Peeping Tom Cats

What’s behind the obsessive need to watch you bathe?


What is it about you turning on the shower or drawing a bath that makes your cat burst through the door with a wide-eyed gaze as you try to have a few minutes to yourself — or plaintively scratch and meow from the other side of the door if you keep it closed? There are a few possible reasons, actually.


Cats can be quite intrigued by the sound of running water. They enjoy watching it cascade, and some will slap at it with their paws or even attempt to get on the rim of the tub.

You’re in my space! 

Some cats think the bathroom is theirs — to unspool toilet paper, lounge cozily in the sink or tub, or perhaps nap on a soft floor mat. If you take over the room — and especially if you make it off limits by closing the door when you’re in there — some cats are going to work hard to stake their claim on the territory.

Concern for you — or fascination

It’s the rare cat who enjoys soaking in a tub or having water sprayed from overhead to remove suds. Perhaps your pet thinks you’ve lost your mind and wants to help see you through your ordeal. Or maybe he just thinks, “Weird!” and enjoys watching the show.

Attention, please!

As you well know from trying to read the newspaper or work at your computer, anything that removes your focus from your cat is worth separating you from. “Look at me, not the screen” could be the same as “Play with me, not the water.” As much as your cat doesn’t necessarily want too much attention from you, he wants to be the one to call the shots about when not to receive that attention.

How to get some privacy

Many people don’t mind having their cat keep them company while they shower or bathe. But if you want some alone time, offer your cat some extra attention just beforehand. Engage in play and perhaps present a couple of tasty treats, or groom him to settle him in for a nice nap. You can even put some toys or catnip right outside the bathroom.

What probably won’t work is trying to condition your cat by ignoring his scratching and pawing at the bathroom door. Chances are he will wear you down before you wear him down.


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