Source: The South African (Extract)
Posted: July 14, 2023

If you’ve attempted to bathe a cat, you’ve likely discovered their strong aversion to water.

Among the various behaviours exhibited by cats, this is one of the most peculiar.

To delve deeper into why cats dislike water, let’s explore scientific insights and the experiences of previous owners.

By understanding this aspect, you can gain better insight into your pet’s preferences.


Cats often have thicker fur than we realize, capable of holding a significant amount of water, which can make it heavy.

The sudden weight gain from wet fur can make cats uncomfortable, and they may not get accustomed to it even after multiple baths.

Drying their fur takes time, especially in the wild, which provides a valid reason for cats to avoid water.

It’s not so much the water, but the soap used to clean the cat that can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness.

Dry skin can cause itchiness, resulting in scratching and excessive shedding, making the cat uncomfortable.

Replenishing the missing oils that heal the skin can take weeks.

Cat owners often observe that cats prefer to be in control.

They dictate when the litter box should be changed, and when they should be fed.

Cats even want to control when to wake up, and when they’re open to being petted.

Cats generally dislike being forcefully grabbed with both hands and submerged in smelly, cold water.

In many instances, cats feel just as offended by the manner in which they are handled as they do about being wet.


Every cat is unique, and some don’t mind water, with a few even enjoying bath time.

Choosing a breed known to be more tolerant of water can increase your chances of having a cat that is comfortable with bathing.

Breeds like,

  • the Maine Coon
  • Turkish Van
  • Bengal
  • American Bobtail
  • Norwegian Forest Cat

among others, are less likely to resist during bath time.

Based on our experience, we have observed that many cats are more tolerant of being sprayed with water.

The noise and strong stream of water in a shower often scare them off, but a hand sprayer, like the one found in many kitchen sinks, is more manageable.

The hand sprayer in the shower is especially useful as it provides ample space for the cat to stand and move around.