Why Do Cats Not Like Water?

Author: Umi



Time to read 8 min

Cats are known for their aversion to water. It is a common belief that cats dislike water and will do anything to avoid it. But have you ever wondered why cats are so averse to water? Despite being domesticated pets, cats still retain many of their wild instincts, and their dislike for water might have something to do with their evolutionary history.

One theory suggests that cats' sensitivity to temperature and sound might be the reason for their aversion to water. Cats have a higher sensitivity to temperature than humans, and their fur acts as an insulator to keep them warm. When their fur gets wet, it loses its insulating properties, making them feel cold and uncomfortable. Additionally, cats have a heightened sense of hearing, and the sound of running water might be overwhelming and stressful for them.

Why Do Cats Not Like Water: Explained

Key Takeaways

  • Cats' aversion to water might be due to their evolutionary history and retained wild instincts.

  • Cats' sensitivity to temperature and sound might be the reason for their dislike of water.

  • Providing alternative sources of water, such as a cat water fountain, might encourage cats to drink more water.

Evolutionary Factors

Ancestral Habitats

Cats are descendants of desert-dwelling wild cats, who lived in hot and dry environments with limited access to water sources. Therefore, their ancestors did not have to swim or tolerate water often, which resulted in the lack of a genetic predisposition for swimming or enjoying water.

Moreover, wild cats had to hunt for their food, and their prey was often found near water sources such as rivers and lakes. However, cats developed a hunting technique that allowed them to catch their prey without getting wet. They would wait patiently by the water's edge and pounce on their prey when it came to drink water.


Cats are known for their fastidious grooming habits, which are essential for their survival. Cats' tongues have tiny barbs that help them clean their fur and remove any debris or dirt. These barbs also make their fur water-resistant and prevent it from getting wet.

Moreover, cats' saliva contains enzymes that help break down dirt and oil, making it easier for them to clean themselves. Therefore, cats can keep themselves clean without the need for water, which explains their aversion to it.

In conclusion, cats' dislike of water can be attributed to their ancestral habitats and their self-grooming habits. While some cats may enjoy playing with water, most cats prefer to stay dry and clean themselves without getting wet.

Sensitivity to Temperature and Sound

Temperature Sensitivity

Cats are known for their sensitivity to temperature, and this extends to their dislike of water. While some cats may tolerate water, many will avoid it due to the discomfort of getting wet. This sensitivity to temperature is due to their fur, which provides insulation and helps regulate their body temperature. When wet, the fur loses its insulating properties, causing the cat to feel cold and uncomfortable.

For this reason, it's important to ensure that a cat's water bowl is always at room temperature. Adding ice cubes to a cat's water bowl may seem like a good idea, especially in hot weather, but it can actually cause the cat to avoid drinking altogether. Instead, it's best to offer fresh, cool water without any added ice.


Acute Hearing

In addition to their sensitivity to temperature, cats also have acute hearing. This heightened sense of hearing can make the sound of running water overwhelming for some cats, causing them to avoid it. The sound of water running through a faucet or showerhead can be particularly alarming for cats due to its high pitch and intensity.

To make water more appealing to a cat, it's important to provide a quiet and calm environment for drinking. This can be achieved by placing the water bowl in a quiet area of the house, away from any noisy appliances or high-traffic areas.

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Lack of Control and Vulnerability

Control Issues

Cats are known for their independence and self-reliance, but they also have a strong need for control. When a cat is placed in water, it loses control over its movements and its environment. This lack of control can be very stressful for a cat, leading to anxiety and fear.

Cats are natural predators, and they rely on their hunting skills to survive. When a cat is in water, it is unable to use its natural hunting instincts and is therefore vulnerable to attack. This loss of control and vulnerability can be very frightening for a cat, leading to defensive behavior.

Defensive Behavior

When a cat feels threatened or vulnerable, it will often exhibit defensive behavior. This can include hissing, growling, scratching, and biting. When a cat is placed in water, it may feel threatened and vulnerable, leading to defensive behavior.

In addition, cats have a natural aversion to water. This aversion is likely due to the fact that cats are desert animals and are not naturally adapted to water environments. As a result, when a cat is placed in water, it may feel very uncomfortable and stressed, leading to defensive behavior.

Overall, the lack of control and vulnerability that cats experience when placed in water can be very stressful and frightening for them. This can lead to defensive behavior and a strong aversion to water. It is important to respect a cat's natural instincts and avoid placing them in situations that may cause them undue stress or discomfort.


Cats have a reputation for being averse to water, but the reasons for this behavior are not fully understood. While some cats may enjoy playing with water, many others will avoid it at all costs.

One possible explanation is that cats' fur is not designed to handle large amounts of water. Their fur is highly absorbent and can become waterlogged, making it difficult for them to regulate their body temperature. Additionally, cats' paws are not well-suited for swimming, which may make them feel vulnerable and uncomfortable in water.

Another possible explanation is that cats simply do not enjoy the sensation of being wet. Cats are known for their fastidious grooming habits, and getting wet can disrupt their natural grooming routine. Additionally, water can be a source of stress for cats, especially if they associate it with negative experiences such as being bathed or sprayed with water.

Overall, while the exact reasons for cats' aversion to water are not fully understood, it is clear that many cats do not enjoy getting wet. As a result, it is important for cat owners to be mindful of their cats' preferences and avoid exposing them to water unnecessarily.

Why Choose Uahpet Cat Water Fountain?

For pet owners looking for a high-quality cat water fountain, the Uahpet cat water fountain is an excellent choice. This fountain stands out from other cat water fountains due to its innovative features and user-friendly design.

One of the most notable features of the Uahpet cat water fountain is its ease of cleaning. The fountain has a unique design that includes a separate water pump, which makes cleaning the fountain quick and simple. This design also helps to minimize bacterial buildup, ensuring a healthier drinking environment for your cat.

The Uahpet cat water fountain also boasts an advanced 6-level filtration system, which provides the cleanest water possible for your cat. The filtration system includes an eco-friendly filter case, which helps to keep the system sustainable. The system also prevents food particles from contaminating the water, and removes heavy metals to protect your pet's organs. Additionally, the system includes ion exchange resin to soften the water, reducing the risk of kidney stones, and quartz sand to prevent abdominal discomfort. Coconut activated charcoal is also used to safeguard your pet's sensory organs, while PP woven folding cotton acts as a barrier against parasites and filters out pet hair.

The wireless design of the Uahpet cat water fountain allows you to place it anywhere without worrying about power outlets or unsightly cords, offering your cat fresh water in any location. With a noise level of only 30 dB, this fountain operates silently, making it ideal for households with light sleepers. The fountain is also designed for easy cleaning and reassembly, featuring a wider structure with fewer parts to manage. Finally, the fountain is equipped with a long-lasting battery that provides up to 120 days of standby time, reducing the need for frequent recharging and ensuring constant access to fresh water.

Overall, the Uahpet cat water fountain is an excellent choice for pet owners who want to provide their cats with fresh, clean water in a convenient and user-friendly way. With its innovative features and advanced filtration system, this fountain is sure to keep your cat healthy and hydrated.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is it about water that cats find unappealing?

Cats have a natural aversion to water, which is believed to stem from their ancestors' wild nature. In the wild, cats would hunt prey on land and would not need to venture into the water. This aversion to water has been passed down through generations, and most cats today still have an instinctual fear of water.

How does water affect a cat's fur and behavior?

Water can have a significant impact on a cat's fur and behavior. When a cat gets wet, its fur becomes heavy and matted, which can make it uncomfortable and difficult for the cat to move around. Wet fur can also lead to skin irritations and infections. As for behavior, most cats become anxious and stressed when they are in or near water, which can lead to aggressive or defensive behavior.

Are there any breeds of cats that are known to enjoy water?

While most cats have an aversion to water, some breeds are known to be more water-friendly than others. For example, some breeds of cats, such as the Turkish Van and the Bengal, have a natural affinity for water and may even enjoy swimming.

Is it true that all cats hate bathing, or are there exceptions?

While most cats have an aversion to water, there are some exceptions. Some cats may enjoy being bathed or may tolerate it if they are introduced to it at a young age. However, it is important to note that bathing a cat can be stressful for both the cat and the owner, and it should only be done when necessary.

What are the reasons cats may be fearful of water?

There are several reasons why cats may be fearful of water. One reason is their natural instinct to avoid water. Additionally, cats may have had a negative experience with water in the past, such as being sprayed with water as a form of punishment. Finally, cats may be fearful of water because it is an unfamiliar and unpredictable element.

How do the reactions to water differ between cats and dogs?

Cats and dogs have very different reactions to water. While most cats have an aversion to water, many dogs love to swim and play in the water. Dogs are also more likely to enjoy being bathed than cats, although this can vary depending on the individual animal.

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