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Does Your Cat Actually Like Swimming?

Some cats I know love the water, swimming, and hanging at the beach. What about your cats?

 |  Jul 8th 2013  |   6 Contributions


It’s been said many times that cats hate to get wet. Common behavior is avoiding putting their paws in water when drinking from a bowl, pond, or even a puddle. Seldom do most of us take our cats in to be bathed and groomed. When this happens, it’s usually a traumatic experience for all involved. I previously wrote about this when I had to take my feral cat, Momma Kitty, in to be groomed after her fur became severely matted on her back and was causing her physical discomfort. However, some of the readers joined the discussion to inform me that their cats like to be bathed. Some of the cats like to get in the bathtub water or go for a dip in the pool. It made me wonder, do cats really like to swim?

Sassy and her Momma Chali at the beach.

For my cats, the mere presence of water will often make them run for the hills. When the raindrops start to fall they will run inside the garage, under a deck, or under the nearest bush or tree. Even when I’m cleaning and pouring water in their bowl, I need to do it outside and away from their sight. You can forget about turning the sprinkler system on or garden hose. They immediately run from the area, even though the water may not be anywhere close to them.

I have friends and family that will take their cats with them on trips and vacations. They like to visit the beach and allow their cats to lounge and walk on the beach while they have a leash attached to a harness. They will take their cats camping with them near the lake shore. Some of them like to lounge by the pool with their kitty friends. However, none of their cats will go anywhere near the water and will look at their humans strangely when their humans decide to go in for a dip to cool down.

Touzhe hanging at the beach.

We have all seen large, non-domesticated cats who love the water. It’s always entertaining to see a Bengal tiger jump into a pool of water to play or wrestle with each other. Lions have also been known to bathe and hunt in the rivers, lakes, and ponds. These big cats seem to cherish the opportunity to get wet, hunt, swim, and bathe in the water.

In researching the topic further, I found all types of examples of domestic cats who like to go for a swim and to spend time in the water. There’s the story I found about a cat who goes swimming, wearing a lifevest, at a day spa in order to lose weight. Apparently, this cat likes the water sessions and doesn’t like any other method of losing weight. At first glance, this may sound a little extreme. But, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 22 percent of all cats in the U.S. are obese. That equates to approximately 20 million cats.

"I'm not too sure about this whole beach scene!"

Another story I found was about a calico cat who loves to scuba dive with her owner. In fact, the cat can stay under water for around an hour during each dive.

I also found out about a cat who liked to surf. The cat even has her own surfing instructor. She started surfing voluntarily, and she prefers to ride on the front of the surfboard, while a human navigator takes care of the boring details like paddling out and catching waves.

There's a breed of cat called the Turkish Van who is known for enjoying being in the water and swimming. The Turkish Van doesn't have the same undercoat as other cat breeds, and has more water-resistant fur.

"Now this is how you watch a sunset!"

Though it seems rare that you can find cats who like to swim, it’s nice to know they are out there. Perhaps we would have better luck getting our kitties to accept the water if we spent more time with them as kittens getting them used to it. It also helps if we love the water. They always like to spend fun times with us and want to please. Unfortunately, I think that ship has sailed for my cats.

Do your cats like to swim? How do the feel about water in general? Tell us your stories in the comments.

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