Really, why do cats follow us to the bathroom?
Cat owners have all been there. You make your way to the bathroom with your cat close behind. And even though your feline friend usually couldn’t be bothered, there is just something about the bathroom that entices them.
But what is it about the bathroom? Are they just that curious? Keep reading for answers about this feline quirk.
Why Does My Cat Follow Me to the Bathroom?
Even though this isn’t frequently discussed, many cat owners notice that their cats follow them to the bathroom. And despite a lack of strong scientific data, we have a pretty good guess why this phenomenon happens.
Most likely, instincts, chaining behaviors, and curiosity all cause cats to follow their owners to the bathroom. So to get a better understanding of this cat quirk, let’s dive deeper into each of these topics.
What Instincts Make Cats Follow You to the Bathroom?
Most animals are guided by instincts. And house cats are no exception.
When your cat joins you in the bathroom they might be following their instincts. Cats are instinctively drawn to safe places. And your bathroom might offer “safe zones” like high shelves and sink counters.
Some cats instinctively look for cool spots. And many bathrooms are small, windowless spaces with cool tile floors. Also, your cat might simply enjoy lounging on towels or countertops.
Ok, so your cat’s instincts might lead them to the bathroom to search for a cool or safe spot. But what else makes them follow you to this room? Let’s look at chaining behaviors next.
What Are Chaining Behaviors?
Cats are also creatures of habit. They quickly adapt to routines. And they frequently develop chaining behaviors.
Chaining behaviors are linked actions. Essentially, these are actions that always occur in a certain order. If you always go to the bathroom when you wake up and then immediately feed your cat, your cat might link these two actions.
So, whenever your cat sees you go to the bathroom, they will associate this action with being fed. And they might follow you to the bathroom to encourage you to feed them sooner. And sometimes this works. So your cat might have linked (or chained) this behavioral pattern:
owner goes to bathroom → cat follows → cat gets fed
Think about your routine. If you usually do something your cat enjoys after the bathroom, these linked actions might cause your cat to follow you to the bathroom. If you don’t want your cat to follow you to the bathroom, try to stop associating these actions. So, if you always feed your cat after the bathroom, try feeding your cat at a different time to break the link between these actions.
Why Are Cats So Curious?
We know that cats follow instincts and chain behaviors. But they are also naturally curious.
We’ve all heard the saying “curiosity killed the cat.” But curiosity also leads the cat to follow you to the bathroom.
The bathroom is a mysterious place for many cats. Bathroom doors are often shut, so cats don’t always have the opportunity to explore this room. So, when you make your way to the bathroom, your cat naturally want to explore this unfamiliar space.
But why are cats naturally curious? This quality is likely caused by:
- Natural Instincts: Cat instincts help them look for predator and prey. And even domesticated cats keep these instincts. So, house cats are naturally curious about the potential creatures hiding in your bathroom. They want to investigate the room whenever they have the chance.
- Hunting Tendencies: Again, curiosity helps cats hunt. And even though your cat isn’t going to find prey in your bathroom, their instincts lead them to check out this room when they can.
- Their Intelligence: Cats are smart creatures. They want to learn about their environment, including your bathroom.
- Territorial Nature: Cats are very territorial. They want to assess any potential threat, including those in the bathroom. So they will want to explore this room with you.
But Don’t Cats Like Privacy?
Sure, cats like their privacy. They don’t always want companionship. Often, they want to sleep and be left alone.
Cats like eating by themselves. If you own multiple cats, you know that they usually want their own food bowls. Sometimes, cats even need to eat in separate rooms. This helps them understand that no one will steal their kibble.
And cats want privacy to use their litter box. Their litter box has to be in a quiet, comfortable spot. Cats don’t want this in a loud area with something that might frighten them.
But even though cats enjoy their own privacy, they are not concerned about respecting yours. So when you head to the bathroom, your curious feline will likely follow you. They want to make sure there are no predators hiding in there.
Do You Reward Your Cat In The Bathroom?
I know, your initial answer might be “absolutely not.” You probably don’t keep cat treats in the bathroom. But you might be giving your cat other rewards in the bathroom. And this only reinforces their behavior.
Just think about it. When you and your cat spend quality time in the bathroom, do you pet them? Do you talk to them? Maybe you even bring a cat toy into the bathroom.
If you do any of these behaviors, your cat has gotten used to them. In fact, they have come to expect these behaviors. So when you go to the bathroom, they decide to follow. They know they will be rewarded with pets or play time.
What About Water?
Does your cat drink water in the bathroom? Maybe from the shower or sink? If so, they are likely to follow you to the bathroom for water whenever they get the chance.
Some house cats don’t drink enough water. In nature, cats are not used to still water. So some cats don’t want to drink out of their bowls. Instead, they prefer water drips from the shower or bathroom sink.
This might not be harmful behavior. Especially if you don’t mind your cat following you to the bathroom. You might even want to run the faucet for them whenever you are in the bathroom. That way, they will have access to flowing water.
But, if you don’t want to encourage your cat to drink water from the bathroom, consider investing in a water fountain for your cat. These bowls mimic the flowing water they are instinctively drawn to. And providing this type of bowl outside the bathroom might discourage your cat from following you to the bathroom. And even if you don’t mind your cat following you, this bowl might encourage your cat to drink more water.
Your cat probably follows you to the bathroom. And most cat owners can relate. But really, this is just a cute and harmless habit.
Maybe this is part of your cat’s routine or chained behaviors. Or maybe they are driven by instincts to look for predators. Whatever the actual reason, your curious cat will probably continue to follow you to the bathroom. But we hope this post helped you understand this interesting behavioral quirk.
Does your cat follow you to the bathroom? Let us know in the comments!