Most cats have a strong dislike of water. It’s practically legendary. Try bathing a cat? Or letting it play in water? It rarely works out! And even getting your cat to drink enough water is a fight worthy of Hercules.
So, after spending all day trying to get your cat to have a bath or drink some water, you go to have a bath yourself, and… your cat… watches you.
So, what gives? Why do many cats watch people take a bath or shower when they absolutely hate having one themselves?
Well, the long and short of it is, we have no concrete reason beyond: Cats. But there are some good ideas floating around out there.
So which reason fits your cat?
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Bathrooms are Fun!
It’s the same reason why a two-year-old might want to constantly go into the bathroom: there’s new stuff to grab, play with, roll around on, and clamber around.
Many cats enjoy playing with things like the toilet paper rolls, rolling around in the nicely contained bathtub (As long as it’s dry), and drinking out of a dripping faucet. Plus, there are perfectly good towels to yank to the floor and sleep on.
So, your cat might not care what you’re doing – by being in there, you have opened up a wonderland of playthings and napping spots. But you being there is pretty cool too since your cat then gets to hang out with you.
You might be doing something your cat thinks is pointless, but then, as a human, you’re constantly seeming to do pointless things, so whatever. Best to watch you take your bath and figure it out from there.
Closed Doors are Bad
If you have your bath or shower with the door closed, you might hear your cat go completely ballistic outside the door. Some cats (mine included) get pretty offended when you close a door – they want to know what’s going on all the time, every time, everywhere, including bathrooms.
So, they may not actually want to go into the bathroom, but they do want to be able to peer in and see what you’re doing, as well as make sure they aren’t missing out on anything. If you have a particular nosey or bossy cat, you may already know that closed doors are an instant NO, as far as your cat is concerned.
In this case, your cat probably isn’t watching you take a bath at all, but just wants the door open so they can watch if they choose.
Water isn’t ALL Bad
Most cats don’t like being submerged in water or having baths, but many of them do like to be around water, particularly younger cats. (The cat we had growing up, as a kitten, would try to have baths with my dad. She outgrew that, but it was pretty funny).
Many cats like to drink the water from the taps, lick the wet sink, or bat running water with a paw. Some even like the noise it makes! And a few cats may even enjoy sitting on the side of the tub while you have a bath, just to see what you’re up to.
Some may even jump in with you – after all, there are a few breeds of cats that actually enjoy water such as Bengal cats.
Or Water is EVIL
Some cats not only dislike water for their own sake, but they may also worry about their owners being immersed in it! Many cats will meow loudly when their owners are having a bath or shower because they are scared of the noise and steam or they even worry that their owners are in dire straits and need to be yelled at to be brought back to safety.
Some cats don’t have much idea of ‘object permanence’ so when you disappear behind a curtain, they think you really have disappeared, so they are calling for you to come back.
This is all normal behavior, and you don’t have to worry that your cat is suddenly going neurotic, but it can be quite noisy and cause your cat a bit of stress.
You can do things like shutting the door, pat your cat on the head once in a while to reassure it that you haven’t vanished, or just ignore it. Most cats figure it out after a while.
Why Is This Human Doing Something So Weird?
It’s important to remember that most cats just think of humans as weirdly shaped cats that don’t know how to talk or eat properly.
With that in mind, you can imagine why many cats get a bit freaked out, worried, or annoyed when you do something like have a bath. After all, they hate having baths, so why are you doing it?
Some cats may even think they need to rescue you, or at least supervise you, which is why so many will watch you while you have a bath. Other cats, particularly young ones, may simply be curious about what you are doing.
Your Cat Just Wants to Hang Out
Finally, many cats will watch you in the tub just because they think of it as a good hang-out time. After all, you’re stuck in a small tub in a small room with nothing else going on, so it’s a good time to hang out, get some attention, and chat.
Cats may also like it because the room smells like you and whatever you’re doing is fun to watch. They may also enjoy relaxing in the sink (a nice, enclosed space), sitting on the tub or toilet (it’s raised above the floor), or relaxing on the soft bath mat. And since you aren’t doing much of anything at the time either (or so it seems), it’s a good way to cadge some petting and head-scratching.
And after a bath or a shower, many cats will want to bathe you themselves because now you smell weird. One of the cats I had growing up would chew our hair after a bath because we didn’t smell right to her anymore. So, by going in the bathroom, your cat might be planning to give you a ‘proper’ bath right away.
Now, we really don’t know the precise reasons why your cat is watching you have a bath – it could be any of these reasons, a combination of them, or something completely different!
The only real fact you can be assured of is that if your cat likes watching you have a bath, you’re far from alone and there are many, many cats who also like watching their owner have a bath.
Nonsensical perhaps, but it makes sense to the cat.
Does your cat like watching you have a bath? What do you think the reasons for it are?
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.