You head into the bathroom to brush your teeth, take a shower, or use the toilet — but you’re not alone. When you have cats, you almost always have company in the bathroom, whether you want it or not. It’s not convenient, but it is pretty typical for many cats. While we might see this behavior as strange, it probably makes perfect sense to your cat. So, why do cats follow you to the bathroom? There’s no one reason. In fact, there are four potential explanations. One or more may be factoring into your cat’s habits and why you’ll never be able to brush your teeth alone again.
Why do cats want to be in the bathroom with you? When you think about it, the bathroom is like a playground for cats. It’s full of things they love. Faucets drip water, sinks are perfectly sized to nap in, and the bathtub is tons of fun to play in. Even the bathroom rug is ideal for a nap or a roll around.
Your cat may be seeking out the bathroom because it’s entertaining, especially when you’re in it. If you’re using the faucet or the shower, your cat probably knows that if he’s patient, he can lap up the water droplets that are left behind. Who can really blame cats for wanting to spend time in the bathroom when it’s full of all this fun stuff?
Cats find routines reassuring — they’re a standard part of life. You’ve witnessed this any time your cat wakes up just minutes before your alarm goes off or races for the food dish the instant you get up in the morning.
When you use the bathroom, you tend to do so as part of a routine. You brush your teeth and shower in the morning, and you wash your face before bed. For your cat, these habits can be reassuring parts of the day, and they may even signal to him when it’s time to get ready for breakfast or curl up for a snooze at night. Your cat may be following you into the bathroom in a routine of his own.
Your cat might be following you because he’s feeling social and affectionate and wants to spend time with you. Just as he follows you into the kitchen or living room, your cat probably sees the bathroom as just another room in the house. He may meow at you, try to play, or just want to wrap himself around your legs when you’re in the bathroom.
If your cat follows you because he wants to spend time with you, take it as a compliment. He’s just trying to show you how much he enjoys being with you, even if it’s not the most convenient time — or place — to snuggle up.
Think about it — when your cat follows you to the bathroom, what’s the first thing you do? Look at him, laugh at him, and talk to him? If you do any of those above, you’re giving your cat attention for following you, and that might be exactly what he’s looking for. Your reaction might be teaching your cat that following you to the bathroom is a good way to get your attention again in the future. If you pat him and engage with him while you’re brushing your teeth or getting ready to shower, he might learn that the bathroom is a great place to be, especially when you’re in there. If you really want this habit to stop, try ignoring your cat for a week or two when he follows you in and see what happens.
Most of the time, your cat following you into the bathroom is pretty harmless, but if you’re using cleaning products or just want some private time, then it’s also important to be able to keep him out of there. If your cat’s litter box is in the bathroom, then closing him out of the room isn’t ideal. You might want to think about relocating his box to another space in these cases. Otherwise, it’s probably easiest to accept that your cat may continue to shadow you whenever you head into the bathroom. To your cat, hanging out in the bathroom with you makes perfect sense, and chances are he’ll stick with the habit.
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