Can Cats Swim? A Look at Feline Swimming Ability

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can cats swim

Can cats swim? Yes and no. Cats have the ability to swim if they choose to, but owners need to remember that there are some risks involved in letting your cat near water.

Cats have different swimming abilities; some can stay afloat while others would rather not even try. In the wild, big cats swim in pursuit of prey, and some domesticated cats jump in the water after a wayward duck. Ok, that probably doesn’t happen that often, but you’ll be glad to know that if your pet accidentally fell in the water, he’d be able to swim to shore.

Most cats don’t like the water all that much, so you probably don’t want to try washing your cat unless you want to have your eyes scratched out. This blog post will explore all the factors that affect whether or not your cat likes to take a dip!

Can cats swim?

Cats are pretty good swimmers if they choose to be!

Cats don’t usually swim unless there is a reason to do so, such as falling into water or getting stranded. They can learn to enjoy swimming and playing in the water as kittens, making it more likely they’ll swim as adults. Most domestic cats will never have the opportunity to prove their swimming prowess in real life unless they take a dip in a swimming pool or bath.

Feral cats sometimes swim, but it’s usually in the context of another activity such as hunting and bringing down their prey (including fish) or escaping a strong current in a river.

Why don't cats like water?

There are a few reasons why cats don’t like to swim. Most pet cats probably don’t know that they can swim as they have never had to. Although cats have the instinct to swim if their life depends on it, most have never been in a situation where they’ve had to swim.

Cat’s don’t see the need for swimming, as it’s not a skill that most have had to develop for hunting purposes. Another reason cats don’t swim is that the water may be too cold.

Cats don’t usually drink much water because they get most of the moisture they need from their food. For this reason, they aren’t used to the feeling of water on their fur. However, some lap up the water from a bowl, bathtub, or sink just for something to do.

tiger swimming

Why do big cats swim?

Big cats such as tigers, lions, leopards, and cheetahs are sometimes observed swimming. It’s thought that big cats swim to either conserve energy or to catch prey. Swimming is important to large cats when they encounter water, especially when they are carrying heavy game.

The ability to swim may also be favourable for pursuing aquatic prey. However, it’s thought that most lion and other big cat habitats have a high enough density of game to support the animals without swimming being a necessary skill.

Big cats are excellent swimmers and readily enter the water to hunt, fish, or escape a dangerous situation. They have incredible balance and quick reactions that enable them to survive encounters with aquatic animals that may be hazardous to other species, such as alligators and snakes.

Can domestic cats swim?

There are many instances of pet cats falling into the water, where these skillful feline swimmers can successfully return to dry land with their lives. (or perhaps with one less of their nine lives.)

Other cats have fallen into the water and cannot get out due to a lack of swimming ability or fear that prevents them from trying. In these cases, the cat has had to be rescued.

Most cats will instinctively swim towards the bank of a body of water and pull themselves out if they find themselves in deep water. It is important to note that when a cat starts moving through the water, it uses up valuable energy stores and may quickly become exhausted. Cat owners must do whatever they can to get the animal out of the water as soon as possible.

can I teach my cat to swim

Can I teach my cat to swim?

Getting a cat used to water as a kitten can make it easier for them to swim as an adult. Some cats love water so much that they will stick their paws under a running tap or drink from a fountain.

Cats are curious creatures by nature, which is why they enjoy the water if they’re introduced to it from a young age. Pouring a little bit of cool water from a cup or watering can will teach your kitten that water isn’t scary and can also be fun.

If you add some toys such as floating mice to the bath and add some warm water, so your kitten isn’t afraid of the temperature, you might be able to convert a land-loving cat into one that can swim.

Never force a cat or kitten to get into a bath or swimming pool. It’s also worth noting that as cats lick themselves to dry off, regularly taking a dip in a chlorinated swimming pool is bad for their health. Usually, there isn’t any need to teach cats or kittens to swim, so most people don’t. Unless you live on a boat or near a large body of water and are worried about your cat falling in, you should probably give the swimming lessons a miss.

Which breeds of cat like to swim?

Bengal cats are an affectionate breed that likes to swim and be around their owner or other pets. They want to be involved in family activities and may follow you into the water. The Abyssinian cat can also be very social and playful. If introduced to water from a young age, this breed will enjoy taking a dip.

Turkish van cat

Turkish van cat

Perhaps the most famous swimming cats are the Turkish Vans. The Turkish Van is a breed of domestic cat believed to be descended from the cats owned by the nomadic Seljuk Turks of Central Asia. The cats were brought to Turkey, where they were prized by both royalty and commoners alike for their beauty, intelligence, hunting ability, and loyalty. A large colony of cats lived wild on the shores of Lake Van and developed their swimming skills to hunt fish.

These felines are exceptionally affectionate, and they love to swim in rivers or pools. A Turkish Van would make an excellent pet for someone who enjoys swimming. Unlike most cats, Turkish Vans are highly energetic and will swim without hesitation. They are also the only breeds known to swim in both fresh and saltwater.

How to rescue a cat from water

Always keep yourself safe when attempting to rescue an animal from water. Call on the help of an expert such as an animal welfare charity, the fire brigade, or someone in the area with a boat or canoe if you can’t reach the cat. Don’t put your own life in danger. 

1. Act quickly if you see a cat fall into deep water. It’s important to rescue the cat before it drowns; try to gauge how deep the water is and call for help if necessary.

2. Try luring the cat out of the water with a stick or pole. Dragging a stick through the water can work; you might also be able to get hold of the cat by luring him toward you. Once the cat gets close enough, you can pull him out of the water. 

3.If you have a float, tie it to a piece of rope and throw it to the cat. The cat may climb onto a float and can then be pulled to shore. 

4. A pole with a noose on the end can save a cat from the water if you are experienced in dealing with animals. Slip the loop over the cat’s head, ensuring that it is loose enough not to strangle him but tight enough that he can’t escape. Then slowly begin to pull the cat towards you and the shore until you can get a firm grip on his body. 


Some cats will love the water, and some won’t go near it. Many domestic cats are good swimmers, and they like water. They will use their front paws to paddle, but they do not like to swim when they don’t have a means of getting out of the water easily. A cat’s fur does become quickly waterlogged, which can cause a cat to drown if he cannot climb out. 

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