Cats are creatures that have done a great job in making their names synonymous with “aquaphobia.” But the big question is, do you think our feline companions loath water? For those people that have tried taking their cats for a bath, then the answer is most likely “yes.” However, the foundation of this hatred is the fact that cats have always had a complicated type of relationship with water.
It is common to find most cats having a fascination with water. They occasionally show this by going paw-dipping in bathtubs or even plunging their heads under faucets when taking a drink. There are also some domestic cat breeds such as the Turkish Van that is known for taking an occasional swim. In fact, due to its affinity for water, the cat has earned the nickname “The swimming cat.”
However, despite some cat breeds even being capable of paddling almost as great as man’s best pal (dogs), an average feline is highly unlikely to take an interest in water. Regarding this, let’s take a dive into some of the reasons that explain the basis of the hydrophobia found in a typical cat.
It’s as a Result of Evolution
The higher percentage of domestic cats descend from ancestors that lived in regions that were majorly dry hence swimming was not a necessity for survival. It is thought that domestic cats are mainly descendants of Arabian wild cats; which lived in areas with few water bodies. Due to this, they didn’t develop the need for swimming because there were no advantages stringed to this skill. Instead, they most likely spent most of their time hunting and slept for the rest of the day.
Swimming is Counter-productive to Their Survival Instincts
It is important to note that despite having lived with a man for thousands of years, there are some instincts from their wild ancestors that cats have never gotten rid of. As a result of this, it is common to find that felines are ever looking out for potential danger. This, in turn, makes them want to remain in as good shape as possible in case they are caught up in situations that need them to flee or fight. This survival instinct cannot be fanned to life when the cat`s fur is wet because it will weigh it down hence compromising on its agility. Due to this, cats avoid water with every chance they get to become less vulnerable to attack.
It is Unpleasant for Them
Getting wet is one of the most unpleasant situations for cats due to many reasons. One of these reasons is something that most cat-owners can easily relate to. When cats wake up, most of their days` first hours are spent on grooming themselves. Due to the hard work that they pour into this morning routine, it is only understandable that they would find the ruining of their work to be unpleasant.
In addition to this, cats have myriads of scent glands in their bodies which function to produce pheromones which are used for communication as well as marking their territory. Water, especially the kind that is laden with chemicals and scents acts as a considerable interference to the effectiveness of these glands. Also, wet fur makes cats have difficulty in generating heat because their coats don`t dry quickly hence adding to the unpleasant feelings associated with water.
Negative Experiences with Water
As it had been alluded to before, the ancestors of domestic cats lived in places that had little or no water bodies, hence making their interaction with water minimal. However, it is crucial to note that this does not mean that they did not encounter water at all. You find that they interacted with water, but negatively because most of the time was during downpours. Due to their primary interaction with water being harmful (getting rained on), cats ended up having a lack of fondness for water.
Finally, as we had alluded before, cats are fascinated by water despite loathing it, hence making the relationship complicated. The dipping of paws in water, the splashing of water in their bowls or even the staring of bathwater are all elements of feline fascination and not love for water. Their fascination is founded not so much in water, but rather how it moves and looks. The light reflecting from water and the flickering patterns are hard-wired into their feline brains to imitate potential signs of something to eat.
With this in mind, we can all agree that the average cat is not fond of water and the reasons that have been highlighted above shed some light on the possible dynamics behind this feline character. Have you liked this article? Have you learned something new about cats?