While cats are not afraid of water – they obviously drink it – even for domestic house cats, there is a biological, evolutionary reason for for cats avoiding water.
Here are five simple reasons why most cats tend to not like water.
1) Cats Descended From Desert Animals
Cats descended from desert animals that were built to subsist on little water if necessary. They lived in dry arid places which means rivers or oceans weren’t obstacles they had to face. Evolutionary, they never had to learn how to swim as there was no advantage to it.
Although there are some breeds of cats that like water, for most cats water wasn’t a great part of their life, so it makes sense that it’s not something ingrained in their genetics that they would naturally like.
The wild cats of Europe, Africa, China had limited experience with water and didn’t have to adapt or evolve to deal with rain or water.
If you would like to protect your cat while being outside, especially when you're taking your cat on a trip with your family and loved ones, it is always useful to have a portable cat condo!
2) Cats Are Sensitive To Odors
The survival of cats depends on the scent in the thick fur covering their bodies.
Biologically, cats in the wild are both prey and predators.
As prey, cats do not want to be tracked by scent. As predators, specifically, ambush predators, cats cannot have any scent on the wind that reveals their presence.
Cats are very sensitive to odors and they may not like the smell of the chemicals in tap water.
Many cats will go all the way to follow their human owners into the bathroom and make sure they're rub scent on your legs to protect you from those dangerous chemicals.
To avoid any problems with your cat leaving dangerous scents in the bathroom from the outside, consider getting a self-cleaning cat litter box.
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If cats get wet, they will have the smell of boggy water in their fur which may also pick up dirt, leaves, and anything else it touches. What this means for the cat is a lot of additional grooming time, which will have to be repeated until all of its fur is dry, which covers the cat's whole body. Furthermore, if the cat doesn't get all of that scent out of the fur in time, it could mean missing a badly-needed meal.
In short, scent is one of the main reason for cats to avoid water.
3) Cats Have A Higher Natural Body Temperature
Fur protects cats as it keeps them warm all across their bodies – especially during winter months, preventing dangerous drops in body temperature such as hypothermia and frostbite. If the environment is cold, having a wet fur decreases cat's body temperature, leaving them in poor health.
Cat's normal body temperature is higher than of a human, and while cats can generally tolerate slightly higher external temperatures, being more comfortable in the summer heat, they feel much colder during winter, and cold water will also feel much colder.
4) Cats Don't See The Water In The Same Way Humans Do
There are other, more subtle reasons why cats tend to avoid water, and the answer is in the way they perceive the world. It’s difficult for cats to see water very clearly, especially still water, because their retinas are very different than of a human's.
A cat's vision is similar to a human who is color blind. They are able to see shades of blue and green, but reds and pinks may appear confusing, because cats have very few of the cones that respond to red light. In turn, their world appears in combination of blue, yellow, and gray.
Have you ever wondered why your kitty avoids going in the water but paws at its water before drinking? Cats don't see things that are close up very well, and they are trying to see where the surface of the water is.
Of course, even if your cat tends to avoid water, there are different tricks you can teach your cat to get it to drink more water.
While cats tend to avoid still water, many cats like sticking their paws under a running faucet, intrigued by the reflections of light and noise that natural, moving water makes. Cats may feel more at ease when playing with the faucet water because they’re left in control, as opposed to being in water, where its difficult to move, making them vulnerable to attacks from other animals.
5) Drenched Cat Fur Is Very Heavy To Carry
Imagine if you were a cat and your whole body was covered by a coat of fur. When cats entire fur gets wet, a cat will feel weighted down and will be unable to move at its normal agility levels, and that's quite an uncomfortable experience. Cat fur can be difficult to handle if you see it all over the place, which is why I recommend getting a reusable cat hair remover, which may help when cleaning the furniture.
While cats need little amounts of water to survive, they don't generally need to wash themselves in water because they groom themselves just fine.