I have two cats myself, a Siberian and a Maine Coon, neither of which like water. In fact, they detest it - like most cats. I was wondering what the reason for this was and if any of you have any interesting theories as to why this is the case.

Thanks in advance!

  • $\begingroup$ Quick note here : I agree with the questioner, and the accepted answer. I don't like to bring an old question out of zombie land but ... I recall seeing images of a tiger (i think it was) very happily charging into a pool of water when chasing after prey. No hesitation. So I wonder if different species have different levels of fondness? I know this is the case for dogs ~ we had a newfoudland, and she was impossible to keep dry if even the smallest puddle was seen, she was in it ! Other dogs are somewhat less aquatic, we now have a chihuahua that only likes to paddle ~ she doesn't like rain ! $\endgroup$
    – DaveM
    Apr 8, 2022 at 9:47

1 Answer 1


First, some cats do like water. But it seems true (from personal observation and most people's opinion) that most cats don't.

The question has already been asked many times online. Just Google your question!

I doubt one will find peer-reviewed papers on the question but below is a summary of what seem to be the most often mentioned possible reasons I could find. Of course, these bullet points are very hypothetical and I don't know of any research presenting evidence for or against these hypotheses.

  • Their fur is not really adapted for the water and will very quickly become waterlogged and heavy making it uncomfortable.

  • Cats are generally speaking quite skittish

  • Cats may not like the odour of chemicals we put in the water.

  • Cats love to groom themselves. It is an aweful lot of work to do the grooming after a bath.

Note also that domestic cats are descendent from cats living in very arid areas. The most closely related species with cats are the African Wildcat living in Northern Africa, the Near East and around the periphery of the Arabian Peninsula.


My non-peer reviewed sources are

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    $\begingroup$ @Remi.b Your answer is literally copied from the following page, of which to me, is not credible and has no scientific basis whatsoever: petful.com/behaviors/why-do-cats-hate-water $\endgroup$
    – user22020
    Aug 7, 2017 at 16:17
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    $\begingroup$ A series of hypotheses has never been considered uncacceptable as long as they are logical, plausible, not based on false opinions and is clearly presented as a series of hypothesis and not as supported by any evidence. Consider this post for example. $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Aug 7, 2017 at 16:48
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    $\begingroup$ Well, I am sorry you chose not to answer. Hypotheses are accepted as answers here (if labelled as such). Regurgitating what others say, is pretty much what we all do when answering a question. This is the whole point of saying things that make sense. We just have to be clear about whether we are giving hypothesis, loosely supported hypothesis or extremely supported hypotheses. IMHO, this is pretty much the only type of answer one can provide. Btw, I read more than one webpage and their hypotheses were often quite related. $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Aug 7, 2017 at 16:59
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    $\begingroup$ You can open a meta.biology.SE post if you want to discuss whether my answer is on-topic by its nature or not but let's not further our discussion with more comments. It'll be interesting to see how other users see this issue. $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Aug 7, 2017 at 17:00
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    $\begingroup$ @Remi.b Great, thanks. After reading the response of canadianer, I agree that your answer is (now) acceptable. I reversed my vote on your answer, given the recent addition of sources, and most especially you noting that they aren't peer-reviewed. :) $\endgroup$
    – user22020
    Aug 8, 2017 at 19:18

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