Bathing Your Cat: Why Do Cats Dislike Water?

If you’ve ever tried to give your cat a bath, you know that it’s not always an easy task. In fact, most cats have a strong aversion to water, making it difficult to keep them clean and groomed. But why do cats dislike water so much? And is there anything you can do to make bathing your cat a little easier? Let’s explore.

Why do cats dislike water?

There are a few theories as to why cats have an aversion to water:

  1. Evolutionary history

One theory is that cats’ aversion to water is rooted in their evolutionary history. Cats are descendants of desert-dwelling animals, and their ancestors likely didn’t have much exposure to water. As a result, cats may not have developed an instinctual attraction to water like some other animals.

  1. Sensitivity to temperature

Another possible explanation is that cats are sensitive to the temperature of the water. Cats have a higher body temperature than humans, and water that feels lukewarm to us may feel cold to them.

  1. Feeling of loss of control

Cats are also known for their strong desire to maintain control over their environment. When a cat is placed in water, they may feel vulnerable and lose their sense of control, which can cause anxiety and fear.

How to Bathe Your Cat

While many cats may never enjoy water, there are some things you can do to make bathing your cat a little easier:

  1. Start with a clean environment

Make sure your bathroom is clean and clutter-free before giving your cat a bath. This can help reduce any additional stress or anxiety your cat may feel.

  1. Use lukewarm water

Make sure the water is lukewarm, not too hot or cold. You can also place a towel or rubber mat in the bottom of the tub or sink to give your cat a more secure footing.

  1. Use a cat-friendly shampoo

Use a shampoo specifically formulated for cats, as human shampoos can be too harsh for their sensitive skin. Gently massage the shampoo into your cat’s fur, being careful not to get any in their eyes, ears, or nose.

  1. Rinse thoroughly

Rinse your cat thoroughly to make sure all of the shampoo is removed from their fur. Any remaining shampoo can cause skin irritation or dryness.

  1. Dry gently

Use a towel to gently dry your cat, being careful not to rub their fur too vigorously. You can also use a blow dryer set on low, but make sure to keep the dryer at a safe distance from your cat and never use a high heat setting.


While cats’ aversion to water may never go away completely, there are steps you can take to make bath time a little easier for both you and your cat. Start with a clean environment, use lukewarm water and a cat-friendly shampoo, rinse thoroughly, and dry your cat gently. With patience and practice, your cat may even come to tolerate, if not enjoy, the occasional bath.

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