The Detroit Post
Wednesday, 01 December, 2021

Why Are Cats Don't Like Water

Daniel Brown
• Thursday, 08 October, 2020
• 12 min read

Unlike dogs, who love to frolic in the water and in some instances are even trained to work in it, most kitties aren't fans of getting wet. If you've ever been stuck in the rain without an umbrella, you will know that wet hair is notoriously difficult to manage, and that doesn't sit well with cats.

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Cats, ever-diligent with their personal hygiene routine, spend about a third of their waking hours grooming, notes the Coma. Your cat's meticulous grooming skills ensure that she won't need a bath often, but if she gets herself into a dirty or smelly mess, it's good to know the tips and tricks of the trade.

As a pet parent, you may notice that while your fur baby may dislike being wet, she loves to play with water. Dripping water “is a cat magnet,” says Animal Planet, providing an exploration of the senses.

It's also possible that her instincts associate running water with fresher streams that would be safer to drink in the wild than a still puddle. There are also a few breeds of household kitties, including the Maine coon, Bengal and Abyssinian, that love the water and occasionally enjoy a few laps around the pool.

When you welcome a cat into your home, it won't be long until you learn your feline friend's preferences and discover fun new (possibly splashy) games to play. Christine O'Brien is a writer, mom, and long-time cat parent whose two Russian Blues rule the house.

While the top layer of the fur is water -resistant to a degree, if the whole coat is drenched, your pet will be uncomfortable. It’s possible your cat doesn’t like the scent of chemicals from tap water.

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Some domestic cats actually enjoy the water, particularly if they live in a region that has a hot, dry climate. The water is cool and refreshing, and the cat may swim or soak in it.

Large jungle cats, like lions and tigers, spend a lot of time in the water cooling off, and they are great swimmers. Just as with people, cats in colder climates don’tlike to get completely wet because it causes them to lose body heat.

Your cat may enjoy water to some degree, or they may prefer to avoid it at all costs. Since cats spend a large part of their waking hours grooming themselves, giving a bath shouldn’t be a high priority for you.

Make sure the water is warm, and don’t use any additives, such as bubble bath. Gently ease your cat into the water while stroking the animal and speaking softly.

Use a special formulated cat shampoo that won’t dry out the skin, and apply it to the sponge or cloth. Rinse out the cloth or sponge and gently wipe the cat off with clear water.

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Mother cats begin licking their kittens from the minute they are born. They do this grooming to remove all the debris and fluids associated with the birth as well as to get the kittens breathing.

So, those cats who spend the time and effort to clean each other are truly showing that they care. This behavior has a habit of sticking around as a source of comfort and relaxation, and it may even be a sign of affection and bonding with you.

Cats may settle down for a nap after kneading just as they would with a full tummy after feeding. Cats may knead on toys, blankets, objects or you to show ownership.

If nothing else seems to work, keep a thick blanket nearby to protect your skin. Photo: Mr. TinDC You’re stretched back in your recliner, relaxing after a hard day at the office.

Scent communication is a large part of bonding and expressing emotion for cats. Bunting spreads the cat’s unique odor “signature” upon whatever they rub.

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Sharing this scent quickly identifies you, other family members and objects with a familiar odor. Leaving a scent mark is retained for social bonding as well as for friendly and comforting purposes.

Touch also plays a significant role in cats lives. Their bodies are blanketed by pain and pressure sensory cells that are highly sensitive to even the slightest touch.

There is no single or unique organ that produces the sound or the vibration, and the average cat purrs at around 25 decibels. Some scientists believe purring is also a function meant to heal or be social in cats.

Purring can trigger the release of a chemical in the brain to relieve pain. Cats also purr when eating, sleeping or when in pain, and the volume, pitch and frequency can vary.

Yet another theory is possible: Scientific American believes cats purr to stimulate bones and muscles without exerting a lot of energy. Since cats have very little bone abnormalities or illnesses compared to other animals, this theory seems plausible too.

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Photo: Nikki Unwrapping presents or getting deliveries is the favorite part of some cats day! Cats love to hide, and a box creates the perfect opportunity for that.

They can play secret agent, stalk without being noticed, create their own fortress, or they may just want a place to hide from all the hoopla of kids and boisterousness. The reason your cat may like being in a box can be as simple as play time.

Your cat may view it as a game, waiting for toys to get thrown in or grabbing anything that passes by the opening. Cats feel secure in small, tight spaces.

They check the openings by using their whiskers to ensure their bodies can fit inside. Any small space that just barely fits your cat is perfect for feeling secure and keeps people (or other pets) out.

Watch this cat avoid the carpet by sitting on a piece of paper in this video: Laser pointers throw out bright-red dots of light that move at different speeds and change direction quickly.

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Cats are natural hunters, so those quick-moving red dots satisfy their hunting instincts. Behavior consultant Marilyn Krieger says she’s concerned that laser pointers don’t give cats the satisfaction that comes with the “capture,” because cats will never be able to catch that moving red dot.

Her concerns are valid, but laser-pointer playtime can be entertaining and rewarding for your cat as long as you follow a few important guidelines. Once in a while, let the red dot of the laser land on one of these other toys and watch your kitty “capture” it.

Your cat may even come over and jump in your lap, giving you an open invitation to pet them. If you’re brave, take the plunge: Next time you’re at the zoo, blink slowly at a tiger on the other side of that cage, rather than staring directly into the tiger’s eyes, and see if you gain a new feline friend.

Why do cats hate water when their bigger cousins like the tiger, bobcat, or leopard don’t mind taking a dip to cool off or catch prey? A curious cat that falls in your bubble bath or caught outside in the rain may avoid water for the rest of its life.

It can also take a long time for a cat’s hair to dry on its own,” says Dr. Cohen. “Another aspect of discomfort is that cats are quick and nimble creatures, light on their feet and adept at jumping and balancing.

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This fear reaction can be exacerbated if owners have used a squirt gun or spray bottle to dissuade cats from being on surfaces such as furniture or the kitchen counter,” says Jennifer Fasten, DVD, from Tomlin Veterinary Science. Cats may also turn their nose up at the odors their keen sense of smell detects from the chemicals in tap water.

That is the ideal time for a pet parent to expose their kitten to water using treats or toys as positive reinforcement. Older cats can also be conditioned to tolerate or enjoy the water, but it may be a bit slower process,” says Dr. Fasten.

Unlike some big cats in the wild today that live near bodies of water and will occasionally swim across a river or go fishing in a lake, domestic cats are not forced to contend with water in a human-occupied environment. “There is not much in their ancestors' past to prepare the modern cat for the bath tub, which helps explain why their first reaction is to escape the arms of an owner trying to get them in it,” says Dr. GREC.

One domestic breed, the strikingly beautiful Turkish Van cat, actually delights in getting wet. If your cat is any other breed, he probably views swimming and bathing as spectator sports -- and the prospect of being caught in a thunderstorm with raindrops drenching his fur is unthinkable.

On the other hand, some big cats in the wild, especially those in hot, arid areas, regularly swim and bathe to stay cool or catch dinner. The Asian fishing cat is a skilled swimmer, with partially webbed paws, that dives to nab its prey.

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A dripping faucet is a cat magnet, an interactive toy that draws playful paws eager to catch a drop or two. The question never occurs to Brigitte, who nonetheless jumps to the kitchen counter, scampers to the sink and trains her amber eyes on the faucet.

But if yours gets into something sticky or smelly, or has a skin condition that requires bathing, you'll want to help Kitty cope with the watery experience. Place him in an empty tub or sink, speak reassuringly, and run a washcloth wet with room-temperature water over his fur -- just enough to get him damp.

If he's calm enough, start filling the bath or use a tumbler or pitcher of warm water -- never hot -- and slowly pour this over his fur. The two reasons are: cats are control freaks and their coats being completely wet take a long time to dry out, making them uncomfortable.

But the genetic argument doesn’t seem to float if you take into account their ancestors such as the tiger are not only excellent swimmers, but love to romp in large reservoirs of water. On the continent of Africa the water definitely is a great way to cool down, and the pursuit of the next meal is not hindered because the prey decides to take a dip.

The control freak argument seems to carry more water, as cats tend to prefer having all fours on terra firma. Non-cat owners often wonder how it is a cat almost always manages to land on all fours, but friends of felines understand it’s all about an internal balancing act that parallels the idea of always grounding themselves on the earth.

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In fact, though the evidence is almost 100 percent observational, a strong case can be made that it is this lack of trust beyond their natural traits and instincts that fuel the avoidance of water. If a cat is found to be drinking a lot of water it is usually a cause for concern, generally the reason is a possible kidney problem or diabetes.

Cats are famously known for eating rodents such as rats and mice, reducing the population of these pests in the homes of royalty and citizen alike. Unlike their ancestors, domestic cats found plenty of food without having to chase it through large bodies of water.

Domestic cats are considered to be generally lazy creatures, but the reason for this may be that they burn off energy is short spurts. Cats are composed animals, rarely given to emotional outbursts.

Get a cat wet, however, and you are likely to witness a total abandonment of any semblance of composure, with the feline going from docile to a windmill of claws, teeth, and flying fur. According to John Bradshaw, Ph.D., the Foundation Director of the Anthropology Institute at the University of Bristol and the author of Cat Sense, there’s more to the phobia than just matted fur: Cats may have an ancestral fear of getting wet.

According to Shaw, an oily coat doesn’t shed water easily, making it hard for them to return to a dry, warm state quickly. There’s also the paradoxical behavior of many cats who look at trickling faucets with what appears to be awe.

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“That flickering pattern, the light coming off the water, is hard-wired into their brain as a potential sign of prey,” Bradshaw says. Something moving is a potential thing to eat.” As far as cats are concerned, a little water goes a long way.

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