Why do cats hate water?

Cats are extraordinary creatures. They have made their mark on history by being mayor of a town, being famous for their personalities, and being completely awesome. There is not one way or line that can describe how cool cats can be. But they are also very mysterious. For example, most cats are scared of water. They love seeing water dripping from a leaky faucet, but they despise baths or showers.

All cat owners can relate to the struggle of giving a bath to your cat. It can be very tiresome. It exhausts you and makes you want to pull your hair out. On top of that, cats love to cry during baths. They act like babies. Sometimes, we cannot help but give in to their cries and conundrums. It is because cats can control our minds.


Pets Uniq has talked to experts from all around the world to get an idea of why cats react like this. We, cat owners, do not understand this much. We force our cats to take showers, but what is the actual reason behind their phobia of water? Here are some facts from experts who tried to understand why cats are not afraid of drinking water, but, as soon as it touches their fur, they get scared to death. 

1.    Water weights a cat down

Cats have fur that can absorb all forms of fluid. This is probably the reason why cats hate water. During a bath, every inch of your cat’s fur is drenched in water. It is an icky experience for them because the water stays in their coat for a long while. They feel the weight of water for a long time. It is very uncomfortable, especially if your owner does not dry you up. Cats associate a feeling of discomfort with baths. Therefore, they hate water.

2.    The cat’s evolutionary history

Cat history might also play a role in their fear of water. Cats were initially found in areas where there were no lakes and rivers. It is the reason why cats were never used to the concept of playing or interacting with water. The whole concept of a bath is new for a cat. Therefore, a bath might come as a shock to them. This is the reason why most cats end up being scared of water. It is also because cats do not like change. Since they were never used to the water, it is a change for them.

3.    Cats can smell the chemicals in the water

Cats use smell to judge everything around them. Scent communication is how they develop familiarity. People usually cannot smell water, and many think that there is no smell of water. But the sense of smell of a cat is very sensitive. A cat can differentiate the smell of everything. Therefore, it also recognizes the smell of water or anything added to it. Cats usually find the chemicals in water very irritating.

4.    Negative experiences

Cats associate negative or positive feelings with everything in their lives. Similarly, if their early interactions with water were not pleasant, the cats will associate fear and negative emotions with it. Thus, if you adopt a kitten, make sure to make the first baths happy, comfortable, and light.

5.    Lack of control

The lack of control that comes with baths is why a cat is afraid of water. Cats are fine with water dripping from the tap because they can control their interaction with the water and leave whenever they want. But when it comes to baths, cats have no idea how to stop you. The whole aura of the bathroom scares them. They are on a slippery surface, can feel the weight of the water, and cannot do anything. They feel helpless and trapped. Therefore, baths scare them to death. They cannot develop positive associations with water due to their lack of control.


Are there any cats that like water?

Even though most cats hate water, some enjoy playing in the water. Some breeds of cats are exceptions to water phobia.

Maine Coon

Maine Coons are generally at ease with water. They are not scared or frightened at the sight of water. It may be because their ancestors spent years on sailing ships. Their history might have helped them love water. Other than that, they have a water-resistant coat. Therefore, they do not mind jumping or splashing in water.


Turkish Van

The Turkish Van is also famous for not being afraid of water. They have waterproof coats. Their coats are famous for not holding or storing water. Therefore, this breed makes for great swimmers.  These cats learn to swim at a very young age. Most cat owners install cat pools in their houses to provide entertainment to their little kitties. The Turkish Van is also called the swimming cat.  



The Abyssinian cat is also known for showing love for water. They do not hesitate when it comes to water. They love taking baths and swimming in the water. It may be due to their history and their exoticism. Their ancestors came to Europe in boats. Therefore, they were introduced to water through their lineage. They have always interacted with water in history as well. All of this makes them naturally drawn towards water.


Giving a bath to a kitten

Yes, you can give a bath to your kitten. You can also take her to a professional groomer if you have the time and money. But if your cat accidentally steps into mud or dirt, you will have to bathe her at home. For this, you should be prepared. Keep all of the bathing essentials at home. Make sure you provide a comfortable environment for your kitty. Other than that, thoroughly dry her coat after the bath. Otherwise, she will be annoyed and mad at you.


All of the above points indicate that cats are not afraid of water. They are afraid of getting wet and bathing. They are afraid because of the memories and feelings they have associated with water. Therefore, if you familiarize your kitten with water, she will not throw many tantrums.

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