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Cats and Water—It’s Not Just for Drinking

Despite what you may initially believe, there are cats that actually do enjoy water and we're not referring to just the beverage.

Jeanne, our contributing writer, shares her experiences with her feline friend and shows that there are some cat breeds that are known to enjoy a swim, cats that enjoy the thrill of water play, and cats that will tolerate a bath. Despite what you may initially believe, there are cats that actually do enjoy water and we're not referring to just the beverage.

The “Swimming” Cat:

One breed in particular that stands out as a lover of water is the Turkish Van. Discovered on the shores of Lake Van in Turkey, this breed, which is generally a fluffy white cat with mostly white and auburn markings around the face and tail, loves to go for a swim. It has a silky coat that is said to be water resistant. If you own this breed and they do not have access to a body of water, they will most likely be expressing their love of the water sport by playing in a nearby water bowl, with the water faucet, or even with toilet water.

Not every cat is a swimmer; therefore, you should take precaution and be able to act quickly in the case of an emergency or drowning situation. Water can be a danger for cats and you should never leave a full bath unattended, as a cat could dive in and be scalded by hot water or there is also the potential for drowning. Toilet lids should be kept down due to the danger of any chemicals you may use to clean them. Not all water situations are fun for cats.

Water Play:

Cats have been observed dipping or standing with a paw in their water before drinking. I’ve also found toys submerged in water bowls and witnessed cats at play with drenched toy mice. Actually, as I’m typing this, my cat is placing his paw in his water bowl while drinking. Is he testing the temperature of the water or is he just washing his paw? Why do cats do this?  

There are several theories as to why cats will play with water. One is that a cat will not drink from a dirty water bowl or drink water that is dirty. They have a great sense of smell and may be testing the water with their paw for its safety from chemicals and (yes, as mentioned earlier) to test the temperature. Another theory of water play is that the cat maybe trying to actually catch a reflection with their paw. Still another theory is that some cats like running water over still water. Cats are also known to have weird drinking habits and are found drinking water directly from a faucet, a filled mug in the sink, or a puddle on the patio. 

Scrub-a-dub-dub!

Cats are usually known to provide themselves with their own bath, but there are occasions that might call for you, your veterinarian, or a professional groomer to provide a bath. These occasions may be if your cat gets extremely dirty; for example with mud, if your cat obtains fleas, or if your cat is a show cat. In these cases, this is where water will come into the picture. Most cats are resistant to water as it gives them an icky feeling to their coat.  If you start bathing your cat at an early age, they can become use to the pampering of a warm bath.  

Morris Animal Inn offers grooming services for your cat and if your cat has a love of water, Morris Animal Inn can also offer our feline guests aquarium views of their fish friends performing one of their favorite water sports –swimming! Contact us to book your cat’s next grooming appointment or lodging reservation and request an accommodation with a water view!

Sources:

Cutts, P. (1992). The Complete Cat Book. New York: Smithmark Publishers Inc.

Haddon, C. (2010). Cats Behaving Badly. New York: Thomas Dunne Books. An imprint of St. Martin's Press.

James R. Richards, D. (1999). ASPCA Complete Guide to Cats. San Francisco: Chronicle Books LLC.

Wilkins, K. A. (2007). Animal Planet. Cats. New Jersey: T.E.H. Publications, Inc.

We are pleased to have Jeanne, as a contributing writer for If They Could Talk. Jeanne is a member of our Guest Services team and is a passionate cat owner. We look forward to sharing her contribution on interesting and educational pet topics.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Alice Jameson February 01, 2013 at 12:57 PM
I always theorized that cats dip a paw into the water bowl to create a ripple effect, thereby determining the water level. Animals seem to have acute vision with regard to motion, and a cat lowering its face into a bowl of standing water just might get an unpleasant soaking.
Joanne Morris, CKO February 12, 2013 at 04:23 PM
Thank you for sharing your very interesting observations, Alice! Check out our other blog posts for more pet information! Morris Animal Inn 120 Sand Spring Rd. Morristown, NJ 07960
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