Do Bengal Cats Like Water?
Yes, most Bengal cats like water! The Asian Leopard ancestors of Bengal cats are obsessed with water and that trait has been passed down to the Bengal breed.
This may seem counterintuitive to everything you’ve ever learned about cats. Cats are notorious for hating water and the thought of a cat not just tolerating water, but actually enjoying it, can be mind boggling!
With Bengals you can just take everything you think you know about cats and throw it out the window.
You can learn more about Bengals and other hybrid cats from our Hybrid Cats Explained article!
To understand why Bengal cats like water you need to understand the breed itself.
Bengal cats are a cross between the Asian Leopard Cat and a domesticated housecat. Having the genes of a wild leopard-like cat makes Bengals extremely adventurous.
First of all, in order to survive, the Asian Leopard Cat sometimes needs to fish for food or swim to escape other predators. They’ve basically evolved to love water.
Second, and all survival instincts aside here, Asian Leopard Cats are born and raised in environments that have many different bodies of water. This helps them get comfortable with the idea of being wet from a very early age.
Bengal cats are very playful, energetic, and inquisitive. Being so curious and rambunctious means that not only are they not scared of water, but they actually have fun playing in it!
If you have any fish or aquarium pets it is best to keep a secure lid on them around a Bengal. If your Bengal isn’t scared to climb in the shower with you then they’re certainly not scared to go after a swimming fishy due to their high prey drive.
Do All Bengal Cats Like Water?
No, not all Bengal cats like water, but most do. The breed as a whole is much more likely to enjoy water than most other breeds.
It’s hard to speak in absolutes in general about any breed of cat. Sure, most Bengals like water, just like most Maine Coons are super friendly and affectionate. But there’s always going to be exceptions to these rules.
Your cat’s behavioral traits start developing at a VERY early age. A lot of what your cat knows has been learned from its parents and littermates.
If your Bengal doesn’t like water then it’s likely because they weren’t exposed to it early on, their parents or littermates didn’t like water, or they’re just a genetic outlier. There are tons of reasons why cats just don’t like water.
Think about humans for a second. You might know a family where both parents and most of their kids are in the medical field whereas one outlying sibling has decided to get a degree in history and become a professor.
Can Bengal Cats Swim?
Yes, Bengal cats are amazing swimmers!
Bengals as a whole love water. They love playing in it, they’re curious about it, they even love just watching a running faucet.
Some Bengals are more comfortable around water than others and may actually jump in and go for a swim!
Just because your Bengal cat loves playing in water doesn’t mean you should toss them in for a swim. Bengal cats should only swim if they venture out into the water on their own.
NEVER force your Bengal to go swimming!
How Do I Get My Bengal Cat To Like Water?
Before we dive into this it’s important to note that you should NEVER force your cat to do anything they’re uncomfortable with. Bengals like water, yes, but not all of them do.
Paying attention to your Bengal is the best thing you can do when introducing them to water. Look out for any signs that they me be stressed, anxious, or upset that you’re trying to get them to enjoy water.
5 Tips To Get Your Bengal To Like Water
Get Your Bengal Comfortable With The Bathtub – Take a completely empty (and dry!) bathtub and put their favorite toys in there. Maybe some catnip too! Do this every day for at least a week or two. You’re using positive reinforcement to get them to associate the bathtub with fun!
SLOWLY Introduce Them To Being Wet – Take a wet washcloth and rub them just a little bit while they’re playing in the tub. DO NOT soak them! Get them slightly damp so they can get used to the feeling of their fur being wet.
Get Their Feet Wet – Once they’re fully comfortable with the dry tub and with a little moisture on their fur, put a tiny amount of water in the bottom of the tub for the next playtime. Just enough for them to get their little toe beans wet. Keeping a towel at the bottom of the tub helps their feet not slide around. Do this for a few days before going to the next step.
Slowly Add More Water – Once they’re okay with their feet being wet it’s time to fill the tub up a little bit more. Fill it up enough for their legs to get wet without really getting their belly wet. The hardest hurdle for your Bengal will be dealing with a wet belly and we aren’t ready for that yet.
Wet Belly Time – After several days of them playing around with leg-deep water it’s time to fill it up a little bit more until the water touches their belly. By now your kitty should fully associate water with nothing but fun and happy times!
Let Your Bengal Set The Pace!
DO NOT take things further than step 5. Anything that happens after step 5 is completely up to your cat. You are not going to fill the tub up more to watch them swim around. If your cat wants to submerge themselves more then they will do it on their own!
There are a ton of waterproof toys for cats that would work well with this plan. Some of them even look like little fish that will swim around and play into your Bengal’s hunting instincts!
Safety When Playing In Water
We understand your Bengal has wild ancestral roots, but they’ve also got a lot of plain-Jane domesticated housecat in them. You should NEVER let your Bengal go swimming unsupervised.
In fact, if they’re playing anywhere other than the sink or the tub you need to be there to supervise them. Would you let you 4 year old child go swimming unsupervised?
When playing in the water on a hot Summer day you need to also make sure your cat isn’t getting overheated. We recommend you read How Hot Is Too Hot For Cats as well as Why Is My Cat Panting?
Are Bengal Cats Scared Of Water?
No, Bengal cats are not scared of water. It may seem like the world is coming to an end for just about any other cat that gets wet, but not Bengals!
99% of the time if a Bengal sees some kind of water running or moving then they will instantly be drawn to it. They will try and make a fun game out of anything in or around the water if at all possible.
Most Bengal experts recommend keeping your cat’s water dish far away from it’s food bowl. You should do this anyways as most cats don’t like their food and water bowls in the same room, but Bengals will often put food in their water bowls so they can play around with it.
First-time Bengal cat owners are often astonished to see just how bold and daring Bengals can be around water. They love it!
Why Don't Other Cats Like Water?
There are two primary reasons that most cats hate water. First, they can’t stand how it feels when their fur is wet. Second, they simply weren’t exposed to it at a young age.
Some experts actually believe that cats have grown to hate water simple because homeowners have kept them away from it. Generation after generation, housecats have been shielded from water.
Have you ever heard of or seen someone use a spray bottle to discipline a cat? There’s yet another reason they likely hate water. You should NEVER use a spray bottle to discipline your cat! NEVER!
Cats are great at adapting to change, even though in the beginning it may not seem like it. If water or bathing isn’t part of a cat’s routine then they have no reason to seek it out unless their natural instincts tell them to, just like the instincts of the Bengal cat!
Pictures of Bengal Cats With Water
Below are credits for the pictures used in this article. We encourage you to follow each of these Instagram accounts as well as like and share any pictures you might like!
Featured Image: bengaljasper
Video of Bengal by the bathtub: lilubengalcat
Bengal playing outside: bengalenzmogus
Kitten in the sink: simba.the.bengalcat
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