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To swim or not swim...?

Hello everyone! Brian and I are proud owners of our 5 month old SBT savannah, Azalea! From our research we have gathered that many Savannahs enjoy water and even swimming. This far, Azalea is less then thrilled with getting near any body of water other than her water bowl. We were curious as to what may be the best way to go about introducing her to water? We certainly don't want to traumatized her and throw her in a tub of water! But being first time savannah owners we are a little less than certain as to how to go about it! Thank you for your help!!!

-Brian & Kate


Staff member
Put a floaty toy in a shallow dish of water and splash your fingers in it to get her attention. My guys like to play with ping pong balls in the water. They float and spin and drive my guys crazy. Some folks here have purchased robo fish from Amazon that swim in a fair imitation of a real fish. If she is intrigued by that, you can try moving to the bathtub with the toys.

She may not take to water. Two of mine are water crazed and I can't remember the last time I showered or used a sink without two large furry creatures splashing around and making a mess. My other SV could care less about water.

Pam Flachs

Savannah Super Cat
Welcome, Brian and Kate! Don't try to force your girl, Azalea, to "like" water...not all Savannahs do. If she seems interested in the bathtub or shower while you are in it, and tries joining you, try filling a small child's pool or other container, or even a few inches in the tub with water and a few toys (some people add live feeder goldfish, too) to see if she is tempted to play in or jump in and wade about. Many cats do not like water; not all of my Savannahs enjoy water, but I have several that do.

You should post some pics of your girl and some info about yourselves...we all love hearing about new SV owners and forum members :) I know I never get tired of seeing new kitty pics!


Savannah Super Cat
My girls aren't too thrilled about water either. I had an extra litter box I bought that I didn't end up using so I filled it pretty full, put it on the floor over some towels and let them go at it. Isabis, my 10 month old, loves splashing in it but not standing in it. I threw a bunch of toys in there and both of them loved retrieving them. They'll stand in it with their front paws but rarely do they get in with all four. And they do not like the bath when it has even a little water in it. But they do like the litter pan when it's full. Also, when Isabis came home after being spayed she was completely out of it and wobbly, and for some reason she annihilated her water bowl. She looked like she was trying to dig in it and threw the water everywhere!

Brigitte Cowell

Staff member
I don't believe ALL Savannahs like water, just like all do not come running to their names, nor walk on a leash nor fetch toys. Some do, and it is very cute when they do. I do find that most of mine are very comfortable with being wet at least which is useful if you need to bathe them.

To introduce mine to water, I use our shower head on the floor of the shower...running warm water...low enough not to be too scary but enough to interest them...and then I leave it to them to explore.

If using a bathtub, I recommend only running an inch of water and making sure it is baby warm not cold water...put in some toys and then set the tap to trickle more water down so there is sound and motion to interest them...
Thank you all so much for those great ideas!! I definitely do not want to force her to like water but it's nice to have ideas I can use to encourage her to explore the water and decide for herself whether or not she likes it! We are excited to try these suggestions and see what happens :). Thank you again!


Site Supporter
Be careful what you ask for. Loki loves the water. Bath tub, sinks, water bowls; its all fair game. We have to clean the water bowls every day because he cleans his toy in them.
We have found that kids pools and sprinklers outside are the best way to let him get his water park fix and less to clean!


Savannah Adult
My cat, Mau Mau, accidentally went for her first swim today. I had her outside on the harness, and I stupidly let her walk on a thin ledge between our pool and a wall/fence:


Long story short, I wanted to turn around and get her to go back, and she got scared of the water, and jumped up on my shoulder. Instead of letting me carry her back, she jumped off of my shoulders, but because the harness was on her, she ended up in the pool (and so did I, with all of my clothes on). I wasn't really thinking things through today, haha...

But anyhow, I got to see Mau Mau swim, and she did great! She didn't seems scared at all, and kept her head above the water the entire time. She's a better swimmer than our dog!


Staff member
I'm glad she did well and didn't panic in the water. It's really important for anyone who has a pool to teach their animals how to swim to the stairs. I imagine the vast majority of us would never expect our cats to end up in a pool but you just never know... You can teach them by putting them in at different parts of the pool then showing them where the stairs are so that they can climb out on their own. Even though it may never be needed, in the remote possibility that someone falls in accidentally it can save a life.