Saturday, April 2, 2016
Why do cats hate water so? As with everything cat related, it can be a bit complicated. Part of the reason is nature and part of it is nurture.
All domestic cats are descended from the African Wildcat, which looks a great deal like a leggy tabby. The African Wildcat is a desert dwelling creature and has little contact with water, and certainly not with large bodies of water. As a result they did not develop the oils and protective undercoat that helps dogs and other animals shed water quickly. When a cat gets wet, he stays wet.
All that water in their coats slows the animal down and for a creature that is programed for a flight or fight response, you don't wanted to be weighed down with a bunch of water. Plus sitting around in a wet coat feels very much to the cat like it would feel to you if you were sitting around in water logged cloths that you couldn't take off.
Not at all pleasant.
The nurture part comes in when a cat's first impression of water is a negative one. If they are given a flea bath, are caught in a downpour or if sprayed water is used as a punishment measure in your home, then your cat will have an aversion response toward water.
My @Diamond Emerald-Eyes, for example, was living as a feral cat during Hurricane Charlie in 2003, and she's terrified beyond belief of water. And I don't blame her. That was a very wet, miserable summer to have to live through outside in the wild.
But not all cats hate water. There is a whole breed of cats - the Turkish Vans - known as the swimming cats that just adore water. This is a natural breed of domestic cat (as opposed to man-made breed) that developed along the Van Lake in Turkey. The cats would swim out to meet the returning fishing fleet, thereby granting those who braved the water the largest portion of food. Eventually evolution helped them with changes to their coats, which helps them shed water for effectively.
Most cats are in fact, fascinated by water. The noise it makes and the way the light plays off the surface triggers their hunting responses. And cats can swim as well as any dogs. Just remember that if you do happen to lure your cat into the swimming pool to enjoy a pool party, that they need a secure sunny spot to lay down, dry off in and groom themselves to perfection afterwards.
Thanks for reading and have yourselves a wonderful #caturday!