Saying No to Splashing: Why do Cats Hate Water?
Most dogs and cats will have a favorite toy that they love to play with. Now if you were to take that dog’s toy and toss it into the lake, what do you think would happen? That’s right, the dog would probably jump in and retrieve it. Now if you were to toss the cat’s toy into the lake, you can be equally certain that the cat would consider it lost forever. It seems cats do hate water, and any cat owner that’s ever tried to bathe their cat will be quick to agree with. But why do cats hate water, and why do cats hate baths?
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There’s got to be some explanation for this, and in the same way there’s got to be some explanation why some geese are so ornery they try to pick a fight with any human that gets near them. That’s a whole different topic of course, but animals sure can be peculiar with things. And that’s got to be the reason why we wonder why do cats hate water as much as they do. Dogs will happily go for a walk in the rain, but have you ever seen a cat voluntarily step outdoors if it’s anything more than drizzly? Most of them won’t.
Before we get into the topic, let’s mention that not all cats hate water. One of the best examples is a breed that originates from the Eastern Shores of the Mediterranean – The Turkish Van breed and their distinctive face-and-tail colour patterning and general athleticism. You might say the Turkish Van is the feline equivalent of a Labrador Retriever, as they will happily splash around in the water. They’re never going to be the type to swim 20+ yards each way to retrieve a tennis ball and be eager to do it again ASAP though.
The American Bobtail is another breed of cat that’s fairly okay with getting wet. But to get to the question here, it would seem that the answer to why do cats hate water may be based in evolution. The popular consensus is that cats were domesticated 9,500 years ago in the middle east. The arid desert climates without rivers and lakes and very little rainfall made it so that cats had little to no experience with water, and so they evolved to not be comfortable in it or exposed to it.
And we’re not just talking about domesticated cats and swimming or why cats hate baths too. You can see why do cats hate water examples in how feral cats will seek shelter from rain and thunderstorms. Avoiding water is definitely an instinct in present day cats. Another consideration is that cats are fastidious cleaners of their body, grooming themselves with a level of intensity and detail that you don’t see in any other type of domesticated pet.
There is also reason to believe that cats dislike water when being forced to have a bath is because they see it as messing with their own grooming and cleanliness process, and they plain and simple don’t trust us humans with that. Why do cats hate water? It seems like there could be more than one reason and there’s probably others we haven’t even found out ourselves yet.
Sometimes They Have To
So if you had notions of your cat coming to eventually accept baths, you might need to counter that and be resigned to it being quite a fight forever. But what if your cat has an unfortunate meetup with a skunk? It happens, and in that situation you’re going to need to know how to clean a cat after a skunk spray.
The not-so-good news is that you will have to restrain your cat enough to at least be able to give them a powerful rinsing bath once they’ve had the skunk smell treatment. And make sure you do that outdoors too. Any residual from the spray that might remain could end up on your furniture or on the cat’s bed.
We’ll wrap it up here by saying this; if anyone could ever train a cat to dive completely underwater and fetch items off the sand like a dog they would quickly see that cat become a YouTube sensation. And be reference point #1 for anyone who answers why do cats hate water with this reply; not all of them do. Best bet might be to start with attempting to train a Turkish Van!