Do Tabby Cats Like Water?

Do Tabby Cats Like Water

Cats are well-known for their strong dislike of water. But did you know that some cat breeds actually enjoy taking the occasional dip? In fact, some of these kitties are great swimmers!

For example, some tabby cats like the Bengal are particularly fond of water, thanks to their ancestral origins. Other breeds that are naturally drawn to water are Maine coons, Abyssinians, and Turkish Vans. This might leave you wondering – do tabby cats like water?

Well, whether your tabby loves being in water will depend greatly on their personality, breed, and upbringing. Some interesting facts about tabbies and their like or strong dislike for water are explained in this article.

Why most cats hate water

Have you ever wondered why your cat runs excitedly toward the faucet the moment she hears it start running, but then lashes out whenever you take her near a tub filled with water?

We are all familiar with these timeless stories of our feline friends’ love-hate relationship with water. Thankfully, cats rarely need a bath due to their fastidious grooming habits – which saves you a lot of struggles and scratches! But do cats really hate water?

Animal experts believe that the reason for our felines’ overall disdain for water has to do with several behavioral and biological factors. For one, both the wild feline ancestors and modern-day cats rarely have the opportunity to encounter water obstacles. Secondly, cats are notorious for hating change, which is why, the moment you put your kitty in the bathtub, her first reaction would be one of fear.

Another interesting fact is that the weight of the water can limit your cat’s mobility. When her fur is completely saturated with water, it affects her agility and flexibility, making the entire experience very unpleasant from her perspective. It is also for this reason that your cat’s wild counterparts are so adamant about avoiding a soaking – it makes them feel more vulnerable to larger predators.

And finally, did you know that cats can smell the chemicals in your bath water? You might not notice it, but our feline friends do, thanks to their super sensitive olfactory receptors. Unfortunately for your cat, the smell of chemicals drenching her coat is unpleasant and not like her own scent, so she will do everything in her power to avoid bath time.

All of that said, there remain a few exceptions – some cats actually love the water. And we are not just talking about kitties that enjoy lapping some water from the faucet, but those that genuinely love splashing, pawing, or even swimming in water. 

Cat breeds like the Maine coon, Turkish Van, and Abyssinian are known to be naturally drawn to water. Thanks to their water-repellent fur, these kitties do not mind getting wet at all and might even revel in it. 

But, while we have mentioned a few cat breeds that love water, what about tabbies in general? Well, some tabbies might enjoy taking a dip, but this has nothing to do with the color of their coat. Rather, the ability to tolerate – or even enjoy – getting soaked has more to do with the cat’s breed, individual personality, and acclimatization to water.

Do tabby cats like water?

Every cat is unique. Some might enjoy soaking in the bathtub, while the others detest getting wet at all. And whether or not they are a tabby has nothing to do with their love or hate for water whatsoever. Simply put, some tabbies might like being in water while others will forever loathe it.

Generally speaking, tabbies (like most other cats) can only learn to love the water if they are trained to get used to it at a young age. During their first introduction to water, they must feel comfortable and safe. If they do not, the experience can become a traumatic one that causes your kitty to keep a distance from the bathtub for the rest of her life.

Do tabby cats like swimming?

Certain cat breeds that happen to have a tabby coat can learn to swim and actually enjoy swimming. One such breed is the Turkish Van, which is also nicknamed “the swimming cat” due to its love of water. This ancient breed was believed to have first developed its love for swimming to hunt fish in Lake Van, the place where it originated.

Some water-loving felines might also prefer to be in a shallow pool to satisfy their curiosity and to play. If your cat does love the water, just make sure that their water environment is clean and safe. As much as possible, avoid puddles, lakes, and swampy water as these sources are likely to be contaminated with harmful bacteria, algae, and toxic chemicals. If your cat enjoys the swimming pool, it is advised to give her a good rinse after playing to prevent the pool chemicals from staying in contact with her sensitive skin.

Do tabby cats like baths?

Some tabby cats might enjoy a good bath, particularly on a hot summer day, but again, this might depend on their breed. As mentioned, breeds like Maine coons, Abyssinians, and Turkish Vans are naturally fascinated with water, so they are much easier to bathe than other cats.

Another cat breed that enjoys bath time is the Bengal. This tabby inherited its love for swimming and water play from its Asian leopard ancestors. If you own a Bengal kitty, do not be surprised if you see her jumping into the pool or even joining you in the bathtub.

How often should you bathe a tabby cat?

Cats generally do a perfectly good job of keeping their own fur clean and dirt-free, thanks to the little spines on their tongues that act like a brush. However, their fastidious grooming habits might sometimes not be enough to remove all the dirt, especially if they spend a lot of time outdoors.

Depending on your tabby’s lifestyle, a bath every six weeks or so might be recommended. If your tabby is an indoor cat, the frequency of bathing can be reduced.

Why is my cat attracted to running water?

Most cat parents have probably witnessed their pets’ fondness for running water. If your cat is like most, then seeing her playing with the faucet may well be a daily occurrence. This odd behavior has left some fur parents wondering why their pets prefer running water to the still water in their bowls.

There are many possible reasons why cats are drawn to running water. One obvious reason might be natural curiosity. They also find it easier to drink from a fountain because they can hear and locate it, unlike the still water in the bowl. Most cats also hate having their sensitive whiskers touch the edges of a bowl. 

Of course, there could be plenty of other reasons that Fluffy enjoys lapping water from the faucet. That is why purchasing a cat water fountain is often a good move – not just to entertain your furry friend, but also to encourage her to drink more water. 

Do cats like playing with water?

For most cats, water is perceived as a fun toy. Thus, it is quite normal to see our furry friends splashing or dipping their paws in running water or in any pool they can find. But, while it is cute to see them playing with the water, this does not mean they will be happy if you force them to bathe!  


Some tabby cats tolerate or enjoy being in water, but this is more due to their breed than their color. Other factors, such as personality and upbringing, can also influence a cat’s love for water.

While some breeds are naturally inclined to swim, most others can learn to tolerate (if not love) water in the loving arms of a patient fur parent. Tabby or not, there is a chance that you can train your cat to enjoy bath time, provided they are properly trained at an early age.

Image: / thezaria