Why did the cat follow you into the bathroom?

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Can I ask you a personal question? Does your cat follow you into the bathroom? Do you leave the door ajar and let your cat follow you in? What happens if you close the door and leave your cat outside? Do you see your cat’s claws crawling through the door? Does your cat scratch or jump on the door? This is perhaps one of the strangest, funniest, and most disturbing things about cats.

Even my docile Ragdoll cat will put his paws in the door crack and shake the door if I let him out to go potty. Sophie, our cat, goes in and comes right out. But Maddie will offer to cuddle with me or my husband, and sometimes she will play in the tub while one of us is in the bath.


I talked about this disturbing cat behavior with my old friend Sandy Robins, a pet lifestyle expert and author of cat-related articles. Sandy’s cat Fudge even follows guests into the bathroom. I was one of those guests who was lucky enough to meet Fudge before he passed away. It’s no surprise that Sandy now has two adorable cats, Ziggy and Tory, who behave in the same way.

While I haven’t found any studies or scientific papers explaining why cats follow people into the bathroom, I think this interesting quirk reinforces several behaviors we think cats have.

Cats can’t stand tightly closed doors

Cats are territorial, so they are very interested in everything that happens within their territory. Their survival depends on it. They can spend hours watching to know where is a safe place to eat, drink and sleep.

As soon as they hear a door open and there is territory to explore behind it, they want to go in. If you have a space in your house that hasn’t been explored, they will almost die because they can’t get in.

“It’s like they want to know what you’re doing in there and if I can help,” Sandy said. Instead of locking the bathroom door, she and her family close it completely. However, the cats always manage to push the door open and break in, Sandy explained. When her dog-owning son stayed with them, Ziggy, Tory and the dog broke in. We wanted to put up a sign that said, ‘One at a time, please,'” Sandy said.

Sandy says, “My cat Sophie has learned how to open the cupboard door in our spare room and at night she gets in when no one is looking. We heard her open the door. We found her the next morning. If cats had opposable thumbs, we’re pretty sure they’d open every cabinet and unlocked door in the house.

Cats like it when you don’t move

Cats love it when you don’t (or can’t) move and instinctively know that you can’t move when you go to the bathroom.

Have you noticed that your cat likes to visit you when you stand still? Whether you’re sitting at your computer, lounging on the couch, or lying in bed, most cats will sit in your lap or next to you, lean on your keyboard or papers, or snuggle up next to you. Take this as a compliment: your cat wants to be with you, feels safe with you and likes to be the center of attention.

Why do cats follow you into the bathroom? Maybe they like the bathroom.

By Susan Logan McCracken, April 5, 2021

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