Most cat owners will tell you how much their pets despise water. Cats are certainly not known for their love of the life-giving substance like humans are. Indeed, cats typically don't even like drinking water! For some of our feline friends, wet cat food alone provides most of the moisture they need to survive.
Cats tend not to like water because, from an evolutionary standpoint, their ancestors lived in the desert. As such, they need very little water, and they also don't like to be around water.
However, that doesn't mean that cats cannot swim. Many cat owners might be surprised to learn that their four-legged friends can swim! If your pet falls into a pool, for example, you don't need to panic and rush in there immediately. There's a chance that they may be able to swim to the edge safely.
How Can A Cat Swim, If It's Never Done So Before?
Even though cats don't have a fondness for water like humans do, they still possess natural survival instincts. Some of those instincts include what to do when confronted with water. Cats can use their paws to paddle, much like dogs do. The difference, of course, is that dogs enjoy the water and have much sharper reflexes in this area.
Humans also have instincts when it comes to water. Babies instinctively hold their breath. Their heart rate also slows, and a few other metabolic things happen to conserve heat. It might be terrifying submersing a newborn in water even for a split-second, but in all likelihood, their instincts will kick in, and they will survive the ordeal.
So It's Safe To Assume My Cat Can Swim?
Not necessarily. While some cats like the Bengal possess the skills needed to swim, that doesn't necessarily mean that your cat will be like an Olympic swimmer the first time they confront water! Some cat's bodies or fur length are not conducive to swimming. Some cats will be natural-born experts, while others will have difficulty. There's also a panic factor - if this is the first time your pet has ever been in the water, they may panic and flop around instead of swimming to safety.
Therefore, it's not safe to assume that your cat can swim, so leaving the cover off the pool isn't a problem. Instead, your cat can swim, so you can either try and teach your cat how to do so, or if the cat happens to fall in, you can take a second to see if your feline friend can right themselves before diving into the rescue.
Every Cat Is Different
The bottom line is that while all cats possess the instincts necessary to swim, that doesn't mean that all cats will be able to do so with ease. Every pet is different. It does mean, though, that you shouldn't be afraid to introduce your pet to water or to see if they want to try going in the pool. As long as you're there to supervise them, helping your cat learn to swim confidently could be a life-saving skill in the future!