Do Tabby Cats Like Water? (Swim, Bath, Drink)

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While the mass stereotype of all cats hating water seems to be believed by many, it actually couldn’t be further from the truth. Of course, some cats don’t like water, but plenty of cats love it. So, do tabby cats like water?

There are tabby cats that like swimming, bathing, and drinking water. Whether or not a tabby cat likes water will depend on several factors, such as the cat’s individual personality, the cat’s upbringing, and most importantly, the cat breed.

When it comes to figuring out how to handle water-based situations with your tabby cat, it can become quite tricky with the assumption that they will hate it. Even Tabby’s who love water play may still dislike bath time, which sheds even more confusion on this love-hate water complex.

Stick around to find out about tabby cats, why water is good for them, and why some of them like water while others do not.

If you wonder what the best products are for your cat, check out this article that will break down all my recommendations for you: Things To Buy For A Cat Right Now!

Do tabby cats like water?

Much like humans or children, the particulars will be different for every unique cat. For example, some tabbies may like swimming but not bathing, some may enjoy light sprinkles of water to cool off, and some may dislike water entirely. This will depend mainly on the tabby cat’s personality, cat breed, and how they were raised.

Can a tabby cat swim?

Depending on the cat breed, some tabby cats would like to swim.  While it’s more common for water-loving cats to play with water instead of submerging themselves in it, there are quite a few cases of cats who like swimming in shallow pools.

One cat breed that frequently likes swimming and has a tabby variety is the Maine Coon. 

To learn more about the Maine Coon, check out this article:  How Big Will a Maine Coon Mix Get? (Eye-Opening Info).

Do tabby cats like baths?

Depending on the cat breed, a tabby cat may like baths. It’s pretty standard for specific cat breeds (like the Maine Coon or the Bengal) to join their caregivers in the shower or the tub for water playtime. However, it should be noted that even cats who love water play may dislike bath time, and there is a higher chance of having peaceful bath time sessions if practiced from when they are young.

One cat breed that has Tabby that enjoys baths is the Bengal cat.  To learn more about the Bengal cat, check out my article:  Do Bengal Cats Like Water? Find Out Why They Love It!

Is drinking water beneficial for a tabby cat?

Tabby Cat with Water

Yes, drinking water is incredibly beneficial, as all cats need sufficient hydration to survive. In addition, water assists brain and body functions, and cats cannot live for more than a few days without water.

What happens if tabby cats don’t drink enough water?

Dehydration can be recognized by decreased skin elasticity, drooling, quivering, unusual urination, dry or tacky gums, a weak pulse, an elevated heart rate, panting, weakness, and a decreased appetite. A visit to the vet is recommended in the event of such symptoms.

In addition, certain conditions can arise throughout your Tabby’s life if they do not drink sufficient water from when they are young. This includes issues with the bladder and kidney, such as stones or infections and urinary tract infections.

With the appropriate steps, this may be treatable, but it will be excruciating and uncomfortable for your Tabby. It’s best to ensure there is enough water in their diet to avoid such situations.

Can tabby cats swim?

Tabby cats can swim if they are keen on the idea and if they have received swimming training. However, this is usually more successful if done from a young age, and the environment for swimming is appropriate and comfortable for them.

Where can tabby cats swim or play?

If you find that your cat enjoys an occasional swim, it’s best to ensure that they have a safe and clean water environment in which to do so.


Although most cases of cats drinking and playing with rainwater should be fine, rainwater becomes toxic when stored in galvanized steel or when it has run through dirty areas like gutters or drains. When cats play with rainwater, they may suffer the repercussions of ingesting the harmful substances it contains. Always ensure rainwater is caught in a clean, safe way.


Depending on how your pool is treated, your cat may be able to swim in it. However, it’s always advised to give your Tabby a rinse with clean water afterward, as the chemicals in the pool should not be left to dry and set into your cat’s fur.

Where can’t tabby cats swim or play?

Swimming in tainted water sources can lead to a range of infections, illnesses, and diseases, some of which may be severe. It’s important to note that cats may still ingest bacteria after playing with water or swimming since they lick themselves.


Puddles house plenty of bacteria such as E.coli, Giardia, Leptospira, Cryptosporidium, Campylobacter, and more. Ingesting harmful bacteria can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and a wide range of other conditions requiring a vet visit.

Lakes and Ponds

In addition to the bacteria which live in puddles, lakes, ponds, and swampy water is home to plenty of living organisms. This includes algae which may be toxic, predominantly if the algae is green, red, brown, blue, or purple.

Water with foamy residue floating on the surface is dangerous and pond water treated with heavy metals like copper sulfate. Cats shouldn’t go anywhere near this water. Contact with this water requires immediate cleansing of the cat and a visit to the vet.


Although it may be enjoyable to take your Tabby for an occasional swim, caution needs to be taken since ocean water contains high amounts of salt – not to mention human waste and pollution. It’s not advised to let cats interact with this water, and consumption of it can cause salt intoxication, which is identified by depression, vomiting, fatigue, and diarrhea.

Do Tabby Cats Need Baths?

Whether or not your Tabby needs a bath will depend on several influential factors, all of which will contribute to how clean your Tabby is. For example, if your Tabby roams outside often, plays with other cats, or goes on sporadic adventures into the unknown, then it may be a good idea to bathe them.

But, if they are mostly indoors, do not interact with others, and clean themselves often, the need may be less prominent. Caregivers should make time to bathe the Tabby if they enjoy the water play involved.

Cat breed characteristics

Since ‘tabby’ refers to the coat pattern, the specific breed traits will matter. Some breeds have traits that may result in them becoming dirtier than others. But, tabby cats have shorter fur coats, and they may be able to clean themselves sufficiently with allogrooming.

Do Tabby cats like water on their head?

If you’ve ever binge-watched cat videos, odds are you’ve seen a few cats sitting under a faucet with water running onto their heads. This is not done as a standard for tabby cats, but they may let the water run on their head during play or even for drinking since it’s conducive to how they lap up water in small amounts.

Why is my cat attracted to running water?

Cats are far more curious about running water than still water in bowls; thus, they are incredibly intrigued by water faucets. They may sit and let the water run onto the head, while others may let the water run onto their heads while drinking the running water. This is one of the reasons why many caregivers like to provide water fountains to their cats, as it serves as a freshwater source and entertainment for them.

Water on their heads during bathing

That being said, most cats do not like to get water on their heads or in their eyes when they are bathed. Most caregivers avoid getting water in their tabby cat’s face and eyes, opting to rather wipe the face gently afterward for cleaning.

If you find that your Tabby does not like water, then you may have to make some adaptions and be creative with bath time and other necessary routines. But, if your Tabby loves water, you will need to ensure that their urges and needs for water play are met, as this lowers the risk of them playing with or even consuming water from hazardous sources. Always consult a professional for specialized guidance, as every cat is unique.

Do cats like playing with water?

There are plenty of cats who like to play with water faucets, garden water features, pool water, and water from other sources in the house. They commonly splash it around, dip their paws in it, or even try to catch it.

What’s special about tabby cats?

A tabby cat refers to a domestic cat that has the ‘M’ shape on its forehead, coupled with its distinctive eyes and cheeks surrounded by stripes, as well as varied striped, lined, flecked, banded, swirled, or dotted patterns across the body.

The specifics of the pattern will vary between tabbies, but the coat length and texture are quite similar to them.  Tabby is not a cat breed, but many cat breeds can have the tabby pattern.  So, tabbies are special because of their coat pattern and coat colors.


Tabby cats may like water depending mostly on their breed, personality, and upbringing.  Different cat breeds with tabby varieties, like the Maine Coon and Bengal, are known to enjoy swimming and baths.

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

  • Do Tabby Cats Have Black Paws? (Clear Answers):  Click Here.
  • Why are Tabby Cats So Friendly? (Genetics, Environment):  Click Here.
  • Why are Tabby Cats So Common? Detailed Answers:  Click Here.

Here are some of my favorite cat products

In addition to checking out some other More Meows articles, I hope you’ll check out some of my favorite cat products as well.  These are affiliate links, so if you end up using them, I’ll get a commission at no extra cost to you.  These are the products I really do find most helpful.

Litter Box:  I started out with normal, traditional litter boxes for my cat.  Then, I tried this automatic litter box on Amazon (affiliate link), which helped reduce the litter upkeep.  Finally, I am now a believer in the Litter-Robot 3 Connect on Amazon (affiliate link).  This robotic litter box is not for everyone based on the price tag, but for me the benefits (very little upkeep, works efficiently, clean, mobile app) far outweighed the cost. 

My Cat’s Litter-Robot 3 Connect (with night light on) – See the link above the photo!

Cat Tree:  I have purchased a couple of this Amazon Basics Cat Tree on Amazon (affiliate link).  My cat spends a lot of time on and around this cat tree, which I position near my sofa.  She uses the scratching posts on this cat tree multiple times a day, which means she is not scratching the sofa instead.

Cat Water Fountain:  I love this cat water fountain on Amazon (affiliate link).  There are three main benefits to having a water fountain like this for your cat.  The first benefit is that it keeps water running so that your cat doesn’t need to drink still water.  The second benefit is that it filters the water.  The third benefit is that it will keep your cat hydrated!

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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