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10 Cat Breeds That Like Water (Vet-Reviewed Guide With Pictures)

Written by: Misty Layne

Last Updated on May 27, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

domestic cat swimming

10 Cat Breeds That Like Water (Vet-Reviewed Guide With Pictures)

VET APPROVED

Dr. Luqman Javed Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Luqman Javed

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Felines are notorious for disliking water. But do all cats hate being around water? Believe it or not, there are kitties that absolutely love water! Admittedly, this typically comes down to an individual cat’s personality and past experiences, but the ones that do often enjoy playing in water and drinking straight from the faucet while you try to brush your teeth, for example.

If you’re in the market for a water-loving feline, we got you covered! We pulled together a list of the top 10 cat breeds that have an anecdotal fondness for water, so hopefully, you can find a kitty that’s just right for you. Keep reading to learn more about these fabulous breeds!

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Why Do Felines Dislike Water So Much?

So, just why do most of our four-legged friends hate being around water so much? There are a few theories, and while they’re all plausible, it’s important to keep in mind that they are just that: theories.

The Smell Theory

One possible reason that felines may dislike water is their sense of smell. Cats have an exceptional sense of smell, much better than ours, so they can pick up scents and odors that we can’t. Think about how our drinking water is chemically treated to keep it clean, and then imagine how many of those chemical smells your kitty is picking up. 

The theory states that due to the way that water smells, felines want to avoid it. However, this doesn’t always work out in practice. After all, cats that dislike baths usually have no problem drinking water. If it smelled repulsive, they’d avoid drinking it too, which a healthy cat never does.


The Wet Weight Theory

Perhaps the most plausible and sensible explanation is that when a cat is wet, the water weighs them down. It’s bad enough for us when we get caught in the rain, get soaked, and have our clothes weighing us down; imagine how much worse it would be with fur! However, many cats with double or even triple coats sometimes don’t mind swimming. Although their fur is somewhat water repellent, it will eventually weigh them down. Therefore, this theory also tends to fall short.


The History Theory

A third theory postulates that the lack of a fondness for water comes down to feline history and instinct. The ancestor of the domestic cats was native to dry or desert areas, so they didn’t come across bodies of water often or have opportunities to try out swimming. So, even if your pet has had the chance to be around water, they still have that history that goes, “This is unusual and I don’t like it.” The flaw with this theory is that the odds of such an aversion toward water being passed through millennia of selective breeding are theoretically impossible.

Cute ginger tabby cat laying on top of washing machine in bathroom closeup
Image Credit: mama_mia, Shutterstock

What Science Suggests

The notion that cats dislike water is intrinsically flawed. Cats drink water on a daily basis because it’s an essential nutrient required by all living organisms. Some cats dislike baths (but not water!) simply because they’re not often exposed to them. A bath for a cat that’s not used to bathing is probably the equivalent of someone with no swimming experience being thrown into the deep end of a swimming pool. It’s not fun! 

Essentially, cats that have had little to no experience with baths or a negative experience with them are likely going to try to avoid them. Your cat’s personality also plays a part in this. Outgoing and inquisitive felines are more likely to see a bath as a curious experience. A timid cat might not appreciate the experience in the same way.

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The 10 Cat Breeds That Like Water

A Note From Our Veterinarian

The following list of breeds is mostly anecdotal selections by the author based on their experience. There is no scientific evidence that can confirm that all individuals of these breeds enjoy water. Ultimately, your cat’s experiences with water, their personality, and the way in which you desensitize them to baths will play a far greater role in their acceptance of water.

1. Abyssinian

Abyssinian cat
Image Credit: Pandora Pictures, Shutterstock

If you’re looking for a kitty that loves to play in the water and is incredibly high-energy, the Abyssinian is the cat for you! Believed to be one of the oldest breeds ever, these felines are independent, playful, and active, which means they have a temperament that lends itself to adventures with water (and this kitty is supposedly excellent at swimming!). 

However, this isn’t the breed for you if you seek a lap cat. The active nature of this feline means they’re in constant motion and always on the move. The Abyssinian will still be affectionate and loyal to their family; you just can’t expect them to sit still for long!


2. Bengal

Bengal cat
Image Credit: Shvaygert Ekaterina, Shutterstock

The Bengal is a beautiful and exotic-looking feline with a fondness for water that might have been inherited from their Asian leopard cat ancestors (as the Asian leopard cat often lives around bodies of water). These cats are fearless, even around water, so you might find yours in the shower with you or even in your pool! The Bengal is also incredibly athletic, active, and fabulous at learning tricks. There will be no end to the fun with one of these felines.


3. British Shorthair

fat Blue British Shorthair cat
Image Credit: truenos86, Shutterstock

Cat breeds that are intensely curious about everything, like the British Shorthair, are often fascinated by anything that moves, including water. That can result in your kitty hopping into the shower with you, trying to splash water while it comes from the faucet, or having a fondness for toys that float. The British Shorthair is also intelligent and loves to be involved with every single thing that happens in the household, so you’ll find yourself with a tiny shadow if you adopt one of these felines. However, anecdotally, they aren’t overly affectionate, so you might not get many snuggles.


4. Egyptian Mau

Egyptian Mau
Image Credit: naturepicture_rika, Shutterstock

The Egyptian Mau is an ancient and naturally spotted domesticated feline. You might recognize them in paintings from ancient Egypt or for the well-known way that they appear to walk on their tip-toes.

As a pet, this cat is adventurous and energetic, which means they have absolutely no qualms about getting near or in water. The fact that this breed used to accompany duck hunters might also explain why they enjoy water.


5. Maine Coon

Maine Coon cats near water sprinkler
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

The Maine Coon is a gentle giant with a heavy, floofy coat that you’d think wouldn’t do well with being wet. However, that thick coat is water resistant, so it’s purr-fect for playing in water! Also, the ancestors of the Maine Coon worked as mousers on ships, so many people claim that the fear of getting wet isn’t in this cat’s DNA. 

If you’re worried that a thick coat will be a pain to deal with, you’ll be glad to know that it actually isn’t; you only need to brush it out regularly, and it should be kept fairly tangle-free! However, Maine Coons do require more grooming than some other breeds on this list.


6. Norwegian Forest Cat

norwegian forest cat on a log
Image Credit: Elisa Putti, Shutterstock

The Maine Coon isn’t the only feline with a water-resistant coat; the Norwegian Forest Cat has one too! They also had ancestors that worked as mousers on ships (most likely, Viking ships), so many people believe that like the Maine Coon, this breed isn’t afraid of water in the slightest. 

The Norwegian Forest Cat is anecdotally good at fishing (so it’s probably a good idea to keep them away from any aquariums in the home!). They’re also anecdotally highly independent, so some people claim that they don’t make great lap cats. However, others claim that they’re incredibly affectionate and akin to cuddle monsters. Like all cats, they’re also playful and curious, so be prepared for mischief!


7. Savannah

F2 savannah cat lying
Image Credit: Kseniya, Shutterstock

These felines are descendants of the African Serval, and they are huge kitties! Not only are they bigger than many other cat breeds, but they also apparently act more like canines. For example, the Savannah cat is happy to walk on a leash or paddle around in a pool. 

Many owners claim that inside the home, they can be found splashing the water in their water dishes or chilling in the bathtub. These exotic-looking kitties love to play and need a lot of exercise, so don’t expect them to lie on the sofa with you while you watch TV; instead, you’ll both be running around enjoying plenty of interaction!


8. Selkirk Rex

Selkirk rex cat on brown background
Image Credit: mdmmikle, Shutterstock

This adorable cat breed is pretty much a teddy bear, not only in looks but also in cuddliness! The Selkirk Rex is intensely curious and wildly playful, meaning they will love playing with water while you’re in the shower or doing dishes. Since it’s said that these kitties despise being alone, they’ll likely follow you everywhere you go. They’re incredibly loving felines, though, so having this little shadow won’t be a hassle at all!


9. Sphynx

Sphynx cat sitting on a blanket and looking away
Image Credit: Alexander Piragis, Shutterstock

The Sphynx is a cat that doesn’t have a natural affinity for water. But since this hairless feline needs to be bathed on a regular basis to keep their skin healthy, they are typically introduced to water during kittenhood and typically grow to like being in it. 

Of course, a hairless cat might not be for everyone, as some people aren’t fond of the look, and all that bathing requires a  bit of work. However, if you do adopt one of these cute cats, you’ll find yourself with a hilarious companion that loves attention and is entertaining.


10. Turkish Angora

White Turkish Angora
Image Credit: Aymara Herrera, Shutterstock

This Turkish breed has long hair but still loves water. In fact, it is said that the Turkish Angora will often come racing in when they hear a sink or shower running! Be prepared to have this cat playing with anything and everything in your home involving water. 

Also, be ready for lots of playtime, as this breed is highly active and needs to get plenty of activity each day. The Turkish Angora is also a cat breed that can be leash-trained if you want to enjoy a nice walk with your pet!

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Conclusion

If you’re eager to adopt a water-loving feline, you have plenty of options for breeds that anecdotally love the wet stuff. However, keep in mind that your cat’s breed isn’t the most significant factor when determining their fondness for water. 

Whether you want a longhair, shorthair, or completely hairless cat, there’s a kitty on this list that might be worth exploring. Please be mindful to do the research and learn all that you can about any breed you’re considering adopting, so you know what is involved in caring for them. There’s more to a cat than whether they have an affinity for water, after all!

Sources

Featured Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

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