Felines can sometimes be very creepy. Going with their owners to the bathroom is an example of their widely told creepy behavior. The question however is, why do they do this?
Well, like most cat owners would testify, some cats are huge believers of going with their owners everywhere they go. The reasons they have for following their owners to the bathroom are most likely comparable to those they have for generally following their owners everywhere.
That being said, scientists and veterinarians at the moment haven’t come to a concrete consensus on why this happens, however, there have been numerous theories bandied around to slightly explain why one’s cat appears so bent on following its owner to the bathroom.
Renowned veterinarian Dr. Kathryn Primm states that some cats could feel particularly vulnerable when their owners aren’t present. Most people know that cats are predators, but only a few remember that they are prey as well and cats are likely cognizance of this fact.
Since humans are a form of comfort and safety, cats might feel slightly unsafe when their owners are stuck behind closed doors. This is why they prefer to continue to enjoy the safety net that their owners provide by following them to the bathroom.
Veterinarian Dr. Primm also states that curiosity plays a part as motivation to why a cat would follow its owner to the bathroom (as it does with numerous other cat behaviors that are strange). Cats are naturally visual predators and prefer to make use of their vision to make a mental note of where things are positioned.
It could be that when the bathroom door is closed shut, something mysterious happens behind it and the cat being unable to track what is happening behind the door feels bound to get to the root of it.
You’re a captive audience
Felines learn rapidly that once a human sits down in the bathroom, he/she has nowhere to go. Additionally, the majority of bathrooms come with a conveniently situated counter that sits just at cat petting height. Cats see this as an amazing setup since you are unable to leave and have no choice but to pet them as much as they want.
If they had a choice, the majority of cats would prefer water that is fresh and running over the stagnant water placed in their bowl. This could be because flowing water is aerated and appeals to their taste buds better.
This basically means, if an owner turns the sink tap on for them to get a drink, it could easily become routine, causing them to follow their owners to the bathroom for a drink.
Cats just like you
Majority of feline behavior can be clarified by the simple fact of cats just liking us. Also, given the fact that the lives of domesticated cats are pretty uneventful, humans are perhaps, for most of the time the most amusing thing in the room or aspect of their lives besides play and feeding. A cat might want to follow its owner to the bathroom to see what amusing thing its owner does next.
Human bathrooms seem to be a cool and exciting place to cat eyes, perhaps because of the typical tile, fewer windows, and generally smaller space. Cats are animals that seek out warm areas so they can lounge in; however, there are a few cats that prefer cool spots. Cats like these tend to enjoy spending time lounging on damp towels, cool tile, and other cool or slick surfaces. Older cats that suffer from hyperthyroidism tend to seek out cool spaces as well, as the hyperthyroidism condition causes their metabolism to kick into overdrive which then heats them up. So the cool spots are a way to cool down.
Felines are typically drawn to safe places, elevated perches and tidy, familiar hidey-holes that hold no surprises for them. Since cats are creatures of habit, they develop a routine and after that, they stick to it. Felines execute what veterinarians and scientists refer to as chaining behaviors.
These chaining behaviors connect one action to another to form a specific routine. For example, when you as human wake up in the morning, head to the bathroom to brush before attending to the cat by putting food in its bowl, it just takes a few days before cats adjust to this routine, remember it and then racing you to the bathroom, where they can pester you to hurry up and attend to their bowl. Cats typically get irate should you miss a step that is deemed important in the cat’s chain.
Surely, when there is a variation in routine, it could affect the cat and cause a change in behavior. This could be reason enough for cats to search for hiding places such as the bathroom.
Symptom, Signs, And Solutions
The simple fact is, there are numerous reasons why cats have a peculiar fascination with bathrooms. Cats are animals that tend to do things only when they benefit from it or are rewarded in some way or form.
- Primarily, the bathroom is a peculiar place in the majority of houses. Most bathrooms come with a place for the cat to perch right on the counter, which then places the cat level with its human’s face which is an ideal height for the cat to control the interaction. This because the human is seated, so he/she can’t really escape, but the cat can decide to approach or remain just beyond reach if it so desires.
- Secondly, as cats are creatures of routine, the bathroom is a concrete and predictable location which is sort of the cat’s daily routine. Felines typically make use of chain behavior, which causes them to associate going to the bathroom with pawing and playing with the bath water, drinking from the sink and more. Cats are also adept at learning just how much time their owners spend in the bathroom when they visit.
- Lastly, felines that spend time with their owners in the bathroom and receive attention either by talking, petting or brushing, are rewarded for visiting. This then ensures they continue to repeat the process in an attempt to receive more positive feedback. This particularly true even when page swiped at the door or under that seems to be ignored for forever gets them inside as their owners open the door. Cats will form an association between paw swiping the door and the door getting opened. The fact is, the longer a cat cries and paws at the door only to get rewarded, the more the cat learns that persistence pays off.
Bathrooms: Adventure playgrounds for cats
Most cat owners would state that they have noticed that their cats need entertainment pretty much every single time of the day. This means they can take part in activities that quickly tire out their owners, but keep them going throughout the day.
- Cats have a very active imagination which transforms day to day objects into prey items that have to be stalked and pounced upon. Most places in the house resemble an amusement park to our felines and the bathroom is a centerpiece. It might seem pretty plain to us humans, but it’s fittings, toiletries, utensils, and other typical bathroom items are things that could awaken a cat’s senses.
- It has been known that cats are extremely curious and bathrooms offer a smorgasbord of tactile, visual and audio interaction to create the perfect playground that stimulates their desires to interact with their surroundings.
- Toilet paper is an exciting item for a cat. They are able to paw at it, shred and rip it which provides them with endless amusement.
- Towels are bathroom items that cats can’t help but be tempted to pounce on or scratch. They also use towels as a place to comfortably rest when their adventures tire them out.
- Bathroom cabinets are not left out, as they are great hiding spots especially since cats love to be elevated. There are so many numerous items in the bathroom that a cat would love to explore, so it’s no surprise when they want to follow their owners into the bathroom, it is just as much for the toys as much as they enjoy our company.
Be wary of cosmetics and cleaning products in the bathroom
The saying ‘curiosity killed the cat’ comes to mind. Cat owners have been surprised to meet their bathroom ransacked after having left its door open. Cats can be enticed and attracted to the numerous shapes, textures, and aromas located in a bathroom. Nevertheless, while the cat might seem pretty safe in the bathroom compared to a kitchen with knives and hot stoves, it’s imperative to be prudent. The majority of cleaning products and toiletries stored in the bathroom consist of substances that can be toxic or irritating to pets. Creams, soaps, and shampoos might have attractive aromas which may entice a cat’s curiosity, however, these products are unsuitable for consumption. Cleaning products are not the only items which could be hazardous to pets, the toilet bowl while unlikely to cause a fatality, can be unhygienic should the cat begin to play around it, especially if it hasn’t been disinfected in a while. Ensuring the toilet or bathroom door is always closed is the best way to monitor your cat and keep it safe away from cleaning products. Not only does this protect your cat, but it also reduces the likelihood that you would stumble upon a mess made by the cat in the bathroom that has to be cleaned up.
Do you feel comfortable having your cat in the bathroom with you?
While we love our kittens and cats, a couple pet owners may find it strange and inconvenient to make use of the bathroom while their pets are also present. It really doesn’t matter that cats aren’t capable of judging us, our habits or our appearances.
The bathroom really is a space that is intimate and that can be interrupted when a human much less a cat is present with us. Curtains cats also have the knack of jumping on their owners while their owners are seated. This behavior can make achieving our “aim” difficult. If an owner feels like this, it is best to find methods to discourage your cat from following you into the bathroom.
This can be formed through training, however, this is something that requires a lot of patience, positive reinforcement and dedication. An additional way to ensure your cat doesn’t follow you into the bathroom and starts seeing the bathroom as less interesting is to ensure that other rooms in the home have been designed to create an environment that provides enough enriched stimulation and interaction. This should reduce the cat’s interest in either following you to the bathroom or exploring the bathroom at all.
Although there hasn’t been a verifiable concrete reason as to why cats follow their humans to the bathrooms, and maybe their motivation will forever remain hidden to humans, the above are a couple of perceived reasons as to why they do this. Some people consider the difference in temperature between the bathroom and other rooms as a prime motivator, but that hasn’t been widely accepted.
Another states that cats can be likened to toddlers, as they feel left out when they are alone. Felines typically prefer to claim the entire home as their territory, which means no room or corner of the house is off limits at any time of the day.
Others state since cats love routines, they could be following the daily ritual since they have sussed out that humans spend quite a bit of time in the bathroom. Since they know this, they figure they would rather use that opportunity and get some special time with us their owners.
It is a bit paradoxical that cats love to have privacy when they use the litter box but won’t give us a similar courtesy. Nevertheless, it is one of the quirks of owning a cat.