Are Cats Really Afraid of Water?

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Fact: it’s no secret that cats are not generally fond of water. Although it may seem quite strange as to why they wouldn’t like something that’s everywhere on earth, there is some explanation as to why they might opt for drier climates. If you’ve ever wondered why this could happen, here are a few things to consider.

Desert Descendants

Like the domestic dog, most house cats all come from a common ancestor — the Arabian wildcat. As it’s known, Arabia is one of the driest regions in the world, with no lakes and hardly any rivers or streams. Water is generally a rarity, except during the rainy season when sudden floods can be quite dangerous — and this is commonly believed to be one of the main reasons why cats would rather stay far away from water at all costs (can you blame them?).

Cats Clean Themselves

Another reason cats generally dislike water is due to biology. Cats are always cleaning themselves, which removes the natural oils that build up in their fur. For animals such as dogs, this oil helps to repel water and keeps them warm when they do get wet. So when cats get wet, they happen to get colder much faster than dogs. Also, cats rely on sneaking quietly to approach their prey, rather than quickly pouncing — and a wet coat means that they’ll move much more sluggishly, risking that they’ll miss their prey.

There’s Always an Exception

While most kitties shun water, several breeds have been bred to enjoy it. One of the more popular kinds is the Turkish Van, which is known to enjoy swimming in the water. Another is the Maine Coon. These massive cats — which average 14-16 pounds — were initially bred in Maine, where rain and snow are constant companions. A similar breed is the Norwegian forest cat, which prefers fishing in rivers, rather than hunting mice and birds.

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