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Can Cats Swim? The Truth!

Can Cats Swim? The Truth!

Cats rule the internet, and you would see millions of articles, images, and videos about them. Why won’t they? Everything about cats is adorable.

Their looks, their gentle purrs, the way they walk around, the way they eat, and the way they sit on human laps. 

Even a cat’s silence is adorable. You could watch your kitten for hours.

In spite of their numerous images and videos, you’d hardly see any image or video where a cat is inside water. It hardly happens. 

Cats love to do a lot of things, but swimming isn’t part of that list. Does it mean that cats can’t swim? 

This article will answer the question in detail, and it also clears the confusion surrounding this topic. 


Can cats swim?

All cats can swim. It’s just that most felines don’t like getting themselves submerged in the water because they simply don’t like the feeling of getting wet. Other cats simply weren’t exposed to it from a young age. But, other than the reasons mentioned, felines don’t simply feel the need to swim that’s why they don’t let themselves near the water.


Why people think that felines can’t swim

The answer to this question depends on what you mean by swimming. When talking about cats swimming, what most people have in mind is staying or moving around inside water with their feet on the ground and head above water. 

However, contrary to popular belief, this notion isn’t considered swimming. 

Everybody can do this, but not everyone can swim. The difference becomes obvious in a deep pool of water. 

Technically, swimming is the ability to move around in the water while floating or completely submerged in water. 

Can a cat do this? The answer is No!

But, as stated in the earlier section, our feline pals can swim. Not just in the way that we think they’ll do it.


Why most cats are afraid of the water 

The fact that all cats can swim doesn’t mean that they like to swim. In fact, most of them don’t even like to go near water. 

But, if they can swim, why do they hate water so much? 

Here are some of the reasons why kitties and water may never be a winning combination. 


Cats don’t like waterlogged fur 

As you may have observed, cats are fastidious creatures. They continuously groom themselves to keep their coat clean. 

Thus, when their fur is waterlogged, it feels heavy and they don’t like it.

Of course, they can shake out the water, but it is smarter not to let water get into their fur in the first place. 

After all, prevention is always better and smarter than cure.


Most breeds of cats do not need to swim 

If cats need the ability to swim to survive, they will develop it instinctively or by evolution. So, they don’t swim and they hate to get inside the water because they don’t need it to survive. 


Non-exposure to the water

Most cats weren’t dipped inside the water when they were kittens. So, if they haven’t experienced it early on, then it is not a way of life for them. 

Now, it may be difficult if not impossible to sell the idea to your adult cat. 

However, if you have a kitten and you’d love him to learn how to swim, you can still do it, but you must apply some safety tips which are discussed in the next section.


Swimming safety for cats


Regulate the chemical in your pool

To ward germs off swimming pools, they (pools) are usually treated with several chemicals, including chlorine. 

The problem here is that the amount of chlorine that’s okay for humans may harm a kitten. 

Unfortunately, you can’t tell by only looking at the water.

Thus, let the experts analyze the chemical content in the water by sampling it and show the analysis to your vet. 

If this method isn’t feasible, an easier option will be to fill a bathtub with water instead of using a swimming pool.


Create a way out 

Whether you’re using a swimming pool or a bathtub, let your cat have an exit point. 

You may provide a ledge or a ramp. So, if he doesn’t feel like being in the water, he can easily get out. 

Don’t let him feel trapped as he could develop a phobia for the idea forever. 

Remember, you won’t go into a building that has only an entrance but no exit even if there are millions of dollars lying on the ground therein. 


Don’t submerge him

Cats have deep ear canals that could get filled with water if they go into the water. This ultimately breeds infection. So, ensure that you don’t dip your cat’s head inside water even for a few seconds. 

In addition, take the time to clean the inner parts of his ears after every swimming session to avoid a similar problem occurring later on. 


Don’t force him into the water

If your kitten refuses to go into the pool, don’t force him inside. It may not end well. 

Besides, you’ll continue to increase his fear and hatred for water when you apply force.

That’s why it’s a good idea to reward him after a swimming session. When he understands that there’ll always be a treat after the swimming lesson, he may be more willing to take the plunge.


Remove his access to the pool in your absence

Just like dogs, cats are full of surprises. They can be unpredictable. 

A kitten that refuses to get into a pool may decide to “test the ground” in your absence. And things could go wrong. There’ll be nobody to rescue him.

So, try to block his access to the pool or bathtub before leaving home. 


Keep the water warm 

It is easier for cats to adapt to warm water than cold water. So, it is important to keep the water warm before placing your kitten into it. 


Reduce the splashing noise

To some cats, the problem isn’t the water but the splashing sound. Some of them find the sound scary and offensive. 

So, don’t make the splashing sound by hitting the water until you’re sure your cute friend likes it. 



Remember, cats can’t float or get fully submerged in water, so they can’t swim in the real sense. However, they can stay or move around in the water for some time. 

If you want to inculcate the habit of swimming in your cat, it’s easier and better done when he’s still a kitten.