Why are cats afraid of water

Why are cats afraid of water?

Almost 90% of domestic cats are conflicted about getting water touches, baths or dips in the water. It is a common behavior of cats (except for some breeds). So, the cat owners are a wonder and curious to know why cats are afraid of water? How do I get my cat not to be afraid of water?

Odor sensitivity, a Cold environment, and feeling uncomfortable and unfamiliar with water are some potential reasons for cats getting afraid. 

In This guide, we will talk about the most potential reasons cats are afraid of water. Also, you will know the ways of a cat and not to be afraid of water. Besides, we include some cat breeds that are not afraid of water. So, let’s dive a deep to know the cat’s aversion to water. 

Are all cats afraid of water?

No, not at all cats are afraid of water. Many prefer to swim in the water or take a bath. Rather, some species of cats prefer water splashes. Maine Coon, Bengal, and Turkish Van are some cat breeds those loves water. 

The potential reasons for a cat getting afraid of water

Species evolved in dry climates:

Why do cats hate water? Cats don’t like water naturally because of their evolving environment. It is being said that cats evolved in dry environments. There were some rivers and canals in their evolutionary environment. But the number of rivers and lakes is very few. According to the opinion of Celia Haddon, domestic cats come from a small desert cat named Felis silvestris Lybica. Lybica doesn’t like water because it is not familiar with water. In that sense, cats don’t like water nowadays.

Feels extremely uncomfortable and insecure:

Once a cat’s coat is wet, it does not dry out easily. And cats feel uncomfortable staying wet. Wet bodies are very uncomfortable, especially for cats with long hair. Besides, double-coated cats also feel uncomfortable with wet bodies and fur. So, all cats lick their body fur if they get soaked with water. Also, note that cats feel insecure when they stay in wet conditions. Predators can easily catch a cat in wet conditions. Because of these life risks, cats don’t like water. 

Because of the deep ear canal:

Animal behavior expert “Craig Weiler” said that cat doesn’t want to get soaked because it has a deeper ear canal. Here is a comparison between a cat and a human ear. Although the cat’s ear looks larger, it is smaller inside. Cat’s ear canal consists in such a way that water can’t easily get out of the canal. Even sometimes cat’s ear can get infected by water. Because of their narrow and small ear, canal cats like to avoid water.

Cat's Ear
Cats ear

Because of having an undercoat:

Undercoat can’t protect the cat’s skin from water. Even it doesn’t dry easily. So, when a cat gets wet, it can’t dry its undercoat by licking. Rather undercoat soaked the water to the skin like clothes. Especially in cold weather, cats can get hypothermia from remaining wet longer. In some cases, it can cause death. 

For territorial behavior:

One of the common characteristics of cats is their territorial behavior. Cats usually love to mark their area in several ways. Licking to its sown body is also a sign of marking territory. So, they don’t like to bathe because of removing the territorial scent from their body.  

How do I get my cat not to be afraid of water?

We know that the largest number of cat breeds are scared of water. But some breeds are fond of water. Cats that like water also like to swim. Even this water-loving cat doesn’t get angry while bathing or grooming. Here is a list of some breeds that loves water. 

  • Turkish Van
  • Maine Coon
  • Bengal 

Turkish Van:

Turkish Van is also known as a “swimming cat”. It loves to swim and play with water. It is being said that the Turkish Van has a special body structure with rounded paws and long frames. The rounded paws and long frame help this cat swim in the water. 

Maine coon:

It is wondering that Maine coon are fond of swimming. Maine coon has a robust body and convenient paws to scoop on the water. But Maine coon is a dedicated swim-loving cat despite being the largest domestic cat. You can get more ideas about Maine coon from biography of a Maine coon


Bengals naturally love to swim and play with water splashes. Bengal is known as a hypoallergic breed. At the same time, Bengal is well-known as a great swimmer since this breed comes from the Asian leopard, so it naturally tends to get a touch to water. 

Why does my cat like water?

A very few cats breeds like to drink water and swim in the water. However, those specific breeds don’t like water in all conditions. Statistics have shown that cats like moving or running water. Especially, cats like to drink water from shiny faucets and water fountains. Faucets have moving water, and fountains have running water. 

Cats hate bathing in water, true or false.

It is true for almost 90% of cats that they hate bathing in water. Domestic cats evolved in the desert area. So, they are naturally unfamiliar with water by born. Besides, cats love to bath in sun heat. Most importantly, they don’t need to bathe like humans because a cat can clean themselves. 

On the contrary, cats hate bathing in water facts are false for Turkish Van, Bengal, Maine coon and some specific breeds. Because they are fond of water. 

How do I get my cat not to be afraid of water?

It is tricky to train a cat not to be afraid of water. Yet you can follow the steps below to train your cat so that it isn’t afraid of water. 

Start to train at an early age:

Start to meet your cat with water from an early age. Statistics have shown that kittens can easily adapt to water. You can bathe them with water and give them toys or fish in a water pot. 

Make a funny bathtub:

Cats like to play with toys. As a result, they would like water gradually. Decorating a bathtub for your cat with several toys and herbs is good. 

Don’t pour on your cat suddenly:

Start to meet your cat with water gradually. They will be scared if you suddenly pour water on their body during bathing. So first you can give water to their hands, feet and tail. As a result, they will clam and won’t be aggressive. 

Always use warm water:

Studies have shown that cats do not like cold water at all. If you want get used your cat with water then use warm water. It really works. 


  1. Why are cats afraid of everything?

If your cats have an anxiety disorder, then they can be afraid of everything. It would be better to figure out the possible reasons why the cat gets afraid. And then try to solve that one by one to prevent your cat’s fear of everything. Otherwise, your cat may be sick from chronic diseases.

  1. Why are cats afraid of dogs?

Dogs often get aggressive toward the cat. But how to tell if a dog is aggressive towards a cat? Well, let’s know. Rigid stillness, Starring, visual tracking, tail up are some common symptoms of a dog aggressive towards to cat. 

  1. Is water bad for cats’ skin?

Generally, water is not bad for a cat’s skin. But frequent bathing with water can reduce some essential oils from cat skin. In the meantime, cats can get sick from cold, fever or serious respiratory breathing problems for often bathing with water.

  1. Why do cats hate baths?

Cats don’t like to get wet. That is why they hate baths. However, cats like to bath in sun heat. Remember that cat doesn’t need often bathing because they can clean themselves by licking.

  1. Are cats really scared of water?

It can’t be said that cats are scared of water. Cats are mainly prone to avoid water. That is why they act negatively when you try to bathe them or splash them with water. This negative behavior seems like being afraid of water.

Closing notes:

So, the question, “Why are cats afraid of water? It is a misconception because cats avoid water. Cats are born with hatred toward the water. But some breeds like Bengal, Maine coon and Turkish Van like water. If you want to let your cat, be fond of water, arrange a fountain or faucets. If there is more information about this guide, let us know.

About the author

Megan D

This is Megan D, the loving mom of all cats. She has been working with cat well fair organization as a cat lover since last few years. Personally, she has ownership of a cat shelter for helpless stray cats. Megan loves to research on all breeds of cat and fond of sharing all experience with the worldwide cat-loving human.

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