Cats dislike water and avoid it whenever possible. It's their Weaksauce Weakness.
As far as Truth in Television goes, your kitties may vary; many actually do like water at least to some degree. In addition to certain breeds of domestic felines and quite a few moggies, many "big cats" (most notably tigers and jaguars, which tend to live in tropical rainforests with plenty of rivers and lakes) and "small cats" enjoy swimming. But we don't recommend giving your pet cat a bath without expert supervision, as for many cats this is largely Truth in Television... A general rule of thumb
Compare to Hates Baths.
- Used to comedic effect in this commercial.
- In the Sumomo Mo Momo Mo manga, the male lead uses this and other stereotypical cat habits to defeat a tiger-themed opponent. (But see Real Life entries below.)
- Possibly explained in an episode of Darker Than Black. Clueless Detective Kurosawa is afraid of cats and is able to identify the house of another cat hater by an important detail. There are lots of water bottles outside, and he explains that the reflection of light off of the water is used to keep them away.
- Pokémon: Meowth hates water, especially wet water! However, he's fine with hot springs, and one relatively obscure Pokemon Sunday ending theme showed him having fun surfing, so maybe he just hates water under certain circumstances.
- In Omamori Himari, Himari Noihara, being a Cat Girl, refuses to get in any water deep enough to swim in. However, she doesn't mind taking a shower or bath.
- In Fruits Basket's Beach Arc, Kyo (the Cat) doesn't intend to swim, until Haru baits him into a contest with Yuki. He's actually not that bad a swimmer, and he certainly doesn't hate it as much as leeks.
- In Kuro, the titular cat seems to be okay with water, as long as it's not in the water.
- In Yo-kai Watch: Shadowside Jibanyan hates water so much he refuses to fight the aquatic monster of the week!
- Happy Heroes: In Season 7 episode 32, anthropomorphic cat Ambassador Miao is used as fishing bait by Ambassador Wang and doesn't enjoy the experience, repeatedly telling her he hates the water.
- The DCU:
- Batman: Hush: Catwoman clings tightly to Bruce while he swims away from a Brainwashed and Crazy Superman, Batman's thought bubble lampshades it "cats and water". This comes up again in Selina's solo series where she admits to not liking the idea of drowning◊, probably explains why she chooses showers over baths.
- Superman: For Streaky the Super Cat, an Animal Superhero, water serves as a literal Kryptonite.
- The Avengers: Tigra, a cat woman, hates water because of her feline body.
- Calvin and Hobbes: When Calvin's mom has signed him up for swimming lessons against his will, he asks her if she signed Hobbes up too. She tells him that "it's not good to get tigers wet." Hobbes's own explanation: "It takes us all day to dry, and until we do, we smell funny."
- Played with in one strip. Garfield spends most of the strip playing in a sprinkler. Then Jon announces it's bath time and Garfield bolts away.
- The very first strip involving Garfield and baths demonstrates the proper equipment one should use to bathe a cat who has not been declawed — chain mail, steel gauntlets, and a football helmet.
- Another strip involves a massive pile of equipment that includes brass knuckles and a small straight-jacket.
- In a 1983 strip, Garfield justifies hating baths by stating that "Bathing robs cats of precious natural oils that protect us from skin disease."
- In Phil Folgio's What's New? with Phil and Dixie, he proposed several exercises that would allow D&D players to experience what adventuring would be like in real life. To demonstrate the injuries normally received in a dungeon encounter, "Strap 53 live cats to your body and take a cold shower."
- Various Vytal Ventures: The opening chapter has Blake Belladonna follow this, though its downplayed as she doesn't give her reason for not wanting to swim in the ocean despite coming to the beach in a swimsuit. Word of God is that it was left deliberately vague so it could still go either way regarding her Faunus heritage, which was unconfirmed at the time of posting.
- Planet Of The Cats mentions that the Catian inhabitants of the titular planet dare not venture beyond their edges of their island domain for this reason. The epilogue suggests they may begin making attempts to do so, thanks to new allies.
- With This Ring has Teekl, formerly the familiar of Klarion The Witch Boy. Despite being assimilated by the Orange Lantern, and thus now technically being made of energy, she still doesnt like getting wet, which she informs OL of after she patrols her new territory in Mount Justice.
Teekl: Teekl patrol tunnels. Excessive water.
Paul: Pretty sure you can just will yourself to be dry—
Teekl: Excessive. Water.
- Disney Animated Canon:
- The Aristocats: While on their way back to Paris, Duchess, Thomas O'Malley and the kittens all walk onto a railroad track, but when a train comes, the cats all duck underneath the rails, but in the process Marie falls into a nearby river and she cannot swim. O'Malley jumps into the water and gets Marie back to shore, but then it turns out that O'Malley also cannot swim as well. As a result he had to rely entirely on a pair of geese in order for him to get out of the water.
- The Lion King: Simba has grown to love water because he grew up in an oasis, but that doesn't mean that Nala does, as shown by her absolutely horrified expression when Simba playfully pulls her into water during "Can You Feel The Love Tonight?"
- Shrek the Third: A soaking, shivering, near-traumatized Puss in Boots is clinging onto Shrek after the trio dunk themselves in water. Anyone in the audience can tell he obviously didn't enjoy the experience.
Puss: How humiliating.
- Played with more overtly in Puss in Boots when a guard uses a squirt bottle to punish Puss for an attempt to escape jail.
- Shrek the Third: A soaking, shivering, near-traumatized Puss in Boots is clinging onto Shrek after the trio dunk themselves in water. Anyone in the audience can tell he obviously didn't enjoy the experience.
- In Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, sabre-tooth tiger Diego is afraid of water since he can't swim. It takes a while for him to overcome this.
- Batman: The Movie: Catwoman angrily screams this line at The Penguin when it looks like Batman and Robin are about to use a bazooka to sink the pre-nuclear submarine the supervillains bought wholesale from the navy. The big climactic fight on the deck also has Catwoman throwing her pet cat at Batman, who in turn tosses it into a rubber raft.
- In Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, Sassy the cat get separated from Shadow and Chance because she goes to look for a way to cross the river without getting wet, including walking over an old log. The log breaks, dumping Sassy into the river, which results in her getting swept over a waterfall.
- Star Trek V: The Final Frontier The triple breasted cat woman is defeated by throwing her into a literal pool table.
- Earth Girls Are Easy: Geena Davis's cat gets knocked into the pool by Woody the pool man who crows "Whoa, shoot the curl, kitty! Those little dudes love the water, huh?" As the cat swims to shore, its face tells otherwise.
- Stuart Little: When Smokey and his gang chase Stuart into the sewers, and the mouse goes into the water, the other alley cats refuse to jump in to catch him.
- Xanth: In A Spell for Chameleon, while trying to enter the Magician Humfrey's castle, Bink comes up against a guardian Cactus Cat. He uses its fear of water to get past it.
- Warrior Cats:
- The cats from ThunderClan, ShadowClan, and WindClan don't particularly like water, but they will go in the water if they have to. By contrast, RiverClan loves the water, and regularly goes swimming and fishing. Although they don't like involuntary exposure, such as being rained on, any more than the other Clans.
- Even amongst RiverClan, some cats still dislike water. They're called "drypaws". Leopardstar was one such cat as an apprentice.
- Redwall: Played dead serious in Mossflower, when Tsarmina is driven to insanity by the sound of dripping water and eventually drowns to death.
- Septimus Heap: The reason why Bert, Aunt Zelda's cat, became a duck.
- Spellsinger: Inverted in Day of the Dissonance. Main character Jon-Tom goes swimming while at the beach and is surprised when tiger Roseroar joins him, expecting the trope to be in effect. She tells him that it's true for other cats but not tigers (which is accurate to real life).
- Bad Kitty Gets a Bath makes full use of this trope. The narrator tries persuasion, threats, bribery, fawning and reverse psychology to get Bad Kitty to take a bath, to no avail. Finally, she is persuaded after she finds out that Poor Puppy will be getting one, too. Poor Puppy is blissfully unaware that he's not supposed to like baths, which irks Bad Kitty no end.
- Tailchaser's Song: Cats even have a "Just So" Story describing why cats hate swimming. Lord Firefoot (one of the first cats created) tricked a shark into taking him across the ocean. He then land-locked the shark on shore and proceeded to eat it. Since then, cats have avoided water and they only eat fish they can catch without getting wet.
- A Dog's Way Home:
- Bella, a dog, finds it odd that her surrogate daughter, a cougar cub she calls "Big Kitten", hates water. Big Kitten freaks out at just briefly falling into a stream.
- Played for Drama when Chloe's kittens fall into a box in the pool. Chloe is too scared to save them and her kittens are too small to save themselves. Bella goes in to save them, but she almost drowns when she gets stuck in the pool and doesn't know that it has steps.
- Endling: Gambler is a felivet, a bipedal cat. He can swim, but tries to avoid it.
- The Cat in the Stacks Mysteries: Diesel is specifically noted more than once as hating getting his paws wet, making Charlie carry him rather than walk across wet ground on his own.
- Magical Cats Mysteries: Hercules, one of Kathleen Paulson's two cats, really hates getting his paws wet. His brother Owen isn't bothered as much, and when the two are arguing, has been known to dump out Hercules' water dish in such a way that the puddle blocks Hercules from getting to his food dish. In book 8, when Hercules willingly goes out in the rain at one point, Kathleen's friends realize it's a sure sign that something's wrong and come looking for her, just in time to help her after she and another woman as they're escaping from the cistern that the book's villain had trapped them in.
- Sam the Cat: Detective: In The Maltese Kitten, giving the eponymous kitten a bath to wash off hair dye is viewed as Dirty Business by every cat present.
- In Fire Watch by Connie Willis, not knowing this gets a time-traveller mistaken for a spy. He comes from a time where cats are extinct and has never seen one before, hence complete inability to handle them.
- Corner Gas: Referenced. Brent gives this trope as the reason the events of Life of Pi would be just as frightening for the tiger as they were for the kid. Lacey corrects him, saying that tigers actually do like water and are good swimmers.
- Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Rita's spy Kat Hillard is a shapeshifting cat who hates water. She's actually a human girl under a mind control spell, and her fear of water comes from a childhood trauma which she eventually overcomes after the spell is broken.
- In the French game Cats! (where PCs are cats) hydrophile cats are considered freaks.
- Golden Sky Stories: Players can choose to play animal spirits called henge, cats included. One of the optional weakness a cat henge could pick is 'Can't Swim' which causes a penalty and possibly a knock-out whenever they enter any large body of water.
- Sly 2: Band of Thieves, the main characters plan to force the villainous tiger Rajan out of hiding by flooding his base, specifically because cats hate water. Tigers actually do like swimming, but how much they like it is pretty irrelevant when your surroundings turn into a Drowning Pit.
- Chen, the little nekomata Catgirl from Touhou, is weakened by water. Not only does she hate water as a cat, but water also weakens her shikigami link with her master.
- Uncharted 2: Among Thieves: Nate's memetic headshot kill taunt "Awww. Kitty got wet", was actually from Nolan North's son while they were playing Wii Tennis.
- Played With and Averted: The adult cats in Minecraft decide to swim along with you when you swim and don't avoid water when you are standing and water is near. The ocelots in the game are less likely to swim in water than the cows, sheep, chickens, pigs, wolves, dogs, and (oddly enough) spiders though.
- Lionheart for the Amiga uses this as a Hand Wave for Super Drowning Skills.
- If Bubsy so much as puts a toe in water, he'll drown.
- Averted in A Witch's Tale, as the Cheshire Cat meets you above and below the ocean. He has no problem teleporting you underwater, either.
- In Wild ARMs 3, one of the members of the Quirky Miniboss Squad is a cat with fire and ice breath. His elemental weakness is appropriately Water.
- Pokémon Sun and Moon has the Litten evolution line that takes extra damage from Water-type attacks, being Fire-type Pokémon.
- Legend of Kay the title character has a gauge limiting his time spent in the water, despite the fact that he only swims on the surface. When the gauge runs out Kay drowns, only to respawn on the closest surface with health lost. When Kays steps out of the water, he immediately shakes himself dry.
- Kiki from Gato Roboto makes it clear she doesn't like going into water, but will nonetheless do so with enough prodding. The power suit on the other hand is not water-rated, and will take damage from falling in. Unless you trick the game.
- In Girl Genius, Krosp takes the controls of their falling airship and totals it, crashing it into a hill, to avoid landing in the lake, since then he'd get wet. And that's nothing to his reaction to the sewers under Sturmhalten. Of course, having spent all his life on the Castle Wulfenbach, he didn't know what a sewer was when he went down there... Well, what really bothered him about the sewer was when he fell in — and then a Jaeger suggested he could lick himself clean....
- In Sluggy Freelance even cats who are the demonic offspring of Satan don't like getting wet, particularly since it makes their cude widdle bat wings useless.
- Bittersweet Candy Bowl, Lucy became hydrophobic after Mike almost drowned when they were younger.
- Averted in Kevin & Kell with a tigress who was able to attend law school (with sharks) because tigers like water.
- Chev in Papi Nyang refuses to escape his "prison" when it's raining because he hates the rain.
- The Cyantian Chronicles plays it straight for most cats, including the subversion that Tigers love water.
- The first arc of The Suburban Jungle had a mouse trying to escape Tiffany Tiger by running into a lake, thinking she'd be scared of water like most cats, only for her to jump in after him. Being a Siberian tiger, Tiffany also loves snow, much to Leonard Lion's annoyance.
An Ceiling Cat gotted all teh waterz in ur base, An Ceiling Cat hadz dry placez cuz kittehs DO NOT WANT get wet. An Ceiling Cat called no waterz urth and waters oshun. Iz good.
- Cracked: Discussed in "So You're About to Be Eaten By a Lion"
Guy About to Get Eaten: Brainstorm! You think now's the time to come up with ideas? Instead of maybe before you wrote this guide?
Chris Bucholz: Yes, dad. Now do you want my help or not?
G.A.G.E.: I'm not sure anymore.
Chris: So my first thought is that lions are basically very big cats, so maybe we can use that. But how?
G.A.G.E: You're just going to plow ahead regardless, I see.
Chris: I'll tell you how. What are cats most afraid of?
G.A.G.E.: [long, heavy sigh] Dogs?
Chris: No! Baths! Have you ever tried to give a cat a bath? They hate it. They hate water. Or maybe it's sinks. Do you have a sink handy?
- Arthur: Francine's cat, Nemo, was afraid of water as a result of being read his namesake, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, until she hypnotized him into thinking otherwise, resulting in him actually playing in the bathtub.
- The Looney Tunes short film, "Fin 'N Catty", features a cat trying to eat a goldfish despite his obsessive-compulsive fear of water (even one drop makes him run to get a paper towel and dry off furiously). After being trapped in a flooded shower stall, he not only overcomes his fear, but he also starts sleeping inside the goldfish's fishbowl, much to the fish's disdain because he has to live in a glass now.
- CatDog: Another way in which Cat's a foil to his other half.
- There was an episode of Spongebob Squarepants where Gary the snail (which is the show's equivalent to a cat) didn't want to take a bath and SpongeBob tried many ways to get him to take one, this case is particularly unusual considering that the entire show takes place underwater.
- In The Avengers: United They Stand Tigra revealed she has a paralyzing fear of water because she is half cat.
- In the Jackie Chan Adventures episode "Enter the Cat", Valmont (and later Jade) is transformed into a Cat Guy after being scratched by a cat statue. Jade is trying to retrieve the statue for Jackie, but Valmont hears her and corners her. So she grabs a hose and turns it on him, full blast. He yowls and runs off while Jade says this trope verbatim.
- This is the case for Maximus I.Q., the cat-like Big Bad of Atomic Betty. He can't swim and hates water, almost to the point of it being an Achilles' Heel for him.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode, "Sweet and Elite", Rarity telekinetically forced a quick shower on her cat Opal in an attempt to make her "my cat got sick" excuse more real. Much yowling was heard during the impromptu bath, with Opal giving a Death Glare to her owner afterwards.
- Steven Universe: In "Cat Fingers", Steven tries to learn how to shape-shift, but it goes out of control and his body is covered in cat creatures. He figures out how to get rid of them by having his dad spray him with a hose, but they end up having to run Steven through the car wash to get rid of the cats.
- The Lion Guard:
- In the pilot episode, Kion is splashed twice in the space of a few minutes, first by Bunga and then by Beshte. Although he casually shrugs it off the first time, it's still clear that he does not enjoy being wet. However, in the second last episode, he has no problem pulling his girlfriend Rani through a waterfall for a swim during their love song.
- Fuli also dislikes it, jumping across the river just to stay dry and when Mtoto soaks her in water by accident, she is visibly annoyed.
- Subverted later with a young serval who likes swimming with Bunga.
- On Sheriff Callie's Wild West, Callie can't stand getting wet and in "A Fistful of Flowers" expends extra effort repairing a hole in the jailhouse roof when she hears there's a major storm coming. Then she shows why she's a Badass Adorable by traveling with Priscilla in Gullywasher Gulch with the storm about to hit any minute in order to help her pick a curative flower.
- On Rocko's Modern Life, in the episode "The Big Answer," the cats (Paula's family) and turtles (Filburt's family) are on opposite sides at their wedding, and when Heffer starts a fight, all the turtles stand up, then jump back into the water to splash the cats. The cats get angry, and an all-out war ensues.
- Nature Cat avoids water at all costs and panics whenever he gets splashed, though he occasionally builds up enough strength to ride in boats. Is brought to a head in "Tide Pool Tough", where the entire plot is his determination to get over his fear of water in order to try surfing.
- Magiki: Sir Kitty Cat bathes (or rather, is bathed, to his disappointment) once a year, and the day is considered one of the kingdom's holidays.
- Animaniacs: Rita hates water, so naturally several episodes have her get soaked with rain and/or splashed with water by Runt, and in one episode almost drowned as a witch in Salem.
- Motormouse and Autocat: Motormouse is a volunteer fireman, and every time he responds to an emergency, Autocat gets in the line of fire from his water hose.
- In She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Catra (who in this version is a Cat Girl instead of a shapeshifting human) is shown to be less than thrilled about having to get on a boat, and she is also uncomfortable with snow (which is wet and cold). It's later played for laughs in season 5, when it's revealed that the Crazy-Prepared Netossa's plan for dealing with Catra as an enemy would have been spritzing her in the face with a squirt bottle, then restraining her with an energy net when she freaked out.
- Puppy Dog Pals: In "Land of the Rising Pups", after Bingo and Rolly return home from Japan with snow which melts into water, Hissy states this trope.
- Most breeds of domestic cat and many moggies do hate water if it's forced upon them, and many turn into furry Cuisinarts when a bathtub full of water is threatened. However, some cats don't mind water if they're introduced to it gently (for baths, it helps if it's very warm) and some certainly don't mind getting wet while drinking from a faucet or even a toilet. The issue is with instincts. Domestic cats are descended from wildcats that lived primarily in desert areas, so as a rule, they have an instinctual fear of large bodies of water (they so seldom see them). For that matter, dog breeds from similar areas have similar aversion to water. This instinct is not as strong in some cats, and it can be completely overcome with training (although it's easier to do it before the cat in question is full-grown). There's also the issue of temperature. Being descended from desert animals, many cats hate being cold, and a thorough soaking will allow air to get to the skin more easily, never mind the evaporating water taking some body heat with it. Only a few breeds have coats that can be considered water-resistant (Maine Coons are one such breed, as well as Turkish Vans, explained directly below). It's often considered that a lot of cats don't like baths because they're not accustomed to it. Cats rarely get bathed - typically only when they get extremely dirty or have a flea/tick issue - as they clean themselves so they aren't used to it. This aversion can be exploited as a means of behavior deterrence: fill a squirt bottle with water, and start squirting at a house cat who is misbehaving. In true Pavlovian fashion, eventually the cat will stop misbehaving when you even reach for a squirt bottle. And will start hating you, but that's another story.
- There are certain cat breeds known for liking water:
- The Turkish Van, also known as the 'swimming cat', who as their name suggests, don't mind getting wet, and have been know to go swimming. This is explained by their silky dense water-repellent coats, which dry nearly instantly even in cold seasons. This breed has been known to actually go looking for water to swim in, and owners have had to lock their bathroom doors to prevent their cats from playing with the faucets.
- The relatively new Bengal, Savanna, American Bobtail, LaPerm, Kurilian Bobtail, and Pixie Bob breeds are known for being rather unafraid of water, as are American Shorthairs, Turkish Angoras, and Maine Coons. Many have been reported joining their humans for a bath, whether the human wanted it to or not.
- The "Toyger" supposedly didn't mind water, according to the breeder.
- Due to their lack of fur, Sphynxes and other hairless breeds need frequent bathing. As a result, they tend to enjoy (or, at the very least, tolerate) baths.
- Wild cat inversions:
- Tigers and jaguars LOVE water and are excellent swimmers, and jaguars are known to hunt fish, turtles & small caimans note Heck, just look around any zoo. Tigers in the "Out of Africa" zoo in Arizona regularly go for a dip in the pool, there's even an event based around this called, "Tiger Splash".
- Flat headed cats have feet as webbed as that of the fishing cat and swim and fish as eagerly as any fishing cat.
- Unlike tigers, lions generally seem to have a large aversion to water, although in places like the Okavango Delta, they do swim regularly in search of prey; considering the area is full of water during wet seasons, they are more or less forced into it. There's a very good reason for lions' dislike of water: in Africa, there's a high chance that any decently-sized body of water will have hippos and/or crocodiles. Both animals regularly kill lions, and in water, a lion would have little chance to flee or defend itself.
- Presumably, this brings a lot of confusion to the poor hybrid ligers and tigons, who can't make up their mind whether to swim in joy or drown in fear. Turns out, although ligers have a lot of conflicting behaviors and instincts, they seem to universally love water.
- There is an endangered, medium-sized Asian cat species simply called the "fishing cat". As their name implies, they avert this trope, as they live in wetlands and by rivers. Their main prey is fish.
- Scottish wildcats show a reduced fear of water compared to many domestic cats note and are suggested to occasionally fish. Rather than diving in like the specialised Fishing Cat, they dip their paws into shallow burns or loch edges to try and scoop out passing fish just as a kitten scoops a ball into the air over its head then turns and pounces onto it. While very fun, it's also instinct teaching the kitten how to fish.
- According to some reports, cougars dislike immersing in water, but will swim if necessary. The only noted exception is the extremely endangered subspecies known as the Florida panther, which handled large bodies of water and swimming with aplomb. It's hard to be sure since the creatures are so elusive and critically endangered.
- The infamous "cat bombs" of World War II. It was suggested that, as cats hate water and always land on their feet, they believed strapping a cat to a bomb could guide it toward naval ships. Needless to say, field tests of the "idea" were a complete failure, and didn't do the cat any good either.
- Then, there's this this girl, who swims because she likes it...and her master taught her to scuba dive. The dog does, too.
- Almost any cat can be conditioned to not mind water by exposing them to wet environments since early kittenhood.
- Obviously this varies a lot by the individual, but many cats with calmer temperaments, even if they don't like water, will tolerate getting a bath from a human they love and trust a lot. Though they might decide that they don't love and trust that human quite so much for a couple of hours right after.
- A variation of this trope shows up in videos of cats acting stressed when seeing their owners taking a bath and even attempting to "save" their humans from drowning.
- Inverted in this video of two kittens swimming towards a fisherman's boat.
- Cats have some webbing between their toes to help them swim. Knowing this fact makes the existence of this trope all the more interesting.