Why Do Maine Coon Cats Like Water?


Have you ever watched a Maine Coon cat spending copious amounts of time patting the water in their bowl, causing a spillage all over the floor? If you have, you’ve likely often wondered why do Maine Coon cats like water so much? This is a reasonable query, but rest assured this unusual Maine Coon behavior is more common than you might think!

Many owners find the Maine Coon cats love of water to be quite fascinating and adorable to watch.

Maine Coon cats love water and will spend copious amounts of time playing with it. Their semi-water-resistant fur helps to keep them warm and dry, enabling them to play with water, swim, and take baths! Maine Coons are strong swimming and enjoy licking from leaky faucets and patting their water bowl.

Keep reading to find out why do Maine Coon cats love water so much, and our easy way to wave goodbye to your wet socks and feet!

Do Maine Coon Cats Love Water?

Unlike most cat breeds, the Maine Coon cat is literally fascinated with water. In fact, their love of water is so well known, that breed specialists have included this unique cat behavior as one of the Maine Coon breed common characteristics.

Maine Coons are not frightened by water, but instead, seem to seek it out. Therefore, if you are not sure where your Maine Coon has ventured, check the following places to see if your cat is playing with water:

  • Patting water from their water bowl
  • Drinking water from a leaking faucet (tap)
  • Bathing in a bath full of water!
  • Playing with water in the sink
  • Drinking water from your shower tray.
  • Swimming in the swimming pool, or lake!

Since cats are widely known for hating water, it might surprise you to hear that the Maine Coon is not truly unique. Instead, owners of the following cat breeds are likely to have also noticed that their cat loves to play with water:

  • Norwegian Forest Cat
  • Turkish Angora
  • Bengal
  • Savannah
  • Maz
  • Turkish Van
  • Snowshoe
  • Abyssinian

Why Do Maine Coon Cats Love Water?

Despite having a lineage shrouded in mystery, the Maine Coon breed is rumored to be a descendent of either the Norwegian Forest Cat or Turkish Angora.

Although the truth will likely remain a mystery forevermore, you might not be too surprised to see that these two cat breeds are also listed as loving water. Could there be truth in the popular folklore myths?

Why do Maine Coon cats love water?
Maine Coons Love Water

Credit for the image goes to Thomas Mues from Berlin, Germany [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]. The image has not been modified. Page URL link. File URL link. License.

Popular Folklore Myths

Over the years, many have speculated as to the true lineage of the Maine Coon cat breed. Three folklore myths explaining the Maine Coons curious ancestry have stood the test of time, some even growing in popularity over the years!

When determining why do Maine Coon cats love water so much, it is important to consider these folklore myths, since they may hold the secret to the Maine Coons history.

1. Viking Ships Cats

One of the most popular myths claims that the Maine Coon cat breed is a descendent of Viking ship cats. History tells of how these long-haired cats (possibly Norwegian Forest Cats) were kept aboard Viking ships since they were known for being excellent ‘mousers’, able to keep each ship’s mouse population at bay.

The premise of this folklore tale is that these cats spent their lives on Viking ships, so we’re naturally not fearful of water like other cat breeds that have not grown up at sea. Legend has it, that whilst docked in Maine, one of the long-haired ship cat mated with a local domestic shorthair cat, ultimately producing the Maine Coon cat breed we know today.

Supporters of this folklore tale argue that the Maine Coon is a descendent of the Norwegian Forest Cat, which helps to explain why do Maine Coon cats love water. This lineage is further supported by the fact that Maine Coons are also known for being excellent ‘mousers’ and hunters. 

For more fascinating information on the Maine Coon cat breed characteristics, check out my other article.

Alternatively, if you are interested to learn what the differences and similarities between the Maine Coon Vs Norwegian Forest cat are, click here to view my article.

2. Marie Antoinette’s Pet Cats

The second folklore tale used to explain the lineage of the Maine Coon cat breed links this precious water-loving cat to Marie Antoinette, the former Queen of France. Could the Maine Coon cat breed really have a royal, regal heritage?

According to the history books, Marie Antoinette made a desperate attempt to flee France during the French Revolution, by ship. She was so in love with her beautiful long-haired pet cats though, that she couldn’t be parted from them. She, therefore, convinced Captain Samuel Clough to give her six Turkish Angora long-haired cats safe passage to the United States, with her.

Unfortunately, her escape was in vain though, since she was captured and executed in 1793. Her treasured six Turkish Angora pet cats met with better fortune, however, since they arrived safely in the United States, whereupon the ship’s Captain set them free, in Maine.

The premise of this legend is that the long-haired Turkish Angora cats, known for also loving the water, then bred with one of the short-haired domestic cats living in Maine during that time.

3. Maine Coons Are Part Raccoon

The final folklore myth used to explain why do Maine Coon cats love water, is based upon the belief that the Maine Coon cat breed is a part raccoon!

The premise of this myth is that a semi-wild domestic cat mated with a raccoon at some point in history, therefore producing the Maine Coon cat breed we know today. Whilst there might be many similarities between the two animals, scientists have now proven this more bizarre-sounding myth to be biologically impossible.

So, if scientists have ruled out the genetic link between the Maine Coon cat and the raccoon, why does this folklore tale continue to be popular? This is likely because the two animals share an unusually high number of similarities, including:

  • Visually Similar
  • Tabby Maine Coon has the same coloring
  • Bushy Tail
  • Love Water
  • Semi-Prehensile Paws
  • Black Ring on Tail
  • Both physically large

With so many similarities, it’s not hard to see why the legend has stood the test of time.

Even still though, we can safely say that a proposed lineage to the raccoon is not the reason why do Maine Coon cats love water. For more information on the link between these two species, have a look at my article “Is A Maine Coon Part-Raccoon?“.

How To Tell If Your Maine Coon Likes Water

Cats are very unique creatures. Whilst the Maine Coon breed, in general, tends to be massive fans of water, owners should never just assume that their Maine Coon will be too.

So, how do you tell if your purebred Maine Coon cat likes water or not?

Here are some signs that your Maine Coon loves water:

  • Maine Coon enters the shower, whilst you are taking a shower.
  • Cat plays with water in the shower tray, when the shower is turned off.
  • Cat likes to pat water in the water bowl
  • Find cat drinking water from the running tap.
  • Intelligent cat breed learns how to turn the faucet on, and then plays with water.
  • Maine Coon rubs itself against your wet legs when you leave the shower.
  • You find your cat in the sink, where there is still some water. 
  • Cat jumps in and swims in your bath water, pond, or swimming pool
  • Your cat has no issue being cleaned with a lukewarm wet sponge, or cloth.
  • Maine Coon enjoys tipping glasses of water over, then play in the mess.
  • You find your cat drinking from the toilet bowl!
Why do Maine Coon cats love water?
Maine Coon Drinking Water From Faucet

Credit for the image goes to Serge Quadrado [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)] Page URL. File URL. License. Image not modified.

What To Do When Your Maine Coon Loves Water Too Much!

Maine Coon kittens are extremely playful and fun.

They are also adorably cute, so are often able to be extremely naughty, yet get away with unacceptable behavior since their owners consider it cute and funny. Just like with children though, at some point your Maine Coon kitten has to grow up!

In situations where a Maine Coon is overly obsessed with water though, this can prove somewhat problematic. This is because your kitten has been previously permitted to exhibit naughty behavior around water.

Yet from an owner’s perspective, wet house floors, or a full-sized Maine Coon soaking themselves in a wet shower tray, before dripping water all over your home might no longer be considered “amusing” or “cute”. So what should you do, to reduce the amount of water being splashed across your kitchen, bathroom, utility room floors?

The best way to reduce this behavioral trait is to focus your attention on the Maine Coon cat’s highly intelligent, and curious mind. To do this, encourage your cat to play with toys that are designed to mentally stimulate them, whilst also physically challenging them. These are my favorite Maine Coon toys that our adult Maine Coon cannot get enough of. 

Now you have bought some great cat toys, all you need to do is get them out of the cupboard, whenever you wish to go for a shower or bath! These toys will distract your Maine Coon from their love of water.

This is my particular favorite Maine Coon toy, because it encourages movement, mental stimulation, and also includes a scratching mat in the middle. Click here to view more details.

Alternatively, if you are happy for your Maine Coon to be in the bathroom with you, why not put one of these toys next to the bath or shower, to entertain your cat whilst you are washing? Then, when you have finished, remember to close the lid to your toilet, and close the bathroom door behind you, so that your Maine Coon cannot return later to play with the water.

Do Maine Coons Like Baths?

Many Maine Coon cats also enjoy swimming and playing in the bathtub, like this one in the video below who is batting a ball around the bath:

Credit for video goes to Youtube channel ‘Oli S’ (link here)

For those of you planning to bathe and wash your Maine Coon cats, it is advisable to introduce the practice whilst your cat is still a kitten.

Since kittens are known for being more energetic, active, and naughty than adult cats, owners are more likely to be successful if they introduce bathing as soon as they get their Maine Coon kitten. This is because adult Maine Coons are more stubborn (particularly the males) and set in their ways, so are less likely to be interested in learning to bathe and swim in the bath.

Should I Bathe My Maine Coon?

It is not necessary for owners to bathe their Maine Coon cats since cats are predominantly self-cleaning creatures that like to keep themselves clean.

In fact, cats are well known for being incredibly clean animals. This is most likely due to the fact that they suffer psychologically if unable to keep their fur clean and healthy. For instance, a cat with severely matted fur will become extremely distressed, which is damaging for their well-being levels.

There are likely to be a few scenarios where an owner might opt to bathe their Maine Coon cat, however, for example:

  • To help remove loose dead hair from your Maine Coons fur
  • Your Maine Coon has gotten dirty i.e. in the garden.
  • Cat suffers from a dry skin condition
  • Maine Coon has excess dander over their fur
  • Reduces cat fur shedding levels

How Often Should I Bathe My Maine Coon?

If you are going to introduce bathing to your Maine Coon cat, it is important that the process is completed regularly. Failure to maintain a regular routine might lead to issues with your Maine Coon kitten accepting this grooming ritual.

Ideally, Maine Coon cats should be washed no less than once a month, since this helps remove excess dander, reduces shedding, and keeps your cat’s thick dense fur clean and healthy.

How To Bathe Your Maine Coon Cat

There are two key things to remember when bathing your Maine Coon cat: 

  1. Groom your Maine Coon, before giving them a bath.
  2. Only use cat shampoo that has been formulated and designed for cats.

1. Grooming Your Maine Coon

All Maine Coons have long shaggy fur that is likely to get dirty and/or matted from time to time.

Even an indoor Maine Coon can get dirty somehow … I blame this on their large and long bushy tails since our Maine Coon treats his tail as a brush when he lays down, sweeping his tail along our wooden floors like a brush!

Before introducing the concept of bathing to your Maine Coon kitten, or adult cat, make sure that you groom your Maine Coon cat thoroughly to detach easily removable dirt, dander, and ‘dead’ hair. This is important since there is less to clean when you bathe your kitten. 

There are a multitude of cat grooming brushes available on the market, each with a different purpose and use.

For example, the soft-bristled brushes are a gentle and effective way to brush dead hair from your Maine Coons fur, whilst also being very calming. By comparison, the de-shedding tools do a great job of carefully detaching knotted or matted fur. These are my favorite cat grooming brushes which we use regularly to keep our Maine Coons fur looking healthy and shiny.

If you are in a rush, here are the links to my favourite cat grooming tools on Amazon:

2. Best Cat Shampoo For Maine Coons

IMPORTANT NOTE:

NEVER use ordinary human shampoo on your feline. Instead, owners must always use a shampoo that has been designed and formulated to be used on cats specifically.

This advice must never be ignored, since human shampoo could severely damage your Maine Coon, causing them unnecessary suffering.

Highly Recommended Cat Shampoo

Before starting your cat bathing routine, make sure that you have purchased this really effective, and great smelling cat shampoo. It comes highly recommended because it is cruelty-free, soap-free, 100% biodegradable, safe, gentle, and effective.

If you purchase it today, you might also access the incredibly discounted Amazon price, that was available when I wrote this article.

Anti-Itch Cat Shampoo And Conditioner

Another cat shampoo worth trying is this anti-itch shampoo and conditioner from Amazon. It helps to deodorize unwanted cat fur smells, whilst also avoiding the need for separate shampoo and conditioner applications on your cat.  

Waterless Cat Shampoo

If your cat isn’t a fan of bathing, try using this waterless cat bath. This cat shampoo is suitable for cats 12 weeks or older and is veterinary formulated.

Introducing An Older Maine Coon Cat To Bathing

Watch this funny video of our Maine Coon cat being introduced to a bath full of water. I personally didn’t try to introduce the concept until he was 7 years old, so I was prepared for ‘Pippin’ to not like the idea! Let’s just say that he wasn’t a fan of the idea!

Adult Maine Coon Introduced To Bathtime

Do Maine Coons Like To Swim?

Did I really say swim? … YES! Believe it or not, some Maine Coon cats enjoy swimming in the bath, or lake, possibly because their thick fur is partially water repellent. This breed is also not fearful of water.

If you don’t believe me, take a quick look at the video below of a Maine Coon swimming in a lake:

Credit for video goes to Youtube channel ‘FredGarbo1’ (link here).

Conclusion

So why do Maine Coon cats love water, as much as they do? Realistically speaking, this is the result of a combination of reasons. The main reason Maine Coon cats love water so much is that it is a completely natural and instinctive Maine Coon characteristic.

Whilst this particular cat breeds true lineage may also help to account for this behavioral trait, it is also likely that the Maine Coon cat’s partially water-repellent fur plays a part too.

Finally, if you are keen to let your Maine Coon swim in the bath, pool, or lake, it is vital that owners ensure that their cat is safe at all times. Despite being good swimmers, your feline friend’s safety will always be paramount. Therefore, if your Maine Coon appears distressed, unhappy, or is struggling to get out of the water, it is important that owners remove them from the water immediately.

Maine Coon Central

Hello! My name is Katrina Stewardson, and I’m a self-confessed CRAZY CAT LADY! I've been in love with the Maine Coon cat breed ever since we welcomed an adorable male Maine Coon kitten into our home 9 years ago. We called him 'Pippin', but he also goes by the name ‘Pipsteroo’! Our enormous, kind-hearted cat genuinely thinks he's a dog and has convinced me that cats are Man's True Best Friend!

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