Do cats really hate water? Cats’ aversion to water is widely accepted as fact — but in truth, not all cats feel the same about taking a dip. If a cat’s experiences with water are mainly exposure to a sopping rainstorm, a forced bath or being sprayed with water as a disciplinary measure, why wouldn’t she shy away from water? Scientists contend that cats’ dislike of water comes from house cats’ owners shielding them from the elements since the earliest periods of domestication and from their ancestors — wild cats in Europe, Africa and China’s desert cat — whose limited experience with water did not require adapting and evolving to deal with it. Lions and leopards avoid river-dwelling predators (like crocodiles) by staying away from water.
On the other hand, some big cats in the wild, especially those in hot, arid areas, regularly swim and bathe to stay cool or catch dinner. The Asian fishing cat is a skilled swimmer, with partially webbed paws, that dives to nab its prey. Source: AnimalPlanet