The fear of water at cats seems to be a “concept” too familiar to us. Nevertheless, why do cats hate water so much

Along with dogs, cats are one of the two friendliest pets to humans. They appear at almost places where humans appear in the world.

However, in contrast to dogs, cats are the kind of animal that does not like showing too much sentiment, even to their owners. Nevertheless, you will realize immediately if cats have to face dreadful things because of strong responses from this kind of pets!

One of those responses is negative emotions to water. Or rather, almost kinds of cats always have a fear of water inside the subconscious mind! Why?

Why do cats hate water so much?

The answer from thousands of years ago

In general, we have to be back in time to return to the past thousands of years ago. This will help us to answer the question, “why do cats hate water so much?”.

At first, scientists said that humans domesticated home cats from wild nature 9,500 years ago, and these cats have the origin from Arabic forest cats. The experience of their ancestors is very little because their starting point is in water-poor and hot zones. 

Gene researches show that the closest relative of cats is wild cats from Europe and Africa, as well as Chinese desert cats. According to scientists, the ancestor living in the desert of cats restricts much with water. And since humans domesticate the first cats – the earliest evidence is from 9,500 years ago – they protected their cats from water. So, cats do not evolve to adapt or get used to the water.  

Origin of the fear

The fear of water from their Arabic ancestors may still preserve on the AND of types of indoor cats now! The reason is that Arabic forest cats consider water a dangerous place and a threat since they are afraid of hazardous predatory animals, such as hippo, crocodile, etc.

Additionally, researchers also think that kinds of cats now still keep for themselves characteristics and behaviors which are somewhat inherent like their wild ancestors in the past even though the time has passed nearly ten thousand years since humans domesticated them!

Moreover, humans always try to protect cats from risks, which may cause injuries during the domestication process. Cats do not need to evolve to adapt or get used to water because they do not need to activate or swim in the water environment. That is also why many people feel that cats are not as friendly as dogs, often have a wary appearance to everything, or always keep some distance.

Side influences

Secondly, people also consider that cats often have fierce reactions or lose their calms when seeing the water because it will make their body weight increase and their outer fur wet. Moreover, they will feel unsafe and stressful. 

Specifically, cats’ outer fur will become quite burdensome if all of their furs are wet entirely, though their outermost fur layer can be waterproof. Cats’ weight will increase significantly. This will make them feel that they cannot move fast as usual. They will feel unsafe and worried as their body movements will be limited. 

As mentioned above, their inner instincts are always having precautions for pernicious cases. Every movement of them will be limited if their bodies are wet. Of course, this will make them insecure as they cannot deal with 100% of possible risks at that time! As a result, they always want to maintain the best status in case they need to escape or fight.

On the other hand, it takes quite much time for cats’ fur to be dry again. They can be cold if their fur is wet for a long time while they always love the warmth, and their body temperatures are higher than those of humans.

Natural instinct

Finally, cats can “clean” themselves. They are different from dogs that need bathing regularly to keep bodies clean. Their tongues are like hundreds of combs to remove dirt and keep their fur always smooth and clean. Additionally, their saliva attains a natural detergent to decrease grease and dispel outer dust. So, cats can clean their fur by themselves.

Read more: Give your cat a bath comfortably

There are also “special” cats

Some indoor cats naturally like water. However, this is only an exception. Additionally, the fear of water at cats depends on their habitats. For instance, wild cats living near lakes or ponds are likely to lurk to fish or other prey around the water edge. Or some cats are ready to wade into the water to catch fish, although they fear when their bosses drop them into water. 

Some species of the cat family, especially kinds of large cats (like leopard, tiger, lion, etc.) living in nature, have different habits. Depending on the circumstances, they can still adapt to water. There is even a kind of cat that is specialized in catching fish underwater and swims super well; their feet have membranes to serve this movement characteristic, too.  

Moreover, many special cats can touch water comfortably without obsession or worry. However, most of them are trained (somewhat forced) by their owners early to be able to adapt to water.

To train cats to overcome the fear of water, many owners try to bathe for their cats. However, this will make their skins dry. Worse than that, cats may lose necessary secretion and even odor compound for communication with other animals. Therefore, scientists advise us to make cats live instinctively and do not appreciate the fact that owners try to bathe for their cats. 


Cats are afraid of water – that is a concept we admit as an undeniable fact. However, have you ever investigated the reasons why they are so scared of water? Through this article, we have understood and answered that question. Ideally, if you nourish cats, just let them live instinctively!


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