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Cats Hate Water

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Even Maneki Neko is afraid of water.

To bathe a cat requires brute force, perseverance, courage of conviction - and a cat. The last ingredient is the hardest to come by.
Stephen Baker

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 

Cats who overcame the fear of water (mostly when they're kittens) are considered literal Cowardly Lions at best. If by anything, don't be surprised to see a cat version of Toilet-Drinking Dog Gag.

Compare to Hates Baths.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • 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: The Series:
    • 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.
    • Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon: Ash's Litten/Torracat isn't a fan of the water, which would be justified by its Fire type nature if Lycanroc (a Rock type with a similar weakness) didn't love being bathed. It decides to follow Tsareena's example at a pool and take a nap instead.
    • Pokémon Horizons: The Series: Liko's Sprigatito hates being splashed with water, even if it's just a little bit, despite the fact its a Grass-Type and thus should fare better with water than Litten or even Meowth.
  • 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!
  • In Tales of Wedding Rings, Granart, the harem's resident Cat Girl, doesn't like to get wet. The party discovers this during a trip to the beach, where she spends her time sunbathing, freezes up when Saphir suggests that she should race Hime to a rock in the middle of the water, and yowls in dismay when Hime splashes her.

    Asian Animation 
  • 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.

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: When Calvin's mom has signed him up for swimming lessons against his will, he asks her if she signed the tiger 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."
  • Garfield:
    • 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."
  • Zits: One strip opens on Jeremy happily exclaiming that "my friend Pierce got me a job at the animal shelter bathing cats". There follows a beat and, when Jeremy returns, literally covered in scratches, he deadpans that he "no longer has a friend named Pierce''.

    Fan Works 
  • 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.

    Films — Animation 
  • 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?"
    • In Cinderella, Lady Tremaine the Wicked Stepmother lists chores for Cinderella to do and her mean cat Lucifer nods along after each one, but when she gets to "And don't forget to give Lucifer his bath" he shakes his head and glares at her instead.
  • Shrek:
    • 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.
  • In Ice Age: The Meltdown, sabre-tooth tiger Diego is afraid of water since he can't swim. It takes a while for him to overcome this.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • Dungeon Crawler Carl: Part of the fifth floor is a water-themed zone, with an underwater castle and everything. Donut, Uplifted Animal cat, absolutely refuses to get anywhere near it. Unfortunately, they end up washed out to sea anyway. Donut wakes up about a hundred yards underwater, just in time for her and Carl to fight a giant shark, swim up to the surface, and row back to shore.
    Carl: Well. That was pretty awesome.
    Donut: Go fuck yourself, Carl.
  • Stick Cat: In "Two Cats To The Rescue", Baby Millie ends up on a log in the middle of a large puddle. Stick Cat and Edith know they have to save her, but they don't want to run the risk of getting wet.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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 Red Dwarf episode "Cured", the Cat is trapped in a rapidly filling water tank, and he mentions this trope by name. In this case, though, it's because his clothes are dry-clean only.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • Absented Age: Squarebound: Cat spirits cannot swim and are weak to water damage. However, Light Enchant grants spirits the ability to float, allowing them to at least cross pools of water safely.
  • 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 Cat Girl from Touhou Project, 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 the bobcat 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.
  • In the indie platformer Kitty May Cry, your feline protagonist lose a life instantly from falling in 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 Genshin Impact, if Diona is your active character when it starts raining, she'll comment that she doesn't like rain and suggests going somewhere else, but insists that she's not scared and just doesn't like her clothes getting wet. However, she won't object to you making her swim.
  • Inverted in Xenoblade Chronicles 2, where water is the main element used by the party's main healer duo Nia and Dromarch, a Gormotti and her unique Tiger-form Blade, respectively, making them both counter-examples. Water is even Nia's own element as a Blade, herself.
  • Also inverted in Xenoblade Chronicles 3, where Mio (another Gormotti) practically springs back to life when the party finds water while she's overheating in the desert, and rushes to jump in and cool off. Considering the near certainty that she's related to Nia (if not outright her daughter), Mio probably got her affinity for water from her.

    Web Animation 
  • In Lackadaisy, a Funny Animal world of anthropomorphic cats, when faced with a sudden tsunami from a ruptured water tower, Consummate Professional Mordecai, heretofore The Straight Man and thoroughly above the hijinks surrounding him, gives a comically extreme Furry Reminder complete with goggle-eyed hissing, rearing backward and rigidly pressing against a shed to avoid the waves. Justified as The Stinger reveals him as the cast Neat Freak, still sodden and stuck pouring water out of his shoe while his boss guffaws at his predicament.

    Web Comics 
  • 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.

    Web Original 
  • LOLCats:
    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?
    G.A.G.E.: No.
  • Dean & Nala + Vinny: Nala falls into a body of water and emerges drenched and mad. The times she has gotten soaked in the rain are not to her liking either.

    Web Videos 
  • YouTube: Many videos, including this one.
  • Cream Heroes: Somewhat averted with Coco, Chuchu and Nana, who tolerate baths very well and let Claire clean them. Zig-zagged with DD, who sometimes tolerates baths but sometimes wriggles and protests. Downplayed for Lulu and Momo, who tend to wriggle a lot when being given baths. Then there are TT, Lala and Dodo who will meow and protest every time Claire baths them. In Dodo's case, she hasn't even given him a full bath because he became so distressed with a practice bath (where he only got a little wet), the normally tough TT and Lala felt sorry for him.

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Atomic Betty: This is the case for Maximus I.Q., the cat-like Big Bad. He can't swim and hates water, almost to the point of it being an Achilles' Heel for him.
  • In The Avengers: United They Stand Tigra revealed she has a paralyzing fear of water because she is half cat.
  • A plot point in the Baby Looney Tunes episode "The Puddle Olympics"; the kids make a game out of trying to get across the large puddle that's formed in their yard, but Sylvester is scared of water and thus forced to sit it out. Eventually, Granny helps him get over his fear by building him a remote-control cart that can easily drive across the puddle.
  • CatDog: Another way in which Cat's a foil to his other half.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: In the 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.
  • 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.
  • Littlest Pet Shop: A World of Our Own:
    • Feline main character Jade is noted as an oddball cat for two reasons: she cannot land on her feet, and she actually enjoys swimming. The latter gets her back the respect she lost for the former.
    • The "Scratch Tree Society" is a secret society of cats who plant trees around Pawtucket. When Bev (a turtle) wants to join, they happily give her a tour, including their pool, which no one has ever used. They can't even remember why they installed a pool in the first place. After Bev manages to get admitted, she tries to get the other members to try swimming. They're still not interested.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In the 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.
  • 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.
  • PAW Patrol: Cali and Precious both have at least one instance of running from a bath.
  • Puppy Dog Pals: Hissy is NOT a fan of water and hates getting wet. However in the Season 5 episode "Riding in Ice Cream Trucks with Pups", after getting splashed by Leo, she stated that it feels good on her. At the end of the same episode, she joins with the other pets in the pool stating that cats like to get cooled off.
    • Leo the kitten at first wasn't a fan of water either. In "Family Pet Picture Day", he naturally struggled with the idea of cleaning himself up for the family picture since the tub was filled with water.
  • 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, with the turtles' seats being a fountain. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: There was an episode 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.
  • Steven Universe: In "Cat Fingers", Steven tries to learn how to shape-shift, but has very little control over this power and his body becomes covered in cat creatures. When his dad sprays him with a hose, Steven figures out that the cat heads hate water and will disappear when exposed to enough of it, and they end up having to run Steven through the car wash to get rid of all the cats. This later receives a Call-Back in "Too Short To Ride" when Steven demonstrates his shape-shifting by turning his finger into a cat, and then immediately dunks it into the ocean to turn it back to normal.
  • In the Ultimate Spider-Man episode "Kraven the Hunter", as Kraven's drums turn White Tiger more feral, one of the effects is that she develops a dislike of water.
  • In What About Mimi?, Mimi's dad's attempt to give Wimbledon the cat a bath ends with him being scratched and falling into the tub while the cat escapes.

    Real Life 
  • 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 known 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. Jaguars are known to hunt fish, turtles & small caimans.note  Meanwhile, tigers in the vast Sundarbans mangrove swamps of southeastern India and southern Bangladesh not only swim among the mangrove islands, they've been known to swim out to fishing boats, climb aboard, and take and kill one of the fishermen. 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". This generally extends to any marsh or rainforest-dwelling feline, as humidity and wetness is an invariable part of their lives.
    • 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.note 
    • 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.
  • Inverted with Nathan and Winnie the Beach Cats, two black cats in Australia that love going swimming with their humans.
  • 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.


Video Example(s):


Yukichi hates water

Yukichi hates water that he swears vengeance on the old man who gave him a shower.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / CatsHateWater

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