Ask A Vet: Why Does My Cat Like To Watch The Toilet Flush?

| Published on August 12, 2016
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Cats are such fun. They are inquisitive and sometimes entertained by the simplest things. The sights and sounds of the most mundane human activities can delight a cat. Novel things are often intriguing to cats and if they involve sound and movement, even better.

Some cats love to watch birds through the window. Some like to stare at the TV screen. Some find delight in even stranger places…like watching the toilet flush.

Try to imagine how a flush seems to your cat. First, she can hear it, but not see it, just like so many of her prey items. The sound of something traveling through hidden corridors (which we know is just water in the pipes) triggers a primal interest for her. Then she realizes that if she looks into the bowl, she will see movement and hear more enticing noises. Perhaps she thinks that a mouse will emerge in the bowl at any moment. She doesn’t know, but she cannot deny her curiosity!

Our world is a little less exciting than your cat’s natural habitat (unless you make sure it isn’t- see ways to make sure your cat is happy), so our cats may be bored by our quiet, protected lifestyles. That flushing porcelain bowl might be the most interesting thing all day.

Plus, that potty has been clearly established as a valued resource by you and your whole family. You carefully visit it at least once a day and seem to deliberately mark it with your scent. As a member of the family group, your cat might feel obligated to also check in at the toilet. If it happens to be flushed while she’s watching, what’s a curious cat to do?

Whether it is primal hunting instinct, entertainment or just wanting to be a part of things, it really doesn’t hurt anything for your cat to watch the toilet flush.  Of course, any behavior that becomes obsessive (or disrupts your cat’s ability to function normally) must be brought to the attention of your veterinarian. But as long as your cat is just interested in the sight and sound of the flush, it can’t hurt to watch.  After all, she follows you in there every day and watches you, right?

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