Do American Shorthair Cats Like Water? Complete Truth

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Although most people believe that all cats hate water, this simply isn’t true. There are many cases of cats despising water following the stereotype, but there are, in fact, many cats who love water. So, do American Shorthair cats like water?

Yes, American Shorthair cats like water.  American Shorthair cats are known to be relatively comfortable in the water.  It’s not uncommon to observe an American Shorthair cat splashing around, playing with water, or dipping their paws in their water bowl.

It can become challenging to tackle water-based scenarios with any cat, and understanding how the breed relates to their love of water can be incredibly helpful. Water is an essential part of every cat’s diet and lifestyle. Stick around to find out about American Shorthair cats, why water is beneficial for them, and why some of them like water while others do not.

Do American Shorthair cats like water?

It’s not uncommon for an American Shorthair cat to love playing with water, but it should be noted that not every American Shorthair cat will love water. Some American Shorthair cats may love playing with water, while others will not, and their preferences will vary for a large selection of reasons.

Generally speaking, American Shorthair cats are very playful and are fonder of running water than still water collected in containers. But, they tend to scoop out water from containers and are known for tipping over their water bowls intentionally.

Caregivers must observe their American Shorthair cat’s behavior from when they are young, as this can give key insight into their particular preferences, which are unique for every cat. Knowledge of these aspects will allow caregivers to establish a thorough hydration plan. It will be far simpler to care for your fur baby to ensure its happiness and longevity. 

American Shorthair Breed Characteristics

American Shorthair Cat

American Shorthair cats tend to be quite diverse in temperament, which ranges from their unique personalities to their preferences. Although some American Shorthair cats love playing with water, many follow the standard stereotype of disliking water. American Shorthair cats who have been observed to like water tend to be more interested in splashing it and dipping their paws in it.

To learn more about the American Shorthair cat’s characteristics, check out my article comparing the American Shorthair vs Scottish Fold:  Click Here.

Cats That Like to Swim

Certain cats are known to be prolific swimmers, such as the Maine Coon, Turkish Van, and Bengal cat.  The American Shorthair cat isn’t known to be a prolific swimmer, but they display an interest in water.

American Shorthair cats aren’t usually observed swimming and are generally more interested in meddling with water for play. However, an American Shorthair cat can enjoy an occasional swim in a shallow pool or a sporadic dip in a shallow water container. Swimming training is needed for cats to avoid the risk of drowning.

Cats That Like Baths

Many cats enjoy baths or being in the vicinity of a bathtub or shower when used by the cat’s owner.  I did a quick search on, and some of the cat breeds that you may find enjoy baths, taking a shower, or at least hanging out between are:

  • Exotic Shorthair
  • Bengal
  • Himalayan

It would not surprise me one bit if these breeds also like baths:

American Shorthair cats are known for joining their owners while they are in the shower, as well as propping themselves on the edge of the bath while it’s in use. However, in many scenarios, the cat may not have the intention of being bathed as well.

American Shorthairs may simply enjoy moderate exposure to the water coupled with the freedom to dip their paws into the water or meddle with water droplets and water faucets. Successful and enjoyable bath time sessions are more probable when they have been done from a young age.

Cats That Play in Water?

Many of the cat breeds mentioned above (i.e., Maine Coon, Bengal, etc.) will also like splashing around and playing in the water.  Not every American Shorthair will like playing in the water, but some of them likely will enjoy it. 

I gathered some information from, and it sounds like a good way to entice your cat into playing in a bathtub to fill it up with an inch or two of water and then put something in the bathtub that your cat will want to play with.  For me, I’m going to try this out by putting in some fish toys that move around.  I’ll update this post after I have tried it out.

I found these fish toys on Amazon (affiliate link) that I will try out with my cat:  Check Out These Cool Little Fish Toys On Amazon.  

American Shorthair cats do commonly enjoy playing with water to lesser degrees than breeds that are avid water-lovers. This usually extends to them using their paws for water play often, as they may opt to dip their paws into their drinking bowls for drinking and may splash around in the water. But, it’s also common for American Shorthair cats to dislike water play. Thus, it will largely depend on the particular preference of your cat.

Water and Cats:  Where They Find Water for Play

Regardless of how your American Shorthair cat enjoys playing with water, caregivers must make sure that there is a clean water environment in which to do so.


Other than tap water, rainwater can be one of the safest water sources for your cats to play with or swim in. This is because it lacks many chemicals and compounds which are found in other water sources. But, caregivers should be mindful of the rainwater collection process, as it may become tainted from drainage pathways or stored in galvanized steel containers.


Some American Shorthair cats may take an occasional swim, and most pools are safe for use. But, caregivers should ensure that the pool chemicals and treatment processes are safe for them. There is a wide range of pool treatment methods, and this should be checked before allowing your cat to swim in it. 

Regardless of whether your cat is swimming or playing, they still risk being harmed by the substances which it contains. This is since it may damage their fur and skin, and they may still ingest its contents through allogrooming.


All cats will encounter puddles at some point. But, puddles house bacteria such as E. coli, Giardia, Leptospira, Cryptosporidium, Campylobacter, and many more. If your American Shorthair cat consumes this water, it may vomit, experience diarrhea, or other adverse repercussions depending on the bacteria.

Lakes and Ponds

There are plenty more risks of being exposed to natural water bodies, as they contain algae that may be toxic, especially if the algae is green, red, brown, blue, or purple. The water may also have dangerous foam on its surface or may contain heavy metals like copper sulfate. Cats should not be allowed near such water bodies, and they will need an immediate cleanse and trip to the vet if they have made contact with it. 


While many caregivers allow their cats to swim in ocean water, there are quite a few risks that need to be considered. Ocean water contains human waste, pollution, and extremely high salt content which could cause salt intoxication in cats. Although there are cases of cats swimming in the ocean and being fine, it’s best to avoid such risks.

Cats That Drink Water

All cats need water to survive since it contributes to all aspects of their health. Cats need water for a variety of functions, which extend to the brain and body. It assists with growth and maturation, healing, the health of fur and skin and will assist the cat in retaining proper health into the later years of its life.

It’s possible you won’t see your cat drinking water often, and if this is the case, I would recommend feeding your cat “wet” cat food since it has a high moisture content. 

American Shorthair cats will likely drink water.  Not only are these cats comfortable playing with water, but they should not have any issues drinking it either. 

I use a water fountain for drinking water for my cat Charlotte (domestic Shorthair).  I rarely see her using the water fountain, but I know she does because I have caught her using it before, and I can see the water level go down.  I highly recommend this water fountain on Amazon (affiliate link):  Click Here To See This Awesome Water Fountain on Amazon.

One note about that water fountain – I don’t use it with the flower in the middle.  Without the flower, the water fountain just smoothly flows water – perfect for a cat to drink out of it.

Why Do Cats Need Water?

Dehydration can be severe in cats and may cause far more complicated health issues later in life. Dehydration is characterized by low skin elasticity, slobbering, shuddering, strange urination patterns, dry or tacky gums, a faint pulse, a heightened heart rate, wheezing, feebleness, and a lessened appetite. A visit to the vet is recommended in the event of such symptoms.

A lack of hydration throughout your American Shorthair cat’s life can also cause conditions to arise at a later point in its life. These conditions are more complex to deal with, so it’s important to ensure your American Shorthair has sufficient water from a young age.

Such health issues may relate to the bladder and kidney, such as stones or infections, and urinary tract infections that may be correctable with the right steps but will be very painful.

Video: American Shorthair Cat 101

Although it may be easier to bathe an American Shorthair who loves water, they may not appreciate getting water in their face and eyes. Many caregivers choose to gently wipe the face after bathing instead.

To learn more about the American Shorthair’s upkeep, check out my article comparing the American Shorthair to the Exotic Shorthair:  Click Here.

If you find that your American Shorthair cat does not like water, you will need to get creative with bath time (should you feel your cat needs a bath). But, if your American Shorthair loves water, you should ensure that your cat always plays in clean water (like in the bathtub) and not out in puddles that could be contaminated.

If you enjoyed this article, please check out a few more:

  • Do American Shorthair Cats Like To Cuddle? (See Why):  Click Here.
  • American Shorthair vs Maine Coon (The Best Beautiful Cats):  Click Here.
  • American Shorthair vs Siamese (New Popular Cat Comparison):  Click Here.

Christopher Carlson

I have an Domestic Shorthair Tabby named Charlotte. She is full of energy when she isn't sleeping most of the day. I share what I learn about cats on this site.

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