over your cat’s body with a cup rather than running the faucet. Use extra caution around her face and eyes.
Get More Cat Care Tips at Germantown Vet
Whether you need more tips on grooming and bathing your cat, correcting a bad behavior, or keeping the animal healthy with the right diet, visit Germantown Vet Clinic in Montgomery County for personalized tips and help from our experienced veterinary staff.
Call our clinic at 240-252-7467 for answers to your remaining questions or to schedule a vet appointment for your cat today!