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Crazy Cats
March 18, 2004 8:49 AM   Subscribe

AskCatFilter: I've had cats almost all my life; currently my girlfriend and I have three of them. One of them has an odd behavior that I've never noticed before, and I can't seem to figure out. [More Inside]

Whenever I shower with the bathroom door even slightly ajar, Pipsqueak will come running in almost as soon as the water starts to run. She sits patiently beside the tub until the water's off, then as soon as gone, starts yowling up a storm, climbs up on the side of the tub, rubs against you as soon as you're out, and otherwise expressing extreme... what? Affection? Distress? Relief that you're OK?

She hates taking baths, and the best I can figure is that she thinks that some giant naked pink cat has put *us* in the bathtub, and she's thankful we're OK when it's all over. But that seems a bit contrived. Anyone have any other possible insights?
posted by jammer to Pets & Animals (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
our kitten does that, too, but she loves water. we've decided that it's relief that we made it back out of water land okay, once again.

so, no real insights, but it's not unheard of behavior.
posted by sugarfish at 8:54 AM on March 18, 2004


both my cats come running when you start the shower. one tries to get in (he also comes running when you run water in the sink and hits it with his paw). the older one does the rubbing against your ankles as soon as you're out, frequently licking as well.

neither yowls, however.

i just chalked it up to the liking fresh water thing. they're both pretty fussy about their water bowls, most definitely prefering the recirculating one in the metal bowl to the others.
posted by crush-onastick at 8:55 AM on March 18, 2004


We have 2 water-loving cats who display similar behavior. They will even lick the water off your feet after you get out of the shower (ewwww). I have no idea why, we give them the same filtered water we drink ourselves...we suspect they are tasting us in case we ever decide to stop feeding them.

Actually, they seem to be "dampness" loving cats, as neither one reacts well to actually falling into the tub.
posted by JoanArkham at 9:02 AM on March 18, 2004


One of our cats likes running water and showers too. A stream of water from the tap is great fun to hit with your paw and then run away from pretending it bit you. And wet showers are a great place to leave muddy pawprints and lick up a little water. He's wise enough to stay away when the shower is on though.
posted by fvw at 9:05 AM on March 18, 2004


My cat used to do the batting running water with his paw, too, and once got stuck in the toilet bowl after presumably investigating it as a kitten.

the worst was when he leapt on the edge of the bathtub while I was in it, and slipped in. A fully grown tomcat, flailing around with claws extended in the vicinity of my fleshier parts was not an experience I wish to repeat.
posted by Pericles at 9:08 AM on March 18, 2004


I remember reading somewhere that part of the reason you freak your cats out when you shower is because you wash your smell off when you bathe and you don't smell right. That's why kitty rubs her head against you--she's applying facial pheromones from the scent glands on her face. She'll also rub her ass against you, where she also has scent glands.
posted by vraxoin at 9:30 AM on March 18, 2004


The yowling when the water is turned off is the only strange thing about this. Most of the cats I've known have enjoyed peeking into the shower when in use. When there's a double curtain, they like to walk on the tub between the two.

Toots, whom I mentioned in other cat threads, was very fond of running water. First place we lived she learned to flush the toilet, which she did purely to watch the water swirl! When I finally realized it was not the neighbors toilet I was hearing, it was quite a laugh. Took awhile but I finally managed to see her do it.
posted by Goofyy at 9:30 AM on March 18, 2004


My cats love water as well, although each in their own way.

Cass is all about *cold* water and will try to stick her head into any freshly poured glass of water. She also loves hanging out in the bathroom when people are taking showers, running the tap, etc. She used to sit on the edge of the tub, but stopped after falling in three times.

Logan likes water but only when it has ice cubes in it. Some cats come running to the sound of a can opener; Logan comes running to the sound of ice cubes hitting an empty glass. Seemingly unable to abide having the ice cubes floating in any sort of fluid, he'll try his damndest to knock them out.

We sometimes put ice cubes in a bowl of water in the tub to enjoy the extreme cuteness that ensues.
posted by bshort at 9:50 AM on March 18, 2004


This won't answer the question exactly, but I have read that it is a good idea for cat owners to use active water dishes. The ones where the water is constantly refreshed and trickles. Apparently (as we have read in the above comments) cats are attracted to running water, and older cats frequently have bladder/urinary problems that can worsen if the cat doesn't get enough water. So the theory goes that owners who provide a running water source are in fact helping their cat by providing a luring water source that will help them get their necessary water supply for their health.
posted by terrapin at 10:02 AM on March 18, 2004


If you're interested, one of my cats shows similar concern for my welfare when I shower. I file it under a possible "Who the hell would willingly get wet?! Something is wrong, here" reaction.

Apparently (as we have read in the above comments) cats are attracted to running water...

My cats confirm this, they love to drink from a small fountain I have.
posted by Shane at 10:15 AM on March 18, 2004


You know, one of us should just start CatFilter already.

Where's biscotti?

:)

My wife bought a bubbling cat fountain off some TV ad. The cats love it. They eschew their water bowls (all three of them) and the formerly-perfectly-fine cup of water we leave in the bathroom for them in favor of the bubbly fountain. Or did, anyhow, until we left one weekend and forgot to fill it. The motor burned out and created a frightful stink.

Now they're forced to drink bathwater if they want the fresh, bubbly kind. Whenever I take a bath, Nemo (not named for that damned fish! not named for the fish!) jumps on the edge of the tub and laps away. Silly cat.
posted by jdroth at 10:21 AM on March 18, 2004


OK, want to hear something really strange?
Our dog (a Basset Hound) exhibits a lot of this same behavior, including walking on the tub between the two shower curtains.
Since the dog also licks and rubs up against freshly showered humans I would agree with vraxoin that it is due to a change in scent.
posted by evilelf at 10:29 AM on March 18, 2004


One of my cats yells at me when I get out of the shower and haven't left a drip for her. The other cat thinks were both water freaks and goes nowhere near the shower. The drip has to be properly flow managed so as to not splash on her while still being lappable. If I get it wrong then the howling really begins. I just go with it.


A BASSET HOUND walking on the tub? Are they that dextrous?

posted by dness2 at 11:35 AM on March 18, 2004


Concerning drinking water--cats also prefer their water be away from their food source, so even if you don't have a fountain, moving their water to another place from their food can increase their water consumption.

jdroth--if it was a Drinkwell fountain, you can get a replacement motor here(PDF).

One of my cats does the similar after-shower-greeting. It does seem like a check on my welfare and a remarking of me as hers.
posted by lobakgo at 12:10 PM on March 18, 2004


A BASSET HOUND walking on the tub? Are they that dextrous?

More dexterous than I would have ever imagined. Ours seems to like walking along/balancing on things like railroad ties (in the yard) and the side of the tub. Of course she is still young (10 months).
posted by evilelf at 12:25 PM on March 18, 2004


Re: cats acting weird post-shower:

I have a glass-enclosed shower. One of my cats really likes/is annoyed by/is transfixed by the water droplets running down the walls. He doesn't get too close while the shower is on, because the noise of the shower is a bit much, but with it off, he can sit on the dry side of the glass and "attack" the evil water droplets slowly rolling down the other side of the glass, taunting him.

Maybe your cat's yowling is because it thinks evil water droplets are rolling around in the tub/shower unchecked? From a cat's point of view, it might as well be bugs on the other side of the glass, since my cats react similarly to seeing bugs flying/crawling around outside through the window.
posted by Asparagirl at 12:57 PM on March 18, 2004


A BASSET HOUND walking on the tub? Are they that dextrous

Ours seems to like walking along/balancing on things like railroad ties (in the yard) and the side of the tub. Of course she is still young (10 months).


Low center of gravity, heh.

One of my cats really likes/is annoyed by/is transfixed by the water droplets running down the walls.

I have a cat who is fascinated by water, loves to watch it run down a sink drain, stares amazed at a cup of water when I set it down on the sideboard and the H2O sloshes to and fro, etc. He'd go bonkers over your shower. But, oddly, he's not the cat who 'comes to my aid' when I 'escape' my shower.
posted by Shane at 1:34 PM on March 18, 2004


the worst was when he leapt on the edge of the bathtub while I was in it, and slipped in. A fully grown tomcat, flailing around with claws extended in the vicinity of my fleshier parts was not an experience I wish to repeat.
Pericles


Hahaha!
posted by derbs at 1:57 PM on March 18, 2004


I think they're attracted to the sound of water instinctively, and more strongly because they're rarely exposed to it in everyday life like an outdoor animal would be. So this really loud amount of water intrigues them, makes them want to drink it. They wait while it's still running (noisy and splashy then, no good), and once it's full they'd be afraid to fall in, so I'd say it's, say, 2 or more of fascination, apprehension, instinctive desire to drink and concern for their owner. Hence the mixed behavior.
posted by abcde at 4:58 PM on March 18, 2004


Maine Coon cats and Turkish Lake Van cats love water, playing with water and, in some cases, swimming. Sitting in the tub and watching water drip is a frequent repast for both as well as the occasional run of the mill mutt cat.
posted by y2karl at 6:17 PM on March 18, 2004


You know, one of us should just start CatFilter already.
Actually, there used to a be kittenfilter but it fell into disuse. Just goes to show, everything's more fun in the green/blue.
posted by fvw at 4:21 AM on March 19, 2004


HA!

On a lark, I made a catfilter weblog entry yesterday, compiling all of the cat-related questions from AskMe so far...
posted by jdroth at 8:34 AM on March 19, 2004


WE NEED CATFILTER. WHO IS GOING TO DO IT?!
('Cuz no one want ME fooling around with MetaPhilter.)
posted by Shane at 8:51 AM on March 19, 2004


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