Friday 8 December 2023

All small cats are fully capable swimmers (when they have to be)

You might find that the general consensus among the public is that small cats including the domestic cat don't like water and therefore don't swim in it. To a certain extent they are correct. But not entirely as when required small cats swim like champions.

Domestic cat swimming very competently
Domestic cat swimming very competently. Image: MikeB (Canva under license).

The paradigm small cat is a domestic cat. There are, actually, 30 small wild cat species plus one extra namely the domestic cat.

And we only have to look at the domestic cat and how they cope with being in water to see that all small cats are very capable swimmers.

Most small cats given the option will skirt around water such as jump over a small stream. But if that stream is a river they will wade in or swim through it when required.

They are born with this capability. It is entirely instinctive and, interestingly, if you look carefully at the feet of a domestic cat there is webbing between the toes.

Sphynx showing off their webbed feet!
Sphynx showing off their webbed feet! Image in public domain.

The picture above shows a hairless cat with very strong webbing between the toes. You'll find the same in all domestic cats. I take this to mean that through evolution the anatomy of the small cat species has evolved to assist the cat to swim to improve their survival.

Here is a black Oriental SH with webbed feet:

Black OSH with webbed feet.
Black OSH with webbed feet. Image in public domain.

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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