While cats are relentless self-groomers, many have an aversion to water. This is partially due to genetics. While interaction with humans have turned housecats into furry, lovable pets, that wasn’t always the case. In centuries past, wild cats that roamed dry habitats, such as savannas, learned to steer clear of open waters riddled with dangers, such as crocodiles.
There are also other reasons why most cats dislike water, including its smell. Cats have a keen sense of smell, and their sensitive noses often disdain the chemicals present in public water systems. Getting wet also messes up their fur – and as any cat owner knows, our feline friends love to be well groomed!
Of course, this doesn’t mean that all cats hate water. In fact, some cats actually like water, and may even enjoy swimming and other water-related activities. Here are a few breeds known to enjoy being in and around water.
1. Sphynx Cat
The Canadian Sphynx, or just Sphynx for short, is a breed of cat known for its lack of fur. The Sphynx was developed through selective breeding, and its hairlessness is a naturally occurring genetic mutation. Because they have no fur, Sphynx cats require regular baths to prevent their skin from becoming too sweaty and oily. As this breed of cat needs weekly baths, they often become accustomed to water and even enjoy it.
2. Turkish Van
Social and energetic, the Turkish Van is a semi-long-haired domestic cat that requires regular playtime and exercise to thrive. This unique breed is commonly referred to as the “Swimming Cat” due to its fondness for water. They have no undercoat and a single coat of water-resistant fur. They also have excellent swimming abilities and are known to get into mischief by jumping into bathtubs and even open toilets.
3. Maine Coon
The Maine Coon is a breed of large, domesticated cat and one of the oldest breeds in North America. These oversized, affectionate kitties have powerful muscular bodies, but despite their impressive size, can stay afloat quite well in water. Their dense, water-repellent coat comes in handy when they are swimming or simply playing in their water dish.
4. British Shorthair
The British Shorthair is a medium-to-large-sized cat with a powerful body and a distinctive round head. This breed is known for its thick coat, broad face, and stocky body. Most British Shorthair cats can swim and can often be found splashing in water dishes, playing with floating toys - and may even hop in the shower while you’re in it! However, every cat is unique, and some British shorthairs do not like water.
5. Norwegian Forest Cat
Originating in Northern Europe, the Norwegian Forest Cat is adapted to very cold climates and has a wooly undercoat and long, glossy top coat. This large breed has a strong, athletic body, similar to the Maine Coon, and can easily weigh between 12 and 16 pounds. The Norwegian Forest Cat has been nicknamed the Wegie and is a master fisher, known to snag fish from streams, lakes, and the occasional fish tank.
6. Turkish Angora
The Turkish Angora is an ancient breed of cat that has been documented as far back as the early 17th century. They are most commonly seen with solid white coats and striking blue or green eyes. Many tend to have heterochromia or different-colored eyes. The Turkish Angora loves to play and will run after toys and can even be trained to walk on a leash. You may also find them plunging into swimming pools or even the bathtub.
The Abyssinian is described as a fine-boned, slender domestic cat with a wedge-shaped head and a slight beak at the muzzle. This ancient feline dates back to ancient Egypt more than 4,000 years ago. In addition to being natural mousers, their slender body makes them excellent swimmers. In decades past, they were kept on Japanese ships for good luck.
This social, affectionate cat breed is playful and highly intelligent. The Manx enjoys hunting insects and rodents, as well as cuddling up to its humans on the sofa. However, it’s not unusual to find the Manx engaging in other activities, such as dabbing their paws into their water dish or joining their humans in the shower. Their geographic origins on the Isle of Man have resulted in an affinity towards swimming and water in general.
Bengal cats have sleek, muscular bodies enhanced by bold spotting or marbling on their luxurious coats. These exotic-looking felines have green eyes, large ears, and look similar to a miniature Bengal tiger. While today’s Bengal cats share few characteristics with their wild ancestors, they do share their love of water. If given the chance, a Bengal may jump into the bath or shower.
Many cat owners are surprised to discover that their cat loves water. While there is a common belief that cats and water do not mix, this is not always the case. Every cat is unique and while some cats may detest anything wet, others are happy to splash around or even swim in tubs, pools, or other bodies of water. If you have your heart set on a cat that loves water, consider some of these beautiful and fascinating breeds.
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