Do Maine Coons Like Water?


As an owner, I have often wondered where the claims about Maine Coons and water originated. I had two cats who barely drank it let alone, playing in it. The one and only time I attempted to bathe them ended in tears – mine because the cats were so distraught! Speaking to other Maine Coon owners lead me to draw the following conclusion.

Contrary to popular belief, the majority of Maine Coons do not like water other than as a drink. They might dip their paws in their water bowls but if you put a Maine Coon out in the rain, it will sprint for cover. No matter what you might read, the majority of Maine Coons do not like being bathed.

Do Maine Coon like water? Cat in shower
Wet cat in the bath. Funny cat. Maine Coon

There are Maine Coons that will tolerate being bathed, but most will try to escape from the bath. Many owners tell stories of the scratches they receive during the process.

Maine Coons, like all cats, can swim but will not naturally choose to enter a pool just for the sake of it.

I think it’s reasonable to say that Maine Coons truly loving water is nothing more than a myth that’s gone viral.

Why Do People Think Maine Coons Like Water?

The idea that the Maine Coon loves being in water seems to be one of those popular myths that simply isn’t true.

Yes, they are not scared of water like some cats appear to be and yes, they are less wary of it and are quite fascinated by it but this doesn’t mean they are likely to jump into the shower or bath with you at every opportunity.

I think it’s safe to say that Maine Coons will tolerate water more than the majority of other cat breeds and they are less fearful of it than other cats. Why this is, I don’t know – it’s just part of their personality.

Maine Coon behavior

The personality of the Maine Coon is very relevant when answering this question. Yes, we all know that they’re the gentle giants among cats. But the Maine Coon is unique in so many ways.

They are not only very friendly, affectionate, and sociable but they are also known to be a very intelligent, inquisitive breed and will still want to play with you when they reach older ages, like our two who are both now 14.

Do Maine Coons Like Water? Maine Coon in drawer

The Maine Coon will typically get along with other pets and children, which makes it arguably the perfect family cat. The Maine Coon will want to interact with you in ways that other cats don’t.

For instance, they will play fetch. Our Harry has a thing about hairbands. You can throw one across the room and he will scamper after it, pick it up in his mouth, bring it back and drop it by our feet, waiting for us to throw it again.

Maine Coons and Water – Don’t Believe Everything You Read on the Internet!

You have to be careful when researching any information on the internet. Whilst writing this article I have seen many posts online claiming that Maine Coons absolutely love water. As an experienced owner who knows many other owners, I know this just is not true.

One or two Maine Coons here and there might love water, but not the majority. All it seems to take is one website with an authoritative-sounding name to make a claim and other smaller websites follow suit. And hey presto – a myth becomes thought of as the “truth”.

So be very careful with what you read and believe online. At madaboutmainecoons.com we never post something just because we’ve read it online. We’ve owned and studied Maine Coon’s behavior for many years and speak from experience.

So, if you’ve searched the internet for this subject then you’ll probably have seen things like, “The Maine Coon loves swimming”, and “The Maine Coon likes to bathe at least once a week”. Both these statements are not correct and although you may find the odd individual cat who will exhibit this behavior, it certainly isn’t the norm – which is what we’re interested in here!

What do Maine Coons like about water?

The Maine Coon is a very inquisitive breed of cat. It will want to know what you’re doing at all times and if you leave a door open just a crack it will not be able to resist the temptation to go and investigate further! This can cause it no end of problems squeezing into places it shouldn’t go but it’s just part of its character.

Do Maine Coons Like Water? Maine Coon in basin

The Maine Coon shares the same sense of inquisitiveness when it comes to water. It just seems to like the way it moves. Now, that does not mean they all want to immediately jump into it and splash around. This is definitely not the case but they are certainly intrigued by it.

So, what can you actually expect your Maine Coon to do around water?

  • They will drink from the tap. This is quite common and I have never, ever seen Charlie (our white Maine Coon) drink from his water bowl. When he wants a drink, he walks into the kitchen and meows in front of the sink. We then have to lift him up onto the worktop and turn the tap on. He will then drink from that. We have not been able to train him to turn the tap off afterward yet but we’re still trying!
  • They will watch you in the bath. When you’re in the bath they will put both front paws up onto the rim of it so they can see it. They absolutely love watching what’s going on. Occasionally, they will jump up and precariously walk around the rim of it.
  • They will sit in the sink. This isn’t so much related to the water but more related to it being a nice cool place where they feel safe (as it has ‘walls’ on each side). You sometimes see people turn the tap on whilst a Maine Coon is in the basin and it may stay there for a while but usually, when the water gets underneath them and it becomes uncomfortable, they’re off.

It is so rare for a Maine Coon to ‘enjoy’ having a bath. I have seen one or two videos of a Maine Coon seemingly enjoying being bathed. But think about it, who would post a video of their Maine Coon not enjoying a bath? No one, because there would be a lot more of these otherwise.

You may see Maine Coons getting their feet wet by dipping them into puddles and ponds, even appearing to ‘dig’ it as they do in their litter tray, but this behavior doesn’t mean they want to go for a swim in it.

What Makes Maine Coons Different?

Do Maine Coons Like Water? Playing with tap

The Maine Coon is a very unique breed of cat. Its inquisitive and social personality is often compared to that of a dog and having spent a quarter of a century with them (and several years with a dog) I can say that there is some truth in this. Personally, I believe it’s their inquisitive nature that makes the Maine Coon stand out from other breeds in this respect.

Where other cats will cower, turn and run – the Maine Coon will pop their ears up, stick their tail up and trot over to see what’s going on and see if they can be any part of it! This and their affection for their owners and not wanting to be left out will result in them being an integral part of the things that we do.

For instance, baths. They will see you in there, relaxed and happy and at their level. They will be relaxed and want to be part of whatever it is that you’re doing. That doesn’t mean jumping in with you but they will get a lot closer than other cats.

Maine Coons and Myths

So, I think it’s probably time to get a few things clear then. The Maine Coon, although it is not as apprehensive of water as other cat breeds, would not typically choose to get wet. There seems to be a myth that has spread far and wide on the internet that this breed adores water.

Yes, there may be the odd occurrence of a Maine Coon seen in a swimming pool but then you’ll also see the odd occurrence of a hippopotamus living in someone’s house -but that doesn’t mean it’s normal or happens often.

You can find quite literally anything you want on the internet if you search hard enough. Just search online for ‘cat swimming’ and you’ll see a lot more cat breeds other than the Maine Coon swimming.

Do Maine Coons like water? Cat drinking from swimming pool

Do Maine Coons Like Water? – Conclusion

Although the Maine Coon is an unusual cat in many ways, it does not like water in the way that many people seem to believe. A Maine Coon does tolerate water to an extent and has a tendency to play with it but not many truly love to be submerged in it.

If you’d like to know more about the Maine Coon, check out our Complete Guide (opens in a new window).

Matt

I'm Matt Pettitt, joint founder of the Pets Knowledge Base alongside my wife, Jane. Since I was just 2 years of age I've had pets in my life - which I don't mind admitting is 47 years! I strongly believe that when you introduce a pet into your family you should do everything you can to give it the best life possible. I've learned a lot during the past (almost) five decades and this blog gives me a medium to share everything I have learned ( both good and bad) about pets. If you'd like to know more about us, and how to contact us - take a look at our About page here!

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