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Are There Cat Breeds That Actually Like Water? 12 Swimming Cats


Last Updated on: September 6, 2023 by Crystal Uys

Most cats seem to be born and bred with an intense hatred and fear of being wet. Bath time often brings out sharp claws and pitiful meows from the time they’re a kitten all the way to adulthood. Despite this, many cats enjoy swatting at running water and might jump in a damp tub after your shower to lick the water droplets off the floor. Even rarer, some cats actually enjoy swimming!

There are a few cat breeds though who not only drink from the water fountain but are usually not afraid to dive in. Let’s take a look and see who could be your new swimming buddy.

Top 12 Cat Breeds That Love Water

1. Turkish Van

Turkish Van sitting in the garden
Image Credit: Vadim Petrakov, Shutterstock

Known as the “Swimming Cat,” the Turkish Van is a unique breed in more ways than one. They have a stunning white single coat with orange piebald markings on their head and paws. The Turkish Van remains rare outside their native country but is quite a treasure if you find one.

2. Turkish Angora

turkish angora cat odd eyes blue and green
Image Credit: AyhanTuranMenekay, Shutterstock

With pure white fur and heterochromatic eyes, the Turkish Angora is a cousin to the Turkish Van that also likes to swim. They have a delicate single coat that’s fairly easy to maintain, but few claim ownership of Turkish Angoras outside of their native land.

3. Egyptian Mau

Egyptian Mau cat in gray background
Image Credit: MDavidova, Shutterstock

“Mau” is literally the Egyptian word for “water,” so it’s no surprise that this playful cat loves to swim. The Egyptian Mau is a natural born athlete that’s capable of running up to 30 miles per hour. Their spotted coat comes in silver or bronze colors with medium length, plush fur.

4. Norwegian Forest Cat

Calico Norwegian Forest Cat
Image Credit: Linn Currie, Shutterstock

The classic companion to Viking sailors, the Norwegian Forest Cat is accustomed to frigid winters on land and sea. Their plush double coat is water-resistant, which helps them dry faster when they want to take a swim. They’re one of the largest domestic cat breeds, frequently weighing over 15 pounds.

5. Maine Coon

a tabby maine coon cat at home
Image Credit: Daniel Zopf, Unsplash

The Maine Coon frequented the Northeastern docks during the 1800s and kept the rat population in check, which earned them respect (and treats) from American sailors. Today, they’re one of the largest domestic cat breeds that may be employed as barn cats or kept inside as pets. Their dense, water-repellent double coat prepares them for contact with water, and their tenacity to get the job done gives them a brave personality that’s not easily daunted by a little spritz.

6. Siberian

a fluffy siberian cat lying on the floor at home
Image Credit: evrymmnt, Shutterstock

The Siberian cat originated in the rugged Russian tundra thousands of years ago. Historians speculate that this cold weather cat breed might have been one of the first—if not the first—cat to become domesticated. It’s likely to see their long, flowing coat floating in the water as they go out for a swim, but thanks to their coat being water-resistant, it won’t take them very long to get dry once they’re done.

7. Bengal

Bengal Cat on plank outdoor
Image Credit: Seregraff, Shutterstock

The beautiful spotted Bengal cat appeared in the 1960s after someone crossed an Asian leopard cat with a domestic shorthair. The Asian leopard cat is one of the few wildcats that love water, so it’s not surprising that this exotic-looking domestic cat also likes to swim. The Bengal has a dense, short coat with silver, brown, white, or blue spots. While their coat isn’t water-repellent, its short length prevents them from staying soggy for too long after they become wet.

8. Abyssinian

Abyssinian cat standing on white surface
Image Credit: Osetrik, Shutterstock

A cinnamon-colored, ticked coat and large, alert ears characterize the Abyssinian. This highly intelligent breed possesses a knack for athletics, including running, exploring, and swimming. They don’t like to sit still for long. While they have a charismatic, almost dog-like personality that easily attaches to their owners, Abyssinians certainly aren’t the cuddliest. Although the breed as we know it today came from modern-day Ethiopia, historians speculate the Abyssinian might have originally been bred in ancient Egypt along the Nile River.

9. Manx

a manx cat lying on wooden floor
Image Credit: Seattle Cat Photo, Shutterstock

Originally found on the Isle of Man, the Manx might be mistaken for a domestic shorthair tabby until you take a look at their hindquarters. The Manx almost never has a tail. Their stocky body coupled with their playful personality makes a good combination for an athletic cat who likes to swim.

10. Savannah Cat

an F2 savannah cat walking on the couch
Image Credit: Kolomenskaya Kseniya, Shutterstock

The Savannah Cat is a relatively new breed with several generations. Each successive generation deviates a little further from their wild origins, but the first Savannah Cat was a cross between the exotic African Serval and a domestic feline. Since they’re part wildcat, Savannah Cats tend to be very athletic. They require a lot of attention and exercise so they don’t run away or become destructive. You might want to consider putting a swimming pool in your yard so this energetic cat can take some laps.

11. American Bobtail

american bobtail cat in the studio
Image Credit: OrangeGroup, Shutterstock

The American Bobtail often looks like the domestic shorthair without a tail. These gentle cats tend to be on the large side with playful personalities. Unlike most cat breeds, the American Bobtail can either have a long or short coat depending on the variation.

12. Japanese Bobtail

a japanese bobtail cat in orange background
Image Credit: dien, Shutterstock

Like the American Bobtail, the Japanese Bobtail can have a long or short coat with a sparse undercoat. These medium-sized felines come in a variety of colors and patterns. The Japanese Bobtail naturally originated in ancient Japan where they were first kept as working barn cats but were promoted to be Imperial pets. Today, they haven’t forgotten their royal silks and crown themselves as ruler of every house they inhabit.

Why Do Most Cats Detest Getting Wet?

The domestic cat’s classic aversion to water is influenced by genetic and environmental factors. Ancient cat breeds that were developed in hot, arid desert conditions like the Persian are less likely to engage with water than breeds that were raised in a cold climate or have water-resistant coats. For example, the Norwegian Forest Cat has a reputation for braving Norwegian winters with their thick, water-repellent double coats. Historically, they accompanied Vikings on long voyages. They have no fear of a little splash and are notorious for taking a swim.

On the contrary, recent breeds that were brought up indoors in the United States, such as the American Shorthair, commonly detest being wet simply because they haven’t been exposed to water. Most cats also have dense fur that takes a while to dry, which is another reason most prefer to stay out of the water. Felines that enjoy being in the water often have a single coat that dries easily, or a water-resistant double coat. There are some exceptions, of course, such as the Bengal cat. This breed doesn’t have a waterproof coat but inherits their love of water from the Asian leopard cat.

Arguably, any cat of any breed will tolerate being wet to some extent if they were raised around water. For example, say you’ve been handling an American Shorthair since she was born. You’ve frequently given her baths, held her daily, and she feels very comfortable around you. It’s very likely that she will at least allow you to give her a bath without putting up a fight. Even so, she might not voluntarily take a plunge—although she might depending on her personality.

Image Credit: sophiecat, Shutterstock

What About Drinking Water?

Many cats are at least curious about water, but few enjoy being wet. Their natural instincts tell them to drink from sources of moving water, such as water fountains, instead of stagnant bowls where the aqua may not be the freshest. Thanks to the feline’s keen sense of smell, some cats are also repulsed by tap water if it’s been purified with strong chemicals. A pet fountain with a water filter can be a solid investment for your cat’s health and happiness (and keep them from turning on the sink and running up your water bill).


While most cats only want to take a few fresh laps from the faucet, some breeds actively seek out water so they can swim a few laps. Breeds that originated in cold or wet climates, such as the Siberian, are more likely to enjoy swimming than breeds developed in a dry or sheltered environment. However, with patience, love, and persistent training, most cats can at least learn to tolerate a bath when necessary, even if they’d never join you in the pool.

Featured Image Credit: Amerigo_images, Shutterstock

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