If your cat is guarding you while you pee, you may wonder if you’ll ever get any privacy. Or you might wonder why cats do this – do cats know we’re peeing? Is it okay to allow our cats to guard us while we pee? If you want a little space during this time, how can you go about getting it? Here are the answers to all these questions and more.
So, why does my cat guard me when I pee? Some cats will guard their people when they pee because they love the sound of running water (which includes peeing). Other times a cat will do this because they’re curious or want to play, or they think their human is in a dangerous place (because the room is a small, enclosed space).
Perhaps not what you might have assumed, but interesting reasons nonetheless.
So with this overview in mind, let us delve into them in much further detail so you can try and work out why your cat might be doing this.
Then we will look at what you can do to limit it, if it is becoming a problem or if it is something you would like to change.
Why Does My Cat Guard Me When I Pee?
Most cats are fascinated by the sound of flowing water, and that includes when we pee. Hence, cats will sit close (and appear to guard) as you go. Otherwise, it could be out of affection, curiosity, territorial tendencies or just a desire to be in the bathroom.
Your Cat Is Fascinated By Running Water
Cats have the instinct to drink running water rather than stagnant water in order to stay safe with fresh water.
In a cat’s natural environment, running water will be the safest, so it’s only natural they seek out running water at home.
Some cats are so obsessed with flowing water that they’ll insist on only drinking from a running tap.
And, like it or not, the sound of us peeing can be attractive to some cats, as they’ll think fresh water is on offer.
A cat’s love of running water is why many owners provide a cat fountain, as they know their cat will usually drink more water per day.
As revolting as it sounds for your cat to be interested in your pee, the fact is they may want to keep a lookout for you as well as hear the sound of the pee hitting the toilet bowl.
This is also why some cats follow their owners into the bathroom when they hear the shower or tap running.
Your Cat Adores You
We may see cats as being aloof, but they do love us, and one way they show that love is by guarding us.
Because cats can see the bathroom as a potentially unsafe space, they may want to guard their people against possible danger.
When you are peeing in an enclosed room, your cat may think you’re more vulnerable than usual, so they may want to guard you.
Bathrooms have loud noises and strong smells, which are more reasons for your cat to want to act as a lookout.
If they have imprinted on you – you being their favorite person – they’ll want to keep you safe and can guard you out of love.
You can tell your cat has imprinted on you if they:
- Follows you around
- Makes bread (kneads) on you
- Checks on you while you’re asleep
- Purrs when around you
- Rolls on their back and shows you their belly (also a sign of trust)
- Head butts you or rubs against you
- Loves sitting on your lap or your chest
Your Cat Wants To See What’s Going On
If your cat has a tendency to want to explore, they may guard you while you’re in the bathroom so they can see what’s happening.
In the wild, cats need to survive by gathering information about what’s happening in their environment.
All of the smells and sounds of the bathroom can be tempting to a curious cat.
If you pay attention to them when they’re in the bathroom with you, they’ll be likely to continue to follow you in there for more cuddles, conversation, or stroking.
Your cat may not want to miss out on anything exciting, and they know they’ll have your full attention while you’re on the toilet!
Your Cat Is Claiming You As Theirs
Cats are naturally territorial, so it could be your cat guards you while you pee as a sign to anyone who might pass by that you belong to them.
If your cat tends to fiercely protect their territory, they’ll do what it takes to protect you, too, as you are theirs.
Of course, if your cat follows you and guards you excessively, you may be concerned.
Clingy cats can develop separation anxiety, in which case they’ll guard you everywhere, not just while you pee.
Excessive territorialism can lead to aggressive behavior and can come from anxiety or stress, so you’ll want to get help for your cat to ease their fears and concerns if they’re acting too clingy or territorial (see below).
Your Cat Likes The Bathroom
Some cats simply enjoy being in the bathroom, either because there are lots of things to play with. Things like toilet paper and dripping water are tempting for some cats.
There are also convenient places to sleep (for a cat).
A ceramic sink or the tub might not look comfy to us, but cats could easily curl up for a nap.
Bathmats are also cozy places for a sleepy cat to rest.
Your cat might enjoy being in the bathroom while you are, whether you’re peeing or not.
They may develop a habit of accompanying you while you pee in the morning before you give them their breakfast.
Cats love routine, and if the routine involves comfy spots, fascinating sounds, and food, even better!
Do Cats Know You Are Peeing?
Cats have a powerful sense of smell, so they do know when you’re peeing. Urine and feces contain scent markers essential in a cat’s world, as they allow them to identify other cats (and people).
Your Cat Loves Natural Odors
You might not think the smells of what comes out on the toilet are attractive, but your cat probably does.
While we prefer smells like pine or citrus, cats prefer our natural odors: our hair, our skin, our pee, and our feces.
Some people use scented cat litter, for instance, because it smells better to them – only to find their cat won’t use the litter tray.
Cats don’t like incense, air fresheners, and other artificial odors – and even natural odors like pine trees or citrus will be off-putting to a cat.
Your cat knows that strong smells will result when you go to the toilet: they may choose to guard you to get the double benefit of keeping you safe and smelling the odors that would send most of us running for a scented spray!
Your Cat Has A Powerful Nose
Your cat’s nose is so strong that they can smell a drop of blood in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
We have about 5 million odor sensors in our noses, but cats have many more – 200 million! So cats can smell up to 14 times more effectively than we can.
Strong smells are crucial to cats to help them stay safe.
Cats use their sense of smell to identify other cats who have passed through their territories and the scents of potential predators.
In addition to their powerful noses, cats can ‘taste’ smells because of their nasopalatine ducts (two small air passages in the roof of a cat’s mouth).
When you see a cat with its mouth open making odd noises while seeming to smell the air, that’s what they’re doing – they are also ‘tasting’ it.
How Your Cat Uses Odors
Your cat smells feces and urine (no matter whose) to obtain lots of essential survival information.
Your cat uses their knowledge gained by these scent markers in order to:
- Identify other cats as well as foxes, badgers, and other animals
- Claim their territory
- Check if water or food is safe to consume
- Identify their favorite people
- Know where they are
- Find their way back home after roaming outside
Your cat may enjoy guarding you while you pee because they get a good whiff of the familiar scents of home.
For them, home smells – even in the toilet – signify comfort and safety.
If your cat has imprinted on you, your smells will be especially important to them – even if they’re the ones that come out of the bathroom.
Note: If you are tempted to use cleaning products with strong smells, keep your cat out of the bathroom so that they do not inhale anything toxic. Make sure you air out the room fully before letting them go back inside.
Should You Allow Your Cat To Guard You When You Are Peeing?
If your cat wants to guard you while you’re peeing, you can let them continue to do that. As long as it isn’t causing you undue stress or anxiety, it’s best to let them do their thing. However, if your cat is highly anxious and shows signs of separation anxiety, you’ll want to address that to help them feel calmer and more secure, even if they still want to guard you while you pee.
When To Let Your Cat Guard You When You Are Peeing
As long as you are fine with your cat guarding you while you pee, there’s no need to try and stop them from doing this.
If your cat is relaxed and happy, you are better off keeping things as they are.
If your cat is showing their love for you by guarding you while you pee, you wouldn’t want to rebuff that love or stress them by trying to suddenly change your behavior (e.g., deciding to shut the door in their face).
If your cat is new to your household, you could damage your relationship with them if you shut them out while they’re trying to bond with you.
If possible, let your cat guard you unless you suspect your cat is highly anxious, stressed, or becoming too territorial (see below).
When You Can Seek Some Privacy
Certain situations may require boundaries to get a little privacy. Some examples are:
- Your cat appears overly anxious or stressed
- Your cat demonstrates aggressive behavior (see below)
- You find their constant presence overwhelming
If your cat becomes too territorial – taking their job too seriously, one might say – then you will want to nip their behavior in the bud before they become too aggressive.
Here are some signs of an overprotective cat who could potentially become aggressive:
- They cling to you a lot
- They hiss or growls
- Their ears are flattened
- Their pupils are dilated
- They bare their teeth
- They puff out their fur to appear bigger
- They puff up their tail (also to appear bigger – it’s a sign of fear)
- They thrash their tail
If your cat has separation anxiety, you’ll need to address this behavior first – you won’t be able to establish boundaries or change their behavior until you help them with their anxiety.
Signs of a cat that has separation anxiety include:
- Too much meowing, crying, or moaning
- Excessive self-grooming
- Either inhaling their food quickly or not eating anything
- Out-of-the-ordinary excitement when you come home
- Going to the toilet outside the litter box
- Destructive behavior (tearing things up, etc.)
How To Get Some Privacy From Your Cat While You Pee
If you must do something to establish boundaries with your cat, try something non-confrontational, such as using distraction or ignoring them while you pee. Don’t ignore a cat with underlying health issues. Make sure they have plenty of affection, exercise, and playtime every day.
Make Sure There Are No Physical Problems
It’s our responsibility as pet parents to make sure our friends are happy and healthy. If your cat’s guarding behaviors have come on suddenly, or if you notice any other changes in their behavior or habits, make sure they do not have an underlying medical issue.
Cats usually hide their weaknesses when they’re ill, so we need to be vigilant – particularly if they suddenly are trying to get our attention!
Make Sure Your Cat Isn’t Overly Anxious or Stressed
Sometimes a cat will start guarding their favorite person seemingly out of nowhere because they are newly anxious or stressed.
Reasons your cat could be stressed include situations like:
- Moving to a new home
- Having to share their home with a new pet
- Getting used to a new baby, friend, or another new human
- Not getting enough attention from you (perhaps due to a job change or another change in circumstances)
- Having to put up with new noises (such as construction or a neighbor’s dog)
Cats who appear only slightly anxious can usually be helped by mitigating the new circumstances (where possible).
Soothing music, pheromone sprays, or extra time with their favorite people can all be helpful to a slightly anxious cat.
For more serious cases of separation anxiety, you will probably need help from your vet or a cat behaviorist.
Some cats need medication while they undergo treatment for separation anxiety, which can sometimes be lengthy.
Give Your Cat Attention In Other Parts Of The House
You could try ignoring your cat while they’re in the bathroom with you but giving them quality attention in other areas of your house.
Try tempting them with things like:
- Tasty treats or some food (you can feed them right before you go to the toilet as a distraction)
- A favorite toy (perhaps only giving them one special toy while you pee)
- Cuddles in other parts of the house
- Pheromone sprays to tempt them to frequent the sofa, their cat bed, or anywhere else you would like them to snuggle
- A climbing tower
- A window ledge where they can watch the world go by
Cats have a tendency to guard their owners when they pee.
It may seem a little odd at first, but upon reflection and having reviews the underlying causes, it kind of makes sense why they may be doing it.
As you can see, whether or not you would want to stop your cat from doing this will come down to context. Not only for yourself, but depending on the nature of your cat.
Other related cat guides you may want to see:
- My Cat Guards Me When I Poop [Why & What To Do]
- Why Is My Cat Clingy When I’m On My Period?
- My Cat Won’t Leave Me Alone All Of A Sudden
- My Cat Follows Me Everywhere But Won’t Cuddle
- Why Is My Cat Peeing In The House All Of A Sudden?
- Why Does My Cat Not Pee In The Litter Box?
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.