Friday, April 11, 2008

cat behavior 101: why does my cat always try to come in the loo with me?

Many cats are regarded as important members of the family, and the cat has a different relationship with their owner than a dog does. Although cats are very independent, the cat owner's relationship with her pet is essentially a maternal one. The cat takes on a kitten like role, and looks to the human as a mother figure, whereas a dog regards people as more dominant members of a social pack.

Some cats only need the presence of their owners to be reassured that they are getting the attention they need, but others demand more. They want physical contact and will not let up until they achieve it. It is common that cats will show this type of behaviour when they feel they are at their most vulnerable, such as late at night or the early hours of the morning. Your cat has 'trained' you to respond to her needs, so she does not have to endure any 'perceived' anxieties by being away from people.

Her behaviour has continued as a learnt pattern, as you may have 'rewarded' her by giving her the attention she wants or needs when she tries to get into the lavatory.

If you feel you want to change this behaviour, you can discourage it by not giving any attention when she starts trying to get into the bathroom, and ignore her.

Once she has got the idea that trying to get into the bathroom is not a good idea, you can start giving her attention when she is 'good'. Start by fussing without even picking her up. Once she accepts this readily, you can start putting her on your lap. Stroke her gently, concentrating on the back and head, avoiding the stomach and the legs, as these are more sensitive.

One other way of stopping your cat trying to get into the bathroom is to spray water on the cat when as she is doing it. Use a plant sprayer and be sure to stand back as far as you can, so your cat does not associate the spray with you rather than the trying to get into the bathroom.

The plant sprayer set on single burst rather than a misty-type spray setting can work wonders, and won't harm your cats if used properly. However, this 'cat spraying' technique could take a lot of planning, hiding, secrecy etc and it may not be worth the effort in the end!

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