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“Cats hate water!”
That’s a statement you’ve likely heard a thousand time and you probably even believe. So, do cats really hate water? Well, the answer to that isn’t a straightforward yes or no. In fact, there are breeds that simply a love water. The Turkish Van cat, for instance, enjoys getting soaked. The breed’s earliest ancestors would jump into lakes to cope with the blistering heat of the Lake Van region in Turkey.
The Experts Speak
Like we said, the answer is much more complicated. According to Dr. Carlo Siracus, a clinical assistant professor of behavioral medicine at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine, cats have a love-hate relationship with water.
Most of them do enjoy their fair share of water. However, individual cats that have never been exposed to the elements will likely have a not so pleasant reaction to it.
Also, according to Dr. Katy Nelson, a veterinarian at the Belle Haven Animal Medical Centre in Washington, D.C., cats are great at self-grooming and don’t require their human owners to supplement that for them. They prefer to be in control of their selves and make their own choices. So, if you forced your cat into a bath, he/she may not take it well.
Unless they choose to do so on their own, they are likely to keep away from water, which is probably how the misconception of cats hating water came about
It’s common for domesticated cats to have not been exposed to water (except for drinking), which feeds their anti-water stance. Even if they have, it was probably not in a positive setting. For instance, using water as a disciplinary measure can cause cats to develop an aversion.
Then, there’s genetics. Most cats borrow their genes from larger cats in China, Africa, and Europe. Cas in these regions did not have much exposure to water due to their habitats and evolved to survive without much of it. Again, exceptions do exist, cats that exist in hot and humid areas tend to regularly go for a swim. For instance, tigers are found mostly in rainforests and have no problems jumping into water.
The Fascination with Water
One thing that’s common to most domesticated cats is the curiosity for water. Even if they don’t like being immersed in it, cats will explore by dipping their paws into a bowl or playing around with water from the faucet.
So, to conclude, it would be safe to say that cats are okay with water. The key is to get them used to it from a very young age. This will make things easier for them and you.