Cats are known to avoid all the things they hate, be it the noise of the vacuum cleaner, the neighbor’s dog, or the bathtub.
Another thing they avoid is getting wet. You will have seen on more than one occasion that your cat takes shelter when it rains. This can lead us to the wrong conclusion that cats cannot swim.
Why is it commonly accepted that cats cannot swim? Read on to learn a little more about cats, water, and swimming.
Can cats swim?
Any feline, from our cats to a leopard and a tiger, are capable of swimming. If a cat falls into the water, it will instinctively swim and head for land.
Therefore, all domestic cats can swim , at least theoretically. Many cats go their entire lives without stepping on water, while others may learn to enjoy splashing in a shallow pool or bath.
That our domestic cats can swim does not mean that you can throw your pet in the pool. If your cat likes water, he will do it himself. Never force your cat into a pool of water just to see if he can swim, he won’t like your idea!
Why is my cat afraid of water?
Like humans, when cats are born, they instinctively have no qualms with water. However, there are reasons why your cat may have a fear of baths or water in general:
- It was not exposed to water. If your cat has been domesticated since she was a kitten, chances are she has never been exposed to water. With water absent for most of their lives, they get used to living without it. So a sudden dip in the tub could stress you out.
- His race does not enjoy water. There are breeds of cats that enjoy water. As an example: the Turkish Van cat, the Maine Coon, the Manx cat and the Bobtails.
- His hair is soaked. After getting into the water, the hair becomes soaked and the sudden weight can cause a cat to panic and try to escape from the water.
There are a few more in addition to those mentioned above, but these are the main reasons why cats hate water .
Steps to get your cat used to water
The easiest way to acclimatize your cat to water is to start when she is a kitten . Kittens cannot fear what they do not understand, so then they are not as easily frightened as adult cats. Kittens that grow up in the presence of water will be less opposed to it and may even learn to enjoy it.
It is important that you follow some guidelines when exposing your cat to water:
- Check that your cat is not allergic to chlorine.
- Try to get the pool temperature right for your cat.
- Don’t force your cat into water that’s too deep or doesn’t have a ramp or exit.
- Act calmly and with caresses. Remember, it can be scary and that would be a problem.
- Once you are sure that your cat trusts you, put it slowly in the water, let it adjust to the feeling.
- Continue to hold your cat as he begins to swim, keeping him on hold at all times.
- If your cat seems happy swimming, encourage him but stay close. If freaked out, remove it immediately.
- When you’re done, remember to help your cat out of the pool.
By following these steps, you will make it easier for your scary cat to swim for him.
Safety measures with water
Since your cat is not used to being in the water, some safety issues can arise.
Cats instinctively know how to swim, but certain conditions must be met and controlled to ensure the safety of your pet. Some basic rules are:
- Provide your cat with an outlet. Your cat will likely have a hard time escaping from the water once he’s in it. Therefore, it is important that there is a ramp that they can use to get out of the water if he becomes nervous or uncomfortable.
- Keep an eye on the chemicals in your pool. You should check the water in your pool to make sure it is chemically balanced, but this is even more important when you have animals that swim. Too much chlorine or other chemicals could have a negative effect on your pet’s health.
- Dry your cat’s ears. Cats have deep ear canals, which means there is a large space for infection if water gets inside them. Most cats will instinctively avoid getting water in their ears.
Domestic cats share the ability to swim with other big cats.
Some breeds are more comfortable with water than others, but it mostly depends on the personality of each cat.
Although cats can swim, it is best as an owner to be vigilant and protect your cat from water-related accidents that could quickly turn tragic.
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