Maine Coon swimming close up

Do Maine Coons Like Water and Swim (The Catty Paddle)?

When considering a Maine Coon and doing your research, or even perhaps hearing from word of mouth, you will undoubtedly hear about the Maine Coon’s natural love of water.

In short, the Maine Coon was thought to have made it to the United States on the sailing ships of the great trading empires of the last few centuries. Unsurprisingly then, the Maine Coon breed is perhaps more adept at being in the water. More than any other breed it seems to actually quite like the water. Whether it’s a puddle, a paddling pool, a swimming pool, a bath or your kitchen sink the Maine Coon will be quite happy to play in the colorless liquid. Providing it’s not too hot. Maine Coon’s make excellent sea companions for those with yachts, and is most assuredly the one breed you don’t need to worry about around water.

It’s worth checking this little video out. A Maine Coon kitten quite instinctively isn’t afraid of the water.

Despite all the cartoons portraying cats as having a phobia of water, the truth is cats on an individual basis, really might not be afraid. However, The Maine Coon as a breed generally is not afraid of the water either.

An individual Maine Coon may be quite different, but when you bring a Maine Coon into the household, there is a fair chance it will not be too worried about getting wet.

Truth is, they are actually quite good swimmers. Maybe this harks back to the days of frozen lakes in Maine. Who knows, but there really are far too many reports of Maine Coons actually liking water to be ignored.

Cat History and Water

Maine coon water sinkSurprisingly, when you look back through history, the combination of water and cats is a little closer than you might think. Nowadays, cats seem to sit on windowsills looking out across a rain filled backyard, but in centuries gone by it was quite different.

There have been a number of famous seafaring cats but they are individual cats.

While there is certainly an element of companionship when taking a cat on a voyage with a boat, certainly with respect to the long trade voyages, the truth may be more mundane.

They were taken for their ability to hunt down and kill rodents after the ‘production foodstuffs’ on the tradeships.

Ancient cultures, like the Egyptians revered the cat and traded throughout the known world at the height of its empire. The Vikings took the Norwegian Forest Cat along with them on their journeys as well.

The slightly more mystical belief that they were superstitious may hold some water (pun intended) at the time. Because it’s believed that have an ability to detect subtle changes in the weather.

Much like cows, sitting down before it rains, cats can pick up on wind changes and alert the crew that changes are on the way. The cats inner ear can detect low pressure, which is a precursor to a storm. A cat will become restless or nervous as atmospheric pressure drops. Useful in the days before motor yachts.

However, a cat’s natural ability to smell, hunt down a rodent after the kitchen supplies might be a nice side benefit.

So, superstition, hunting abilities and an adept alertness for weather changes may be a good summation of why cats have a history around boats and water.

So Where Might You Find a Maine Coon Playing in Water?

So, has this all this history given the Maine Coon a healthy liking for water. The Maine Coon is known to have travelled on trade ships.

It has a sturdy constitution, is robust and is an excellent mouser able to take down larger rats due to its unique size.

I’m pretty sure its intelligence and affable nature didn’t go amiss either.

It’s therefore understandable that they would have been used. So playing along with Darwin’s theory, it may be that the genes that best survived were those that were accustomed to water, thus making sure the generations to come might be more adept to it.

The one thing we know for sure is that the modern day Maine Coon has a liking for water, above most other breeds.

So where in the household might you find your Maine Coon and water.

Maine Coon swimming head shot
Cat swimming in the Pool

The Sink

The obvious place to start. The place where you go to get fresh, clean and hopefully filtered water won’t be lost on your Maine Coon.

It’s not unknown for a Maine Coon to sleep in the sink either. This could be for a number of reasons, but it’s probably either a cool place to sleep (as in temperature – not a photo opportunity) or it’s where it might intercept you on your morning routine.

I mean, there’s a reason they pick the kitchen sink and not the bathroom one. The kitchen is where you feed them, right?

Paddling Pool

When the summer season arrives and after you’ve worn yourself out blowing it up, then what you’ve actually done is create a nice little bathing space for your Maine Coon.

Sure, it’ll let your kids play in it first, but later in the day, when you’re not looking, it will casually saunter over and may indulge in a little water play.

To cool down as much as anything. It has a long coat after all.

Maine Coon stepping into a paddling pool

The Swimming Pool

According to thespruce.com there are 10.4 million residential swimming pools in the US.

That’s 10.4 million public baths for Maine Coon cats.

I’m willing to bet they are probably the highest statistics per capita in the world, but wealthy industrial countries like Canada, the New Zealand and Australia probably have a few as well.

While it can be a bit worrying for a prospective owner with a pool, the truth all cats can swim, or mostly all cats.

The Maine Coon is quite a good swimmer, however I can understand the worry. In a sink or a paddling pool, all a Maine Coon has to do is stand up to avert the fear of drowning.

A bit more tricky for a cat in a pool built for humans. It’s a bit like you swimming across one of those deep dive pools for scuba divers.

There’s probably little you can do to stop your cat approaching the pool, certainly without building some kind of fortress, which may defeat the object of the pool.

However there are ‘pool covers’ you can buy, and a lot of people use these.

However, I worry about these in general. It might tempt your cat to try and walk across it, believing it’s more solid than it is. If it falls, then I’d worry that it may entangle and endanger its ife with it.

Not having a pool I wouldn’t know. If you are reading this and you have experience of this, then I’d be really grateful if you drop a comment below and let people know your opinion and experience.

In case you’re worried about your Maine Coon in the swimming pool though, check this out;

One thing you might notice, watching that, is just how adept the Maine Coon is at swimming. A complete lack of panic, frustration or agitation.

The Maine Coon is one powerful swimmer.

Bath

A bath is probably the most likely place where your Maine Coon will regularly encounter water, especially if you have a regular grooming and bathing schedule for them.

It’s the place where a Maine Coon can be introduced to water and even, if they like water very much, have a little play.

With your help of course. Even a polydactyl Maine Coon has learned how to turn bath taps on yet.

Some Maine Coons even seem to deliberately ask for it

For Those Lucky Enough To Own a Yacht

As discussed earlier, the Maine Coon has a fine and rich history with the yachting fraternity. Years ago it was for trade, but as that practice was stopped around 1975 for hygiene reasons, it’s now almost exclusively at the behest of the local yachtsman.

If you have one can’t really recommend how you might do it, as I’ve never owned a yacht (worst luck), but I found this if you need to know (https://www.adventurecats.org/backcountry-basics/a-guide-to-boating-with-cats/) .

What I can say is that they are good swimmers, owner friendly and will most assuredly make your yacht rodent free.

Do Maine Coons Swim?

In short, yes they do, and they can swim well. Maine Coons are large powerful cats by nature, that posses an undercoat fur which is both thick and dense. This helps keep a cold water temperature at bay. They seem to have a natural liking for water above other breeds and should they be in water are powerful enough to swim at a good speed. They are not easily fazed in the presence of water if recent experiences have been positive.

Most cats prefer still water to running water to swim in, and as a preference they prefer to go into water if there is an obvious way out. Basic survival in nature at work.

Testing Your Maine Coon for Liking Water

When some people get a Maine Coon, sometimes it comes as a surprise to them that they are a breed that doesn’t fear water, in fact they can sometimes embrace it.

Maybe you got yours and then found them coming into the shower, playing in the sink or paddling pool.

Or maybe you’ve just learned that they do and you want to know if your cat has a propensity for water.

Firstly I wouldn’t surprise them with water, like turning on a tap suddenly or putting them in bath to find out.

It might be worth gently finding out like

  • Placing them in a puddle
  • Litter tray full of water to see if it plays with it
  • Does it run out into the rain
  • Paddling pool
  • Placing them in a very shallow bath
  • Try turning on the kitchen tap when they are near

 

The idea is to give them a clear exit route and let them explore. Trust their natural instincts. If your Maine Coon has an interest in water it will surely let you know.

However, it might just be indifferent, so as a maximum I might run a very shallow bath and gently place the Maine Coon in there to see if it is agitated.

Work with your Maine Coon here. If they look and feel uncomfortable don’t force them. That will just reinforce negative feelings and make it harder should you want to test again.

Testing when they are young is also preferable as they are more flexible with learning. An adult cat may have already had a bad experience, found its preferences and made up its mind.

How To Introduce Your Maine Coon to Water

Maine Coon sitting in a bath up to chestThe main idea here will be to reinforce positive experiences around water with their favorite treat.

You might want to do this so it’s easier to bath your Maine Coon. A regular grooming schedule keeps your cat looking amazing, is good for hairballs and maintains a healthy cat.

All you will probably need are some toys they play with, some treats, a towel at the ready and a bath.

With your Maine Coon in the bath, start playing with them and giving them treats. Then when you assess they are confident, start to slowly add water to the bath.

If your Maine Coon is enjoying themselves, and playing with their favorite toy, then as you move it over water it may not even be problematic.

Above all else, please make sure the water temperature isn’t ‘off an iceberg’ or fit for ‘making coffee’. A reasonable, non frightening room temperature should be fine.

Just steadily increase the water depth if your Maine Coons confidence remains high.

Hopefully, centuries of instinct will quickly become apparent, as it tries to do a little catty paddle.

Remember, at the first sign of distress or alarm, don’t confine your Maine Coon. they idea is to build up confidence, not to achieve a ‘Michael Phelps’ performance within 20 minutes. It may take several times, or maybe it happens the first time.

Give it a go and find out. Just keep that towel handy and remember to lock the door. A wet Maine Coon escaping around the house may not be fun to clear up after.

A bit like this lady did;

Do Maine Coons Like Baths?

Firstly, it’s not absolutely necessary for your cat to like the bath.

Maine Coons are quite capable of looking after themselves, they’ve been doing it for centuries.

They’ve got pretty good at it by now.

However, if you have a Maine Coon that’s nervous and perhaps pees a lot then you can sometimes end up with a ‘smelly cat’ (anyone remember Phoebe’s song), especially if it’s an indoor cat.

A good bath and shampoo though will be a deep clean of the fur to the inner coat level, so it’s helpful.

So yes, Maine Coon’s often like baths instinctively but most can be trained to do so. It’s well worth the effort and provides a huge bonding opportunity for you and your cat.

What If My Maine Coon Doesn’t Like Water?

Maine Coon lying down in bathI wouldn’t worry too much. Some cats just don’t like it, and that’s that.

While gradual positivity training should be tried, not trying to force the situation, sometimes a cat just doesn’t like it. Or has a phobia, or a previous bad experience and all you’re doing is forcing fear.

That rarely works on any intelligent animal.

Start with getting them accustomed to water, which might be as simple as turning on a tap when they are nearby. Make your fingers wet and rub their ear.

Work your way up in baby steps. Remember, it doesn’t ‘fear’ water as it drinks it. There’s something bigger causing it.

Conclusion

Maine Coon walking in a bathtubCats in general are extremely inquisitive, for as you know they all have 9 lives. So there’s no reason a Maine Coon will not be at least inquisitive around water. Documentary and circumstantial evidence suggest though that your Maine Coon might be a little more than inquisitive.

Maine Coons are well known for at least playing with water, and even actually swimming.

They key point is to always make sure it’s a positive experience, so even if the cat walks away, it isn’t actually afraid if it tries again.

Nothing will turn your cat off faster than trying to force it into water, even it normally likes the experience. It’s important to make sure they are enjoying the experience, even if only for a short time.

Although Maine Coons are called ‘the dogs of the cat world’ they don’t tend to leap into the water, the way a Springer Spaniel might. They are certainly not afraid of it though and tend to naturally trust their owners.

If you’re filling a bath around them, they won’t think the worst.

Your Maine Coon may not have grown up anywhere near water, be very young or just generally never come across much. You need to be positive around them and support them while they investigate and explore their natural abilities.

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