It is a question for the ages…..are cats really afraid of water? According to Dr. Carlo Siracusa, a clinical assistant professor of behavior medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, “The majority of them like to interact with water, however, if you take a cat that didn’t have any contact with water and sop the cat in water, he will probably have a fear reaction.”

So while it is not necessarily a fear of the water itself, maybe it is the unknown that the cat fears. What may be some other causes of “fear” or anxiety in our sweet felines when it comes to water?

  • Negative Experience with water in past: some cats might have experienced traumatic events related to water in past. Like getting trapped in water.
  • Cats ancestry: cats ancestors date back to a time of remote deserts in the Middle East, hence they were not used to bodies of water. However, some cats that are prone to live in warm climates could conversely love to swim to keep things “cool”.
  • Maintaining the optimum body temperature: Cats crave warmth and maintain a higher body temperature than humans, and it’s harder for them to get and stay warm. Cat’s normal body temperature can range from 100.5 to 102.5 degrees. Getting wet can definitely dampen that warmth.
  • They love to smell their own scent: taking a dip make take away their sense of scent. They are very territorial and it all starts with them.
  • He ain’t heavy he is your brother: In other words, getting the fur wet can be heavy. Cats like to be light on their paws, maybe getting “weighted” down just doesn’t make them purrrrrrr!
Video courtesy of
Funny Cats

So do cats like the water at all? Well, yes they do and honestly many are amazing swimmers to be honest! There are some breeds of cats that really love the water and to swim: A great example is the Turkish Van cat, which is nicknamed “the swimming cat”.

That being said, if your cat is not an avid fan of the water, even after you have tried to offer him or her exposure, do not leave your cats near water unattended. And, while you can keep trying to coerce them, be kind and allow them to chose how they want to proceed (as if you really have a say when it comes to the cats anyways).

Summer months are the best months to get everyone’s paws wet. Be safe in the water and enjoy your fur baby!

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With many purrs and barks,

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