Here are our favorite facts about cats that love to swim:
Can you train your cat to swim? It depends on the cat. Cats in the wild are often forced to swim as part of their hunting strategy. Big Asian cats like Bengal Tigers and Asian Fishing Cats spend many waking hours submerged in the rivers and lakes of their territory. That means a house cat’s fear of water probably comes from centuries of breeding for domesticity rather than from biological roots.
A kitten can be introduced to water by a patient caregiver. With time, the kitten can learn to swim and enjoy it. If you have a pool or would like to take your cat out on a boat, it’s a good safety measure to make sure she knows how to … well … dogpaddle in case of an accident.
Never take your eye off any cat in the water as they often need help climbing out. Also be sure to dry out a cat’s ears after a dunk.
Some breeds of cats are more likely to enjoy swimming than others.
The Turkish Van is a breed so ancient it was said to be the mouser on Noah’s Ark, but it wasn’t introduced to the US until 1982. It has water-repellant fur with no undercoat, meaning this cat emerges from a full-immersion swim nearly dry. These active cats possess large paws and powerful hind legs. They’ve even earned themselves a nickname—“the swimming cats.”
Maine Coons, the largest of the domestic cat breeds and also endowed with water-repellant fur, love to play in water. These cats once worked as ratters on ships, possibly because of their ability to swim. Still, most Maine Coons would rather dunk toys in their drinking dish, bat at a faucet drip, or lie in a few inches of water than go for a full swim.
American Bobtails and Japanese Bobtailsare water-lovers, too. In fact, if you have a bobtail and a koi pond, it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your kitty when he ventures near the water. These animals enjoy water so much that they have been dubbed “the dogs of the cat world.” There is no word on whether the bobtails consider that nickname a compliment or not.
The Bengal is descended from a mix of an Asian Leopard Cat with a domestic shorthair. While a few states and cities forbid keeping Bengals, they are legal in the vast majority of the United States (and loveable wherever you find them). Bengals love baths, showers, swimming pools, lakes, and any other body of water they can find.
Mog, a lovely gray cat from Cornwall in England, survived his home’s 2010 flood only to be hit by a car. The accident damaged both of Mog’s front legs. He’s learning to walk again with the help of feline hydrotherapy. It’s a growing trend among cats who have suffered partial paralysis or who live with arthritis, dysplasia, obesity, or feline depression. Who knew water could be a cat’s lifesaver?
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