When it comes to the bathroom, our furry friends do not respect our privacy at all, even though they demand it when it is their turn to go to the toilet. When Her Majesty the Cat goes to her litter box, she demands privacy! Every cat parent knows that when their pet does her potty business she should be left alone. However, when that same cat parent goes to the bathroom, the cat wants to check in on the action. Moreover, if said human accidentally closes the door, they will get a loud meowing and scratching on the door. Puzzling, isn’t it?
According to scientists, there is no explanation when it comes to this mystery, but there are several ideas why cats don’t really care about our privacy when we are in the bathroom. Before we look at some of the theories offered by animal behaviorists, let’s go back to the beginning. In this context, “the beginning” means the day when you decided to open your home (and your heart) to an irresistible kitty.
Cat vs Human’s Perspectives
You brought a new kitty into your home and gave her all your attention, bought the healthiest food, provided the most comfortable cat bed. You taught her to behave decently, which means playing with toys, not your new slippers. She got a scratching post to sharpen her claws instead of doing it on your new sofa. She quickly understood the litter box’s purpose and all the other important lessons that every self respecting cat needs to know. Of course, you were satisfied because the cat understood (more or less) what is and isn’t allowed.
However, even during that process, you realized that your cat has her own ideas about your life together! Sometimes you wonder if she probably slept through some lessons. Because the little prankster included in her daily routine what you didn’t teach her! One of those weird things is that she accompanies you to the bathroom.
Your home soon became her home, her kingdom, a space in which she moves, plays, and explores freely. You don’t mind if she joins you in the kitchen unless, of course, she decides to steal something that is not meant for her meal. You are happy when she joins you on the sofa while watching TV. She will completely disarm you when she cuddles next to you. And then, in the middle of that realm of hers, there is that mysterious room! The one you mostly enter on your own! Plus, you close the door! Isn’t it logical for a cat to ask why?
Why Your Cat Follows You in the Bathroom
In the beginning, by habit, you closed the bathroom door behind you. Suddenly your kitty is on the other side of the door, scratching and meowing. This would happen every time you went into the mystery room, so eventually you relented and stopped closing the door. You probably hoped that once she came in with you and saw what was going on there, she would soon lose interest in the business. Unfortunately, the opposite happened! Unexpectedly you got an unwavering companion and forever said goodbye to the intimacy which goes with that room! Now, it’s time for you to ask yourself WHY?
Theory No 1: Curiosity
Everyone knows how curious cats are and that nothing escapes their eyes. Cats don’t allow us to stay behind closed doors because they wonder what we are doing there without them and why on earth we would stay without them at all. Since you share a living space with a cat, it sounds logical that she must explore everything that happens in that space. If for no other reason than just to be sure that you don’t do anything that could attract predators and endangering the common living space!
Theory No 2: Attention Seeking
One of the theories that deals with the answer to this question is that cats like attention. It, of course, is not disputable. However, are you really aware of how much attention a cat needs? Some experts say they literally need to feel like they are the center of the universe. With such a self-centered attitude, cats do not tolerate being excluded or ignored. While that may be true, the question still remains: Why then and why there?
Proponents of this theory explain that cats learn very quickly. They rapidly notice that, while you are sitting on the toilet seat, you cannot move or ignore them! It seems you have no choice but to dedicate yourself to your cat. For the cat, the whole thing then becomes a ritual in which she will eventually be rewarded.
Your cat knows that she will get her share of love every time you go to the bathroom, and she comes after you! You actually encourage her to do it. So yes, in a way, the cat is holding you hostage in your own bathroom!
Theory No 3: Cats are vulnerable creatures
It may sound paradoxical, doesn’t it? Our domestic kittens, just like their big cousins in the wild, have claws, teeth and the spirit of predators! Despite that, since they are small animals, they can also be a prey. Except for lions, cats are lonely creatures that do not need the support of a pack to survive or feel safe. However, the advocates of this theory believe that domestic cats see their owners as large, hairless, and clumsy creatures who make them feel safe. Being behind closed bathroom doors can make them feel insecure, no matter how ridiculous this sounds.
Theory No 4: Her territory
Another theory says that such behavior comes from the fact that cats are extremely territorial animals. In the already mentioned kingdom, which we mistakenly call our apartment, a cat simply has to have a line of sight into every corner of that space! Observing the environment is part of her nature, which has been formed through millions of years of evolution. Control over the space around her and what is happening in it is the primary skill that enabled her survival. In addition, the cat’s litter box is usually located in the bathroom, which makes it a place with a smell that the cat knows well. As it is about HER space, it is logical that only she has the right to privacy!
Are you having fun without me?
It is true that while cats spend almost 16 hours a day sleeping, they are also playful creatures. However, cats sleep a deep sleep for only two or three hours. Everything else is a light nap from which the cat immediately wakes up if something catches her attention. In other words, they are very playful creatures always ready to have fun! And the toilet is such a special room. There are so many interesting objects and devices in it, even that weird seat with water on the bottom! Therefore, from a cat’s perspective, following you to the toilet is probably quite obvious. They simply do not allow us to stay behind closed doors in that interesting room! With all the challenges that the room offers, she’s wondering why you would be having fun there without her!
What Can You Do?
Most animal behavior experts and experienced cat parents will claim that you can teach your cat to behave nicely, regardless of her age. Of course, it is always easier to shape than to reshape! In other words, the earlier you start training, the faster your cat will learn what she should and should not do. But kittens are cute and irresistible enough that it’s often easier said than done! We are simply too busy enjoying their cuddles than to spend effort training them. However, here are a few tips to avoid an unwanted companion for activities you prefer to do without witnesses!
Try to play wisely on their playfulness! Use her endless curiosity to your advantage! Take one of her favorite toys and throw it in the opposite direction away from the bathroom. Hopefully, you will get enough time to do your business peacefully. If you repeat this when you go out of the bathroom, the cat will quickly see it as a game and will start focusing on the toy rather than the closed door!
Pretend you are looking for her
If it is not an emergency, try to play hide and seek before going to the toilet. Pretend not to see her, calling her by name. Cats are pranksters who love the game and will probably run the other way! It is a moment for you to “hide“- and you know where!
Of course, you can always ignore or at least try to ignore her scratching and meowing on the other side of the bathroom door. After a while, your cat will probably accept it in the same way she has accepted staying in the apartment when you go out and close the front door. Of course, the “strategy” has its drawbacks. The scratched and damaged door could be the price you have to pay for your intimacy, but what is it compared to all the other pleasures that life with these adorable and mystical animals provides?