When one thinks of a cat, one immediately assumes that it should be afraid of water, aversion to water is one of the most well-known characteristics of household cats. However, this is not true of all felines. In today’s blog, the Three Rivers Young Male will prove that to you outright.
Forced into early independence as her mother was killed by the Southern Avoca Males.
Before we enjoy an adventurous young male having a whale of a time in the water, let’s dive a little deeper into where the roots of this myth lie.
I guess the “fear” can be related to the inability of most cats to be able to swim. Most have evolved in drier climates with little exposure to deep water such as lakes and large rivers. Water is an element they are unfamiliar with except for when needing to drink and thus cats avoid submerging themselves in it.
Their thick furry coat does not shed the water easily and takes a while to dry out and warm up. Wet fur is most likely extremely uncomfortable and cats are fastidious animals that spend a large amount of time grooming themselves. A wet coat presents a problem for them.
Many cats in the wild will get wet in the rain and have no issue with it, so I guess it might be the ‘getting wet unnecessarily’ by swimming that could be seen as wasting valuable energy in order to warm up again afterwards.
Cats are renowned to be agile, nimble and fast animals, but in water or with wet fur, this ability is lost and their movements become a lot more sluggish and/or hindered.
Some of the larger more powerful cats such as Tigers and Jaguars will regularly spend time in the water, whether it is cooling off in the warmer climates (where getting cold is less of an issue) or in order to hunt prey.
So now these are the theories that have resulted in the blanket statement of “Cats hate water”.
We can confidently say that the Three Rivers Young Male does not hate water. But I do have some reasons why I think this young buck spent so much time in the water.
It was a cool wet morning after three days of incessant drizzly rain. His coat was already drenched and he had a relatively full belly. He is a young and playful leopard that is not quite yet aware of the concept of energy conservation and by expending energy unnecessarily he will have to eat sooner. But I guess when ‘mum’ is out working hard to provide the next meal and look after you, there isn’t much to worry about.
So one might find that the temperature of the water was not too much colder than the surrounding environment, especially after being wet for the last three days.
The sensation of the water running through his paws on over his fur as he moves within the water as well as the sounds and splashes and ripples as an aftereffect would certainly be captivating to this inquisitive and receptive young leopard in his endeavours to gain worldly experience.
With any animal venturing down to a waterhole there will always be the risk of a sneaky opportunistic crocodile patiently waiting to launch itself at its next meal, whether that be in the form of an antelope, or bird or even a predator.
The Three Rivers Female would have learnt a significant amount from her mother in the early months, but the rest through experience and hopefully rapid reflexes should a crocodile launch itself at her on the edge of a waterhole.
The Three Rivers Young Male did and will continue to pay close attention to the mother’s disposition around waterholes and hopefully not enter into any too soon and end up in the fatal jaws of a crocodile. She will most likely scan the water for any threat and always be wary, he will sense this and exercise a bit more caution.
Nonetheless, once they had determined that there was no threat in the water, he would wade deep in and fish out sticks and grass from the bottom. Chase his tail that sent him spinning in circles and end up losing his balance. Eventually, his biggest catch was his tail underneath his front paw which left him stumbling out of the waterhole afraid to let go of his prize.