You can’t teach cats to swim unless you’re going to teach them how to swim.
That’s because, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cat-related injuries are twice as common as shark-related ones, and nearly a third of all cats have been struck by cars while in their own water.
In the past few years, several states have begun requiring training for owners of cats, though there’s no federal law that explicitly prohibits it.
In fact, cat trainers are beginning to take steps to prevent injury.
The Cat Owner’s Association of America, a nonprofit cat-training organization, has issued guidelines to owners of kittens and puppies, which states: “Owners must make sure they are in a safe area for their pets, that they are appropriately supervised, and that they take the appropriate measures to maintain the health and safety of their pets.”
But cats are a different animal altogether than sharks, so it’s important to understand what they are doing in order to prevent them from getting injured.
If you find yourself staring at a cat on the street, you’re more likely to be struck by a car, say animal-control experts.
“Cat owners who don’t have their own trained professionals supervising their cats and other pets are the most likely to get hit,” says Dr. Daniel Buehler, a professor of preventive medicine at Duke University School of Medicine.
In one study of dog owners in Texas, researchers found that those who didn’t have a cat trainer were more than twice as likely to have their dogs bitten by a passing car, even though they had dogs trained.
“They’re just more prone to accidents than people who have a trained cat,” says Buehl, who has done research on cat injuries.
“If a cat is hit, it could be a cat owner’s fault.”
And cat owners often do the exact opposite of what you’d think.
While most cat owners do the right thing by their pets when it comes to water, many are afraid to give them a chance to swim because of fears of drowning.
This is a dangerous mistake, says Bueshler.
“You’re going into a cat’s home thinking, ‘I’m not going to hit a kitten, I’m not getting hit by a dog, I don’t want to get hurt,’ ” he says.
“And that is the exact mistake that cat owners make, which is they are very likely to cause serious injuries to their cats.”
Here are some other common mistakes that cat trainers make: They don’t always have their pets with them When trainers are teaching cats to go into a pool or playground, they should always be there to keep an eye on the cats and monitor them as they swim.
And when training a cat to swim, it’s critical that they keep their eyes on the cat and keep it on course.
If the cat goes into a dangerous situation, you’ll probably need to pull your cat out of the water to rescue it, or use an external restraint.
“It is important to always be in control of your cat,” Bueshl says.
If your cat is scared of going into water, you should never feed it water, he says, even if it’s a small one.
“That is not appropriate, and it’s not what a cat should be doing.”
In order to train a cat, it must learn to swim by watching it.
That means it must swim on a leash, which may not be comfortable for most cats, but it’s the only way they’re going be able to learn to learn.
A trainer should also watch a cat when he or she is swimming, but they can also train it to swim on its own.
If a cat goes through a water maze, trainers should take it out of there so it can learn the water maze safely.
Buechler also recommends that trainers keep their cats on leash when they are at home, so they’re never in danger while they’re away.
“The most dangerous time to be in a swimming pool or a pool is when the cat is not tethered to a tether and is swimming in the water,” Buellas says.
A pool that’s too crowded or too hot will not train a healthy cat to learn how to use the water.
The biggest risk for a cat that is learning to swim in a pool isn’t being able to swim alone, but being too close to it.
“A cat that has been in a crowded pool and is in the presence of a lot of people will be more likely than a cat in a less crowded pool to be injured,” says the Cat Care Guide, which Buehls is a member of.
“So be careful of where you put your cat.”