Do You Know Why Cats Are Afraid Of Water?

why cats are afraid of water

Cats are capricious, independent and mysterious creatures. One of their interesting features is chronic intolerance to bathing. Why are cats afraid of water? You will be surprised, but most cats are skilled swimmers from birth. And he who is afraid of water, as you know, will not swim.

Why don’t cats like to swim?

Zoologists, seriously interested in this question, have come to the conclusion that mustaches are not at all afraid of water. They avoid bathing for other absolutely justified reasons:

  • Forced procedure. The cat sincerely does not understand why the owner forcibly puts it in the bath and washes it with synthetic shampoo with unpleasant fragrance additives. Flavors found in pet shampoos smell disgusting from the pet’s perspective. Why endure a bath when a cat can clean itself?
  • Risk of hypothermia/overheating. Why are cats afraid of water? They don’t want to freeze. Between the skin and the coat in cats there is a layer of air which plays an important role in the thermoregulation of the body. Damp fur ceases to protect the cat from frost, and a mustachioed friend cannot quickly dry out. The same air cushion protects the animal from overheating, preventing the scorching rays of the sun from heating the skin.
  • Reinforced smell. By their nature, felines hunt from ambush. Wet wool smells much stronger, frightening the victim. At the same time, the potent smells make the cat easy prey for a larger predator.
  • Dirt/bacteria. Wet wool is an invitation to dust, dirt and all kinds of bacteria, which then enter the animal’s digestive tract.
  • Grease washing. The fur of cats is covered with a special lubricant that protects the hair from brittleness, makes the hair luxurious and shiny. Water degreases the coat, worsening its condition.

Other reasons

Let’s say the cat still survived the bath. He needs 2-3 hours to lick himself diligently in order to put his coat in order. Pets don’t like the smell of chlorinated tap water, and if liquid gets into their ears, they may burst into flames. Cats are distinguished by their natural fear, and an animal that has not seen water will be wary of bathing.

The last reason is different body temperature in pets. It is much weaker than in humans. Hot water, according to the owner, is like an icy shower for the animal.

Why are cats afraid of water, but not dogs?

why cats are afraid of water

The answer lies in nature. Dogs are social animals accustomed to hunting in packs. Cats are solitary hunters. They do not lead the victim, but track him, waiting for a long time for the moment of a brutal attack.

When wet, the dog quickly shakes off the water. Droplets of moisture instantly glide over the coat, coated in sebum. The dog can snuggle up to loved ones and keep warm, sticking out their tongue to regulate temperature and prevent overheating. The tribesmen will warn him of the danger and secure himself during the hunt.

Cats are individualists. They don’t like hugs, they don’t stalk victims, so they dry out on their own. They dry up and freeze. The dog dries much faster. He shakes off the water, runs, jumps.

The homeland of domestic dogs is considered Central Asia, where animals had to swim across rivers and live in conditions of low temperatures. The ancestors of cats lived on the African continent, far from rivers and lakes. On a genetic level, cats understand that water will do them no good.

Help the cat not be afraid of water

Owners teach their pets to swim from an early age. Some breeds initially love water (Turkish Van, Bengal, Maine Coon, Siamese cats …). There are several ways to instill a love of water in your pet. All are based on play and affection; the whipping method cannot be used.

1.     The bath is not the enemy

It is necessary to go to the bathroom with the cat, gently lift it up and put it in an empty bath. The animal must understand that the bath is not a threat. At the same time, praise and stroke the fluffy. If the cat behaves calmly, turn on the shower and slowly (and most importantly, quietly) begin to fill the tub. If the cat seems to be very nervous, let the poor boy go. Do the manipulation until the cat begins to feel more or less comfortable in the bath.

When the water level rises to 5 cm from the bottom, slide your pet from one end of the tub to the other. Have him come to you with a treat. Soon the animal will understand that walking on water is not scary. Do the procedure for several months, increasing the water level.

why cats are afraid of water

2.     Progressive addiction

Works on kittens. Periodically put the pet’s bowl in the bathroom and feed it there, turning on the water along the way (first set the pressure to low, then stronger). The kitten needs to get used to the sound of water. Next time, put a basin of water in the bathroom so the kitten can wet its paws. A new object will interest him.

You can throw a wind-up toy or a paper boat in there, and your pet will most likely climb inside. Repeat the manipulation, increasing the water level (maximum – when the water reaches the belly).

3.     Safety position

When you already know why cats are afraid of water, swimming videos of animals on the internet shouldn’t be a curiosity for you. Pour 3-5 cm of water into the bath, run the toys and put a special board (wooden or plastic) across it. Have the cat watch the water from a safe distance. Curiosity will win, and sooner or later the cat will jump, wanting to join in the game.

The first time he will instantly slip out of the water, but gradually he will realize that it is not a threat to him. Later, you can gently wet the wool with water. It is better to do this with a ladle or a glass (the sound of the soul will scare the animal).

General recommendations

  • The water temperature should be 38 to 40 degrees;
  • The cat will feel more confident if the paws do not slip on the surface of the bath – place a towel, rubber mat or cloth on the bottom;
  • The animal must always feel the bottom under its feet.


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