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Can Cats Swim? Myths and Facts

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We all have noticed our cats staring at the water running out from taps, my cats do this all the time. Many of you must be wondering what would be so interesting in water that our cats keep staring at it…? They will try to touch it or try to grab the flow or something like that.

Can Cats Swim

Well, cats are always curious about water, especially when it is flowing. It is in their instincts, as their ancestors used to prefer flowing water over stagnant water sources, probably because flowing water tasted better and healthier than stagnant one.

Also, it can be that they are attracted to moving things. Or they may think of it as magic, like where is water coming from?

Can Cats Swim?

The answer would be yes, cats can swim. Although we may have seen many cats hate water and always try to run away from it. They are natural-born swimmers, hence they are good at swimming.

Cats have webbed feet, which makes it easier for them to push against the water, thus allowing them to swim effortlessly.

Certain cats, like tigers, Jaguars, and Panthers, stay around water to hunt for food. When we talk about house cats, Maine Coon, Manx, Bengal, Turkish Van, Highlander, and Egyptian Mau, these domestic breeds love water.[1]

Cats get amused by the water, you may have noticed your cat looking at and playing with tap water,
However, some cats hate swimming pools or rain. They will run inside at the first hint of rain or any water drops on them.

Do Cats Love Water?

Yes and no, some cats do love water. We all must have heard cats don’t like water, but not all cats are like that. Some cats love water more than we do. They will splash in the first chance they get. There are many videos online where cats learn to turn on the taps by themselves and start playing with water, this shows us how much they love water.

Do Cats Love Water

They would never miss an opportunity to swim around or play with it. However, some cats despise water, I am sure you would have seen cats running away from it, especially during bath time.

Can Cats Drown in Water?

Yes, Cats can drown in water, although they are natural-born swimmers, they can drown if they are going into the water for the very first time. However, they have excellent reflexes when compared to all other mammals and will use them to avoid these situations. Sometimes their instinct will kick in, and they will start swimming.

Can Cats Drown in Water

Some cats have long hair and thick fur. If they get soaked in water, it will make their coat heavy, which will have an effect on their agility. Cats might stay away from water all the time, but there are some breeds who love water, they will always dabble in it and sometimes jump in it.[2]

If it is a kitten who is jumping, there are good chances that she can drown. It is important for cat parents to ensure that all water bodies their kitten can have access to, are kept covered, including swimming pools, toilets, and water-filled buckets.

When a pet cat is around any water body, it is always safer to have a human presence nearby, just like you wouldn’t leave your kid alone near a water body.

Which Breed of Cats Love to Swim?

There are many breeds of cats who love to swim in the water.[3] These cat breeds not only love to swim, but they also like playing around water more than other breeds.

Turkish Angora: This breed of cats is one of the best swimmers when compared to all the other breeds.

Turkish Angora

They would not miss a chance to jump in the water, it can be your bathtub, pond, a small river, etc. These cats are famous for their beauty and their silky fur. Many of these cats have heterochromia, which means, that both of their eyes have different colors.

Turkish Van: This breed is also called a swimming cat because of its affinity for water. Similar to Turkish Angora, they have a very silky fur, which just feels like cashmere. There is not much difference between these Turkish Angora and Turkish Van.

Turkish Van

Manx Cats: This particular breed originated from the Isle of Man island. You can recognize them by looking at their tail, they don’t have one. They are fearless and love to take on challenges.

Manx Cats

Most pet owners must have experienced their Manx cat dabbling on their water dish or when they are in the bathtub. Sometimes they would join us when we are taking a shower.

Bengal cats: Bengal cats are a naturally curious breed of cats that are descended from leopards. You would have seen them interested in water when they are around swimming pools, ponds, or any other water bodies. They love to swim, there are even videos of Bengal cats swimming in the ocean.

Bengal cats

Maine Coon: One of the big domestic cats on Earth, They have semi-water resistant fur, which means their top coat of hair might get wet but all the inner layers will remain dry, even after the cat is submerged in water. These cats are absolutely good swimmers as their paws are padded, and they can swim effortlessly.

Egyptian Mau: Egyptian Mau loves water, they might not miss an opportunity to splash water around when they get a chance. This breed of cats, as the name suggests is found in Egypt, they are also depicted in ancient Egyptian art and scriptures.

Egyptian Mau

Highlander: It is known for its curly ears and stubby tail, this breed is considered to be very affectionate and is not afraid of water.

Kurilian Bobtail: These cats look somewhat like lynx, Kurilian Bobtail is excellent when it comes to fishing. These cats are not afraid of water at all.

Kurilian Bobtail

Savannah: Savannah breed of cats is very playful. They love to play in the swimming pool. Sometimes you will find them playing with your faucet, they will open it and start playing with the water flow.

Norwegian Forest Cat: This breed of cat have been known for its swimming skills, they love to hunt fish and other small prey. Norwegian Forest Cat has a very dense wool upper coat to help them stay warm during very cold weather. They also have a water-repellent top coat which keeps the water from reaching the inner coat.

Norwegian Forest Cat


Is it safe for cats to swim in the pool?

Yes, it is safe for a cat to swim in a pool unless they don’t know how to swim. However, there are harmful chemicals in swimming pools, one of them is chlorine. Cat’s skin is very delicate and can be damaged if exposed for too long.

Do house cats hate water?

The answer can be yes and no both, just like we humans, cats have their differences. Some cats may run away from the mere sight of water, while some cats would start licking or start trying to grab it.

When a cat is afraid of water, spraying her with it can have a similar effect as spraying holy water on a vampire.

Can kittens swim?

Yes, kittens can swim. But one should expose them to water only after 6 weeks after they are born, as they lack muscle strength and coordination before 6 weeks of age.

It would be good for kittens to get exposed to water when they are young. If it is a breed that usually stays away from water and if they are exposed to water properly, they will be comfortable with it for a lifetime.


Since you are still reading this article, here’s a piece of advice for you,

“If you want to make your cats comfortable with water, you can start exposing them little by little at almost 6 weeks of age. This will make them get acquainted with it when they are still learning normal day-to-day things.”


  1. Curiosities: Why do cats hate water? (2009, July 27). University of Wisconsin-Madison. Retrieved July 7, 2022, from WISC.
  2. C. (2013, October 25). Do Cats Hate Water? | SiOWfa13: Science in Our World. The Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved July 7, 2022, from PSU.
  3. Moss, L. (2015, October 19). 9 cat breeds that love water. Adventure Cats. Retrieved July 7, 2022, from adventurecats.

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