These Cat Breeds Actually Like Swimming in Water
No fraidy-cats at this pool—breeds like the Maine Coon, the Norwegian Forest Cat, and the Bengal are all ready to take the plunge.
Most cats avoid water. The first time that you try to give one of them a bath in the tub involves a lot of screeching and flailing claws. If you, too, live with cats and struggle to give yours an occasional bath, then you may be surprised to learn that there are some breeds that enjoy water. "Cats groom themselves with constant regular licking, which stops oils from building up on their fur," explains Lambert Wang, co-founder of Cat Person and the foster parent of over a dozen cats throughout years of volunteer work with the Animal Care Centers of New York City. "As a result, their coats are not very waterproof so they can get very cold and feel heavy when wet, which is why many of them don't like it!"
This harkens to their origins: In nature you'll see many of the wild cats, like lions and tigers, drinking and swimming in the water. Primal cats experience water on a daily basis—it cools them off and nourishes them in the heat of the savannah. But most of our domesticated cats are not exposed to water in the same natural way. There are, however, some breeds that are closer to their primal cousins. "Cats that do like water may be those with more water-resistant fur, or those that had early exposure to water as kittens," says Wang. Those cats like the Savannah and the Bengal are known to enjoy a leisurely swim or, at least, seek a splash of fresh water from the faucet at home. Here, more breeds that will splish-splash to their hearts' content.
The Abyssinian are lithe, regal cats that still closely resemble their Ethiopian wildcat ancestors. Give them a fountain that they can drink from or play in, and you'll have one happy cat.
The Bengal cats are easy to recognize with their distinctive spotted coat. They're a cross-breed between an Asian Leopard Cat and a domestic cat, and some of them really enjoy the water.
If you're looking for a true companion, then you'll find one in the Maine Coon breed. Historically, they've been held in high regard by the New England locals for their mousing talents aboard fishermen's ships.
Norwegian Forest Cat
The Norwegian Forest Cat is long-haired, fluffy cat with a wild appearance. Their waterproof, double coat is a genetic trait from its Scandinavian origins with its harsh, frigid winters.
The American Bobtail looks like a domestic cat but larger and with a short, fluffy tail. Their love for water comes from their genetic development to survive in feral conditions.
Similarly, the Japanese Bobtail has a bunny-like tail. In a household of other pets, these cats are likely to take the lead.
The Isle of Man, where the Manx has been traced from, became famous for its abundant population of tailless cats. These cats make great companions and love being around their people.
The Savannah is a hybrid cat mixed from a Serval and a domestic cat. First-generation Savannahs are closer to their wild parentage than fourth or fifth generation breeds.
Turkish Angora cats are absolutely beautiful and delicate in their appearance. You can find these kitties in their popular white coat or in any combination of coat color, including tortoiseshell or blue-cream.
The Turkish Van, famously referred to as the Swimming Cat, is considered to be a rare and ancient breed. Their piebald gene—which gives them an orange tail and orange markings on the top of their heads—creates a unique and prized appearance.
The Siberian is a natural breed and reflect the climate in which they developed, with their very dense, medium to long, water repellent triple coat. Fortunately, Siberians like to play in water, so if bathed regularly as kittens, they may actually enjoy the attention of a bath.