Cats are pretty incredible animals. They’re cute and clever and seemingly fearless, but we all know one thing that’s likely to make them uneasy: water.
While some animals love to go for a swim, cats are generally not one of them. Though not all cats despise the water (Maine Coons are known to enjoy it), the average domestic kitty would probably prefer that you didn’t try to stick her in the bathtub. Kelley Bollen, an animal behavior consultant and the former director of behavior programs for the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, told Life Little’s Mysteries why.
“One contributing factor could be that their hair coat doesn’t dry quickly and it’s simply uncomfortable to be soaking wet,” Bollen said.
Bollen also pointed to felines’ quirky personalities as another contributing factor to their displeasure with swimming.
“[B]ecause cats are control freaks and like four feet on a solid surface, they do not appreciate the sensation of floating in the water,” she said.
But why do dogs not have that same fear? Well, according to Bollen, some of them—including the Portuguese Water Dog, the Duck Tolling Retriever, and the Irish Water Spaniel—are specifically bred to work in the water. And even outside of genetic factors, dogs are also more likely to be introduced to water in a more pleasant manner from an early age than cats are.
However, there are some exceptions to the rule.