The Truth Behind Why Your Cat Hates Water

It’s no secret that cats dislike water, but what really makes them so upset by getting wet? There are some actual scientific and behavioral reasons that lead to why cats hate water, and as a cat owner, it’s important to understand these underlying causes.

Cat hates water

6 Reasons Why Your Cat Hates Water

Read through the article below to brush up on everything you need to know about the relationship between cats and water. With the help of this information, you’ll be more understanding of your feline friend moving forward.

Below are 6 reasons that explain why cats hate water:

Ancestry

Cats come from big cat ancestors who generally live in locations without much water. Because of this, there is some reason to believe that cats are genetically predisposed to dislike being around water, simply because they come from ancestors who did not know much about it.

Cats who come from a long lineage of felines who avoid water are likely to avoid water themselves. This is a somewhat more scientific explanation for the phenomenon than most, but it is also one of the most reasonable solutions as to the mystery behind cats and their hatred of water.

Sense of Smell

Because cats have such a strong sense of smell, they can likely smell substances in the water that humans cannot detect. This means that they can more easily smell the chemicals we use to treat our water, and this may make them feel an aversion to the water as a result.

Although we know that chemically treated water is actually safer for us to drink than other types, cats find it unnatural. These strong chemical odors may be so off-putting that a cat will do almost anything to avoid having to be around them—including panicking at the sight of water.

Water Weight

One of the most common schools of thought as to why cats hate water so much is because of the extra weight that comes from having a wet coat. Cats do not want to get wet because it will drag them down, make them slower, and make it more difficult for them to jump gracefully, too.

When a cat is too slow or too heavy to move properly, she may be at a greater risk from outside threats, whether those are real or just perceived. She may feel unsafe and uncertain, which can increase her anxiety when she is around water.

Loss of Balance

When you put a cat in a bathtub or sink full of water, even if your intentions are good and you just want to give her a bath, she will not have the same balance and control over her body that she has when she’s dry. The slippery feeling of trying to move in water can be scary to a cat, and this can make her more afraid of bath time, too.

Cats may also dislike the feeling of getting water in their eyes for the same reason. If a cat gets water in her eyes, she isn’t in control of her own body, and she may be afraid.

Bad Memories

There is a chance your cat could have some bad memories associated with water. If you adopted your cat later in life, or if she was a stray at some point, she may have had a negative experience that has impacted her relationship with water moving forward.

Even if you’ve had your cat since she was a kitten, if she has ever been accidentally sprayed by a garden hose or you’ve tried to give her a bath, these may be bad memories for her. She may be more afraid of water because of what has happened to her in her past.

Cleanliness

Finally, cats may hate water because of their penchant for cleanliness. Cats want to be clean and well-groomed at all times, and a cat who has wet fur is anything but well-groomed. They may not like the smell of water on their fur, and they may not like the sensation of a watery, dirty coat after being submerged, either.

Because cats enjoy staying clean so much, they may prefer to take baths by grooming themselves rather than with water and shampoo. You don’t have to bathe your cat, but if you do, you should expect her to be upset about it.

Do All Cats Hate Water?

While it is true that most cats hate water, there are some cat breeds that actually enjoy being around it. Maine Coon cats, which were originally bred to be rodent hunters on sailing ships, are actually very fond of water and may be drawn to any water source they can find. Abyssinians have a similar history and are also more interested in playing in the water than other breeds of cats.

If your cat likes the water, you may have a unique feline on your hands. Otherwise, if she prefers to stay dry, that is perfectly normal too!

What to Do if Your Cat Hates Water

If your cat hates water, you should never try and force her to like it. Depending on the reason, you could potentially cause her more trauma. It’s perfectly normal for cats to dislike water, so there’s no reason to be concerned if your cat is feeling or acting this way.

If you are concerned with the fact that your cat hates water, or if you have more questions about this, you should consult with a veterinarian. Our team at The Village Vets is here to offer support and insight into your pet’s health and behavior. Make an appointment at any of our locations for a wellness visit and to learn more about your pet in general!

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About The Village Vets

The Village Vets is a network of animal hospitals based in Atlanta, GA and the surrounding area. We offer honest, excellent service to our clients in a comfortable, friendly atmosphere. To learn more about our locations and how we can better serve you and your pet, click the button below.

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Recent Posts

A cute young female hound dog sits at her owners feet at the dinner table, giving a longing look while waiting for a scrap of food to drop. Horizontal with copy space.

Why is My Dog Staring at Me?

Close-up ginger cat with toothbrush in his mouth. Hand with a brush.

Cat Teeth Brushing: Is it Really Needed?

Aggressive dog shows dangerous teeth. German sheperd attack head detail.

Why is My Dog Growling?

About The Village Vets

The Village Vets is a network of animal hospitals based in Atlanta, GA and the surrounding area. We offer honest, excellent service to our clients in a comfortable, friendly atmosphere. To learn more about our locations and how we can better serve you and your pet, click the button below.