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Why Do Cats Hate Water?

Kashaf Fatima
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Written by Kashaf Fatima| January 18, 2022

One of the most frequently asked questions by cat owners is, ‘Why Do Cats Hate Water?”. Well, not all cats hate water. However, yes, most of the cats do hate water. There are several reasons involved that make a cat despise the water.

Some cats simply don’t like being wet. Some are repelled due to the odour of chemicals present in water and a lot more reasons which you will be going to explore in this article.

Stay with me till the end of the article so you will know why cats hate water? Plus, there is a section in the article focusing on how you can make your sweetie drink water if she avoids drinking it.

title image for why do cats hate water

With that said, let’s explore what the day has brought to us today.

Reasons Why Cats Hate Water?

Why do cats hat water infographic

1. Weight

The first reason behind this hatred is they feel extra weighed when they are wet. Even though the cat’s top layer is resistant to water, when cats are wet, their body weight weighs down which makes them uncomfortable to walk or run. This also makes them hate the water.

2. Odour

Cats are sensitive to certain odours. It could also be possible that she dislikes the water because of the scent of chemicals in it. This usually happens with tap water or any chemically-treated water!

3. History

Some cats haven’t been exposed to water their entire life. This is the main reason they don’t find themselves adjusting easily to water, especially bathing in water.

4. Fear

Many cats are afraid that if they go near the water, their owners will bathe them in the water. This sensation makes them stay away from water.

5. Insulation

The wet fur remains cold and doesn’t insulate very well. So, if there are winters, there are higher chances of her getting cold. This makes the cats hesitant from being wet especially in winters.

6. Fur

Many cats don’t like the feeling of being wet. The reason is that wet fur takes too long to dry thus making it unpleasant for the cat to move around in wet fur. Also, it makes it difficult for the cats to run from predators in wet fur.

7. Bad Experience

It could also be possible that your cat has experienced some frightening experience with water. For example, there are chances that she might have fallen into the water tub accidentally which has now made her scared from the water for the rest of her life.

Related: Why DO Cats Knead and Purr?

Cats Hate Bathing True or False? 

an image showing true or false sign

Yes, it’s true. And they don’t really need it in general. You see, cats spend half of their day grooming themselves so they don’t need baths.

They have a special kind of tongue equipped with (spine-like) tissues called papillae. According to a 2018 study, cats do four kinds of movements with their tongue coated with papillae— extension, expansion, sweeping and retraction to clean their coats, wick saliva into the fur. 

In this way, they kill two birds with a single bullet. First, it cleans the dirt, oils, sticky substances and loosens the hair. Secondly, the saliva keeps the body cool.  

There are some exceptions when you have to give a bath to your cats that we’ll discuss after a while.

What Does Water Do to Cats Fur?

Water makes the fur of cats wet, heavy and too difficult to dry. Cats are very agile creatures who want to make themselves always ready to face any kind of threat at any time. Cats coat their skin with saliva to keep their bodies cool but bathing a cat is completely a different story. It’s too much water that brings more bad to cats than good.

Not All Cats Hate Water

You might be someone who will say, “Well, my cat doesn’t hate water. In fact, she loves being wet and also loves to swim in the water.” My dear pet parent, I got you!

Not all cats hate water. Some love to play with water. Also, some love to swim in the water or jump in it.

What makes these cats love water and not hate it like most of the cats? Well, according to my research, cats are attracted by the movement and sound of water. The soothing sound made by the flowing water in a stream or the sound of running tap water looks interesting to some pets which urges them to play with water.

Also, there are chances that the cats which love water have evolved from such climates where they were exposed to the water now and then.

Some cats have more water-resistant fur which does not make the cats uncomfortable while moving around. This makes such cats love water, and they love to play with or swim in the water.

Is It Ok to Spray Cats with Water?

Some cat owners spray water on their cats if they want their cats to rush from that area. For example, if a cat sits on the kitchen cabinet, some cat parents will try rushing them away by spraying them with water.

Honestly, it’s not a good practice to spray your cats with water. Even though this spraying thing will work for running your cats away, it will leave a bad long-term impact on your pets. They will start to fear you and will not trust you. They will start resisting your company and will not love you anymore!

So, my loving cat parents, don’t make your cats hate you or run from you and stop spraying them with water in the first place.

How to Make Your Cat Drink Water?

An image showing a brwon and white cat drinking water from a bowl

Although, bathing a cat is not a good idea, drinking water is extremely important to maintain internal processes carry on smoothly. Cats need water to keep their bodies hydrated. It also helps to keep skin healthy and their coat shiny.

But what if she doesn’t like to drink water and which is making her skin and coat dull and dry? Maybe she is suffering from constipation too. In this case, you can do the following steps to make your cat drink water: 

 1. Take Care of the Hygiene of the Drinking Bowl

Often the dirty and smelly water bowl is the culprit behind your cat’s reluctance to drink water. Keep in mind that cats are too sensitive to smell. 

As compared to humans, who have just 5 million olfactory receptors, cats have from 40-80 million again. Some cats even have up to 200 million olfactory receptors. 

Now you can imagine how sensitive they can be to scents and odours and why they don’t want to drink from dirty bowls. So make sure that hr drinking bowl is always clean and made of steel instead of plastic.

2. Provide them Clean Water and Change it Everyday

Cats like to drink clean water. If you keep your cats’ drinking bowl filled with the same water for days that sticks and has filled bacteria she may reject it straight out! So you should always provide clean water to your feline friend and change it every day.

3. Give Her Canned(Wet Food) Instead of Dry Food

When it comes to wet food vs dry food, wet food wins most of the time.

As aforementioned, water is essential for cats and they need it every day. 

Wet food contains enough moisture(70 to 82%) to provide your sweetie with the amount of water she needs for the proper functioning of her body. 

Dry foods, on the other hand, have a very little amount of water(10-12%) therefore she must need to drink additional water for the proper functioning of her body. And, if she doesn’t she might face some health issues such as constipation, dehydration, shedding, scaly skin and more.

So, provide her with wet food and give preference to her health over money.

4) Try to Change the Drinking

Many times it happens that a particular cat doesn’t like a certain bowl even if it is clean due to some mysterious reason. So, try serving her water in a different bowl and see whether she accepts it or not.

5) Try Placing Drinking Bowls at Different Locations

Maybe your feline friend doesn’t want to go to the area where her drinking bowl is kept. This can be because of the fear of people, other cats, odour or her reserved personality. Hence, it’s a good practice to keep drinking bowls at least two places instead of one.

6) Water Fountains Can Work  

Pet cats still possess the same instincts that cats have in the wild. In the wild cats prefer to drink clean running water from the stagnant water of the puddles.  

Cat water fountains are built to appeal to the instinct of cats to drink running water. Plus, they have filters that keep the water clean and odour-free. So they may encourage your reluctant kitty to drink water.

Best Cat Water Fountains is one of my blog posts that you may read to learn about the machine in detail.

7. Try Catnip or Some Flavour 

You can add some flavour to the drinking bowl to make the water more enticing for your cat. This can be a few drops of chicken juice or bone stalk. Sprinkling little catnip is a great idea too. And of course, you don’t need me to tell you how much cats like catnip.


As always, I have tried my best to bring all the authentic and in-depth on the topic. I hope that you will find this blog post helpful. And it will clear most of your doubts about, “why cats hate water?”

Long story short, not all cats hate water. It depends on certain factors which influence the cat’s liking or disliking towards the water. But remember, the percentage of cats who hate water is more.

If you still have questions or doubts in mind, feel free to drop your query in the comment section below.