Fear of drowning may contribute to a water aversion because soaked fur is heavy and limits the cat's ability to float and escape danger according to Web Vet. However, not all cats hate water. A domestic breed, the Turkish Van, thoroughly enjoys water, which is a trait inherited from its ancestors in Turkey who bathed in the cold waters of Lake Van to escape the area's extreme summer temperatures.
Animal Planet theorizes that cats fearful of water have experienced trauma, such as forced bathing by their human companions, exposure to torrential rainstorms or a spray of water as a disciplinary action. Scientists argue that innate fear may be a result of human sheltering from the elements that has occurred for hundreds of years. Aside from total water immersion, many cats are simply fascinated by a dripping water faucet, the sound of a shower or dipping a paw into a water bowl. The sounds and water movement provided by pet fountains make them a constant source of fascination.
Many species of big cats in the wild bathe in rivers where they also catch meals. A natural adaptation to water immersion is the Asian fishing cat, which is an adept swimmer with partially webbed paws. Lions and leopards, however, resist swimming to avoid predators, such as crocodiles.