Why Do Cats Wait Outside The Bathroom

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Do you ever wonder why your cat does things? Cats are mysterious, and usually aloof creatures.

Except, your cat may not be aloof when nature calls: you make your way to the bathroom, close the door for privacy, and outside of your door, you hear your cat meowing, crying for you. You open the door, and there she is, waiting patiently for you! Why do cats wait outside the bathroom?

Animals don’t do things without a purpose, so let’s find out why your cat does this curious behavior!

This article is a part of our series on 20 Weird Cat Behaviors Explained!

Odd Things That Cats Do: Always a Purpose

To understand why cats do the particular things they do, we have to figure out what the purpose of this cats behavior is. Things that cats do may not make sense to us, but that doesn’t mean there are purposes for their odd behaviors.

Perhaps they miss you, they want something in the bathroom or they are scared. Let’s find out the purpose for this odd behavior.

There isn’t one proven answer as to why they do it. It turns out many cat experts are confused about this, too, and can’t give a specific scientific reason for this unusual behavior, but we can provide some ideas as to why your cat may do this, then you can decide what your cat is trying to accomplish!

Reason #1 Your Cat May Be Curious

You know the old saying “curiosity killed the cat?” This cliche seems to allude to cats always roaming about their surroundings, and they are constantly mapping out where they live, and what you are doing.

Cats have an innate curiosity that helps them to survive in the wild; so, their curiosity is an instinct they’re born with. If you close the door to your bathroom.

If you close the door to your bathroom while you do your business, your cat may be wondering what you’re doing! Is something happening to you? Are you okay? Is there a danger to themselves in the bathroom with you?

My cats wait outside the bathroom for me, too, and eventually, after a pattern of my two cats crying and scratching at the door to be in the room. I simply let them into the bathroom so they can satisfy their curiosity (I live alone, so I can do this without any awkward situations coming about).

After a while, being able to come into the bathroom wasn’t enough anymore – my cat, Stella, would jump on to the side ledge of the tub to get between the shower curtain and shower liner to see what I was doing while I shower! My cats also like to hop in the bathtub after I’ve showered and examine the water dripping from the showerhead and look at the water collected at the bottom of the tub.

Reason #2 They Might Be Scared

Another reason your cat may wait for you outside the bathroom is that they are feeling scared and vulnerable while they are away from you. My cats are often skittish and cat get scared on their own; any time there are fireworks or a loud truck that drives by, they run to my side for protection, so, it’s possible if you have a particular “scaredy cat,” (again, a cliche for a reason), your cat may be feeling vulnerable and scared while you are in the bathroom without them.

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They Might Be Scared

This could certainly be the case if your cat is urgently putting their paw under the door reaching for you, and meowing desperately! My cats often do this if I’m in the bathroom without them.

However, your cat could be simply scared of the fact of you going to the bathroom itself! Cats are often confused by our human behaviors, and are scared because they can’t make sense of what we’re doing, because they are not instinctually social creatures like dogs or humans.

If you find your cat wants to see what you’re doing in the bathroom, then leaves after they see, they could have just been scared of the circumstance.

Reason #3 They love you

Another reason may be that your cat loves you; and they don’t want to be separated from you! That’s another reason that my cats cry when I close a door.

Science has proven that cats love us even more than they love food, so it’s very likely your cat doesn’t even want to be separated from you for a few moments in the bathroom! I grew up with a calico cat named Kiki that would push the bathroom door open and rub on the legs of family members while they were sitting on the toilet in the morning!

She would do it to every family member, and since we were all so busy, this was the best way for Kiki to get some attention from us, since we couldn’t go anywhere while on the porcelain throne.

How About Some Practical Reasons?

Aside from emotional reasons as to why cats may feel the need to wait outside the bathroom door for you, there are perfectly reasonable practical reasons as to why cats may wait outside the door wanting to join you. They may be used to following you during your routine, they may want some warmth, coolness or water that the bathroom environment gives, or they may be attracted to the different scents of the bathroom.

It’s Part Of Your (And Their) Routine

Cats tend to be creatures of habit and don’t like change; so, your cat may wait outside the bathroom just knowing they can expect you at a certain time a day. Cats are territorial animals that have survived based on knowing where they live, so that’s why they’re always mapping out where they live and what you’re doing.

This would be similar to when cats (often annoyingly) know when to wake you up during the week to feed them breakfast, and carry that routine into the weekend when you want to sleep in! Your cat may know the times you need to head to the bedroom (often better than you know yourself) and follow you out of habit.

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If you have a needy cat (like mine), they simply follow you wherever you go, or they remember where you end up at certain times of the day!

They May Need Warming Up Or Cooling Off

Cats cooling off

Your cat may also wait outside of the bathroom for certain environmental factors. Bathrooms may offer a source of warmth or coolness for your cat. In the winter, if you live in a place that gets cold, your cat may be a little chilly and is drawn to the warmth of you taking a hot shower; or, they may be drawn to laying on the cool tiles on your bathroom floor if you live in a hot place, so that they can cool off.

They Might Want A Sip Of Water

Cats may also wait outside the bathroom door because they’re hoping you’ll let them in for a drink of water. Some cats like to get a sip of water from the sink once you let the faucet run, and the easiest way for them to get to the water is while you’re there!

My mom’s cat won’t drink water unless it is running from the faucet, so she often finds her cat wanting to be left in the bathroom for a sip of water. This is because cats can feel vulnerable drinking from standing water; they think it could be contaminated, or it might make them vulnerable to danger while they stop to drink.

They May Be Curious About The Smells In The Bathroom

bathroom smell

Cats may also be attracted to the bathroom because of all the different smells that come from the bathroom while you’re in there… Good, and bad!

According to Purina, cats have a sense of smell that rivals those of dogs: “With almost 40 times more odour-sensitive cells than our human nose possesses, a cat’s sense of smell is a wonderfully intricate mechanism that some researchers even rank above that of our trusted canines.” 

Think about all of the different smells that we consider to be good, but then imagine it magnified by 40 times that, and then think about how confusing (or intriguing) the bathroom environment may be to your cat! You smell one way to your cat when you enter the bathroom, and after you get a shower and freshen up, you smell like a different person to her!

Or, they may obviously be curious about the less desirable scents that come from a bathroom when you make a visit to the porcelain throne… Especially when you close the door!


So there you have quite a number of reasons as to why your cat waits outside the bathroom for you… What reason do you think your cat is waiting?

Is she thirsty? Is she used to your routine?

Is she curious about the different smells? Or, does she simply love you and miss you?

Only you know your cat best, but now you have some ideas as to why she waits outside the door for you!