passion for grooming seems to be gone away very quickly when trying to give her a bath using water. Indeed, cat’s aversion towards water seems very ironic for her extreme love of cleanliness.
Since the beginning, cat’s repugnance over water has been the subject of many debates, some of them even heated. By unraveling facts about cat’s behavior towards water, we will try to decipher if cats really generally “hate” water, and the several reasons why they hate it so much.
Fact # 1: Not all cats hate water
There are some cats whose lineage belongs to fierce water hunters. South and Southeast Asian fishing cats, for instance, are known to have webbed feet adept in grabbing their prey under water. The leopard cat, a small wild cat in South and East Asia, is also known to dwell along mangrove swamps, rivers, and streams to hunt.
Some cats want to play with water due to extremely high temperature. Turkish Vans, for instance, are called swimming cats because of their love of swimming. This type of cats originated from the hot and arid regions of Turkey, where they were known to take a dip in Lake Van to cool themselves down. Other cat breeds that are known to be water lovers are Bengal, Turkish Angora, Maine Coon, American Bobtail, and American Short hair.
Fact # 2: Some cats stay away from water for safety reasons
Long before the era of domestication, cats in the wild oftentimes choose habitations that are relatively farther from the water sources. For cats, water sources are home to many different water dwelling predators, and it will be safer for them to stay away from water. Cats are also known to be jumpy and skittish. Their lack of experience towards water, for instance, can agitate them, making them fearful and defensively aggressive at times.
Fact # 3: Water makes them heavy
This is especially true among cats with relatively longer coats. When a cat’s coat is submerged in water, its drenched fur would weigh her down, making her feel ‘heavy’ and uncomfortable. That’s why cats get so frantic to dry herself up immediately after taking even just a quick dip.
Fact # 4: Your cat senses something in the water that she doesn't like
Your cat is equipped with an excellent sense of smell. However, this sensory power also provides her the ability to detect substances and contaminants that might be present on your tap water. Maybe the reason why you cannot put her to bath is the presence of certain contaminants in your tap.
Fact #5: She simply does not need to take a bath
Cats are known to be conscientious cleaners. Whenever they have chance, they will groom themselves by licking their paws and fur. This habit would make it quite unnecessary for you to actually submerge your cat into the water for a bathe regularly, unless the dirt is too large, sticky and thick that it becomes unmanageable for her.
Need to bathe your cat? Here’s what you need to know
Cats rarely need help when it comes to bathing, as they can do it all by themselves without the help of water and a pet parent. However, there are instances when cats need the helping hand of their owners especially when dealing with sticky and large dirt. If you really need to go through this process that is equally challenging for both you and your critter, here are some tips that you may want to consider:
- Your cat can become super aggressive when soaked with water. For your safety, trim her nails first several hours before putting her in bath. You may also consider wearing long sleeved shirt or gloves for protection against possible bites and scratches.
- Convince your kitty to take a bath by training her as early as her kitten-hood. Making her familiar with water would make every bathing time a blissful and safe encounter.
- You do not have to submerge your cat completely with water. A gentle cloth or sponge bath can do the trick of cleaning off that dirt or mud. Just remember to use warm water and to rub the dirt in the direction where the fur naturally flows.
- Do not use any chemicals and additives in the water, as it might irritate your cat’s skin and might also be ingested during her normal grooming sessions. Remember to rinse the fur well with water to get rid of any unwanted shampoo.
Your cat’s distaste towards water might be rooted in her genetic imprint, her environment, her personal experience, or the lack of. As pet parents, getting to know even the most trivial things about our pets can contribute towards a deeper, better understanding of them.