It’s well-known that cats hate water. They squall up a storm when they get wet, and some people use water bottles to keep their cats away from certain pieces of furniture.
Some cats are such sissies around water that they don’t even bother fish. They will try to reach the fish in the tank – and then give up after getting their paws wet.
Then you’ve got these guys. It turns out that some cat breeds don’t mind water at all. They like to dunk things in their water dish – as if they were raccoons rather than cats – and they like to play with dripping faucets. Some cats will even join their owner in the shower, bath, or swimming pool.
Why do some cats like water?
Many feline species actually do like water. According to Dr. Ruth MacPete, a veterinarian who writes for the Pet Health Network, wild cats’ attitude towards water depends on the climate of their home.
For example, cats that live in hot and humid climates like jaguars and tigers will swim or wade in water to cool off. By contrast, cats that live in cooler climates, like snow leopards or lynx, avoid getting wet, for soaked fur would impair their ability to stay warm.
Domestic cats are descended from the Near Eastern wildcat (Felis lybica lybica), which still lives in the Middle East. As these cats evolved in an arid climate, they had limited experience with swimming and thus never developed a taste for it.
In addition, unlike many other animals, cats generally don’t need to bathe in water to keep clean. Their tongue boasts a bunch of papillae that are shaped like hooks that can remove dirt and untangle knots.
What are some cat breeds that like water?
1) Turkish Van
The Turkish Van, which is also called the “swimming cat,” will make any list of water-loving cat breeds. The Petfinder breed description includes a legend that claims that the Turkish Van was among the animals traveling on Noah’s Ark.
When the Ark ran aground at Mt. Ararat, the cats leaped into the water and swam to shore. They eventually made their way to Lake Van, which is about 75 miles south of Mt. Ararat.
Conditions at Lake Van doubtless encouraged the cats to develop their famed swimming ability. In the summer, conditions can soar to over 100° F, so the cats likely learned to swim to keep cool.
The lake also had plenty of herring, and the cats probably fished for a living. Over time, Turkish Vans developed a long water-resistant coat that is sometimes said to feel like cashmere.
The following video shows how the Turkish Van earned its nickname of “swimming cat”
Turkish Vans are also known for their novel coat pattern; they are largely white but have a colored tail and markings on their head.
They are healthy, active, and vocal cats. They are also intelligent, and some have even figured out how to turn on faucets in order to play with the resulting stream of water.
2) Maine Coon
The Maine Coon also frequently appears on lists of water-loving cats. It is known for such raccoon-like behaviors as dunking items in its water dish or scooping water with their paws to drink it.
The following video shows a Maine Coon kitten drinking water in this fashion
While such antics look cute, they can also make a mess. Some Maine Coon owners actually keep their cat’s water dish in another container to prevent the water from getting all over the place. Similarly, they have learned to keep toilet seats down to keep their cat from taking a dip.
According to Petfinder.com, the Maine Coon was probably the descendant of ship’s cats brought to the colonies in New England.
The “Coon” part of the name is said to stem from the myth that the cat descends from cat/raccoon hybrids, which are biologically impossible. It is also one of the oldest cat breeds to have developed in the United States.
Main Coons are famous for their size; they are the largest of the domestic cats. Fortunately, they are friendly and affectionate and are often called “gentle giants.”
They have long, thick, and water-resistant fur that can come in almost any color or pattern except pointed like a Siamese or ticked like an Abyssinian.
The Bengal is a descendant of domestic cat/Asian Leopard cat crosses. The Bengal this gets its fondness of water from its wild ancestors and has been known to join its owner for a shower, bath, or swim.
The following video shows a young Bengal enjoying his first trip to the beach
According to the Vetstreet breed description, the first Bengals were bred in the 1960s. Pet Bengals are typically at least four generations removed from their wild ancestors, while cats that are more closely related to the Asian Leopard cat are used as breeding stock. The Bengal is a large cat with a spotted or blotched coat that comes in a variety of colors.
Bengals are smart and lively cats that demand a lot of attention from their owners. They need companionship, either in the form of their owner or another pet. Many Bengals will happily play with dogs.
They respond well to clicker-training and love to climb. The prudent owner will get their Bengal a cat tree or perch to keep them off the bookshelf or screen door.
4) Norwegian Forest Cat
According to the CatTime Website, the Norwegian Forest Cat is descended from cats that accompanied the Vikings on their travels.
These cats also appeared in Norse mythology; the goddess Freyja, for example, had a chariot pulled by giant cats.
Cat breeders, however, did not start breeding Norwegian Forest Cats until the 1930s. Forty years later, the first Norwegian Forest Cats were exported to the United States.
Like the Maine Coon, the Norwegian Forest Cat is a big cat with a long, thick coat. Its fur is water-resistant and can come in almost any color or pattern.
In addition to being a skilled swimmer, the Norwegian Forest Cat is a capable fisher and climber. People who also have fish ponds or aquaria will need to keep an eye on their cats. Norwegian Forest Cats are affectionate and playful.
The Cattery River’s Village, which breeds Norwegian Forest Cats, posted a video of a kitten playing with running water in a sink
5) Japanese Bobtail
The Japanese Bobtail often appears on lists of water-loving cats. It is an ancient breed; according to the VetStreet breed description, there are literary and artistic depictions of Japanese Bobtails that go back over 1,000 years.
It also inspired the popular “beckoning cat” figurines that depict a sitting cat with a raised paw. Many people believe that the “beckoning cat” brings good luck.
The Japanese Bobtail is a small cat; adults generally weigh between five and ten pounds. It can have short or long hair, and shorthaired cats are the more common type.
The tail looks like a pompom or rabbit’s tail. The fur can be almost any color, but tricolored fur is the most popular. A tricolored cat will be largely white with red and black markings. A Japanese Bobtail can have eyes of different colors.
The Japanese Bobtail is active and affectionate. It is also vocal, and its voice has been described as melodious.
The following video shows two Japanese Bobtails wading in the bathtub, while a pair of bemused Siamese watch:
6) Turkish Angora
The Turkish Angora is yet another breed that enjoys playing with water. They will sit in the sink and play with a dripping faucet like the kitten in the following video:
Some Turkish Angoras will join their owner in the shower, and the ones who go outside may wade or paddle around in shallow streams or ponds.
The Turkish Angora is another old breed. The PetMD’s website breed description recounts the legend claiming that Mohammed (570 – 632 CE), who founded Islam, had a Turkish Angora named Muezza that he doted on. According to one story, Mohammed cut the sleeve off his robe rather than disturb his sleeping cat.
Turkish Angoras are small and slim cats with long and silky fur. Their dainty and delicate appearance is somewhat deceptive, for they are actually healthy cats. While they are most often pure white, they can come in a variety of colors and patterns.
Like the Japanese Bobtail, they can have odd or different-colored eyes, and this look is particularly popular in Turkey. Turks believe that odd-eyed cats are favored by Allah, and they also believe that Muezza had odd eyes.
Turkish Angoras are intelligent and lively. While many are affectionate, some are one-person cats. Turkish Angoras like to climb as well as play in the water, and they are generally too active to be lap cats. They are quite vocal and will converse with their owners.
Manx cats are among the breeds sometimes described as “doglike,” for they will play fetch, walk on a leash, and can travel well.
Like the Japanese Bobtail, they originated on an island. In their case, it was the Isle of Man, which is off the coast of England. The breed has existed for centuries.
According to CatTime’s breed description, the Manx is a medium-sized cat that can weigh up to 12 pounds when full-grown.
While it is famous for being tailless, Manx can have tails of varying lengths, and they are divided into four categories.
“Rumpies” have no tail at all; “risers” have just a nub of bone; “stumpies” have a short tail like a bobcat, and “longies” have a normal long tail. Manx cats owe their tendency to taillessness to a mutation.
Manx cats can have short or long fur, and some cat registries called the long-haired Manx cats “Cymrics.” They can come in a variety of colors and patterns.
Manx cats are affectionate and active. Despite the latter trait, they are often lapping cats. They are also smart enough to learn tricks – and turn on the faucet when they want to play with water.
The following video shows a Manx wading in a bathtub and playing with some seaweed
The Abyssinian is another cat that frequently appears on lists of water-loving cat breeds.
According to the CFA breed description, English soldiers brought the Abyssinian to England during the second half of the 19th century.
About a century later, geneticists traced the cat’s ancestry to parts of Southeast Asia and the coast of the Indian Ocean.
The Abyssinian always has a ticked coat that makes it look like a miniature cougar. It comes in four colors: ruddy, red, fawn, and blue. The first color is the oldest, most common, and most cougar-like. The Abyssinian’s eyes are usually gold or green.
Abyssinians are intelligent, lively, and playful. They also have a reputation for rambunctiousness, and a bored Abyssinian can become destructive.
Abyssinians love to climb, so the prudent owner will provide their cat with cat trees and other perches. While they aren’t lapping cats, Abyssinians are affectionate and want their owner to join them in their games.
The following video shows an Abyssinian and its humans at a beach
9) American Bobtail
The American Bobtail is another breed that is sometimes described as “doglike.” In fact, it is known in some circles as the “Golden Retriever of the cat world.”
The American Bobtail will walk on a leash, follow its owner from to room, and even wag its stubby tail. Just as Golden Retrievers get along with practically everybody, the American Bobtail plays happily with children, dogs, and other cats.
The following video shows Firestorm, an eight-month-old kitten, playing in the sink
The Petfinder breed description states that the American Bobtail probably owes its short tail to a mutation.
Although it was developed in the 1960s, it is only starting to attract attention through its wild looks and friendly personality. Unlike most cats, it tends to be a good traveler.
American Bobtails can be large and look somewhat like bobcats. They can have either long or short fur that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.