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

Ashley Bates

Let’s face it—our cats invade our space at our most vulnerable moments and bathroom time is really 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?

Honestly, it’s really hard to speak for all felines. But we can explore a few reasons why your cat might be behaving this way. Let’s look at some aspects of feline behavior and how it translates to your queries.

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Cats & Bathroom Trips

cat outside the litter box
Image Credit: Jennifer McCallum, Shutterstock

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

It’s pretty 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 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 the concept is inappropriate and we don’t even like to talk about it. It’s embarrassing, private, and totally taboo.

Cats, on the other hand, disagree with that. They don’t give a single hoot about privacy, but rather protection. Using the bathroom is a very 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 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 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 girls 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 correlate smells, 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, tails whipping—then maybe it’s time to relocate the litter box. After all, one living, breathing being doing number two is enough—why have the 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 since sometimes 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

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Final Thoughts

Our cats are a real mystery—and not just because they like to invade on you in the loo. 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: MelodicinD, Shutterstock

Ashley Bates

Ashley Bates is a freelance dog writer and pet enthusiast who is currently studying the art of animal therapy. A mother to four human children— and 23 furry and feathery kids, too – Ashley volunteers at local shelters, advocates for animal well-being, and rescues every creature she finds. Her mission is to create awareness, education, and entertainment about pets to prevent homelessness. Her specialties are cats and dogs.