Do Cats Swim?
You may have heard cats hate water, but can they swim? Read on for cat swimming facts!
Cats instinctively know how to swim even if they’ve never done it before, so if a cat falls in deep water they will naturally start kicking their legs to stay above water.
We all have common sea-dwelling ancestors, so perhaps that’s why many animals naturally know how to swim without being taught.
Just because cats can swim, however, doesn’t mean they want to swim and it doesn’t mean they’re good swimmers.
Why Don’t Most Cats Like Water?
We tend to assume that cats don’t like water and so we keep them away from it. This is a self-fulfilling prophesy because we don’t give cats the opportunity to get comfortable with water so they grow weary of it.
The only time a cat would need a bath is if their owner is going to get rid of lice or clean something unpleasant off them, which isn’t going to be a good experience for the cat.
Felines may also learn to associate getting wet with being rained on or with being sprayed with a hose.
Cats are individuals and have different likes and dislikes, so some cats may generally hate getting wet and have no interest in being near water. Others, however, may enjoy playing in water and even swimming if you give them the chance.
Water Loving Breeds
Some breeds are more likely to enjoy being in water than others. Van cats, Turkish vans, Bengal Cats, Maine Coon Cats, Savannah cats and the American Shorthair all seem to enjoy getting wet. Bengals and Savannahs may even get in the tub when their owner is having a bath!
Teach Your Cat To Swim
Cats are like humans in that they have swimming instincts and they can learn, but that doesn’t mean they are pro swimmers. If they are being introduced to swimming later in life they will be scared.
That doesn’t mean your cat can’t learn how to swim, but it’s a gradual process.
- Get your cat in the water. This can be difficult as your cat may panic when they see the water, so take your time, keep your cat calm and walk backwards if possible so the cat can’t see the pool.
- Once you’re in the water, keep a firm (but comfortable) grip on your cat by grasping the back feet in one hand to reduce the risk of scratches. Pet your cat and speak in a soothing voice until they calm down.
- DON’T drop your cat in the water. Instead, slowly kneel until your body is under the water while holding your cat above the water.
- Loosen your hold (don’t let go) and gently lower your cat into the water without letting go. Your cat should start paddling about by themselves, so let them do their thing while still holding on so they don’t sink.
- Once your cat seems more competent, start guiding them around the pool. Let the cat start swimming while you keep a loose hold on them so they can practice safely.
- When you’re confident your cat has got the knack of swimming, let go and let them do it themselves. Stay in the pool and keep a close eye on the cat to make sure you can swoop in if necessary.