Categories: character

Why don’t cats like being wet?

Some people want to know why cats don’t like being wet because they search for information about it through Google’s search engine. I’m afraid to say that they are wrong because you can’t generalise about domestic cats and their feelings about being wet. Perhaps we can say that as the domestic cat ancestor was a cat living in generally dry conditions the modern domestic cat does not migrate towards water.

Wet cat. Photo in public domain.

Rained Upon

Some domestic cats simply don’t mind being wet and I would argue that the majority of domestic cats don’t mind it but it depends on the circumstances. Certainly, some cats might particularly dislike it but I would have thought that this is rare and I referring to rain rather than being dunked into a bath. Certainly, my cat puts up with being rained upon quite cheerfully. He doesn’t particularly like it but he accepts it and comes in sopping wet sometimes. He wants to get out of it which indicates he is particularly happy about being wet but I am not sure that I would go so far as saying he actively disliked it.

He accepts it and he does not like being dried with a towel. I suspect that domestic cats do not feel being wet because they are, after all, covered with a thick coat of fur which is normally a double coat which thoroughly protects them from water getting onto their skin.

No doubt they feel the water on their fur but don’t feel wet and uncomfortable. If you don’t dry your cat when he comes in wet from rain then he will normally wash himself but most of the water will dry naturally through evaporation on his fur. There will be no urgency from him to get rid of the water. This is in complete contrast to humans who, on entering the home after being caught in a rainstorm, dry themselves assiduously and hang their clothes up to dry. We don’t like getting wet but then we are humans and cats are cats; let’s remind ourselves that domestic cats are not that far from the wild and that they are barely domesticated.

Getting wet occasion is a natural part of living in the wild. The coat protects them. It is designed to protect them. It’s existence tells us that cats are not going to be particularly perturbed about getting wet from rain.

Immersed in Water

If a cat is immersed in water for whatever reason then this is different to being rained upon quite obviously. Domestic cats are less likely to accept being immersed in water to be bathed. They may well complain and probably will if they’re being bathed because it is unnatural and frankly it is unnecessary most of the time.

That said, some cats like to be in water up to their necks. You see it all the time on the Internet. Some cats like swimming and fully accept it. On the whole, I would have thought that it is rare for a cat to like swimming although many will accept it and they will certainly accept it when it comes down to survival if they have fallen into water. Cats are very competent swimmers when they have to get out of a lake or the sea if they’ve fall into it. They will carry on as normal once they’ve got out.

Turkish Van Cats

I can’t finish this page without reference to Turkish Van Cats because there is a bit of a myth that they like swimming and are good swimmers. This comes from the founder of the breed who brought some Turkish Van cats from Turkey back to England and at one stage on the journey they swam in a lake. As a consequence it got around that this cat breed (at the time it was not a breed incidentally) that they were fond of swimming. I don’t think you can say that all Turkish Van cats like swimming because a couple or more of them took a dip in a lake. It is an individual thing. Some cats will like swimming and some will not. It is not necessarily associated with any single cat breed.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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Michael Broad

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