Those of us who live with cats share the ongoing joke that we can’t visit the bathroom in peace … ever. And we don’t even consider closing the bathroom door if they aren’t already inside the room with us — unless of course we enjoy the banging sounds of desperate paws, which we don’t.
Guess what? Young kids are exactly the same way. When my two kids were infants, of course, I brought them into the bathroom with me when I showered or “went potty.” After that, when my husband and I were both home, I’d attempt to close the door while using the facilities. That was a failed experiment: “Mommy, what are you doing in there?” followed by a series of door bangs that were five times more loud and desperate than those from my feline children.
I remember my own mother telling me when I was small and she was behind a closed bathroom door, I’d lie on the floor and look under the door, asking what she was doing and begging for entrance. She’d even sometimes see my tiny fingers slide under the doorway. Fingers, paws … what’s the difference, really? Either way, mama’s not pooping in peace.
As a kid-‘n’-cat mom myself, I’ve always known I wouldn’t be able to completely close the bathroom door. Instead, I’d leave it cracked just a little bit. If kids and cats never realized my whereabouts, I’d get to enjoy mostly private time, for a few minutes anyway. I figured if they did sniff me out, they could just push the door open a bit and come inside. I wouldn’t have to shuffle from the toilet or make a drippy trip from the shower to grant their entrance. Sounds logical, right? Ha.
Small children and cats on a mission don’t do anything quietly (unless they’re up to sneaky, no-good-ness). Instead of their silently slipping into the bathroom through the crack in the door, both my kids and cats threw the door open and sauntered in like they were entering an old-timey saloon through swinging doors. Suddenly, it was as if there was never a door there in the first place. And really, I probably should have just taken it off its hinges. Silly me and my grandiose thoughts of bathroom solitude.
I finally realized there was only one real solution: Round up the two- and four-leggeds before bathroom time and place them all on the floor facing the shower or toilet, and then bring in snacks, treats, toys, puzzles, games, catnip mice, and jingle balls. Make sure there was nothing dangerous within reach of fuzzy and non-fuzzy paws, and then — and only then — could I either plop on the potty or disappear behind the shower curtain.
I know it sounds like a lot of work just to spend a few minutes in the lavatory, but friends, it’s worth it. As my human kids grew, they finally decided it was kind of gross to watch mom poop — and heaven forbid they catch a glimpse of a naked maternal butt-cheek (or worse), so the small humans eventually graduated from the bathroom club. The cats, however, remained card-carrying members in good standing.
As lifetime members, they expect certain privileges, and I comply. And really, it’s not that big of a deal to bounce a cat on my lap as I do my business. In fact, it kind of helps things along sometimes. And by now I think it would be weird to shower without a cat staring at me from between the liner and curtain. I guess we all get in our own grooves. Between cats and kids, I’ve peed alone in my own home only a handful of times in over 20 years. Some may think that’s a problem, but I guess by now I consider it part of the glorious, glamorous mystique that comes with parenting kids and cats.
What’s your bathroom experience with kids and cats? Tell us about it in the comments!
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About the Author: Angie Bailey is an eternal optimist with an adoration of all things silly. Loves pre-adolescent boy humor, puns, making up parody songs, thinking about cats doing people things and The Smiths. Writes Catladyland, a cat humor blog, Texts from Mittens (originated right here on Catster) and authored whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds, a silly book about cats wheeling and dealing online. Partner in a production company and writes and acts in a comedy web series that features sketches and mockumentaries. Mother to two humans and three cats, all of which want her to make them food.