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Whenever I sit on the toilet, my cats come to me and rest at my feet. Why? Do they miss something?

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    Because they want attention and they've figured out that you can't get away when you're on the toilet. – RBarryYoung Sep 6 at 19:45
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    It may be partly because you don't want them to. Cats tend to see eye contact as threatening, and if you're avoiding eye contact when you sit on the toilet (because you don't want them to come and sit with you) they may see that as a sign that you do want them to come and sit with you. I don't know if that's what's happening or not, but that kind of body language misunderstanding can happen between people and cats. – Nathaniel Sep 7 at 3:51
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    I'm curious as to how the cat is able to rest at your feet while you're seated on the toilet. Do you leave your door open while relieving yourself? Does the cat follow you extremely closely? – Nzall Sep 7 at 13:09
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    Your cat likes the smell of poo. – Hot Licks Sep 8 at 1:19
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    Day 624: Hooman subject still refuses to use litter box, still insisting on going in water bowl. Luckily the water bowl refreshes itself after being defiled. – Michael Richardson Sep 8 at 19:37
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It is one of the most common behaviour in cats.

Cats normally do not just follow you to the bathroom, they usually follow their human companion to everywhere. But cats following us to the bathroom is more noticeable, hence the confirmation bias.

Cats following humans can be due to a variety of reasons. They might be spooked by something you can't see or hear, they might want food (my cat's favourite reason to follow me to the bathroom), they might want pets, they might be curious or in some rare cases, they might think that you are vulnerable with your pants down so they might want to protect you.

I observed that most cats have a daily routine. They go to sleep at similar hours, demand food or pets at similar hours etc. Your bathroom schedule might have synchronised with your cats' petting schedule so that might be why they are following you.

One more thing, cats also learn from other cats, so one of them might just be following you because the other one is.

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    mine insists to be in the bathroom, but also wants the door open at the same time :) – Thomas Sep 6 at 12:35
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    @Thomas open door is also very common. I guess they want to roam free in their world, albeit how small their world is :) – C.Koca Sep 6 at 12:59
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    I'd go with the protection angle. Our will be happily nested between my feet at night, but if my wife gets up to use the bathroom, he invariably gets up and guards the door. Its gotten to the point where I'll announce "I'm sending a cat to help." before he even gets up. – T.E.D. Sep 6 at 17:58
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    @Thomas It is asserting its dominance and there is nothing you can do since it consistently catches you with your pants down. – DKNguyen Sep 7 at 15:44
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    @DavyM Yes, the former. – C.Koca Sep 9 at 15:46
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My theory is it’s because they’ve learned you’re a captive audience when you’re on the toilet, meaning there is nothing else distracting you from giving them attention like there probably is anywhere else in the house.

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I believe, in essence, it has to do with the cats both being curious and wanting to keep us companionship. With that being said, I think an additional and significant factor attracting cats to follow people to the bathroom could also be their common fascination with running water - cats are known to frequently have an obsession with sinks, faucets, drains and porcelain thrones for that reason.

It has to do with their instincts - cats prefer running water over stagnant water, because in nature it is a lot safer to drink; they are thus intrigued and interested by both the sight and the sound of running water. Because the majority of visible and audible water flow occurs whenever there is a person inside the bathroom, they are compelled to follow in.

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According to Dr. Kathryn Primm on iheartcats, cats feel vulnerable when you aren't around and they're curious and these are reasons for them to follow you to the toilet.

But I like the take from meowlingtons that cats don't respect your privacy. This coincides with my own experience.

I share a cat with my girlfriend. The cat is less respectful to her than to me as I taught it discipline and don't just give it whatever it wants when it wants it. For example I require the cat to sit and patiently wait for food while the girlfriend lets the cat jump up and practically climb all over her as she's preparing food.

Furthermore I have observed that a cat will not even think about touching food I leave on my plate even when I'm in a different room but it will try to pounce on my girlfriend's food even when she's holding the plate so the cat's behavior is also (not exclusively) linked to respect (or whatever you wish to call it) in my experience.

Anyhow, this cat never comes into the bathroom when I'm on the toilet. Sometimes she will wait outside the doorway. So from my point of view, the cat does what it thinks you want. If it thinks you want to wear cat fur coat 24/7 that's what you get.

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    Shouldn't that be "My girlfriend's cat lets me share her with it"? – Ken Y-N Sep 7 at 6:59
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    @HenryM that behaviour is very well documented in dogs but I never heard that cats do what you want them to do. On the contrary, I believe cats do what they want to do and they get along better with you if you let them do what they want to do. – C.Koca Sep 7 at 13:44
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    @C.Koca In my experience you can train a cat the same as you train a dog. It just takes the cat 30-60 times longer to do what you want and the cat will challenge you and pretend to be untrained at certain intervals like 3 months later, 6 months later and so on. Consistency is key. Granted, most people probably don't think it's worth it. When a cat was introduced to a home with an existing bird I was forced to work on getting the cat to not eat the bird so I learned some tricks. – HenryM Sep 7 at 17:32
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The cat may also be curious to learn how to do what you're doing. I had a tortoise calico kitten who was very interested in bathroom routines. By the time she was three, she would sit on the edge of the toilet seat and do her own business. She even figured out the flusher a few years later!

After she learned to use the toilet, she never went back to the litter box again.

Sadly, as she got older, she couldn't balance on the seat and would just sit in the bowl making a matted mess of her back end. Eventually, she moved to using the bathroom sink. Cleaning out the sink was... less pleasant. She never bothered with learning the sink faucet controls. And she never went back to using the litter box to matter how hard I tried.

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    @lila Thanks for the edit. That's what I get for posting from my phone :) – psaxton Sep 8 at 18:19
  • Oh you're welcome ^.^ – lila Sep 8 at 19:02

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