Elderly Cat Obsessed With Bathroom

scoochmom

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Hello everyone, I've posted before about the possibility of putting my 18-year-old girl Moosha down. She's lasted about six months or so since that post, so yay!! But she is not doing well and I think she may only have a few weeks left.

My predicament with her for the past few weeks is she seems to have developed this sudden obsession with my bathroom. It started with her just coming in and sitting on the toilet keeping me company while I get ready. Then it was hopping in the bathtub. I thought by keeping the door closed, she would just go lay down in one of her many beds But now, she is at the point where she lays outside the door and yowls for hours to be let in. Even when she was sound asleep on the sofa tonight, she heard me crack the door a bit, then jumped and ran to the bathroom, crying. When I let her it seemed to calm her a bit, but she's doing the oddest things, licking the water around the drain or the showercurtain. When I pull her out of the tub, she cries like a baby. I really don't understand this sudden behavior. She is in the dying stage, so I figure it could be related to that. She isn't hiding in the bathroom, just this oddball behavior. Is it possible for a cat to develop "mental illness" when she's in the dying stage? She IS pretty old at 18. she's been SO clingy lately, I pick her up like a newborn. I figure now is the time to spoil her rotten with as much love as possible.

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you!
 

Eurocat

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Hi there
Maybe she‘s interested in the bathroom because of running water - or that she feels she wants/needs the running water?
Will she drink if you let the water/shower run slowly?
Best of luck and it‘s great that you‘re taking it day by day - she‘s very lucky to have you :)
 

FeebysOwner

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What is her water bowl set up in your home? Does she have multiple bowls available? Do you give her tap water or bottled water? Is/are her water bowls cleaned out daily? Are they plastic? Do you have dogs that might be drinking from them? Something apparently is attracting her to the water in the bathtub. If there is a difference in the water, perhaps she has a mineral deficiency that is drawing her to the tub water, or there are remnants of the soap/cleaning products used that she finds attractive. If the water faucet drips/leaks, that too could be an attraction. If you can determine the differences between her water/water bowl(s) and the water in the tub, it could give you some clues.

If there is no reason to prevent her from drinking that water, just let her do it. I don't see this as a sign of dying, but then I don't know what she is dying from as you didn't share that information. I do know that it sounds like she is moving around quite well, which is a postive thing.
 
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scoochmom

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What is her water bowl set up in your home? Does she have multiple bowls available? Do you give her tap water or bottled water? Is/are her water bowls cleaned out daily? Are they plastic? Do you have dogs that might be drinking from them? Something apparently is attracting her to the water in the bathtub. If there is a difference in the water, perhaps she has a mineral deficiency that is drawing her to the tub water, or there are remnants of the soap/cleaning products used that she finds attractive. If the water faucet drips/leaks, that too could be an attraction. If you can determine the differences between her water/water bowl(s) and the water in the tub, it could give you some clues.

If there is no reason to prevent her from drinking that water, just let her do it. I don't see this as a sign of dying, but then I don't know what she is dying from as you didn't share that information. I do know that it sounds like she is moving around quite well, which is a postive thing.
Hi Feeby,

Moosha's water setup is good. She drinks lots of water and I clean her porcelain bowl and replace the water three times a day, she loves to play with the ice cubes in there, and I do use tap water, I can't afford bottled (which is basically tap anyway). We live in a studio apartment so she only has the one large bowl, and no other pets. I just worry that she could be licking something grimy or dangerous in the bathtub. But it's not just the licking of the bathtub area. She's always sniffing around in there and yowling loudly, as if she knows something I don't. I don't have any problems with mice or bugs. Also she'll just sit on the toilet (not lay down) and stare off into space while yowling, or she'll try to jump from the seat to the sink. She did fall a couple of times trying. She's had spasms in her back legs recently, so I can only assume maybe she she injured herself doing that, OR I read that it could be something neurological. Either way, I think she's in pain when it happens because she clings tightly to me while the spasms just run their course. I cannot afford expensive vet tests, and nce my vet said it wouldn't be worth the cost and says she is most likely in her end stage due to old age and probably has brittle bones. She only weighs about 7 pounds now and has been avoiding all of her wet food (different brands) and eating only the dry. I guess I can only chalk up all the bath behavior to cat eccentricities.
 

FeebysOwner

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It would be interesting to find out what the attraction is with the bathroom, but maybe you won't ever know. Just try to set up an easier way for her to move about in the bathroom. Maybe try some stairs/steps that would enable her to do less jumping. You could try to give her a water source immediately outside the bathroom, perhaps even a fountain, to see if that might help any.

Does she howl in other places of the house, or just the bathroom?

It is possible that she has some arthritis and that bothers her with certain movements. Is she on any joint supplements - like Cosequin or Dasuquin? Your vet could be a bit more helpful in trying different things that might help your cat as opposed to just writing her off due to old age. There are tons of cats that have lived long beyond 18, and even comfortably so with the aid of meds/supplements, without necessarily being put through loads of tests.

I have a 19+yo cat, who can be very picky about her wet food - and, she won't eat dry food at all. So, I rotate through 7-10 different foods so that she never eats the same thing in a single week. It has helped her eat better. So, something to consider.
 

neely

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Is it possible for a cat to develop "mental illness" when she's in the dying stage? She IS pretty old at 18. she's been SO clingy lately, I pick her up like a newborn. I figure now is the time to spoil her rotten with as much love as possible.
I wouldn't call it mental illness per se but perhaps a form of cat dementia often referred to as CDS, (Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome). Some of the more common symptoms can be disorientation, change in appetite especially since you mentioned avoiding her wet food, different sleep patterns, litter box habits and increased meowing which you also mentioned to name a few. It's not unusual for a cat who is experiencing pain to be more clingy or show affection. Good for you for spoiling her with love but I'd also suggest contacting your vet. Sending special thoughts your way. :vibes::vibes::vibes:
 

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Many cats like the bathroom whether they are old and becoming senile or not. The bathroom is an important place in cat culture.

In the wild, cats will often build a dung heap (AKA: "Midden") and their "bathroom activities" will center around it. They bury their scat in order to prevent predators from following the scent and, potentially, catching them off guard while they are using the "bathroom." That's one reason why cats sometimes sprint away from the litter box after they have finished doing their business. They are trying to get away from the scent as quickly as possible. Further, the cat's midden is a territorial marker to tell other cats that "somebody" already lives here. Cats probably think the human's bathroom is their midden spot and, if the litter box is also in the bathroom, it becomes a territorial marker just as an outdoor dung heap would be.

Cats that live in groups will often watch each other's backs while they use the bathroom and, sometimes, will even take turns. One cat does their business while the other(s) stand guard then the first cat stands guard while the others take their turn. When a cat comes to the bathroom with their human, they are probably standing guard for you.

If a human uses the bathroom to wash up and put on cosmetics, the cat probably thinks the human is grooming. That's another time when cats will stand guard for each other, as well. Besides, the human is doing interesting things and cats, being curious creatures, are interested to see what their humans are doing.

There is also water in the bathroom. Sometimes from dripping faucets. Sometimes from puddles on the floor or vanity top. Cats will drink from puddles in the wild and it's not a far stretch of the imagination to think that they would drink water pooling around the tub drain, too. In fact, our eldest cat, Casper, likes to drink from the dripping bathtub faucet so much that we leave it drip for him so he can drink whenever he wants. Our young cat, Elliot, is even starting to pick up the habit from Casper, too.

There, you have four solid reasons why cats like to go into the bathroom with their humans: Territory. Guarding. Grooming. Water.

If your cat is getting old and experiencing cognitive decline she probably sees the bathroom as a familiar place and takes comfort going there, especially when her human goes there. I recommend just letting her go into the bathroom as much as she likes and don't worry about it unless she starts messing things up or getting into trouble. Maybe a little extra bit of "cat proofing" would be in order just in case.

If it's coming to the time when she's getting ready to cross the bridge, why not let her be happy in her final days?
 

Hellenww

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When Yoshi was losing his hearing, he would yowl in the bathtub. We figured he enjoyed being able to hear himself when the sound bounced around.

You could put a second water bowl in the tub and maybe she'd drink that instead of the remnants.
 

Furballsmom

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As others are commenting, hopefully you can allow her into the bathroom and supervise her so that if she wants on the sink you can help her.

She only weighs about 7 pounds now and has been avoiding all of her wet food (different brands) and eating only the dry.
I apologize if this has been mentioned already, but has her thyroid been specifially checked?
Can you handfeed her to avoid any further weight loss?
There might also be something here;
Any Good Tips To Get Your Cats To Eat? Share Them Here!
 

eevans3373

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When it gets towards the end a cat's routine will break down and they will start hanging out in weird places. It's like they associate their old nesting spots with being sick. This will eventually devolve into hiding. When she does that its game over.
 
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FeebysOwner

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When it gets towards the end a cat's routine will break down and they will start hanging out in weird places. She is looking for a place to die.
I think that given Moosha has been doing this for weeks, it is probably something else. I realize you are basing your assumption a bit on the OP's comment about her being in a 'dying state', but there really has been nothing offered about why the OP thinks she is in dying state short of her age and a series of matters that can, and do, go on with many cats as they age into elderly status.

My 19+ yo cat - with multiple illnesses - has changed her routine, tried to go to some weird places, and done other things that could be considered 'abnormal' for her when she was younger. But this has been going on for several months now - maybe a bit over a year, if I think about it.

If that is solely a sign of dying, I guess I am glad she is taking her time. Maybe that will be true for the OP too.
 

Mamanyt1953

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If your cat is getting old and experiencing cognitive decline she probably sees the bathroom as a familiar place and takes comfort going there, especially when her human goes there.
I will only add to this rather wonderful answer that bathrooms are small, enclosed spaces, and cats LOVE small, enclosed spaces. All of them. They feel safe there, and this is even more true as they age, and their reactions slow down. She may just be feeling more secure in that enclosed area.

By all means, spoil her rotten. She's a Grand Old Lady, and deserves every bit of it. Is there room in your bathroom for a comfy cushion for her? LOL, I use the bottom of my linen closet for that. Even removed the door for her. She spends a good bit of time there!
 

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I’m getting scared Dottie my old lady cat is hiding in odd spots like the closest not on top of me like normal is that a sign of her getting ready to pass away ?
 
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scoochmom

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Woooow...Hello everyone! It's so odd that I wake up this morning to a reply on this old thread. I have very sad news to report. My Moosha passed away on Wednesday, May 22nd. That brave girl made it to almost 19 years old and her little body just couldn't do it anymore. I am truly heartbroken - I am sure you all know the pain. Mine is nothing compared to the pain she was in. My last memory of her was in the exam room at the vet's office. He gave me ten minutes with her to say goodbye. She LOOOOVED being held like a baby. So I took her over to the window to distract her from what was going on, and held her in my arms while she looked outside. It was just a parking lot, but you know cats - she found something fascinating out there and her eyes got wide and she looked around furiously like it was the first time she'd seen the world 😸 She still had some kitty left in her! The doctor came in and gave her the first shot - she never noticed - and she gently fell asleep in my arms with her little head buried in my neck and I just held her for five minutes while she slept. I just apologized to her over and over and said, "I love you, sweetie pie' and told her she would be with her brother Scooch and her kitty cousins very soon, and she would never be in pain ever again. I didn't stay for the second shot. I left her sleeping in the arms of one of the nurses.

It was the hardest day of my life. I am alone now, for the first time in my life, without a cat. I'd literally gone at the most, three or four days on vacation, being away from any of the cats I've had my whole life. It's been a sad few days. The house is so quiet. I miss her little "quacking" meows, that came with old age and replaced her sing-song-y ones - I used to call her "Meowy Carey" 😹. I miss her waking me up at 5 am to feed her. When I walk into a room, I automatically go straight to where her litter box was to scoop, then catch myself. It's sad.

So imagine my surprise when I just woke up a few minutes ago to find a notification for this old thread! I honestly feel like this is Mooshie's way of comforting me and telling me she is still with me, because I do believe that when our pets pass, they become angels, and she did it through all of you kind cat moms and dads at the Cat Site ❤ I want to thank you all for taking the time to read this, and for all of your advice and kindness these past few years with Mooshie, and her brother Scoochie, who passed in August 2022. I am crying as I write this, I miss her so much. I feel like I need a break from cats for a while, as I've now lost five elderly babies in the past 15 years. It's more than my heart can take 💔

When one of my cats passes, I always choose a song for them. For Scoochie, I chose "Bubbly" by Colbie Caillat", and for Mooshie, I chose "Beautiful Girl" - my nickname for her - by Sarah MacLachlan. And for my future kitty, I know he or she is out there waiting for me, so I've chosen "Following A Rainbow" by Colbie Caillat - I'm listening to these songs on repeat now. In the meantime, I have ordered custom pillows on Etsy with their faces printed on them and I'll put them in their little cat bed, where they used to lay down together.

Thank you all again, Angels here on Cat Site ❤ Please hug your furbabies tightly today 😽 Mooshie's last picture - in a box while her expensive bed was just a foot away. Cat Logic!
 

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neely

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I do believe that when our pets pass, they become angels, and she did it through all of you kind cat moms and dads at the Cat Site ❤
Thank you for this beautiful and touching sentiment. :hugs: I will remember it and fondly think of my angels.

My sincere and heartfelt sympathies to you on the passing of Mooshie. RIP sweet angel. :angel:
 
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