Why Does My Cat Sit in the Bathtub?

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A cat may sit in the bathtub if they’re not feeling well, if they’re hot and want to cool down, if they’re cool and want to warm up after you’ve taken a bath, or if they’re thirsty and know the bathtub is a water source. Let’s take a closer look at the five common reasons a cat sits in the bathtub, when to be concerned, and other scenarios that may be relevant.




1. Cat is sick

When cats are sick, they tend to isolate themselves. Your sick cat may be sleeping in the bathtub because it’s a quiet spot where they feel safe. The cold surface may also feel good to them. If your cat is showing any symptoms of being sick and you keep finding them in the bathtub, take them to the veterinarian immediately.



2. Cat is thirsty

Cats understand that the bathtub is a source of water and they may have gotten in the habit of licking the water out of the bathtub after you finish bathing or showering. They may be sitting in the bathtub because they went to check for fresh water, found none, and are now hinting at you that they’d like some.


Your cat being thirsty may be completely normal, or it could be a health issue that requires a veterinarian checkup.


When a cat is used to getting fresh water from the tap, they may gravitate to the bathtub and sit in it, waiting for water. Cats do naturally prefer fresh running water, so if your cat has always enjoyed drinking from a sink tap, tub tap, or licking the water out of the tub after you shower, their behavior may be normal.


But if they’ve always been happy with water from their water dish (and you’ve been keeping their water dish clean, fresh, and full) and now all of a sudden they want water from the tap, it may be the sign of a health issue, such as kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, etc. Only a veterinarian can determine the cause for their increase in water intake.



3. Cat is hot

I often found my cat sprawled out in the bathtub on hot summer days. When cats are outside, they often find soil to lay in, because it cools them down. Inside the home, they don’t have natural options, so they’ll find the coolest surface. That may be tile flooring or the bathtub. The porcelain tub feels cool on their body. However, if they’re sitting in the bathtub and not laying down, this theory may not apply.



4. Cat is cold

If your cat tends to sit in the bathtub after you’ve taken a hot bath, it may be that they like the warmth the tub is giving off. We had a cat that loved to lay on the kitchen counter, over the dishwasher, when it was running. The counter got warm and he loved that.



5. Cat feels unsafe

The bathtub is like a giant box to your cat, and cats love boxes. They’re able to sit in the bathtub and face the room while their backs remain protected (nothing can attack them from behind). If you have other cats or pets in the home, it may be that your cat is frequently getting attacked/startled/ambushed by another animal when they’re just trying to relax. This theory may be even more relevant if your cat is older and you have a younger pet (or even small children) in the house. They may just want some quiet time and the bathtub provides them with that.




Why does my cat sit in the shower?

Your cat may sit in the shower for the same reasons cats often sit in the bathtub. They may be showing signs of an illness, looking for fresh water, cooling down, or looking for a quiet, safe place to sit.




Why does my at sit in the bathtub & meow?

When a cat heads to the bathtub, sits down, and meows, it may be for attention, because they’re crying for the tap to be turned on so they can have fresh water, or they may be in distress.



We had an older cat that would go to the downstairs bathroom, sit in the shower, and yowl. It was a much louder and throaty meow than his typical meow. We’re not sure why he chose the bathroom, perhaps because of the acoustics and he wanted to be sure his voice was heard throughout the house. We did take him to the veterinarian and unfortunately, he did have kidney disease.


A veterinarian checkup is always a good idea when your cat is exhibiting “strange” behavior. They can’t come right out and tell us it hurts when they go to the washroom, or that they’re all of a sudden feeling thirsty all the time, so they do their best to give us signals. Meowing in the bathtub could be them crying for help.




If your cat has gotten a clean bill of health from the veterinarian, consider if they meow in the bathtub to get your attention.


Cats love to have our attention and they’ll go to great lengths to get it. Some cats will poop on the floor for attention, while others meow in the bathtub. If you frequently come running when they’re meowing in the bathroom, pick them up and ask them what’s wrong, it may just be that they love how meowing in the bathtub immediately gets your attention.


You never want to ignore a potential health issue or ignore your cat when they’re in distress, but if you know they’re healthy (as told so by a vet), try ignoring the behavior and giving them more attention outside of the bathroom. They’ll soon learn meowing in the bathtub isn’t effective at getting your attention.


Every cat owner believes they give their cat plenty of attention already. But in a cat’s eyes, there’s no such thing as getting too much of your love and attention. Plus, what harm is it to give them more? Cats are amazing at lowering our stress levels too, so it’s a win-win! Set aside time throughout each day to play with your cat, pet them, brush them, talk to them, and give them one-on-one attention to see if that helps with the bathtub behavior.




Your cat may also be meowing in the bathtub because they want some fresh water. If they prefer to drink from fresh water sources and are usually sticking their nose under the tap when you’re brushing your teeth, it may be that they want you to turn the bathtub tap on so they can get some fresh water.


Again, an increase in water intake and thirst can be a sign of a health issue such as kidney disease or diabetes. So be sure to check in with your vet and let them know what’s going on if this is a new issue.




Why does my cat scratch in the bathtub?

Your cat may be scratching in the bathtub to mark their territory, to be playful, or because they’re wanting to use it as a litter box.


Cats have scent glands in their paws and when they scratch and stretch, it stimulates them so they can leave their scent. If there are other cats or pets in your household, or you just moved into a house that previously had pets, it may be that your cat is trying to leave their scent to let other animals know; this is their space.


If your cat vigorously scratches at the tub with both paws, it may be more likely that they like the smooth surface and are playing around. It may be fun for them to run with their front paws and go nowhere.


When your cat is scratching at the bathtub with one paw, it may be that they’re wanting to use the tub as a litter box and their natural instincts to dig are kicking in. Watch their behavior to see if it’s similar to when they’re in the litter box. Some cats pee right down the drain, so your cat may be using the bathtub as a litter box without you knowing.


Why a cat is peeing in a bathtub and/or pooping in the bathtub may also be relevant to your situation.


It’s important to get your cat checked by a veterinarian in this case, as litter box aversion can be a sign of a bigger health issue.




Why is my old cat sleeping in the bathtub?

When an older cat is sleeping in the bathtub, it’s likely because it’s a nice, quiet, cool, safe spot for them. It is, unfortunately, more likely they’re not feeling well and that’s the spot they prefer to be when they pass. Cats have natural instincts to be away from the colony when they’re sick and weak, so they don’t attract predators. They’ll often wander to less popular spots in the house.


They also often want to be away from their owners when they’re not feeling their best so they can be left alone. It’s not hard to understand when you think about when you’ve had the flu; you likely wanted to a quiet spot in the house where you wouldn’t be bothered and could rest. The bathroom is not a place humans hang out, so in a cat’s eyes, it’s a good spot to rest.




I hope this article has helped you determine why your cat is sitting in the bathtub 🙂




Why Cats Sit in the Bathtub (And When to be Concerned)