You’ve heard of dogs that love splashing around rivers, lakes, ponds, and pools and just can’t get enough of it…but how about cats that like water?

In fact, can cats swim? And do cats like water in the first place?

Now if you’ve seen your little buddy freak out (sometimes melodramatically) when you splash even a bit of water their way, you wouldn’t be surprised if you’d wondered: can cats swim?

And if they can’t, is that why they hate water?

But as it turns out, cats that like water do exist – and they’re prolific swimmers! The sight of a swimming cat might be a rare one, but these 12 water cat breeds can’t get enough of it.

So we’re going to cover the facts and figures – whether cats can swim, do cats like water, and 12 very special breeds of cats you might have to fish out of your community water fountain. Let’s go!

Can cats swim?

Yes, they can actually!1 But you wouldn’t be the first to think the opposite. (Seeing how your little furball likely scampers away when you sprinkle them with a bit of water.)

In fact, some wild cats – like leopards and tigers – take regular dips in lakes and ponds around the hot tropical jungles where they live. Jaguars in the Amazon Rainforest even dive into water to hunt prey.

A jaguar swimming in a lake filled with plants

But how about regular domesticated cats?

  • Turns out, yes, even they’re capable of swimming – but usually only if they absolutely have to.
  • Some cat breeds enjoy swimming and splashing around the water more than others.

Now with all this said…do cats like water in the first place? Like with most things concerning our feline friends, it’s complicated.

Do cats like water?

Well, yes and no. But to begin: it’s actually a myth that cats hate water!2 They might not especially like being in it – but your cat’s aversion to water has more to do with their habits and history than you might think.

Evolutionary history

Domestic cats actually evolved from wild cats that primarily lived in hot, dry, desert regions.3 (Where water was scarce.) So they simply had to learn to make do without it.

  • Because of this, cats doesn’t need as much water per day as your dog.
A white and brown cat in a dry region
  • Plus, unlike dogs, cats don’t really need to bathe under a running faucet to stay clean.
  • Cats also startle easily from sudden stimuli – like when you sprinkle water at them. But it’s the suddenness of the motion (not the water) that surprises them.

💡 It’s one reason why cats might hate getting wet – because wet fur is generally harder to sneak around in. (Out of sight or smelling range of predators.)

But besides, cats might even enjoy the sight, sound, or smell of running water. You might find yours staring in fascination at a trickling faucet, or even batting at it.

A Bengal cat

Habits & past experiences

💡 Your cat is also more likely to like water if you introduce them to it from a young age.4

  • In fact, wild cats that live in warmer, sweatier climates – like lions, leopards, and tigers – like to take the occasional dip in a pond to cool off.
  • Wild cats from colder regions – like lynxes or bobcats – tend to avoid water. (It’s just too cold!)
A tiger swimming through the water in a lake

So if you come across a swimming cat in the wild or at a friend’s, it’s likely they’ve been doing it since kitten-hood.

In fact, swimming is a healthy, gentle form of exercise for people and cats alike – no stress or strain on their joints. Cats are also perfectly capable of learning how to swim in their adult years, especially under veterinary guidance.

⚠️ If your cat is suddenly drinking too much water, it could actually be a concerning sign – like a urinary tract infection. Keep an eye out for your cat’s everyday habits to catch on to a change and get them to a vet if you notice they’re behaving differently than usual.

So wrapping up: it’s not really the case that cats don’t like water. It’s more the case they’re just not used to it. And if you haven’t introduced yours to water from a young age, they might not as kindly to it as dogs.

But for these water cat breeds, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

12 cats that like water

Whether it’s from being a high-energy breed or simply preferring to stay outdoors and explore nature, these 12 cat breeds are the perfect buddies for your splashy adventures. Here they are.

Maine Coons

Big, strong, and excellent swimmers – Maine Coons are known as the gentle giants of the cat species. They’re actually the official state cat of the US state of Maine!

And one reason they love the water? Their ancestors were aboard on ships for most of their lives.

Maine Coons have thick, water-resistant fur and are built to survive the harshest winters outdoors, including walking on wet, snowy, or even icy surfaces.

They can even curl their long, bushy tails around their face and shoulders (kind of like a scarf!) for some extra warmth – or like a cushion when they’re sitting on a cold surface.

A Maine Coon sitting in a forested area

⚠️Since Maine Coons are a rare breed, they’re vulnerable to pet thieves.5 Make sure to supervise their outdoor time and keep tabs on where they’re off wandering. (Since they quite enjoy their outdoor time!)

Read more: Should I Let My Cat Outside? What To Consider

Manx Cats

Another ship cat breed, Manx cats are a special type of short-tailed (or tail-less) cat originating from the Isle of Man, near the British Isles.

But even with their short, stubby appearance, Manx cats are excellent swimmers and have a special affinity for water. (Likely because of their origins from an island area.) So the perfect buddy for your next summer beach holiday or kayaking trip.

A Manx cat posing against a pink background

💡 Don’t be fooled by this cuddly little guy – Manx cats are skilled hunters. They were used to hunt rats and other smaller pests on ships in the past.

Because of this, watch out for hunting behaviors in your Manx cat. They might even run away from home to explore their natural surroundings and hunt down smaller woodland animals.

Read more: Cat Hunting Behavior: Why Does My Cat Hunt?

Norwegian Forest Cats

Born and raised to hunt rodents on Viking ships, the Norwegian Forest cat is another badass little cat breed that loves the water.

Much like Maine Coons, Norwegians are big cats with sturdy bodies and a double coat to help them thrive in cold winter climates.

Plus, unlike some wild cats, Norwegian Forest cats can safely swim in water without freezing. Their thick coats act as a water-repellent and keep them warm and dry.3

In fact, if you have a fish tank at home, watch out! Your Norwegian might try to “catch” them if left unsupervised.

A Norwegian Forest cat sitting at a wooden log table outdoors

⚠️Norwegian Forest Cats are highly intelligent, friendly – and have a strong drive to explore their surroundings. Compared to other cats, they’re more likely to escape from home to investigate their territory.4

So make sure you’ve gotten yours microchipped at the very least, so a vet or local shelter can identify them if yours get lost.

Read more: Is A Microchip Cat ID Enough To Find Your Lost Cat?

Bengal Cats

A cross between Asian leopard cats and domesticated cats, Bengals are active, friendly, outdoorsy cats known for their love for water. Your Bengal might follow you right into a pool, lake – or even your shower!

Bengal cats are also highly intelligent and trainable. They can learn (and repeat) basic commands and are curious and inquisitive by nature.

And because they tend to be high-energy, you’re more likely to find a Bengal exploring the outdoors and expanding their territory.

A Bengal cat rubbing against a log table outdoors

⚠️Much like Maine Coons, Bengal cats are also vulnerable to pet thieves. And sadly, just a microchip won’t actually help you find them if they’ve been kidnapped. (Or, well, catnapped.)

Which is where following your cat’s movements in real-time with a cat GPS tracker can be a lifesaver. Ideally, one that’s:

  • Built for cats
  • Lets you track across an unlimited range
  • And even map out your cat’s territory

Because with just a glance at your phone, you now have a whole sky full of satellites guiding you to your lost cat – whether they’re splashing around a forest lake…or trapped somewhere far away from safety.

Like Nala the curious Bengal cat who wandered away from home and ended up trapped in an abandoned building – but was rescued just in time with a little help from her Tractive tracker.

Tractive Trustpilot review

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Egyptian Maus

Originally from Egypt, Maus are actually closely related to Maine Coons! These beautiful cats are one of the rare spotted domestic cat breeds.

In fact, their name “Mau” simply means “cat” in Egyptian – so like their cousins, the Abyssinian cat, Maus are directly descended from cats from ancient Egypt.5

Much like Maine Coons, Maus are highly energetic and athletic – needing a ton of exercise per day. So make sure to keep them busy with scratching posts, cat trees, and indoor toys.

Maus also love playing with water. They can even learn to turn on faucets by themselves at home!6 So if you’re taking them outdoors to play, they’ll have a blast around your lawn sprinklers.

An Egyptian Mau cat sitting on a balcony ledge

⚠️ Maus are the fastest cat breed of all domestic cats – able to run at speeds higher than 30 miles/48 km per hour! In case you were thinking of chasing them down if you find them wandering away from home in search of prey or a mate.

Read more: Cat In Heat? What You Need To Know.

Abyssinian Cats

Abyssinian cats, or just Abys, are a gorgeous, red-furred breed of small- to medium-sized cats – and cousins of the Egyptian Mau. They’re originally from Ethiopia in Africa (then known as Abyssinia.)

Abys are highly curious, energetic, and love to jump around and play at home! They’re sociable and friendly by temperament and prefer spending time in groups. (So you’re better off not leaving them alone for too long.)

Because they’re so curious and inquisitive, Abys are likely to become a nuisance at your neighbors. It’s why most cat parents keep their Abys as indoor cats.

Your Aby also has a strong affinity to water – they might dive into a local fountain outdoors or splash around their water bowls quite a bit.

An Abyssinian cat sittting on a white desk chair

⚠️ Abys tend to be on the smaller side – and with their inquisitive nature, they might end up getting stuck in some narrow spot in your home that’s hard to escape from. (Like your air vents or a crawlspace – where you might not be able to hear them crying out for help.)

So here are three quick and easy ways to locate a pet indoors with your trusty Tractive device – and its Bluetooth, Augmented Reality, and Light & Sound features.

Siberian Cats

Hailing from the snowy forests of Siberia, this hardy, water-loving cat breed is actually the official national cat of Russia! (Also why they’re called the Moscow Longhair.)

Siberian Cats were originally forest-dwellers before they made their ways indoors to catch mice and other pests.

Much like Norwegian Forest cats, Siberians have water-repellent fur and love to splash and play in water.7 Their triple coat and paws are built to handle ice and snow in the harsh Russian climate.

A Siberian cat sitting by a scratching post indoors

💡 Much like Bengals and Norwegians, Siberian cats need a ton of exercise to stay healthy and mentally active. Make sure to tire out yours with some indoor games and patrol their outdoor territory. (Because a tired cat is less likely to run away.)

Luckily, your trusty Tractive device comes equipped with a built-in motion detector. (That picks up on your cat’s movements the entire day.) Helping you ensure they’ve gotten enough exercise – and also preventing them from wandering outdoors into danger.

Tractive Trustpilot review

Discover Activity Tracking

Read more: How To Get A Cat To Exercise: Keeping Our Feline Friends Happy and Healthy

Savannah Cats

Descended from the African serval, Savannah cats are another gorgeous spotted cat breed you can actually train to walk on a leash!

Much like Siberians, they’re highly energetic, lively cats who you’ll find jumping to all sorts of high spots around your house – including your refrigerator.

Savannahs are also fond of water and even enjoy dipping and diving into lakes and ponds. (You might even find yours sneaking into your shower with you.)

Savannah cats resting on a wooden table outdoors

⚠️ Just watch out for your Savannah cat’s inquisitive nature. They’re smart enough to figure out how to open doors – which might result in an escape attempt outdoors due to their high prey drive.

British Shorthair Cats

Cute, chill, and very cuddly, British Shorthairs are an excellent breed for first-time cat parents and families.

Much like Maine Coons, they’re another gentle giant who are highly affectionate and get along famously with other pets and people.

British Shorthairs, much like their cousins the Manx cats, are built to adapt to the UK’s constant rains and drizzly weather. Their thick undercoats are water-repellent and help them splash around happily in pools and ponds wherever you take them. (Or your bathroom and kitchen sinks, if you’re keeping them indoors.)

A British Shorthair cat walking around a grassy lawn

⚠️ Just make sure not to keep your British Shorthair indoors too often. They might be big old cuddly teddy bears – but they do tend to get a bit overweight if left to themselves. (Which isn’t great for their health over the years.)

So with a little help from your trusty Tractive device, you can keep an eye on your British Shorthair’s daily activity – to make sure they’re getting in enough exercise.

Tractive Trustpilot review

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Turkish Vans

Like their name suggests, Turkish Vans are a gorgeous breed of water-loving cats originating from Turkey. They’re also most likely named after Lake Van in south-east Turkey.

Turkish Vans adore spending time in and near water – in fact, their coats are so water-repellent, you might have trouble bathing yours! You might even see yours playing with their water bowl or happily following you into water for a swim.

A Turkish Van cat standing outdoors in the snow

⚠️ Sadly, with their striking appearance, Turkish Vans are another exotic cat breed that tend to be targeted by pet thieves.

So make sure to set up a “safe zone” around your house and backyard with your Tractive device. Now the minute your cat tries to sneak past it (or a pet thief tries to remove them) – you’ll get an instant escape alert on your phone.

Tractive Trustpilot review

Set Up A Virtual Fence

Turkish Angoras

Much like their cousins, the Vans, Turkish Angoras are one of the oldest water-loving cat breeds – originating from central Turkey. They tend to be smaller and more slender than Turkish Vans.

Turkish Angoras are intelligent, friendly, eager to please – and notoriously clingy. They tend to pick one member of your household as “their person” and stick to them like glue after.

And like Vans, you’ll also find them splashing around your kitchen sink or happily hopping into a pool or pond.

A white Turkish Angora cat with green eyes

⚠️ Just watch out – Turkish Angoras tend to be genetically predisposed towards deafness.7 Which, as they grow older, might make it difficult for them to hear you calling out for them.

So make sure to stay on top of your recall training, so you can train your Angora to return to you when you call for them. Use a high-pitched whistle or some other high-frequency sound to get their attention.

Because given their love for the outdoors, you want to safely call back your cat if you notice them wandering too far from safety – and ensure they come back home to you.

Siamese Cats

Probably one of the most recognizable cat breeds, Siamese cats are affectionate, highly intelligent cats that are famous for their sociable temperaments.

They’re originally from South East Asia, where they grew up near water bodies like rivers and canals – and often swam and fished for food.8

In fact, they’re so energetic and friendly, they’re considered similar to dogs, behavior-wise. And like their fellow water-loving cats, you might find your Siamese batting your faucets or leaping right into a bathtub.

Your Siamese might often test out water with their paws before jumping right in. (Much like they might in the wild, when it comes to catching prey.)

A blue-eyed Siamese cat sitting by a window indoors

⚠️ Siamese cats tend to bond deeply with one person at a time – but they’re also quite prone to separation anxiety.9 Which, if left unaddressed, may result in an escape attempt from home.

Read more:

Caring for your water-loving cat: Our best tips & tricks

Still think cats that like water as rare? While some of these are rare breeds, it’s more often the case that your cat’s habits and history might play a role in their affinity to water.

So here are a couple of tips to keep them safe when you’re off on your splashy adventures together.

Never leave your cat unsupervised around water

Your cat might be Mr. or Ms. Independent – but it’s best not leaving them to swim or play in any water body alone. (Yes, including your bathtub.)

Accidents can happen even in a safe indoor environment and you always want to be around to intervene, no matter what.

A cat sitting by a ladder next to a swimming pool

For example, you want to ensure your cat isn’t diving headfirst into water that’s too hot or too cold. Both can severely damage your cat’s skin. Make sure the water is lukewarm at best.

Limit your cat’s splashing time

Spending too much time in water can actually mess with your cat’s health in the long run.

If they’re getting soaked too often, it can strip their skin of the natural oils they need to stay healthy. Which can lead to reddened, irritated skin – and a thoroughly unhappy cat.

A woman wiping a wet cat with an orange towel

Your cat doesn’t really need a bath under running water to stay clean. Rather, brushing out their coat on the regular will do plenty.

Monitor your cat’s water-loving behaviors

Most cats that like water tend to be highly active outdoor cats. So make sure you’re staying on top of their regular behaviors – like where they tend to wander and what spots they like to frequent most.

Why? Because in an emergency like if they get lostyou’ll know to start looking for them earlier. And the earlier you begin your search, the quicker you’re likely to find them.

For example, your cat might’ve wandered to the community water fountain, a patch of woodland near your home, or a far-off field, miles away. Where they might be hiding, hunting, hanging out – or trying to find their next body of water for a dip.

It’s where Tractive’s LIVE tracking can be a lifesaver.

Like the story of Nala, an adventurous Bengal cat who went missing from her home one evening. In her dad, Michel’s words:

Tabby cat with Tractive GPS Tracker on its harness is sleeping on the wooden porch outside

We went into LIVE Mode andran towards the location Tractive GPS had pinpointed.

At that point, we had already given up hope and thought that we were never going to be able to find her. So, out of desperation, I shouted out her name.

And she responded! Nala started screaming as soon as she heard our voices...our little furball managed to pull it together and we finally took her home.

We are both so very thankful that this day – after a few hiccups – had such a happy ending. The fact that Tractive GPS even worked inside that empty house completely saved us and really turned this thing around. 

I love Tractive for keeping our cats safe.

– Michel, Anja & Nala

Read more: The Cat Search With A Little Miracle Ending

And the best part?

All Tractive CAT Mini trackers come accompanied with a breakaway safety collar – and are 100% waterproof.

So you can splash around in the deepest ponds or widest lakes with your little buddy, with complete peace of mind.

Tractive Trustpilot review
Tractive CAT Mini GPS tracker with a safety collar

Know everywhere your cat goes

See where they are in real-time, no matter how far they go. Get alerts if they roam too far home. Find out where they’ve been and discover their favorite spots. Let others track with you.

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Want to see cats that like water in action? Here’s Hokule’a, a Hawaiian cat who regularly goes swimming and surfing with his parents!

And if you’ve liked this post, share it with a friend or loved one – and let’s help build a safer, kinder world for our furry friends together.