This is one of the most searched for questions on the internet about cats, so we are going to explain the habits that are passed down from their ancestors.
It’s a myth that all cats hate water
Even though there are some cats that do like water, most pet cats despise it. Today, we are going to tell you why kitties don’t enjoy getting wet. Scientists think it’s likely that cats are afraid of water due to the original habitat of their ancestors. Cats have traditionally lived in deserts, where they often have contact with water. In the wild, large cats such as Tigers, Lions, and Jaguars usually live in warm climates, so if they find a large pool of water, they use it to cool off. Other animals also go to watering holes, so it can be a source of water as well as a tasty morsel.
There are studies that prove that house cats’ closest relatives are the wild cats of Africa, Europe, and the deserts of China. Ever since humans have started domesticating cats, we have protected them from any environmental harshness, so they have stopped evolving to adapt to water.
Why are cats afraid of water?
Cats don’t enjoy being in constant movement – they find it tedious and exhausting. So even though house cats are capable of swimming, most of them don’t like it. However, there are felines in the world that are great swimmers, such as the Turkish Van.
When cats get submerged in water, it clogs up their fur and weighs them down in a way that doesn’t feel natural to them. They can’t shake out the water easily, so it takes a long time to dry. Cats naturally stay clean on their own and can spend hours cleaning their fur with their saliva, tongue, and paws. Their saliva contains antimicrobials, and their tongue has tiny hooks which are very efficient at cleaning.
If you want to get them used to water, it’s best to start by giving them baths when they are young. However, it isn’t always recommended as it can dry their skin and remove certain pheromones they use to communicate with other felines. If you’ve adopted an adult cat who has never been bathed, DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT TRYING. They can get real nasty, fighting tooth and nail until you have cat bites and scratches all over. It’s also true that there are few things less elegant than a wet cat, it doesn’t look good on them at all.
Playing with water, and being submerged in it, are completely different.
You may notice your cat stares in awe at the water dripping from the faucet, licking drops here and there, and tapping their paws in pools of water. However, it’s not actually the water they are interested in. They are fascinated by the movement, reflections of light, and noise that brings out their innate hunting instincts.
Cats vary wildly in personality and ancestry, but only you will know what they like based on their behavior. Don’t force them to do anything they don’t like, and occasionally let the water run to keep them curious.
Check out this video that shows how cats can react to water!