Please note that some posts contains affiliate links & I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links Find out More

Potty Buddies? Why Cats Love Bathrooms

by | Jul 30, 2015 | Cat Behavior & Care | 9 comments

Do you have potty buddies? Do your cats love bathrooms? Does your cat follow you to the bathroom, paw-pat under the toilet door, yowl for attention when you want privacy? What’s up with that?! Why do cats love bathrooms?

cats love bathrooms

Our cats’ behavior sometimes challenges the most insightful among us to figure them out. Felines always have a good reason for doing what they do. But a given behavior doesn’t always mean what you think. Your dog or cat following you to the bathroom has some surprising reasons.

dog loves bathrooms

Dogs to this, too, but the toilet terrorist behavior seems even more universal among cats. Dogs, on the other paw, really love underwear–of the well worn variety. Read about why dogs love underwear here. And what’s up with dogs who won’t potty on grass.

I’ve had many readers relate funny stories about being ambushed on the (ahem) facilities, stalked with paw-pats under the bathroom door, and persistent potty buddies demanding lap-time or napping in unmentionables dropped to half-mast. Now the secret can be revealed!

cat sink

Karma does this. He loves “nesting” in the cool basin. What a surprise when there’s water in the bottom, LOL!

Why Cats Follow Us to Bathrooms

Human bathrooms are often the coolest place in the home because of the tile, small space, and fewer windows. Cats tend to be furry heat-seeking missiles that relish lounging in warm places, but a few—my Seren is one—enjoy cool spots. These kitties seem to appreciate spending time on cool tile, damp towels, or other slick or cool surfaces. For older cats suffering from the health condition called hyperthyroidism, the metabolism goes into overdrive and heats up the kitty so hyperthyroid cats often seek out cool resting places.

Cats also are instinctively drawn to high perches like countertops that they associated as safe. They chain behaviors that link one action to another in a particular routine. And cats LOVE routine, so once a behavior sequence becomes a habit (especially if there’s a benefit for kitty), your pet will repeat the routine over and over again.

Cats never do anything unless it’s of benefit to them, and they are rewarded in some form or fashion. For instance, when you awake in the morning and run to brush your teeth (before filling the cat food bowl), it only takes a couple of days for cats to remember the routine and race you to the bathroom first. So let’s put all this together, and answer the question, why are cats avid potty buddies?

6 Reasons Cats Love Bathrooms

Black cat sitting on human toilet, close up

Seren uses the potty as a stepping stool to the vanity, where I’ve placed a fountain and snack bowl.

  1. People visit the bathroom on a predictable schedule, and they perform predictable behaviors while in the room. Cats know what to expect and won’t be surprised.
  2. Bathrooms offer convenient sinks with running water that many cats relish. Moving water simply tastes better, and people persuaded to run the tap for the cat reward this interaction with attention.
  3. The sink vanity provides a great perch or lookout for cats. Sitting on the sink or vanity positions a cat for a convenient face-to-face interaction when you are perched on the (ahem) thrown. That’s ideal from the cat’s perspective for controlling the interaction—the human can’t easily escape, so kitty can approach or stay out of reach as she prefers.
  4. Cats that insist on lap-sitting time may be frustrated in other parts of the house if you often instead give attention to a magazine, book or laptop computer. The felines that snuggle in your rumpled tidy whities draped around your ankles offer another type of compliment—basking in your most personal aroma to be as near their beloved human as possible.
  5. Felines appreciate the rewards they get by spending private one-on-one time with owners. Even the kitties that only paw-play under the door get attention in terms of you talking to them, or rewarding the behavior by FINALLY coming back out the door. The longer you spend inside the room and then emerge, the more powerful lesson cats learn that paw-pat persistence and kitty complaints eventually will garner success.

cats bathtub

6. Toilet paper chase, the game that never ends! ‘Nuff said.

How about your cats–and dogs? Do they follow you to do your duty? What’s their reason? How do you manage the unwelcome attention? Do tell!

cats toilet paper

Karma LOVES playing with TP, how about yours?

YouTube Button

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book giveaways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!

 

9 Comments

  1. stella

    My little cat always follow me every time I go to the bathroom, funny things was sometimes she go first and I just got surprise when she is sitting while waiting for me. In that moment I realize that the pet also need bathroom just like human so I decided to do something special for my cat. I hired a bathroom renovator to organize and divide my bathroom for two, for me and for my cat. I am happy for the result, my cat already have her own bathroom.

    Reply
  2. Karen Allison

    Stella wanders in and out of the little commode room when I sit on the throne. She wanders by with her tail out and I pet her and give a gentle tug on her tail. She goes back and forth until she’s had enough and then she heads off.

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      Awww…Seren likes those gentle tail tugs, too.

      Reply
  3. K.B. Owen

    Every once in a while, our Tora follows me (just me) to the bathroom. I can hear her purring madly under the door, and then she sticks a paw underneath and swats around. I’m *ahem* right nearby, so I’ll playfully grab her paw, then wiggle my fingers under the door. She loves that, and swats around some more. It’s hilarious.

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      I think that’s also one reason cats are enthralled with doors….MYSTERY FINGER PREY on the other side.

      Reply
  4. Cecile Buls

    Bella follows me in and climbs in the box. I’ll never pee alone.

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      Ain’t togetherness grand!

      Reply
  5. Ronnell

    Our dog follows us in and expects a back rub every time. Lol. When we say ‘ok’, he knows the rub is over and he plops in the floor until we open the door to exit. If we get into the bathroom before he enters, he will lay outside the door with a paw under the door. Lol

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      Magic has taken to napping in my office bathroom…a tiny room. So I have to make him move or carefully step over him, he’s so big! Oh, and the TP now lives INSIDE the cabinet to keep Karma from “killing” every roll.

      Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Puppy Proofing: Top 10 Tips to Save Dog Lives for National Puppy Day! - […] Kitchen and bathroom cabinets often house cleaning supplies that can be poisonous if swallowed. When cabinets are within puppy…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Categories:

Recent Posts

National Love Your Pet Day: 15 Ways How Pets Show Love

At my house, I see how pets show love every day. If you wonder, how do I make my cat love me, it’s easy! February 20 is National Love Your Pet Day, but Valentine’s Day comes in just a few days. At my house, pet love happens EVERY day. Whether you love your pet with special attention, treats and toys or lap snuggles, pet love has become a given in our pet-friendly society.

In mid-2020, we multiplied our pet-love quotient by welcoming Shadow-Pup into the house. He arrived at a time when we really had no plans for another pet and struggled with the reality of dealing with Bravo-Dawg-s cancer (sadly, he lost his battle, but his love lives on). And Karma-Kat welcomed the pup, too–but for Bravo, the added attention/distraction helped enormously as he went through scary treatment, losing a leg, dealing with pain, and more. So I’m adding another way pets show love–by showing up when you need them!

Valentine’s Day: Pet Danger Advice

I’m often interviewed by media about various cat behavior and dog training issues, and of course, Valentine’s pet dangers top the list this week. Pet hazards are common when our normal routine goes out the window, so pet parents are vigilant around the holidays. Refer to this post about Easter dangers for pets.  And don’t forget that pet safety issues for Christmas are similar to those for Valentine’s Day but it’s always good to refresh our watch list.

Spoil Your Cat: How to Show Cats You Love Them

Cats are great actors and try to convince pet parents they’re already purr-fectly healthy and happy. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s a good time to think “outside the litter box” and find special ways to love your cat.

Recently, I’ve received a boatload of emails with product suggestions for spoiling cats with healthy fun. So check out some of the offerings–and in the comments, add suggestions of your own! Then share the blog far and wide to spread the kitty love!

Pet Music Therapy? The Sound of Success!

Pet music therapy can help solve dog and cat behavior problems as well as offer physical therapeutic benefits. Our pets are attuned to sound and are incredibly sensitive to noises, including music. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, some pets with “stranger danger” issues are in for a rough ride. Pet music therapy can help. Read on for more tips.

Carbon Monoxide Danger for You and Your Pets

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas. It’s a natural by-product of fuel combustion present in car exhaust and improperly vented furnaces, space heaters, water heaters, fireplaces, and tobacco smoke. It can quickly kill people as well as their pets. Children and pets have died in as little as 15 minutes inside running cars while parents shoveled snow outside the vehicle, unaware of the blocked tailpipe.

Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself…and your pets.

UPDATED AGING CAT BOOK DISCOUNTED!

I’m delighted to announce the release of the 2024 edition of COMPLETE CARE FOR YOUR AGING CAT. This book, when released, received multiple awards from the prestigious Cat Writer’s Association. I got the rights back after the first edition, published by New American Library/Penguin Books, and released an updated version first in 2010, and again in 2017. But the latest 2024 version offers the most comprehensive revisions and updated material.

Learn more–and how to get deep discounts on the Ebook, Paperback, and Hardcover editions!

6 Easy Fresh Breath Tips & How to Brush Doggy & Kitty Teeth (Without Getting Bit!)

Do you brush dog teeth? How about brushing cat teeth? The AVMA sponsors National Pet Dental Health Month every February to help prevent pet dental problems.

According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by age 3.

But it’s never too late (or too soon) to get your pets’ pearly whites checked out by your veterinarian. Often the doctor has some great tips for keeping cat teeth clean and dog breath at bay, including how to brush doggy teeth.

Does the thought of brushing dog teeth make you cringe, roll your eyes, whimper, slink away–and feel guilty? You’re not alone. But once that puppy-sweet breath morphs into curl-your-eyebrows stench, it’s long past the time to address that stink-icity.

Pet Dental Problems: 9 Dental Issues You Share With Your Cats and Dogs

Pet dental problems rate as important to cats and dogs as your own dental issues are for you. Could your dog’s breath melt your glasses? Does your cat’s smile look like five miles of bad road? Pet dental problems are surprisingly similar to their owners’ dental issues. You may wonder how much does teeth cleaning cost for dogs and cats? February is National Pet Dental Health Month and a good time to check out your pets’ pearly whites. You can even learn how to brush your pet’s teeth in this post.

I write about pet dental health every year. These days I pay closer attention to Shadow-Pup because, for some weird reason, he likes rocks. That is, he picks up rocks whenever we go outside, brings them in, and then wants to play with and chew them. Shadow-Pup also raids the fireplace for lava rock embers, to do the same–and the pup wants to chew sticks! Oy! They already have lots of “legal” and safe chews, but he wants to play keep-away with rocks–and of course, I fear a broken tooth, or a tummy full of blocked foreign objects, or choking or worse. Urk!

While some cats drool when happy during petting, drooling cats and dogs point to dental problems. Hopefully, you won’t have that issue. Here are common dental issues you share with your cats and dogs (hopefully NOT eating rocks!), as well as ways to avoid them.

Steve Dale EveryCat Health Foundation Communications Award Now Open!

Wyckoff, New Jersey – EveryCat Health Foundation announced that nominations are open for the Steve Dale EveryCat Health Foundation Communications Award.

The award, named in honor of long time EveryCat Board member Steve Dale, CABC, is presented annually, to recognize a person or group who utilizes various media outlets to educate and inform others about cat health and/or behavior for the purpose of promoting the human-cat bond, and the welfare of cats.

As a past recipient of the (then-named) Winn Feline Foundation Media Appreciation Award, this opportunity makes me PURR. We have so many worthy communicators who champion cats. Read more to learn how to nominate someone (or yourself!) but don’t delay: Deadline is end of February!

How to Choose the Best Herbal Medicine for Pets: What’s Safe, What’s Dangerous for Dogs and Cats

In today’s world of cutting-edge medicine, we consider herbs for pets and herbal medicine to be old-fashioned. But holistic veterinarians continue to use herbs for pets because many of these plants are the foundation of modern drugs and medications, but don’t cause the same side effects.

Chinese herbal medicine has regained popularity for both human and pet care treatments. I learned a lot about them while researching my book NEW CHOICES IN NATURAL HEALING FOR DOGS AND CATS. And when the vet diagnosed Bravo-Dawg with hemangiosarcoma, I learned about I’m-Yunity, a Chinese herbal medicine treatment shown helpful in veterinary studies of the herb. Here are some things you need to know about using herbs with pets.

Visit Amy's Website

Amy Shojai CACB is an award winning author.  You can find all her publications and book her to speak via her website. 

On Demand Writer Coaching

AmyShojai.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com http://amazon.com/.

Awards

Memberships