Ernie Longlegs came to the Stofft house a little over a year ago. He was a typical foster kitten – a little mouthy, slightly odd but quite lovable despite all his foibles. One of our favorite quirks was his interest in water, not just for drinking but we quickly found that if you were luxuriating in a warm bath you would frequently get a wet hairball swimming in the tub with you.
So, being of the scientific nature, this summer we decided we needed to test his swimming prowess in the pool. We found, to the kids delight, that not only was he not fearful he was actually a fairly good swimmer. Having thus deduced the inaccuracy of the notion that all cats hate water we decided to push the hypothesis further by taking Ernie’s little brother Mousie into the pool as well.
Mousie was one of our little foster kittens the kid’s bottle raised. This kitten, however, has never shown an interest in water although hasn’t fought us for the occasional bath. Despite his lack of interest, we felt that it was in the greater need of scientific knowledge to take Mousie into the pool as well. To our delight we found we had two excellent swimming cats, although to be quite honest, Mousie’s main objective is to leave the pool as quickly as possible however will remain calmly attached to your arm if given the chance.
Therefore we have come to the understanding that not all cats hate water. It may be more our approach to introducing cats to water that makes us feel that they are fearful. I try to place a towel or an oven rack at the bottom of the tub / sink so that they have something to cling to other than the front of your shirt. Have the vessel already filled with water – I believe the sound of rushing water is part of what makes them fearful and use a cup to gently wash the soap / grime etc from their fur. Never wet their head down except with a washcloth. Slow and gentle will get the job done with most cats. Have fun and remember, do not try this experiment at home, we are professionals.