Which cat likes water?

Among the domestic cats, the Bengal cat, a popular wild cat hybrid, and a purebred, pedigree cat tends to like water and the same can be said about the Savannah cat which is also a wild cat hybrid. The same can probably said about the other wildcat hybrids e.g Chausie. You can see a list by clicking on this link.

Bengal cat likes playing around in water
Bengal cat likes playing around in water. Photo: Pixabay.
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The reason for this is because they have wild cat DNA in them. The leopard cat is the wild cat part of the Bengal cat and this small Asian wildcat hunts in a variety of habitats including near watercourses. The wild cat element of the Savannah cat is the serval which will also occasionally hunt in and around streams et cetera. This natural propensity to seek prey where there is water, which makes sense, is brought into the domestic cat.

You will see quite a lot of answers to the question in the title on the Internet but I think some of them are misleading. For example, Maine Coon cats are said to like messing around with water in their bowl but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they like water in the sense that they like to be in a shower which is what happens with Bengal and Savannah cats sometimes, particularly the high filial variants such as the F1 and F2. These have more wild DNA in them than the lower filial individuals.

Some Bengal cats like to play around in water
Some Bengal cats like to play around in water. Photo: Pixabay.

There is also a myth on the Internet about the Turkish Van cat liking water because they like to go swimming. This is not strictly true because the story comes from the British women, Laura Lushington and Sonia Halliday, who imported the foundation cats into the UK from Turkey. On their journey back in a car they allowed the kittens to play in a pond or lake which they appeared to enjoy. The story got around that Turkish Vans like to swim in water but I don’t think they like it any more than any other cat breed. But that said some Turkish Van cats will like messing around in water but then a proportion of all domestic cats enjoy it too. It is another myth that all domestic cats dislike water.

Some cats do play with water in the bowl and sometimes it’s to do with simple inquisitiveness, to see how the water reacts and to lick it off their paws. I’ve seen a Bengal kitten, incidentally, being unsure about water inside a glass because he had never seen it in a glass before. He prods and pokes it to find out what it is and to understand it.

Some Bengal cats like to play around in water
Some Bengal cats like to play around in water. Photo: Pixabay.

Cats messing around with water in bowls is probably a throwback to their wildcat ancestor. All domestic cat behaviour can be traced back to the North African wildcat which is the ancestor to the domestic cat from approximately 10,000 years ago. But as I say, this sort of behaviour is not really liking water but being inquisitive and curious about it which is different.

There is one thing sure, though, about the wildcat hybrids which is that you will read stories from their owners and cat breeders that they occasionally like to join people in a shower. Gloria Stephens, the author of Legacy of the Cat, states in reference to the Bengal cat that “Some enjoy playing in water (make sure your fish tank is well covered) and even bathing with their owners. Many Bengals adore freshwater and can be found drinking from running faucets by “cupping” their paws for drinking”. The same can be said about the other wildcat hybrids I would suggest.

As for the wild cats there are those that like water:

Water Cats


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