Why Do Most Cats Hate Water? 7 Curious Facts

Published December 29, 2020
Unhappy cat at bath time

Why do cats hate water? The first wildcat took up residence with humans in dry regions, which is one reason why cats may hate water. The earliest evidence of house cats with humans is in ancient Egypt, where water is almost non-existent. Not all cats hate water, as a handful of breeds enjoy a dip in the pool on a hot day.

Why Do Cats Hate Water?

The concept of a domestic cat before 500 B.C.E. did not extend much beyond the Egyptian region. Cats during this period are status symbols, indoor kitties, and their world is an arid environment. With that in mind, cats do not drink as much water as humans, which helps felines conserve body water during dry spells just like their ancestors!

Domestic Cats First Settled in Egypt

Early felines descended from Felis silvestris lybica, a common wildcat found in the Near East and North Africa. Of all the ancient societies, Egyptians allowed the lives of men and felines to intertwine. Domestic cats are exclusive to Egypt, an arid and warm region, making kitties hate water. The domesticated cat's experience with water is minimal.

Water Fountains Are Acceptable

Some cat owners use water fountains to keep their feline buddies hydrated. Even though cats hate water, many enjoy a drink from a fountain. If your cat waits for you to turn on the faucet, a water fountain is an excellent alternative to a water bowl. The water fountain's running water doesn't look like a bathtub to your cat.

Cat drinking from a pet water fountain

Cats Groom All Day

The typical house cat spends much of the day self-grooming, and healthy cats don't need a bath.

Natural Cleaning

Cats are naturally clean. Felines groom all day because cats enjoy a sleek, conditioned waterproof coat. A cat's coat keeps them warm and protects the skin from infection. Outdoor cats dust bathe to remove parasites from their fur.

Your Cat Does Not Need a Bath

Unless your cat is a senior and soils himself or is hairless, there is absolutely no reason to bathe your cat. A hairless breed does need a bath once a week. Few cats enjoy a bath, so if you must clean your feline buddy, use a shower attachment and make sure the water flow is weak.

Skin Conditions May Be Another Exception

Always use shampoo for cats, not dogs. If you need to apply a medicated shampoo, avoid your cat's eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.

Cats Don't Enjoy the Smell

Cats do not enjoy the smell of bathwater, and if it has a strong scent, all bets are off. Also, if pet parents need to bathe a cat, it is important to remove all the bathroom's annoying odors as those can bother your cat's super senses.

Water Weighs a Cat Down

Cats hate a wet coat. A feline's tongue spreads natural oils secreted by glands in the skin that condition and waterproof the coat. If your cat is in a rainstorm, they need to start grooming all over again. Self-grooming is a lot of work for your cat!

Lack of Experience

Outdoor cats prefer to dust bathe rather than get wet. Most cats are not familiar with rivers and lakes. Your house cat's exposure to water is the faucet in the kitchen!

Some Cat Breeds Love Water

Felines steer clear of the water, but there are a few exceptions. Some cat breeds enjoy swimming, and the Turkish Van breed is known to love water. Many cat breeds share this characteristic, and the Maine coon's coat is water-repellant. The legend is the Turkish Van swam ashore from Noah's Ark.

  • Maine coon
  • Bengal
  • Abyssinian
  • Turkish Van

Most House Cats Do Not Enjoy Water Games

There is no true scientific explanation for why cats hate water. A feline's history and evolution may point to why they do not enjoy a bath. With that in mind, cats self-groom and don't need to bathe frequently. The exception is a hairless cat breed. A few cats love water and are known as swimming cats in some regions of the world. You may need to train your cat to walk into the bathroom if you plan to bathe them, so use many treats.

Trending on LoveToKnow
Why Do Most Cats Hate Water? 7 Curious Facts