Cats aren’t exactly known for their love of water. Not only are many cats notoriously picky about the water they drink and chronically dehydrated, but they also tend to hate getting their fur wet and avoid it at all costs.
So what’s the deal with cats and water? Why are felines so finicky about their drinking water? Why are they so fascinated by water running from a drinking fountain or faucet, but go to such great lengths to avoid getting wet? Read on to learn more!
Common Reasons Why Cats Hate Getting Wet
Have you ever tried to give your cat a bath, or witnessed your kitty accidentally falling into a pool or pond? You don’t have to be an animal expert to pick up on the fact being in water can be a pretty stressful experience for most cats.
Of course, our kitties can’t use anything other than their body language and meows to let us know exactly what they’re thinking and feeling. That said, there are a few theories as to why cats prefer to stay dry.
Some of the most common explanations:
How it feels. Water weighs down the fur, making your cat less agile and easier for predators to catch. Plus, getting soaked is bound to ruin all of that careful grooming! We know how much cats love to soak up the warmth in their favorite sunny spots around the house, so it’s understandable that they’re not fans of having cold, wet fur that takes a long time to dry.
Evolution. Most cats evolved in dry climates, and their ancestors didn’t have to worry too much about navigating and interacting with bodies of water.
- Negative experience. If your cat had a stressful bath experience as a kitten or has fallen into a tub or other body of water, she likely remembers the shock and fear associated with the experience—often resulting in a lifelong aversion.
Basically, it’s possible that your cat dislikes water because she had a previous negative experience with it… or maybe she hates it because she hasn’t been exposed to it enough! Whether it’s instinct or upbringing, cats typically don’t need to go swimming or take baths, so you can rest easy knowing your kitty can be perfectly healthy even if she goes her entire life without being immersed in water.
Can Cats Swim?
Most cats have the instinctive ability to swim when necessary. In fact, big cats like tigers and jaguars can be incredibly strong, graceful swimmers!
Even if your cat can swim, though, it doesn’t mean she wants to swim. Unless absolutely necessary for survival, it’s probably best to keep your cat away from bodies of water for her comfort and your peace of mind.
That said, there are some domesticated cat breeds that do enjoy the water more than others—Maine Coon, Bengal, and Turkish Van, for example. Not only are they less afraid of getting wet, but they may even enjoy swimming or splashing around! This is likely due to their difference in fur, which is more water-resistant than other cat coats.
How to Help Your Cat Drink More Water
Okay, so we’ve discussed the possible reasons behind your cat’s aversion to getting her fur wet. But what about cats who aren’t drinking enough water? After all, hydration is crucial to your kitty’s skin and coat, organs, digestion, and more.
Typically, cats should be consuming about one ounce of water for every pound of body weight or half-ounce of dry food. Some cats get sufficient water and moisture through canned wet food, while others who mainly eat dry food should be seen sipping more water throughout the day.
If your cat isn’t drinking enough water, try some of these tips (keeping in mind that every cat is different, and it may take some trial and error):
Test out different water bowl materials and locations—maybe she doesn’t like the taste of water from the metal bowl, and would do better with a ceramic bowl. Maybe her bowl is too close to her litter box and needs to be moved.
Keep your cat’s water clean and fresh, potentially cleaning and refilling the bowl multiple times each day. After all, you wouldn’t want to drink from a dirty, dusty cup, would you?
Cater to curiosity. If your cat loves the look of flowing water, try switching out her bowl of still water for a cat fountain; some cats are also intrigued by the look and feel of ice cubes bobbing up and down in their bowl.
Change the flavor. Some cats prefer cold water to lukewarm water, and vice versa; some cats need some extra flavor to entice them to drink their water. Adding small amounts of low-fat and low-sodium broths (or freezing diluted broth into ice cubes) can make water more appealing to your furry friend.
- If your cat simply isn't interested in drinking water, you can always try giving her more wet food for added moisture and hydration.
Pet Honesty’s Digestive Probiotics+ Powder for cats is an easy, vet-recommended way to promote healthy digestion and immune response. Just sprinkle it onto your cat’s food for tasty, health-boosting properties!