Can domestic cats swim?

shelta blog | Animal welfare, pets

Not all cats are afraid of water. Photo: (c) MIH83 / Pixabay

Many cats are actually very brave animals. They bravely explore the world, face dangers, jump from high heights. But when they see water, most cats give it a wide berth. But why is that actually the case? And can cats swim at all?

Why don't cats like water?

To answer the most important question right from the start: Yes, cats can naturally swim. If a cat is in the water, for example in a lake, it will swim quickly to the shore in order to get out of here as quickly as possible. By the way, cats swim just like dogs - with their heads above water and paddling with all four paws.

But why do most cats avoid the water? We looked for and found possible reasons for you.

  • The ancestors of the cat come from the desert, where there is little water. Therefore, they hardly had to use their swimming skills and did not develop their swimming behavior any further.
  • The fur soaks up full of water and then becomes heavy for the otherwise light animals. In addition, wet fur quickly becomes cold so that the cat can cool down. This is very uncomfortable and the fur loses its normal function.
  • The water covers the cat's own odor. And this is so important for the four-legged friends, for example to communicate with other conspecifics and to mark their territory, etc. Then the own smell would have to be laboriously restored by cleaning.
  • Perhaps the cat has had bad experiences with water. Unfortunately, you can often see on the Internet that cats are forced to bathe or water splashes are also used as punishment, for example. Then the aversion to water is understandable.

When can water be dangerous for cats?

Even if cats can easily stay afloat, there are still some situations in which water can be dangerous for four-legged friends. Namely when they don't come out. The danger is great, for example, in bathtubs, in swimming pools and other things that have rounded and slippery edges. If the cat falls in there, there is a risk that it will not be able to get out on its own. It can certainly stay afloat for a while, but at some point its strength will weaken and the cat will drown.

Therefore, bodies of water such as ponds, rain barrels, swimming pools etc. should be appropriately secured or an exit in the form of a board should be provided. So that an animal can come out on its own in an emergency.


Can you get cats used to water and swimming?

Not every cat is afraid of water. There are some breeds that theoretically like to go into the water very much. These include the Norwegian Forest Cat, Maine Coon or Siberian Cat.

If the cat is used to water from an early age, it may be less reluctant to use it in adulthood. In addition, our velvet paws are also individual - some like water and some don't.

How is it with your cat? Is she pretty afraid of water too?

This entry was posted in Tips for pet owners and tagged swimming, water, danger, cat, pet by Natalija. Permanent link to the entry.