One of the most well-known characteristics of housecats is their aversion to water. Unlike dogs, cats typically avoid the water at all costs. Funny videos abound of dogs biting at the water coming from a hose, and most of us have witnessed a rambunctious pup eagerly jump into a body of water after a stick or tennis ball. But how often have you seen a cat happily sitting in the rain or enjoying a dip in a lake?
Believe it or not, there are several cat breeds that do appreciate the water, just maybe not quite the same way as their canine counterparts. The coolest part? The interest by many breeds can be traced back to their earliest beginnings in faraway lands.
Some experts say that protective pet owners may be to blame for cats' skittish nature when it comes to all things wet. As we have domesticated the cat, we have minimized their experience of getting wet, reducing their need to adapt as they would if they were still in the wild. But despite this change, many types of cats are still intrigued by water and will interact with it rather than run and hide, including the following.
This intelligent breed is believed to be of European descent and rumored to have made its way to the U.S. by protecting the cargo on early settlers' ships from rodents. Though their interest in water may not lead to a dive off a boat, American shorthairs are known to play with water, particularly in a water bowl or shower.
Perhaps the most water-friendly of the cat breeds, the Turkish Van is also referred to as the "swimming cat." Named after Lake Van in Turkey, this fairly rare breed once swam in the lake to cool off in the arid Eurasian climate. Nowadays, cats of this breed are likely to explore all water sources in the home, including the sink, toilet and even a swimming pool, if available. Make sure your pet is safe; just because their ancestors swam doesn't mean your kitty will be able to.
This hybrid breed, which partially evolved from the jungle cats, doesn't mind water as much as other breeds. These spotted beauties like to stalk and swat thanks to their ancestors, so the bobbing ice cubes in your water glass or bath toys in a tub may catch their eye.
This popular domesticated breed, often called the "gentle giant" of housecats, also dates back to the time of America's first settlers. A cat of this type may play with the water bowl or use its paws to drink.
The Maine Coon, which is the (not so surprisingly) state cat of Maine, is also more likely to adapt to the winter weather conditions of the Northeast. The dense water-resistant fur provides extra protection from snow and ice, while the thick, raccoon-like tail can curl around their faces to block the wind.
This more recent breed, which first surfaced in the 1960s, is easily identifiable by its stumpy tail caused by a genetic mutation. This curious cat draws comparisons to the Golden Retriever canine breed with its wagging tail, interactive nature and love of water. Don't be surprised if you find your American Bobtail dunking toys in the water dish.
Other breeds known to have an affinity for water include the Norwegian Forest Cat, Abyssinian, Manx, Japanese Bobtail, Savannah and Turkish Angora.
By Tara Hall
About the Author
Tara Hall is an animal-loving writer and editor based in Austin, Texas. Her portfolio runs the gamut from small business marketing content to travel writing, fashion editorial and national music coverage.