Before we go into the reasons why a cat might not like water we have to say that not all cats dislike water. Various sources say that certain breeds such as the Bengal or Turkish Van will show more interest in water and perhaps even enjoy a dip in a warm bath. Whilst we can be certain that some individuals in these breeds do enjoy water we can also be certain that there will be individuals from any breed or moggy that will dislike water immensely. Therefore it is more important to treat your cat as an individual without any expectations on them loving or loathing water.
A beautiful black and white cat drinking water out of a metal bucket
It really comes down to the individual cat and the experiences that they had when they were still a kitten. Physiologically it makes sense for cats to avoid water. This is because the cats coat is very thick with a dense undercoat that will take a long time to dry out if soaked through. Not only this but a cat keeps itself warm by trapping air in its undercoat which will be impossible if the coat is wet. Unlike dogs, cats fur is not very oily which means it does not have the same water resistant and quick dry properties. Therefore if a cat gets wet they are likely to get very cold which in the wild could be fatal.
The average household cat may have had a bath forced upon them which usually ends in lots of scratches and a very ticked off cat. Spraying your cat with a water bottle is also a common (yet not recommended) method of disciplining which will obviously result in negative connotations to water. Therefore it makes sense for the average household cat to avoid water if most of their experiences are negative.