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Why do cats like fish when they aren t natural swimmers

01:00 Tue 07th Aug 2001 |

A. As homer and allen ives pointed out in their answers, not all cats hate water.

Q. Did cats ever hunt fish themselves

A. Quite possibly. The common house cat's, (Felis domesticus), wild ancestor lived in the marshes of the Nile Valley in Egypt. As a natural carnivore the wild ancestor almost undoubtedly helped itself to the abundantly available fish, along with frogs, birds and rodents.

In fact it was the wild cats hunting expertise that first gave the Egyptians the idea of domesticating them, to keep their homes free of pests.

According to original historical accounts the Egyptians encouraged the wild cats into their homes with the lure of a raw fish supper.

Q. Does that explain why fish tanks fascinate cats

A. Quite possibly. Even pampered domesticated cats will catch fish from tanks, and this is possibly a deep-rooted habit from their wild days in the marshes.

If you watch a kitten by the side of shallow water with fish swimming in it, they get very excited, suggesting that this fishing behaviour is innate. The kitten will try to catch the fish with their front paws, any successful attempts are thrown over their shoulder onto the bank where they can be eaten more easily.

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by Lisa Cardy

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