Why Does My Cat Follow Me To The Bathroom?

Are they being creeps? Or do they just like you?

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Most cat parents know that cats can be real creeps. One of their commonly-reported creepy behaviors is the habit of following their parents to the bathroom. Why do some cats do this?


It turns out that some cats are big fans of following their owners everywhere. Their reasons for following you to the bathroom are probably similar to their reasons for following you in general. Though veterinarians and scientists haven't come to any definitive conclusion, there are several theories that might explain why your cat is so keen on following you to the bathroom.

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New cat or new environment

If your cat is a new family member, they might be feeling scared because of the recent upheavals in their life, and look to you as a source of comfort. Similarly, if you recently moved or even just rearranged your furniture, your cat might feel scared or stressed, and might follow you around for the comfort you provide.


If this is the case, it is likely temporary. Be patient with your cat and give them lots of comfort and mental stimulation to offset the stress!

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Cats may feel vulnerable without you. Cats are predators, but they are also prey, and they are aware of that. Since you are a source of safety and comfort, your cat might feel less safe when you're behind closed doors, and prefer to accompany you to the bathroom, where they can continue to take advantage of the safety you provide.



Curiosity may also play a role in a cat's bathroom-following habits (like it does with many cat behaviors!). Cats are visual hunters, and as such, they like to use their vision to keep track of where things are. When you close the door to the bathroom, you are doing something mysterious behind it, and your cat may feel compelled to get to the bottom of this. What if you're doing something cool or pertinent to their lives?



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History of reinforcement

Cats learn quickly that when a human is seated in the bathroom, they can't go anywhere! Plus, most bathrooms have a counter conveniently located at cat-petting level. This is a great setup for cats, as you have to pet them on their terms, and you cannot leave.


You may have accidentally reinforced your cat's behavior of following you into the bathroom by petting them or giving them attention once they're in there. If your cat being in there with you doesn't bother you, this isn't a problem. However, if it does bother you (or if it bothers other people when they're in there), make an effort to stop giving your cat attention when they follow you into the bathroom. You can also give your cat something to do in a room far away from the bathroom, like a puzzle or just a scatter of treats on the floor. That way, they can stay occupied while you're in there.


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They just like you

A lot of cat behaviors can be explained by the fact that they simply like you and want to be where you are. Domestic cats' lives are fairly uneventful, and you're probably the most entertaining thing in the room most of the time. Your cat may want to follow you to the bathroom to see what entertaining thing you do next. What if you do something really cool in there and they miss it?



How to keep your cat from following you to the bathroom

If you don't want your cat to continue following you into the bathroom, or if you have housemates who don't want this, make sure you don't pet your cat or give them attention when they come into the bathroom with you. Ask your housemates to do the same. Don't punish the cat, but don't provide attention when in the bathroom.

You can ward off cat boredom by keeping your cat stimulated with lots of playtime and fun enrichment activities. Try setting up one of these activities, such as a puzzle toy, before you head to the bathroom, to give your cat something to do that's away from the bathroom area. In general, try to ignore your cat in the bathroom, and reward the cat when out of the bathroom.

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The bottom line

Cats may follow you to the bathroom because you're "trapped" when you're in there, because of a history of reinforcement, because they are new to your home or to this environment, or because they just like you and find you interesting. If this behavior doesn't bother you, you don't have to do anything about it! If it does bother you, try not to give your cat attention while you're in the bathroom, and give them something to do in another room when you're using the facilities.



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