Cat Playing In Water

By Elisa Black-Taylor

A few days ago I came across this video of a cat playing in water. It was so cute, I knew I had to share it with the readers here. I’ve seen cats drinking from a dripping water faucet, but never seen one who actually appears to enjoy wading in a shallow bathtub of water.

I decided to do a little online research into which cat breeds enjoy water and why they enjoy it so much.

The Bengal cat is one breed that is well known for it’s love of water. I wonder if perhaps the wild cat ancestry has something to do with this. Large jungle cats have been known to swim and play in whatever body of water they live close to. Especially in the more humid environments, where water cools them off.

Some Maine Coons also have a passion for water. One reference stated their fur is made to deter water. Water slides right off so a Maine Coon playing in water doesn’t get soaking wet. I’m sure our cat Furby would disagree. He hasn’t complained about the few baths he’s been given, but he’s never jumped in the tub looking for water either.

The Turkish Van is one of the best known cats for enjoying a dip in the water. They’re reportedly good swimmers. The breed originated around Lake Van in Turkey, where some Turkish Van’s have been known to swim out to meet fishing vessels that are returning to shore.

Cat Playing in Water
Cat Playing in Water
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

I would imagine it’s not just the breed that determines whether water is worth playing with, it’s the entire personality of the individual cat. The more energetic, curious cats would probably find water as something to chase. Especially as the cat makes ripples in the water.

Some cats drink their water by dipping their paw into the water bowl then licking the paw. These cats may enjoy their water in this manner, or it may have been handed down in their DNA. If a cat cannot take his eyes off of his environment long enough to drink, then the paw is used. This way any danger can be watched for without the cat having to lean his head forward to drink. Self preservation is a strong inborn instinct for many cats.

I believe there’s a big difference in cats who play in their water bowl and cats who enjoy a good romp in the bathtub. We have several cats who love to drink from a dripping faucet. Someone is always waiting anytime I fill my glass with filtered tap water. The filter tends to drip a few seconds and it’s a competition to see which cats gets to drink from it.

Whenever we’re due for a freezing cold night, we leave the faucet barely dripping so the pipes don’t freeze up. It’s funny to get up in the morning and find half a dozen cats sitting around the various countertops waiting for their turn to drink.

There are many YouTube videos showing cats playing in water. Just search for that topic, and you’ll find enough to keep you entertained for hours.

I hope everyone enjoys my collage of our water lovers. I wanted to show that in my house it’s not breed specific. I just wish I had a cat who wanted to have playtime in a shallow bathtub of water. I’d LOVE to film that. Tom is no longer with us, and Jethro found a home of his own back in January. They both loved the bathroom sink, whether for a drink or a nap. Lola is the chief faucet watcher these days.

Do any of you have water loving cats. Do they only enjoy a dripping faucet, or do they like playing in their water dish or the tub?


P.S. from Michael. A good number of wild cats like water. They hunt in it or around it because there is food there. All the wild cats are at least comfortable with water. The domestic cat has become distanced from his ancestors and his roots. A lot of domestic cat don’t really like water. Some do but a lot are not sure about it. It appears that this is the result of 10.000 years of domestication.

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20 thoughts on “Cat Playing In Water”

  1. Ankara Kedisi Derneği

    The belief that the breed ”Turkish Van” loves swimming lacks any reasonable evidence. And no, Turkish Van ancestors did not come directly from the Van lake area, Laura Lushington imported Van patterned cats from various Turkish cities.
    Most of those so called Turkish Vans are no different than other cats – they don’t like water much.

    ”Swimming Vans” anecdotal stories mostly come from the same Turkish Van breeders and should not be taken seriously. Analogically Turks think that the real Van cat which according to them is solid white and odd-eyed (not Van patterned, the latter they call sokak kedisi/street cat), loves swimming. This again proves nothing, as people are keen to believe any absurd they are told to. If false notion is repeated many times and in result stuck in people’s heads, it magically turns to the ”fact” which of course, will not be questioned. But it needs to…

    1. Love your comment. Thanks for commenting. What happens on the internet is that people recycle what is already there. And as you say, breeders like to create a bit of mystery and excitement around their cats. They like to make them different. Thank you for reminding us that there is a lot of things that are not quite true on the internet.

  2. Great vid, the cat appears to have one bit of colour on one paw and all the rest black? Very unusual but being wet it could be a tortie darkened by having wet fur.

    1. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

      Some cats do love playing in water but cats were never meant to be bathed, they are not human babies needing a bath time, their tongues are designed to clean themselves, bathing a cat regularly is harmful to their coat.
      The only time you should bath a cat is if he is too dirty to clean himself or has something which could be toxic on his fur.
      I know some people think it’s an old wives tale but having worked with various vets and cat experts over many years, they all agreed on this.
      A cat’s saliva has its uses in keeping his coat exactly as it should be, brushing and combing is good but bathing is not.

      1. Hello Ruth. Thanks for the info. My vet actually recommended bathing her once a month plus daily brushing d/t her type of coat and this routine has helped a lot in maintaining a healthy coat.

        1. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

          Hi Mayen, I’m interested to know if you are in the USA?
          Many of the vets there have the wrong idea about cats, for example many think declawing is acceptable where our vets have never mutilated cats that way.
          In 38 years of cats we’ve never bathed ours, long haired, short haired, all have had/have beautiful healthy coats with daily grooming.
          Rose you are right, stress related illness can be caused in a cat through the ordeal of bathing.
          Most cats hate it because it’s not natural to them.

          1. I live in the Philippines, although I lived in the U.S.A. for a long time and I am aware that declawing is acceptable there which I and my cat’s vet are very much against. I am sorry to learn that a kitten died d/t a condition that was brought about by bathing. In my cat’s case, her vet’s recommendation to bathe her monthly is d/t to her coat type which has a tendency to mat, daily brushing was not enough and we had a problem with that, plus we live in a very warm and humid area that has a very dusty atmosphere. My cat may not enjoy going to the vet for her monthly baths but it helps in keeping her healthy. We have been doing this routine for about 3 years now and she turned 4 this year, she has a very sweet disposition, and I am happy to say that her vet gave her a clean bill health on her last visit.

            1. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

              I wouldn’t like to have to take one of our cats monthly to a vet for a bath, it sounds very strange and not something I’ve ever heard recommended.
              But if you trust your vet and your cat is happy and healthy there’s no more to be said really except I hope she stays healthy.

      2. I agree Ruth but you forgot to mention that the ordeal of unnecessary regular bathing of cats can cause stress related illness also.One of my rescue cats had been subject to a bath every week because she “smelled of cat”
        WHAT???What are cats supposed to smell of?
        She developed a chest complaint and died young,licking at shampooed fur can cause allergies or asthma.
        Some of my cats like to play around a dripping tap,it’s fun to them but I’ve never had one actually play in water.

      3. Ruth:
        Why can’t people understand the fact that “a cat is NOT a child, cats are completely self cleaning animals. They’re loving, loyal, curios & very clean, please do not traumatize a cat by giving it a bath, absolutely unnecessary !
        Some cats truly enjoy paying with & in water, late 1986 we adopted a young cat that was a purebred Russian Blue, he loves taking showers but only while perched on my husband’s shoulder, he knew when Frank was taking a shower & would knock on door & wait till someone let him in.
        If outside Keke would sit by water hose till someone turn it on for him, Keke fathered a male kitten (exact replica)Baby Keke loved playing with & in water just like his father. We have been cat lover/rescuers/helpers for over 55 years & it’s very unique how different breeds react differently to water. Every single cat has had a very nice shiny coat, a well fed cat doesn’t need bathing, their raspy tongue is for a reason.
        Southeast Arizona (USA)

        Southeast Arizona (USA)

        1. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

          Exactly keenpetite! Cats are cats, they like being cats, they are not children to bath and dress up in clothes or push in strollers.
          It breaks my heart that some cats are forced to live un-natural lives, their lives are very short in comparison with ours. They are not for our amusement or as substitute babies, we should do as much as we possibly can to let them live their lives as cats like to live and to enjoy that life.

      1. Unusual to see a domestic cat love water so much but, there are lots of cats who do and many more should because their wild cat ancestors in general like water. Two or three actually hunt in water and many live near it. Tigers spend hours in it. I think domestication took the liking of water away from the cat. As you say the domestic cats with a bit of wild in them such as the Bengal and Savannah tend to like water.

  3. People believe that the domestic cat does not like water. As you say this is not true. It depends on the individual cat normally although some cat breeds are more predisposed to liking water.

    If a higher proportion of domestic cats don’t like water it must be because of 10,000 years of domestication.

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