Skip to Content

Can Cats Swim Or Is The Myth About Cats And Water True?

Can Cats Swim Or Is The Myth About Cats And Water True?

Sharing is caring!

You have probably heard many times that cats are afraid of water, and very rarely do you see a cat enjoying bath time or rainy weather, and especially not swimming! Does that mean cats hate water and don’t know how to swim?

Well, it’s partially a myth! So, can cats swim? Cats do know how to swim, but if you wonder whether they like water – not so much!

It all depends on an individual cat, but cats know how to swim, that’s for sure. It’s just that they don’t practice it very often, for several reasons.

So, if you want to know more about cats and water and why many people think cats hate water, then I suggest you keep reading! I genuinely hope you’ll like the charming images I’ve prepared for you!

Can Cats Swim Or Do They Hate Water?

can a cat swim with a slauf

Cats usually avoid water and swimming, and that has somehow led people to think that cats hate water. However, this doesn’t mean that they can’t swim. So, if you have wondered can cats swim – the answer is definitely yes!

So, what’s the problem, do cats swim? Just as big wildcats such as tigers and jaguars are able to swim, our small feline friends are too. However, they usually avoid water as they’re not used to swimming and being around water.

Some cats that have been raised beside water may be excellent swimmers, whereas cats that weren’t may be poor swimmers, requiring your special help if they accidentally fall in the water.

Besides this, there are several potential reasons why cats avoid water and swimming. If you keep reading, you’ll find out why.

SEE ALSO: Do Cats Forget Their Owners? Here’s The Answer!

Why Do Cats Avoid Water?

the cat is standing on the beach

Although cats are energetic, and have a muscular and athletic body structure, according to popular belief, swimming is not on their superpower list. Certain things may make swimming hard for them, including their tiny paws and coats that absorb the water.

Most people link cats’ water aversion to their origins. So, as most cat breeds originate from Egypt, it’s not strange that they don’t like water very much as that area, and similar areas, are largely dry lands.

Still, our cats are full of surprises. So, just when you thought that cats don’t like water, the next minute, you may see a cat swimming, and that’s not a surprise as many cats adore water and swimming. 

As previously mentioned, whether your kitty likes water and swimming or not may depend on how you raise it, just like with regular baths. If you take a stray cat and try to bathe it for the first time in its life, it probably won’t end well.

However, if you get a kitten and teach it from a young age that regular baths are normal and okay, then your kitty may learn to enjoy it.

That being said, there are six possible reasons why cats avoid water and swimming, so check them out!

6 Most Likely Reasons For Cats Avoiding Water

Reason No. 1 – Cats Like To Be Clean

the cat is sunbathing in the water

Every cat owner will probably have seen their furry friends spending hours and hours grooming themselves. 

Cats like to be clean, and they manage to keep their fur clean and in good condition without a drop of water. Being clean is their primary goal, which may be one of the reasons why cats avoid water.

Most outdoor areas around water sources are sandy or muddy and dirty. That means that if a cat gets out of the water and sits or lies down somewhere, its coat will get dirty and it’ll have a hard time cleaning itself. 

So, if they avoid such places and activities, they won’t have to deal with grooming issues.

Reason No. 2 – They Don’t Feel Safe In Water

The main reason cats avoid water is that they don’t feel safe there as it’s not their usual territory. Cats, especially outdoor ones, usually feel the most confident in the field. However, in water? Not so much! 

Even though cats know how to swim, they avoid swimming in the water as they don’t feel safe there. Plus, a wet coat makes it harder for them to swim. In some cases, a cat that doesn’t feel safe in water may start panicking and may even drown. 

So, if you have a kitty who doesn’t like water, don’t push it, or if they do swim, make sure you keep an eye on them.

Reason No. 3 – Cats Don’t Like To Be Cold

cat in the water

Cats are known best for cuddles and snuggling in warm spots, even your lap. So, when you see a cat enjoying its warm spot, can you imagine that same cat swimming in cold water? I bet you can’t. 

Cats cannot tolerate cold temperatures, and when swimming, their coat gets soaked with water which eventually gets to their skin. 

Soon after they get wet, cats may start feeling cold, and they don’t feel comfortable like that at all as they’ll have a hard time maintaining their body temperature.

Reason No. 4 – They Had a Traumatic Experience With Water

Cats are incredibly cautious animals that learn from their own past mistakes. So, when a cat experiences a traumatic event, in the future, it will be extremely careful, avoiding anything that may lead to experiencing the traumatic event all over again.

If your kitty had a traumatic experience with water or swimming in the past, the cat will do anything to avoid experiencing the trauma again. 

To clarify this – for example, if a cat had a traumatic bathing event, later in life, the cat may continue refusing baths due to fear and may even show certain signs of trauma.

If you want to show your kitty that it’s safe with you and that you won’t harm it, then you need to go slowly, step by step, get rid of all the possible triggers, and provide the kitty with rewards to let it know that everything’s alright and that nothing bad will happen.

Reason No. 5 – Cats Don’t Like To Be Wet

Cats are natural predators, and their muscular and agile bodies enable them to move carefully and quickly.

However, when cats get wet, their coats absorb the water, making them feel heavier and making it harder for them to move. So, that’s probably the main reason why cats don’t like to be wet.

Also, just as they cannot move normally due to heavy coats, it’s also hard for them to swim with heavy coats, which is why they may start panicking.

Reason No. 6 – They Hate The Smell Of Water

Different smells are very important for our feline friend. By using their scent glands, they collect information from their environment and can detect whether something is good for them or not.

Cats have a very sensitive sense of scent and are able to smell things we cannot, such as chlorine in a pool. That’s a chemical that cats don’t like; therefore, sometimes, they may not like the smell of water.

Their sensitive smell may actually save their lives multiple times. Every cat owner knows that cats require fresh water to be available all the time. 

I know my cat doesn’t want to drink water unless it’s new and fresh. She comes to the water bowl, sniffs it, and then decides whether she’ll take a sip of it.

So, it’s the same with water everywhere around; if the cats don’t like the smell, they’ll go away.

READ ALSO: Do Cats Like Music? Truth Or Myth?

Is Swimming An Activity That Cats Like?

gray cat in the water

Whether a cat likes water and swimming usually depends on the individual cat. For example, some cat breeds love water and are great swimmers, and some cats hate water.

It is generally believed that cats hate water; however, that’s only a myth. The truth is that most cats like water and they do know how to swim. 

However, many cats avoid water because they have a fear of water due to traumatic experiences, or not being used to swimming and similar activities that involve water.

If you have a little kitten friend, try teaching it from a young age that water is okay, and in the future, the kitten will have its favorite activity.

Suggested: 7 Life Jackets That Will Suit Your Feline Perfectly

Can Cats Swim For A Long Time?

cat in water with fishes

Big wild cats such as jaguars may swim as far as several miles; however, it’s not the same when it comes to our domestic cats.

Most domestic cats don’t swim often as they try to avoid it for several different reasons mentioned earlier in this article.

How long cat breeds that like swimming and water will swim, actually depends on the specific breed of cat and their experience.

So, if you start training your kitty from a young age and get it used to water and swimming, one day, your cat may be able to swim great distances without any problems.

ALSO, CHECK OUT: Cats With Undercoats – Grooming And Care Tips

Cat Breeds That Turned Out To Be Great Swimmers

can cats swim

While most cats avoid water and swimming activities, some cat breeds simply adore water and will take every opportunity to have fun with it.

However, if you own one of these cat breeds that adore water, you also need to be extra careful.

Turkish Angora

The Turkish Angora is a beautiful cat breed characterized by a waterproof coat, making it easier for them to enjoy one of their favorite activities – swimming.

Turkish Angora cats are very intelligent, energetic, and playful. When being around water, they just can’t resist jumping in and having fun.

Indoor Turkish Angora cats are very popular for trying to join your own bath time. However, that’s actually a good thing as regular baths won’t be a problem for these adorable kitties.

Maine Coon

Who would have thought that the Maine Coons adore water? You may think that they hate water as they have long coats that may soak up the water. 

However, the trick is that Maine Coon cats have a water-resistant coat, which enables them to swim easier than most other cat breeds.

Besides swimming, these cats enjoy the water in every shape and place. Bath times are not a big problem for these big cats, but rather a source of wellness for them.

As these kitties are also highly intelligent, they adore tap water and will provide themselves with fresh water all the time, whenever they want.

As these cats adore water so much, a great present for a Maine Coon would be a water fountain. Not only would it provide them with a fresh water source all the time, but it would also keep them busy and entertained for hours.


These magnificent animals are very stunning, resembling miniature cougars in appearance.

Though DNA reveals they originated on the Indian Ocean coast, they are believed to be descended from the sacred cats of Ancient Egypt. 

However, the graceful Abyssinians are known to love the water. They adore it so much that they may dip in as soon as they see a body of water.

Your Abyssinian will be eager to learn about anything relating to water due to their fun and inquisitive temperament.

Bengal Cat

The Bengal cat is a unique and exotic breed of cat that was created by crossbreeding a domestic cat with an Asian Leopard cat.

It’s probably due to their wild genes that this cat enjoys water so much. If you have a Bengal kitty, then you probably don’t have to worry about regular baths or activities around the water as they simply love it.

Turkish Van

Another name for a Turkish Van cat is actually the swimming cat. This beautiful and rare cat breed is famous for its love for water. 

They love water so much because they have a water-resistant coat that doesn’t hold the water. So, it’s much easier for them to swim than for some other cat breeds that don’t have a waterproof coat.

There’s also a legend connected to these cats that says how Turkish Van cats have amazing swimming abilities, which they developed around the Lake Can in Turkey, where they used to swim to fishing boats hoping they would get a meal.

Whether this is true or not, the good thing is that these cats are excellent swimmers and they adore this type of activity. The bad part is that you may have your hands full with grooming them!

If you have a Turkish Van who adores water and swimming, it would be best to provide it with a small cat pool where you can fulfill its wishes and keep the feline safe.

Besides these beautiful felines that adore water and swimming, other breeds have also turned out to be good swimmers. These breeds include the Savannah cat, Japanese Bobtail, Manx, Norwegian Forest Cat, and similar breeds. 

However, only some cat breeds are born with an extraordinary swimming talent. In some cases, it may depend on the individual cat and its past experiences with water.

Cats That Gained Popularity For Their Swimming

a cat on a board in the water

A lot of cats have gained popularity on the internet for different things. So, when it comes to cats and water, here are some cats that showed us how they enjoy the water and water-related activities!

Backpacking kitty – if you check out this cool kitty, you’ll realize how adventurous it is. However, what fascinates the fans is how this cat enjoys swimming and other water-related activities, and it basically breaks all the myths about cats and water.

Fisher the Maine Coon – this Maine Coon cat travels with its human parent around the USA, and enjoys a lot of different activities. Once you see how this kitty enjoys water, you’ll realize why it’s called Fisher.

Nathan – the beach cat – this cat turned out to be a real sensation on Instagram. Along with Winnie, the other cat, and their pawrents, these cats show us how they enjoy swimming and other beach activities.

Safety Tips For Cat Parents

Can a cat dive in water

If your kitty adores water and swimming, then you should prioritize water safety. Here are some safety tips that every cat parent should pay attention to if they want their cat to safely enjoy water activities and prevent accidents.

• Provide your kitty with a small swimming pool.

• Invest in a pool cover to protect the cat from falling into the pool accidentally.

• Don’t let your pet cat swim without your supervision.

• Provide the kitty with several exit points from the pool.

• Cats shouldn’t drink water from the pool as it may be toxic for them due to chlorine and other chemicals.

• Get your kitty used to water from a young age, as it may be easier for you in the future.

• Provide your kitty with a bath after swimming to rinse possible bacteria from its skin and coat.

• After swimming or bathing, ensure you dry your cat completely, especially their ears, to prevent ear infections from developing.

• Invest in pet insurance that can be helpful in case of any injury or accident.

The End

This article provides you with information about cats and water. So, can cats swim? Just like most mammals, cats, too, know how to swim. 

However, they’re not fond of water very much. Still, that doesn’t mean that all cats hate water, as many people believe.

Most cats avoid water as they don’t like to be wet, or dirty, or because they don’t feel safe there as it’s not their territory, or because they had a traumatic experience in the past.

On the other hand, there are cats who enjoy swimming and other activities, and that usually happens with cats that are raised near water from a young age.

Moreover, several cat breeds are believed to be excellent swimmers and water lovers. Such breeds include the Maine Coon, Bengal, Manx, Turkish Van, Turkish Angora, Savannah, Japanese Bobtail, and Norwegian Forest cat.

If you want your kitten to like water, then pay attention to that while raising it, and don’t forget about safety measures to keep your furbaby safe.

Like this post? Share or pin it for later!

Can Cats Swim Or Is The Myth About Cats And Water True Pinterest