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Home > Cats > Why Does My Cat Use the Litter Box When I Use the Toilet?

Why Does My Cat Use the Litter Box When I Use the Toilet?

cat outside the litter box

Let’s face it—our cats like to invade our space at our most vulnerable moments, and bathroom time is no different. Have you noticed your cat visiting their litter box when they spot you on the toilet? Is it a coincidence? Is it a competition? Is it a communal ritual?

It’s probably a matter of bonding with you, though it’s hard to speak for all felines. But we can explore a few reasons that your cat might be behaving this way. Let’s look at certain aspects of feline behavior and how they translate to your own.


Cats & Bathroom Trips

mackerel tabby cat playing with roll of toilet paper
Image By: New Africa, Shutterstock

It’s not a common phenomenon for your cat to use the litter box when you do your own business. However, that does not mean it’s unrelated to you.

It’s typical for your cat to follow in between your feet as you shuffle to the bathroom. Many cat owners will confess to their cats curling up by their feet or even trying to jump in their lap while they do their business.

But is there a reason for this? A cat can be so finicky about privacy while they do their bidding, but the same sentiment doesn’t extend to you.

If you try to shut your cat out of the bathroom while you go, prepare for wails never heard before. Some cats simply cannot bear the thought of a door being between you while this happens.

Cats & Elimination Privacy

The bottom line is that cats don’t give a hoot about privacy when anyone is using the bathroom. You might think that this is an incorrect statement. After all, think of all the hooded litter boxes advertised to shield your cat from peeking eyes.

We humans are accustomed to wanting to celebrate potty time on our own. With the minor exception of certain cultures throughout human history, we are conditioned to think that the concept is inappropriate, and we don’t even like to talk about it. It’s embarrassing, private, and totally taboo.

Cats disagree with that. They don’t care about privacy, but rather protection. Using the bathroom is a vulnerable time for any mammal, so their instinct is to hide. In the wild, this could leave them susceptible to attacks—so you could say that it’s ingrained in their DNA.

cat litter box top entry
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

When I Go, You Go Too

So, in addition to general visits with you to the bathroom, is there a real reason that your cat is so adamant about sharing this time with you?

The truth is, there’s no real science behind it—just speculation. It could be a bonding thing. They want communal bathroom trips, much like middle school-aged kids in between classes. They feel more connected with you. It’s possible that going when you go may make them feel safer in your presence.

Also, sense of smell is a real thing. Your body is shouting out all kinds of scent signals while you do your thing. If they associate certain smells with you, they might want to share the experience.

If Bathroom Sharing Is a Problem

If you just can’t seem to concentrate on the pot when you have judging eyes staring at you, maybe it’s time to relocate the litter box. After all, one living, breathing being doing number two is enough—why give them access?

If you are at your wit’s end with your cat’s bathroom intrusion, just try to move the litter box. This isn’t always possible if you have few options on litter box placement, but you can always give it a go.

Also, if you can handle the screams accusing you of betrayal, you can always shut them out while you go. Sure, you might get the stink eye for days without a break, but eventually, they’ll get over it.

calico maine coon in litter box
Image Credit: Andriy Blokhin, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

Our cats are a real mystery—and not just because they like to invade your potty space. It’s hard to say exactly why they develop certain habits or why they are widespread through the feline gene pool. But one thing is for sure, your cat doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

Featured Image Credit: Jennifer McCallum, Shutterstock

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