My cat loves water – is this normal?

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We’ve all heard it from cat owners, seen it in movies and experienced it for ourselves – cats hate water. Right? Not always. For some cats, a flowing tap, emptying bath or even a swimming pool is their idea of a fun place to be.

Cats don’t necessarily respond to water in the same way dogs do. While your pet pup might happily jump in the tub when it’s time for a bath, it’s unlikely your cat will do the same. Any cat with an attraction to water interacts with it on their terms only.

Natural instinct

Most of their seemingly unusual behaviors are a response to the way cats would otherwise interact with water in nature – at a trickling stream, or from rain droplets falling off a tree, or even in some cases, a voluntary dip in a shallow pond. This is particularly the case for cats crossed with Bengal, Maine Coon or Turkish Van varieties, where genetics have kept the interest in water intact, due to proximity to water in their wild habitats.

It’s important that you don’t discourage your cat from interacting with water if they want to, as this will start to create a negative association. Similarly, a cat who is happy to linger near the pool, or even sip from a garden rock pool does not want to be dunked in a bath whenever it is suitable for you.

Don’t push it

Most cats, even those with an attraction to water, prefer not to be fully immersed, which is why your playful cat might only appear interested in the bath while it is been drained.

Similarly, cats hate being sprayed with water, because of the sheer shock of it. As a result, the use of a light spray of water from a water bottle is often used as a training technique – particularly for preventing against scratching of furniture or fighting. This technique should only be used to gently discourage, and not to punish, especially if your cat has an otherwise positive, happy relationship with water. Trust us, you’re the lucky ones.

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