Q & A: Real water babies

Q: Why do some cats hate water, and others don’t?

A: The Turkish Van is a breed of cat who famously enjoys water, to the point where they may even swim if given the chance. Other breeds who enjoy water include Bengals and Maine Coons. But not every individual within these breeds will be the same, and cats who enjoy water are not the norm.

You’re more likely to see a cat shaking her paws after stepping in a puddle than joyously bounding through it.

Some cats may like to watch, drink from or even paw at running water – they may even sit still while water splashes over their head from a running tap. But they’re unlikely to want to dive into the pool or have a bath.

The simple answer is that cats are not water animals. They are predators whose main prey (rodents) occurs on land, so there is little need for them to become overly accustomed to being in water.

In addition, cats are quite vulnerable animals, and being in water could put them at risk. In general, most cats prefer being in positions where they can easily observe the environment and escape if necessary.

A further issue is that cats are often not introduced to water from an early age or encounter it in a horrible way, such as being forced into having a bath.

If your cat doesn’t like water, it’s absolutely normal. And if she does, it’s probably perfectly normal for that individual as well. Keep in mind though, that a cat should never be forced into water if she doesn’t enjoy it!

Katherine Brown, behaviourist

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