Here are some of the reasons why many felines avoid water.
It’s genetic! Domestic cats are descended from the Near Eastern wildcat that called the Middle East home. This wildcat can still be found today in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and Israel. The regions where the ancestors of house cats lived were arid and they had limited exposure to water, so it likely wasn’t a big part of their evolutionary scheme. Most cats don’t like water because behaviors associated with water were never passed down through the evolutionary process. The prey they hunted lived on land.
Too many chemicals. Cats can smell the chemicals in tap water much better than we can. It’s one thing to drink the tap water, but having the unnatural smell of chemicals in the water spread all over their body is not something cats appreciate.
It makes their coat heavy. A cat’s coat has some water-resistance to it, but not enough to keep her dry. When the coat is wet it’s heavy, which makes cats feel like they can’t move as quickly as they may need to.
It feels cold. When cats are completely wet, it’s harder to maintain their body temperature. Heavy wet fur loses its insulating ability and can put the cat at risk of hypothermia.
However, not all cats are necessarily afraid of water although they prefer to stay on solid ground. The Turkish Van AKA the “swimming cat” seems to enjoy going for a swim. Originally from Turkey, these cats have a naturally water-repellent coat, large paws and powerful hind legs that make them excellent swimmers. Other domestic cat breeds that enjoy going for a swim include the Turkish Angora, Savannah, American Bobtail, Japanese Bobtail, Bengal, Manx, Abyssinian, Norwegian Forest Cat and Maine Coon.