Can cats swim? Myths and Facts

Can cats swim? Yes, they are capable of swimming. Cats are water-resistant and can swim. Almost all cats have a natural tendency to paddle if they find themselves in water. If someone asked you to bring your cat along to the upcoming pool party because their canine counterparts will also be there, and it will be fun to bring all the pets together, what would be your reaction? Does your cat hate water? Do you think it will get aggressive if taken near water?

Well, these are popular questions that a cat parent keeps asking themselves. Today we will address them for you. So sit tight and take a look.

The Anatomy Of A Swimming Cat Breed

Wild cats searched for prey. Those that pursued their prey on land didn’t have to learn to swim. They may have only known water as a torrential downpour that left them cold and drenched.

Those cats would never have felt the need to go for a swim. Wild cats that had to hunt for fish, on the other hand, may have evolved the ability to swim effectively. When you look at large cats in the wild, you’ll find that many of them are excellent swimmers.

can cats swim

Tigers, for example, have no fear of water, as does the Fishing Cat. The fishing cat is an Asian wildcat that loves to dwell near water since it may obtain its preferred meal. According to the San Diego Zoo, the fisher cat is one of the finest swimmers in the animal kingdom.

Wild cats, however, as time passed and cats were domesticated, their owners shielded them from the weather. Felines just ceased coming into contact with water. Your cat possibly is not used to being wet. If a cat fell into the water by mistake, it most likely caught them off guard and left a lasting (and unpleasant) image.

Nonetheless, contemporary cats may not always despise water. They’re just not used to the sensation. Have you ever seen your cat playing with a leaking faucet? She may shake her paw when it becomes wet, but it is a novel feeling for her.

Just like some cats love tuna while others prefer chicken, some cats prefer water while others do not.

Why do cats love to swim?

Let’s be honest: water is a great toy. Cats are drawn to everything that moves, and water moves a lot. Your cat may like batting at running water from the tap because it is shiny and reflecting, and it moves very fast, similar to their favorite toys.

Like cooling down in the water, warm-weather cats such as lions, tigers, leopards, etc., are typically solid swimmers. Cold-weather cats, such as bobcats, lynx, and snow leopards, avoid water since becoming wet would compromise their fur’s ability to keep them warm.

How long can a cat swim?

Non-domesticated large cat species (such as the tiger, jaguar, and lion) can swim up to 9 kilometers, and this is because they rely on water to help them thermoregulate, which is how they keep a healthy body temperature.

Why do cats naturally hate water?

One theory proposes that because the species originated in arid regions with limited exposure to rivers or lakes, water (other than for drinking) is an element they are unfamiliar with and so avoid. On the other hand, cats dislike being wet because of what water does to their fur.

Cats are finicky creatures who spend a large portion of their day grooming themselves. Wet fur is particularly unpleasant for a cat and takes a long time to dry. A damp coat is also thicker than dry fur, making a cat less agile and easier to trap for predators.

There’s also the shock element to consider. Falling into a full bathtub, for example, maybe a terrifying experience for a cat, making it terrified of water for the rest of its life.

Although most domestic cats dislike water, their wild counterparts, like tigers, like it when cooling down or hunting their next meal. There are also a few house cats who enjoy swimming, such as the Maine coon, Bengal, and Abyssinian, and will do a few laps around the pool occasionally.

What methods can I use to teach my cat to swim?

Before you immerse your cat in water, remember that learning to swim is a slow process. If your cat has never taken a dip in the water, it will take some time for your furry friend to acclimate to the sensation and develop a sense of security and confidence. When teaching your cat, follow these instructions.

  • Try introducing water to your cat. Bring the cat outdoors with you if you have a pool or a kiddie pool, and let them play while you’re in the water. Bring some goodies to persuade them to come over and stand by the pool with you. Allow your cat to enter the bathroom while showering if you don’t want them to explore the bath.
  • Carry them while you’re in the water if they’re okay with water. While holding your cat in the water, go around with your furry friend. Allow their belly or tail to sink into the water slowly. How are things going for them?
  • When you can safely wander about with them, place them in the water while still holding them. They’ll probably start paddling before they even get in the water.

When teaching your cat to swim, keep an eye on them around water. They may know the ropes instinctively, yet they are inexperienced enough to have an accident.

If your cat is acting aggressively, don’t risk a bite or scratch. Place them back on solid ground and wait until they feel more comfortable being held in the water.

Can cats swim outside?

Cats are known for avoiding water, which has caused many people to think that cats cannot swim. However, this is a common misunderstanding. Just because our feline companions aren’t as fond of water as their canine counterparts don’t mean they can’t swim.

In reality, all cats can swim intuitively; it’s just that most of them would do anything to avoid it.

Big wild cats, such as tigers and jaguars, are renowned for being powerful and elegant swimmers. So, rather than an innate dislike to water, the reason domestic cats don’t like water may have more to do with their upbringing.

However, while cats can swim intuitively, they may be terrible swimmers if they tumble into the water. And if they aren’t used to it, they may panic and drown if you aren’t there to help them.

What are the different types of cats that like to swim?

As per The Cat Fancier’s Association, several cats breeds like getting wet to varying degrees. American Bobtail, Bengal cats, Norwegian Forest Cat, American Maine Coon, Turkish Angora, Japanese Bobtail, ManxShorthair, and Turkish Van are among them.

Can cats learn how to swim?

It may surprise you, but cats may be trained to like water if given the proper exposure. Many cat owners have wondered why their cats couldn’t swim, but the reality is that they can! If you’re one of the courageous cat owners who want to teach your cat to swim, you’re in luck!

A list of the most popular domestic breeds of cats

There are several things to consider while choosing the ideal breed of a house cat for you, including:

  • How much alone time will your cat spend?
  • What level of grooming are you ready to commit?
  • What type of personality does your cat have?

Once you’ve answered those basic questions, you can start narrowing down your breed possibilities and zeroing in on the suitable breeds for your lifestyle and personality.

Take a look and the most popular domestic breeds of cats

  1. Ragdoll
  2. Exotic
  3. Maine Coon Cat
  4. Persian
  5. British Shorthair
  6. Devon Rex
  7. Abyssinian
  8. American Shorthair
  9. Scottish Fold
  10. Sphynx

Will cats stay away from water?

One of the most popular traits of domestic cats is their dislike of water. However, this does not apply to all felines. Particular big cats, such as tigers, are known to swim to cool off or seek prey, and even some domesticated varieties are known to swim when given the opportunity.

Water makes their coat heavy.

A cat will feel weighted down and unable to move at its typical agility levels if its real fur is soaked. That’s an unsettling sensation for a feline who likes to move through life with a bouncy, easy stride.

Domestic cats aren’t evolved for swimming.

Even though many cats enjoy the taste of fish, they are not traditionally ocean or river dwellers.

Domesticated cats are descended from felines that often dwell in arid environments. They never learned to swim since there was no evolutionary necessity for them to do so.

They don’t like being cold.

Cats dislike the cold because they are compassionate and often develop unwellness. During the winter, it’s typical to observe them scouring the house for the warmest location.

And thus, the possibility of getting cold is another reason cats do not like water a lot. As a result, you need to take specific steps to ensure that they are comfortable and warm.

What is the best way to teach my cat to swim?

Cats’ dislike of water has long been regarded as fact. However, the widely held belief that “all dogs love water” isn’t always correct, “all cats detest water” has its exceptions.

One of the primary reasons cats dislike water is that they have pretty much never been exposed to it. If you are cat is not an outdoor cat, then it means that your furry friend has probably never been caught in a downpour and had to deal with a wet coat and skin.

Some studies believe cats have evolved a dislike for water because their pet parents protect them from the elements. If a cat is not exposed to rain or moisture, it will develop to the point where it will not need to dip its feet into a tub, lake, or swimming pool.

Take a look at some tips to train your cat to enjoy (or at least tolerate) water:

1. Place the kitten in an empty bathtub or sink and let him play with his favorite toy. Talk to him very softly and make the time in the tub or sink enjoyable for him. Do this for a few days. Throughout the procedure, use positive reinforcement and provide goodies.

2. Once he’s settled in a dry sink or tub, begin massaging him with a damp washcloth. Not enough to completely immerse him, but enough to get him wet.

3. Next, pour a tiny amount of room temperature water into the sink and place him in it, allowing him to feel it on his feet. You might wish to bring his favorite toy with him.

Cats who love water

Many cats appear to like playing with running or dripping water, such as that which comes from a faucet.

According to behaviorists, cats are lured to the movement of the water and the sounds it creates, which can all trigger a cat’s innate urge to grab prey. Here is a list of cats with good tolerance for water.

Maine Coon

In their native New England, this large, hairy lug was a favorite ship’s cat. No self-respecting sailor would embark on a journey without one. The Maine Coon has a thick, water-repellent coat in a variety of colors and patterns.

Maine coon

Turkish Van

This breed is native to Turkey’s Lake Van area, and its fondness for water has given it the moniker “the swimming cat.” These cats have semi-long fur with a cashmere-like texture that is inherently water-repellant, so they will come out of the water relatively dry.

Turkish Vans have big paws and strong hind legs, making them excellent jumpers and climbers.

Turkish Van

They’re energetic, intelligent creatures, and while modern Turkish Vans seldom come into contact with big bodies of water, don’t be shocked if yours plays in his water bowl, swims in the pool, or joins you in the bathtub.

And remember to keep the lid on the toilet, or you could find your cat has transformed the bathroom into his fishing hole.


The adventurous Aby originates from the Indian Ocean’s shore. Therefore it’s no wonder that they like water play.


This active and fun-loving cat most likely arrived in Europe by ship in the nineteenth century, which may have strengthened their familiarity with the wet things. Don’t be shocked if your Abyssinian learns to turn on the tap and create their water park.


The Bengal is a domestic cat hybrid created by crossing a domestic feline with an Asian leopard cat.

Bengal cat

Bengals kept as pets are typically at least four generations away from the leopard cat; nonetheless, several jurisdictions consider them an unusual breed and prohibit citizens from owning them. These cats enjoy playing in the water.

To keep their Bengals busy, owners often fill the tub with water and put in a few toys. Bengals, on the other hand, like going for a swim as well as splashing around in it.


The Manx, a resident of the Isle of Man, is the epitome of an island cat. It’s not uncommon to see them dipping their paws in their water dish or even joining their owners in the shower. Their double coat is available in a variety of colors and designs and can be short or long.


Japanese Bobtail

The Manx cat, which lives on the Isle of Man off the coast of Britain, is the definition of an island cat.

Japanese Bobtail

It is not unusual to see them putting their paws in their water dish or joining their humans in the shower. Their double coat comes in several colors and styles, and which may be worn short or long.

American Bobtail

A spontaneous genetic mutation resulted in this short-tailed cat. That mutation appears to have resulted in a fondness for water.

American Bobtail

These cats are frequently seen immersing their toys in the water. The shaggy coat of the American Bobtail comes in short and medium lengths and any color or pattern.


The serval, a tiny wildcat, was paired with domestic cats to produce this big, energetic, curious cat.


That, no doubt, explains their enjoyment of playing with and in water. They are pretty intelligent and maybe a handful. The Savannah is distinguished by its brightly colored coat, long neck, and big ears.

Turkish Angora

These silky-coated cats are also from Turkey, and despite their delicate appearance, they are powerful, headstrong cats who demand engaging play.

Turkish angora

They are brilliant and readily trained, and they frequently bond with one member in a household, becoming their constant companion. This breed is typically drawn to water. They will make splashes in sinks and may run when they hear the sound of the shower.

Turkish Angoras have also been observed paddling in small ponds and streams. If you want to keep your Turkish Angora entertained, leave the sink flowing and let her play.

Do Cats Instinctively Know How to Swim?

Cats swim instinctively, but specific circumstances must be met and maintained to guarantee your pet’s safety. Domestic cats, like their wild counterparts, are born knowing how to swim.

If your cat is frightened of water, it’s because they haven’t been exposed to it. Some fundamental guidelines are as follows: Exit your pet. Once exposed to water, your cat will most likely struggle to escape.

Can a Cat Drown?

Pet cats, like people, drown in bodies of water both inside and outside the home. They may tumble into a body of water from which they cannot escape, or they may swim too far out and exhaust themselves.

Swimming pools, ponds, bathtubs, and even buckets of water in the backyard pose drowning hazards.

If you like to feed your cat with bacon then check on this article Can Cats Eat Bacon?


Is your cat not fond of water? You should be aware that you can teach him not to be scared of water. And this might be a chance to introduce him to new forms of activities.

Your cat could even surprise you by swimming (knowing that you won’t have to train him: cats can swim naturally!). You and your furry little friend can bond over you to get your cat to enjoy the water.

Keep in mind that making your cat a water baby is a process that takes patience and persistence, so keep at it.

Take care of your furry little friend for us, and we will soon come back with more exciting articles.


Can cats float in water?

Cats dislike water, but if given the opportunity or required, cats can and will swim. Tossing a cat into a body of water will cause it to float and swim to safety. Cats will undoubtedly swim out of need and maybe for survival.

What to do if a cat Falls In the pool?

Rinse him with warm, clean water, dry him as much as possible. Maintain his warmth and keep an eye out for indications of shock or hypothermia. In such a situation, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Are cats traumatized by water?

Cats and water seldom go well together. And attempting to submerge them in a tub without first conducting a proper study of the methods might end in trauma for both you and your pet.
You’ll almost certainly wind up with water on the floor, bites, and scratches all over your body, and a terrified kitten that has left the situation and is nowhere to be found.

About the author

I'm Gulshan, a passionate pet enthusiast. Dive into my world where I share tips, stories, and snapshots of my animal adventures. Here, pets are more than just animals; they're heartbeats that enrich our lives. Join our journey!thing.