Why Does My Cat Stare at Me When I Pee? The Bizarre Reason Behind This Feline Behavior

Why Does My Cat Guard the Bathroom?

Does your cat follow you into the bathroom and intently watch whenever you go to the toilet? You’re not alone. Many cat owners report that their feline friends seem strangely fascinated by this daily human ritual.

In fact, according to one survey, around 37% of cats exhibit bathroom guarding behavior to some degree.(Source) While it may seem odd, there are some valid reasons why your cat wants to keep an eye on you in the bathroom.

Territory Marking

Cats are very territorial animals and like to mark their territory to feel safe and secure in their environment. One of the main ways cats mark their territory is by spraying urine around their home or yard (ASPCA, 2023). When a cat sprays urine, it leaves behind pheromones that signal to other cats that this area is occupied. By marking their territory, cats are essentially sending a message to other felines to “keep out”.

Cats not only mark their territory, but they will often stand guard over areas they have sprayed. Your cat wants to protect his territory from intruders, so he may sit or stand watch over spots he has marked. This allows him to monitor his territory and watch for any potential threats. He feels the need to guard what he views as his space. So if you notice your cat intently watching or sitting near areas he has sprayed, it’s likely a territorial behavior related to guarding his marked spots.


Cats have strong protective instincts and can be very territorial of their home and family. When a cat follows their owner to the bathroom, they are watching out for potential threats and acting as a bodyguard. This guarding behavior stems from the cat viewing its human as part of its family and territory. Cats see themselves as protectors and want to keep humans safe, just as they would for a fellow cat or kitten.

According to veterinarians, guarding behaviors start early and increase as cats age and bond more closely with their owners. Older cats often see it as their duty to patrol the home and protect their humans from any danger, real or imagined [1]. This protective instinct is one reason cats make great companions and why they follow their owners into vulnerable areas like the bathroom.


Cats are inherently curious creatures and are fascinated by human activities, including going to the bathroom. When a cat follows you into the bathroom, it’s often because they are interested in discovering what you are up to in there. Cats like to observe everything we do, and going to the bathroom is no exception.

According to Rover, curiosity is one of the main reasons why cats follow humans into bathrooms [1]. Bathrooms are generally private spaces that cats don’t have access to throughout the day. So when you go in and shut the door, it immediately piques their interest.

As Basepaws explains, cats “want to understand what the fuss is about” when you go into the bathroom [2]. When you’re using the toilet, cats often want to investigate and see what you are doing. It’s simply in their inquisitive nature to follow you into the bathroom and observe your activities.


Cats often see using the bathroom as a social activity and an opportunity for bonding. When a cat accompanies their human to the bathroom, it shows they consider you part of their social group and family. According to a Quora user, “A cat that chooses to poop or pee directly in front of you is a cat that has chosen to trust you” (source). On Reddit, another cat owner shared that their cats go to the litter box when they are nearby, interpreting it as “a sign of trust” (source). By spending this intimate time together, your cat is strengthening its bond with you and showing you are part of its family unit.


Cats are creatures of habit and like to have a daily routine. Most cats expect their owners to use the toilet at around the same times every day.


When a cat’s human goes to the bathroom, the cat sees this as part of the daily routine. Cats like routines and can get stressed when routines are disrupted. For example, if a cat is used to their owner peeing at 7am every morning, and one day the owner sleeps in until 9am, this can be confusing and stressful for the cat.

By guarding their human while they pee, cats are keeping the routine in order. It’s part of the cat’s expected schedule to monitor their human during bathroom time. The cat wants to make sure everything goes as planned.

Separation Anxiety

Cats are highly social creatures that bond strongly with their owners. As a result, some cats may experience separation anxiety when they are left alone [1]. Separation anxiety occurs because the cat worries when it is not able to be with its owner [2]. Some signs of separation anxiety include loud vocalizations, destructive behaviors, and inappropriate urination/defecation. Cats may frantically search for their owner, waiting anxiously near windows and doors.

When the owner returns after an absence, an anxious cat will stay very close initially. The cat wants to check on the owner to ensure they are safe and to re-establish their bond. Clingy behavior and constantly following the owner are common during reunions. With patience and proper treatment, cats can overcome separation distress.


If your cat constantly follows you into the bathroom to watch you pee, here are some tips that may help curb this behavior:

Give your cat attention and playtime before using the bathroom. This can help satisfy their curiosity and need for interaction, making them less likely to follow you in. Make sure to provide at least 10-15 minutes of quality bonding time.

Distract your cat with toys or treats when you go to the bathroom. Place them in another room or area of the house so they are occupied.

Shut the bathroom door to block access. However, some cats may scratch and meow incessantly. So only use this method if your cat accepts being separated.

Put up a baby gate to keep your cat out of the bathroom. Make sure it is tall enough that they cannot jump over it.

Use calming pheromones or treats to relax your cat. Products like Feliway or CBD treats may curb anxiety-related bathroom following.

Consider litter box location – it should not be right next to the human toilet. Keeping them separated can help deter bathroom trips together.

Reward and praise your cat when they do not follow you into the bathroom. Positive reinforcement works better than punishment.

If your cat is older, visit the vet to rule out medical issues causing clinginess. Separation anxiety may require prescription medication in some cases.

Stay calm and relaxed if your cat follows – anxiety can reinforce the behavior. Gently guide them out and ignore the action.

When to Worry

Although this behavior may seem endearing, obsessively following and guarding can be a sign of underlying issues. Here are some signs that your cat’s guarding behavior may be problematic:

Aggression: Hissing, growling, or attacking when you approach the litter box is not normal. This could signal pain, stress, or a medical issue causing your cat to feel vulnerable.

Eliminating Outside the Litter Box: If your cat is obsessively guarding the litter box but eliminating elsewhere, it likely feels too anxious to use the box. Stress, territorial issues, or medical problems could be to blame.

Excessive Vocality: Yowling, crying, and other loud vocalizations while guarding you point to distress. Your cat may be overly attached and anxious.

Following You Everywhere: Shadowing and guarding you obsessively throughout the home is not healthy cat behavior. It may mean your cat struggles with extreme separation anxiety.

Schedule a vet visit if your cat’s guarding seems excessive or paired with other problematic behaviors. Though well-intended, constant monitoring can be detrimental to both you and your cat’s wellbeing.


In summary, there are several common reasons why cats may guard their owners while using the bathroom. Territorial marking, protection, curiosity, bonding, routine, and separation anxiety can all play a role in this behavior. While it may seem strange to us humans, this act comes from a place of care and attachment in our feline friends. As long as your cat isn’t exhibiting signs of distress or aggression, there’s likely no need for concern. This quirky guardian behavior simply shows that your cat considers you part of its family and wants to be near you, even during private moments. With proper training and plenty of playtime, your cat can learn when it’s appropriate to keep its distance, while still getting the affection it craves. If you remain patient and shower your feline companion with love, you can expect many more years of amusing adventures together.

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