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Why Do Cats Like Bathtubs? 9 Interesting Reasons

Written by: Brooke Billingsley

Last Updated on June 21, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

a cat sitting in the bathtub

Why Do Cats Like Bathtubs? 9 Interesting Reasons

While it’s common knowledge that many cats don’t like water, it’s not uncommon for cats to spend time hanging out near bathtubs. They typically don’t like bathtubs that have much water in them, but some cats seem to have an enjoyment of bathtubs that are empty or that have very little water in them.

Why do cats like bathtubs, though? It seems like such a strange thing for a cat to enjoy! Read on to learn about some potential reasons.

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The 9 Reasons Why Cat Love Bathtubs

1. It’s Cozy

A bathtub might not sound like the coziest spot to spend time, especially without warm water in it, but some cats seem to find bathtubs especially cozy. This is likely because a bathtub provides a cave-like place to spend time.

Cats love spending time in enclosed spaces, and providing your cat with cave-like beds can provide an extra sense of comfort and safety. Your bathtub might help your cat feel just as safe and comfortable as an enclosed cat bed.

a cat lying in the bathtub
Image Credit: artsandra, Shutterstock

2. You Spend Time There

Cats are social creatures that love spending time in places that smell like their people. Your cat sees you using the bathtub and shower. Between seeing you use the tub and being able to smell you in the tub, your cat may be drawn to spending time there too.

This may occur more commonly when you aren’t home for your cat to spend time with directly, but it is also possible that your cat just likes hanging out in a place that you frequent and that smells like you.

3. There Is Running Water for Drinking

Some cats show a distinct preference for drinking running water, so if your bathtub faucet drips, your cat may spend time in the bathtub so they can drink the dripping water. If your cat prefers their drinking water standing, they still may resort to the bathtub.

Small amounts of water may collect after your tub is drained, and your cat may come along hoping for a sip. If you notice your cat drinking water from the bathtub, make sure to rinse the tub well after bathing so your cat isn’t drinking water containing soap or other bath products.

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4. Running Water Can Be Interesting

Even if your cat doesn’t like drinking running water, they still may like watching the water run. Running water can be quite interesting for some cats. Your cat may want to paw at the water while it runs or drips from the faucet.

For curious kitties, running water can be extra interesting. Your cat is likely not used to being face to face with running water, so spending time in the bathtub can provide them with a new and enriching experience.

5. It’s Instinctual

Your cat spending time in enclosed spaces isn’t just something they do to feel cozy and safe. Spending time in safe, enclosed spaces is instinctual for your cat.

In the wild, caves and dens provide cats with a safe place to live, sleep, and raise young. For domestic cats, finding spaces that mimic natural dens and caves can provide a sense of safety and comfort while fulfilling the instinctual desire to have a safe cave or den to spend time in.

cat walking into bathtub
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

6. They’re a Fan of Water

Not all cats are fearful or avoidant of water. Some cats are big fans of water, with some cats even attempting to join their people while they bathe. Ideally, your cat shouldn’t have their first experience with getting into a tub of water with you in there as well since they may panic and hurt you, but your cat may do it whether you want them to or not.

Your cat may want to try to swim in the bathtub, but some cats may have their desire to be in the water appeased simply by splashing around in a couple of inches. Never allow your cat to spend time in the bathtub with water in it unattended.

7. It’s in a Busy Room

Few rooms in most homes are busier than the bathroom, especially if you live in a home with multiple people. As social creatures, cats are often looking for ways to spend time with other members of the household. This can mean that your cat enjoys spending time in the bathtub, or just in the bathroom.

They may follow people in and out of the bathroom, but some cats may simply hang out in the tub knowing that multiple people will come in and out.

cat staring owner in the bathtub
Image Credit: AJR_photo, Shutterstock

8. There Are Toys Around

If you have small children, then there’s a high likelihood that you have a variety of toys in the tub. Curious and playful kitties will commonly check out the toys in the bathtub because they are novel and unique things that aren’t typically found anywhere else in the home.

Some cats may find these toys and relocate them to other areas in the home, while other cats may simply choose to spend all their time in the tub.

9. There’s a Medical Cause

Although it’s not pleasant to think about, there can be an underlying medical reason for your cat spending time in the bathtub. This is most commonly associated with conditions that cause excessive thirst and drinking, like diabetes and kidney disease.

If your cat seems to spend a lot of time in the tub in a desperate attempt to get more water to drink, then they need to be checked over by a veterinarian as soon as possible. If left untreated, many conditions that cause these signs can be deadly.

a bengal cat leaning on the bathtub
Image Credit: Viktor Prymachenko, Shutterstock

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The Internet and social media have made us more aware of just how common it can be for cats to spend lots of time in and around the bathtub. If you do a quick search on any social media site, you’ll find hundreds or thousands of pictures and videos of cats at least somewhere in a bathroom.

Most of the reasons that your cat wants to spend time in the tub are benign and not indicative of a problem, but some cats may be excessively thirsty and experiencing uncomfortable signs of a dangerous medical condition.

Pay attention to your cat’s behavior when they are spending time in the bathtub so you can let your vet know if you think there is something concerning about your cat’s behavior.

Featured Image Credit: Borodovskaya, Shutterstock

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