How to Train Your Cat to Swim in the Bath

Contrary to popular belief, some cats do have a fascination and even an affinity for water, whether it drips out of a tap or sits reflecting sunlight in the washing-up bowl. It is well known that cats when faced with danger on water will swim away from the source. The well-known Turkish Van love water and there are many photographs of these cats enjoying a dip in the bath, especially on a hot day.

With this trick it is important to choose a cat who is out-going by nature, and who is fascinated by water. It is counter-productive, and most unkind, to select a cat that shows fear or even an aversion to water.

Make sure the water is at the correct temperature to avoid your cat getting cold. Also check that the temperature in the room is adequate; you do not want to bring your cat out of warm water into a cold room. Obviously, do not put bubble-bath or any other scented product into the water. After the swimming session, dry your cat thoroughly.

Training Objective: To encourage your cat to swim in the bath.

Training steps

Training Session I

1. Fill your bath to a depth of a couple of inches, using lukewarm water. Gently lower your swimmer into the water and encourage him to walk around in the water, without losing his balance.

2. Speak to him constantly, praise him and offer him his food treats.

3. Remove him from the bath and make sure he is dried thoroughly. His body should feel warm to your touch. If your cat is let out while damp, he could catch a nasty cold.

4. Repeat Steps 1 – 3 over a period of a few days so your cat will associate paddling with extra special food treats and praise from his owner.

Training Session II

5. When your cat is comfortable with this depth of water, increase the depth by another few inches, or to the depth you feel he can handle comfortably. Stay with him all the time, offering encouragement, praise and food treats.

6. Repeat Step 5 a few times until you feel he is comfortable with his surroundings and depth of water. Dry him thoroughly when removing him from the bath.

Training Session III

7. Fill the bath to a level that will support your cat’s body comfortably. Lower him into the water and, supporting him. move him gently through the water. Talk to him all the time, praising his efforts. He will instinctively move his legs in a paddling motion. Remove him from the bath, dry him thoroughly and offer him his food treats.

8. Repeat Step 7 a few times until you feel your cat is comfortable with the situation, and with the depth of water.

Training Session IV

9. Fill the bath to the level that your cat is happy with, and lower him gently into the water. Support him for a few swimming exercises, and then try letting go of him to swim a few inches on his own. When he achieves this milestone, give lots of praise. Remove him from the bath and dry him thoroughly. Give him the most succulent of food treats as his reward.

Filed Under: Pets & Animals


About the Author: Fred Goodson has a passion for pets and animals. He has 4 dogs and is planning to have another one. He is also a blogger who writes about pets and animals. Currently, he is living in New Jersey.

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