There are three things in a bathroom that a cat likes… (a) you (b) your scents and (c) for some cats: water. I’ll deal with the first one last.
Despite the endless discussions about how cats dislike water, lots of cats like it. Some cats actually join their human in the shower and some jump into the bathtub. Some cats jump into a bathtub after you have showered and lick the water drops that remain. Finding water is more fun than being given water. This is about the wild cat within.
The bowl of a toilet is attractive to many cats. When the toilet is flushed lots of fresh mains-supplied water gushes out. This is probably interesting to a cat and encourages drinking from it. The residual scents would be an attraction rather than a repulsion.
I always remember Kathrin Stucki of A1 Savannahs saying that Magic – I think it was Magic – joined her in the shower. Magic is the world’s best known cat and the tallest domestic cat. Kathrin is a very attractive woman (dare I say it). The pair must have made a startling image together in the shower. Shame there is no picture of it 😉
Yes, we have to get to that subject and, of course: wee. This is where nature meets human sensibilities. Whereas cats are very relaxed about poo and wee, being, as it is, a natural and important part of their lives through scent detection, humans shy away from the subject at all times.
However, if you are in the bathroom sitting on the toilet, does your cat want to come in? Better still, does she come in because the door is open?
Although I haven’t checked the Internet recently on this subject, I would expect there to be a decent number of stories about cats joining their human companion in the bathroom when the person is on the toilet.
This has to be about…smell or let’s call it “scent”, so much more polite ;). It appears that our cat knows the scent of our poo and labels us with that scent. When we are on the toilet – loo, john, lavatory – we are scent marking. If our cat sees us as a cat, when we go to the john we are scent marking from our cat’s perspective. Scent marking is a statement of ownership of territory. Cats scent mark with feces, urine and scratching (ground and vertical objects).
As we are related to our cat (from her perspective), it seems that our scent marking attracts our cat. Why? That is the 64,000 dollar question. The answer is probably that our cat comes to a place that is safe and secure and which she considers her home and territory. The scent we make with our poo signals that, saying, “this area is ours and it is safe”. That is attractive to a cat. That is my theory having thought about it as I write. A visitor may have a better, or additional, theory, which I would welcome.
Wee is also a favorite substance for scent marking territory. The same theory would apply as for feces.
My personal experiences are typical. My Binnie would like to come into the bathroom when I was on the loo. The door would be open as I was alone at home. Charlie rarely comes in. I don’t recall Missie or Boo Boo coming in. Not all cats are bothered about joining us in the bathroom. It is a personal thing. A likeness for it may be associated with the confidence or anxiety of a cat. In other words be dependent on personality trait.
Here’s Felix doing his bathroom trick after Kevin has showered: