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Why Do Cats Dislike Water? 💧

16th May 2023

Cats Don’t Like Feeling Wet!

Although some cat breeds, such as the Turkish Van, are known for their affinity for water, cats are known for their general dislike of water, and there are a few reasons behind this behaviour...

kittens a little unsure about being wet
Cat near swimming pool

It may come down to the individual cat and/or the experiences they had as kittens.

1. Grooming Preference

Cats are meticulous groomers and prefer to clean themselves using their tongues. Their fur is designed to repel water and keep them dry. Wet fur is heavier, and it may feel uncomfortable for them, disrupting their natural grooming routine.

2. Temperature Sensitivity

Cats are sensitive to temperature changes and getting wet can make them feel cold and uncomfortable. Their fur provides insulation, which when wet, loses its insulating properties. Being wet and cold in the wild could also be fatal.

3. Loss of Control

Cats are creatures that value control and independence. Being submerged in water takes away their sense of control and makes them feel vulnerable, which can cause stress and anxiety.

4. Evolutionary Heritage

Wild ancestors of domestic cats, such as the African wildcat, are not typically associated with water environments. Domestic cats may have inherited this aversion to water from their ancestors, as it was not necessary for their survival.

5. Lack of Exposure

Many cats are not exposed to water during their early socialization period. If they do not encounter water in a positive and gradual way during their formative weeks, they may develop a fear or aversion to it later in life.
Spraying a cat with a water bottle is also a common (yet not recommended) method of disciplining which will obviously result in negative connotations to water.


Despite their general aversion to water, there are individual cats that tolerate or even enjoy water, especially if introduced to it gradually and positively. 
Your best approach to introducing a cat to water is with patience and gentleness, to avoid causing stress or fear and to treat your cat as an individual without any expectations on them loving or loathing water.

Wet cat walking

Water Messes Up Their Fur!

Cats are meticlous animals that spend a great deal of their day grooming themselves.  About 50% of their day!  Wet fur is extremely uncomfortable for a cat and often takes a long time to dry. Wet fur is also heavier than dry and thus makes a cat less agile. Cats secrete pheromones into their fur to mark their territory and communicate with others, so any submersion in water will remove this. Getting wet, especially when it comes as a surprise, messes up all the work accomplished from a recent grooming session and might make your cat feel unkept and physically uncomfortable.


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