When you think of the characteristics of a cat, one of the first things you’ll think of is that cats are afraid of water. Sure, some cats adore water, but most cats hate water of any temperature or depth. Even though this is a known personality trait of cats, you still ask: Why are cats afraid of water?
Cats can be afraid of water due to a terrible experience with water, thinking water means they’re having a bath, or because they do not like being wet. Cats also historically have minimal exposure to water on their fur. It is essential not to force your cat to go toward water if they are afraid.
A cat that is afraid of water is probably going to stay afraid of water. Even so, it could be helpful to know and understand why your cat is afraid of water. If you want to learn more about cats’ distaste of water, keep reading!
Reasons Why Cats Are Afraid Of Water
People assume that cats do not like water, but let’s spend some time talking about the reasons why your cat may be afraid of water.
Your Cat Had A Bad Experience With Water
One of the first things to learn about cats is that they do not easily forget things.
If your cat had a bad experience with water in the past, then your cat may come to hate water all the time.
In the past, your cat could have:
- Almost drowned
- Choked on water
- Been held underwater
- Fell into deep water
- Been bathed too aggressively
You’ll be able to tell that your cat is afraid of water when he sees it. He may try anything to get away from the water, including scratching you.
Being Wet Makes Your Cat Feel Cold
Being wet can send a chill through your cat, which he may not like.
If there’s one thing that cats like as much as being dry, it’s warm.
When your cat gets wet, there’s a good chance that your cat will start to feel cold. Being wet and cold is a combination that your cat is sure to hate!
You might find that your cat hates water when it is particularly cold outside or when you have the air conditioner blasting in the summer.
Your Cat Doesn’t Like The Feeling Of Being Wet
Even if your cat doesn’t get cold when he is wet, he may not enjoy the feeling of being wet.
This may be true, especially for cats with long or thick fur.
A cat with a lot of fur will take a long time to try, which means that your cat will be damp feeling for a few hours at the very least.
Your cat may not be a fan of that sensation, so his dislike of water happens simply because of that.
Your Cat Isn’t Exposed To Water Very Often
Cats aren’t constantly exposed to water as often as humans.
Thus, when your cat sees water, especially deep water, his initial reaction is to be afraid of the water.
If you have an indoor cat or live in the city, your cat is afraid of deep water that he finds outside, like lakes or even deep puddles, which will not be much of a concern to you.
Still, it’s something you should be aware of because it could lead to some sudden issues with your cat.
Cats See Water As A Bath
If you like to bathe your cat, then your cat could equate water to getting a bath, even if you’re not prepping to wash your cat.
Even though cats can be loving, they can also be stubborn. If you have a cat that hates baths, then it will be nearly impossible to force your cat to like water.
Cats are good at remembering triggers, and water could be one for your cat because they think of those dreaded baths!
Is It Rare For A Cat To Like Water
Yes, it is rare for a cat to like water. However, it isn’t unheard of that a cat likes water, but it is relatively rare to find a cat that enjoys the water.
If you have a cat that surprisingly likes water, don’t think that you’ve stumbled across some exotic and rare cat. It just happens that your cat likes water!
Most cats dislike water, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t cats that break the mold. There is nothing inherent to cats specifically that makes them hate water, so it’s entirely plausible to find cats that enjoy playing or splashing in the water.
It’s difficult to say what percentage of cats will like water compared to those that will not, but it has much to do with your cat’s personality. A playful, curious, or adventurous cat will be more likely to enjoy the water than a sedentary, grumpy cat always asleep in the sunlight.
Can You Teach A Cat To Like Water
It is possible to teach a cat to like water.
If your cat hates water or is afraid of water, then you can slowly teach your cat to like water. Here are some tips:
- Do not force your cat into deep water. This will scare him and cause him to avoid water at all costs in the future.
- Let your cat splash around with you when you are in the bath. He will feel safe with you and see that you are in the water too.
- Get a plastic pool for your cat outside. It is easy to fill a small pool with a few inches of water that your cat can get in and out.
- Let your cat work at his own pace. Don’t force him to do more than he is comfortable doing. This may take longer, but it won’t have a negative effect on your cat.
As I’ve already mentioned, cats can be stubborn, so this can be a long process with your cat. Remember not to get too frustrated and work with your cat!
How Do I Get My Cat To Not Be Afraid Of Water
A cat fearing water can be more challenging to manage than a cat that dislikes water.
You can’t ask your cat why he is afraid of water, but if you had your cat for most or all of its life, then you may be able to pinpoint why your cat is afraid of water.
Did your cat fall into your bath as a kitten? Did your cat almost drown in the pool or a pond when he was younger?
If you can pinpoint why your cat is afraid of water, it will be easier to work with your cat. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible. That’s okay.
Every cat will be different, but the most important thing to keep in mind when working with a cat that is afraid of water is not to work too fast and not force your cat to do anything he doesn’t like. Work hard to show your cat that it is okay to get in the water or be wet.
If you find that your cat’s fear of water affects his quality of life, you can speak to your vet about prescribing medicine to help his anxiety.