Nearly all of my cats seem to follow me around everywhere. And this absolutely includes to seemingly odd places, like following me into the bathroom.
There will sometimes be exceptions to this rule – like when my cats are fast asleep and can’t be arsed to follow me because they’re having a really good cat nap. Or when my cats are having fun playing with each other in the hallways.
Though usually when they’re done their naps or play bursts, they follow and congregate together in the room I’m holed up in. And yes, again, this sometimes happens to be the bathroom.
A lot of the reasons I think cats typically follow their humans around everywhere overlap with the reasons I believe a lot of cats stare at their humans – we’re interesting, basically entertainment for them, that kind of thing. But there are other reasons that I’d say are quite compelling as well. For example, that cats (contrarary to those who haven’t spent a lot of time with cats’ common opinion) actually like human company.
But I’ll get into the plethora of specific reasons why I think cats follow their humans around, as well as an explanation of why I think they could turn out to be true in the main part of this article.
Which brings me to my next point here – we don’t know why cats follow their humans around everywhere for sure.
There are assumptions we have, guesses we make, as to why this behaviour is common amongst cats and how it might line up with other things we know to be true of cats (how they’re territorial, curious creatures). Hard facts and scientific proof of these explanations, however – I don’t think we have anything like that, or that we’ll have anything like that in the near future.
To be honest, this doesn’t bother me at all. I’ve said it on so many of my cat behaviour articles (of which there are ever so many) – there are more important things I hope scientists concentrate on and sort out with research than trying to figure out why cat quirks like kneading people with their paws, licking human hands, and meowing when humans sneeze exist.
Take the perfect formula for cat food? Yes please. Study more of that. Nutrition is definitely a top priority in my opinion, as well as anything feline health related.
Until we have any information about cat quirks from the scientific community, it’s still ridiculously fun brainstorming reasons why a certain cat behaviour may have come to exist. You never know which are true and which are false, but it is still fun to guess. As well as quite exciting when you start to spot patterns emerge amongst your cats in comparison with each other, and in comparison with cats that other pet parents have.
Which is a huge part of why I love reading the comments on these types of articles so much. It seems like sometimes, cats all have their unique spin on the same behaviour, and other times, when your cat happens to have a super-specific behaviour that overlaps with someone else’s description of their cat – it can be a pretty trippy experience.
Without further ado! Reasons – that may or may not be true – that could explain away why cats follow you around everywhere you go.
16 Possible Explanations Why Your Cat Follows You Everywhere
1. Your cat could follow you everywhere out of curiosity – to see what you’re going to be doing.
Let’s get the most obvious possible explanation out of the way right at the get-go, shall we? Cats are obviously curious creatures.
They are ridiculously cute about their curiosity since they’ll sometimes be timid and bashful about it, and other times be so brazen and brave we can’t help being impressed by their lack of inhibition when it comes to discovery and learning.
If the saying “curiosity killed the cat” reveals anything, it’s that humans have observed cats long enough to realize – even those of us who don’t know a lot about them or haven’t spent a lot of time with them – cats are stinkin’ curious. Way more than they should be sometimes. Way more than other animals. They’re sometimes unreasonable about their curiosity to the point where they’ll die over their discoveries, hense the saying.
Again, I don’t think anyone – even if you haven’t spent a lot of time with cats – would deny this.
So what’s so appealing about us to a curious cat?
2. Your cat could be following you because you’re the most interesting thing to watch.
Maybe it’s not the fact that we’re the most fascinating thing to watch ever – just that we happen to be the most interesting thing to watch in the house at the moment, so our cats get their curiosity piqued at what we do because in comparison to everything else, well there’s nothing else around that’s just as unpredictible and fascinating as we.
Pretty sad? Well not really. Even if you have outdoor cats, you likely still have had a cat you own follow you around everywhere. There’s plenty going on in nature, but how much of it is unpredictible – doing weird things like turning on hoses and covering the entire ground in water, throwing buckets of soap onto cars and scrubbing hard, even digging up hole after hole in the earth and filling it with air freshners for when kitty digs up those beds to do his or her business?
We’re interesting. Well, not to us. But to cats, we’re likely way more interesting than anything else going on around them. You think cats do weird things? Cats definitely must thing we do weird things – from the perspective of them being curious enough to watch to seee what we will do.
And I’m sure they’re not disappointed by our weird behaviours. In comparison to pretty well near everything else in nature, we sure must be interesting to watch!
3. Your cat may like your company, hence following you around to keep in close proximity.
It’s likely going to be argued against by those who don’t have cats of their own or have never really spent a lot of time with cats – but cats like human company. At least I firmly believe they do, and I know many of you reading do as well.
If cats are following you around everywhere, my guess is, in part, it’s because they do like your company, and like to keep it, hense following you around from room to room, sometimes even to strange places like the bathroom.
But if you’re less inclined to believe this one since maybe you feel there isn’t proof enough to conclude it, there are a plethora of more down-to-earth reasons, like…
4. Your cat may see you as his/her territory, and thus be staying close because cats are territorial.
Don’t like the idea that cats could be trailing around humans just for company’s sake? Want an explanation of the behaviour a little more concretely tied to something we know to be true of cats?
Cats are territorial. We all know this. Cats can think people, places (like rooms), and things (like litter boxes), are their territory. Maybe your cat follows you around everywhere because he or she feels you’re his or her territory, and thus the behaviour is, at least in part, about territory.
5. Your cat could be bored; following you could be a source of entertainment.
If cats are bored, and they’re curious, following you could be a source of entertainment for them, sort of like we are entertained watching people, cats, and other animals on TV or online on videos such as those uploaded to YouTube.
Watching TV or YouTube videos is probabaly not as entertaining as going out and doing things – our versions of “playtime” – but we don’t always want to actively do things, sometimes passive entertainment is really nice when we’re feeling particularly lazy.
And yes, even cats can be lazy, too lazy to play but not too lazy to human-watch for entertinament. Maybe it’s not as interesting as bird-watching is for them (maybe it’s comparible to how bird-watching feels for us humans, relaxing but not incredibly demanding?), but it’s definitely got to be mildly entertaining, and thus a cure for feline boredom in some shape or form.
Not trying to put down people-watching as an entertainment source for cats at all! Like I said, we sure do get a lot out of passively watching other people and a slew of animals do things in videos, on TV shows and in movies, why shouldn’t they also get a lot of entertainment out of watching us?
Besides, there are plenty of other senses more actively engaged when they watch us – smell, sometimes taste, more intense hearing, sometimes touch. I’m sure it can be a pretty entertaining experience to watch a human cook, for instance. So much going on, so much to see, hear, and smell (and sometimes even taste!).
Speaking of taste…
6. Your cat could be following you because he or she wants food.
If you give your cat follows you around at a specific time of day – like right before your mealtime or right before his or her own, the reason your cat follows you around could plainly be down to the grub.
If your cat’s following right before your mealtime? It could be because your cat’s hoping if he or she sticks around enough, practically connected to you at the hip, he or she might get a little lick or nibble of whatever grub you’re going to be having for yourself.
Ever given your cat some of your own food before? This could increase the chance that your cat might be following you around in hopes of getting some grub. You could have even accidentally trained your cat to meow and beg for food throughout the day.
Never given your cat human food before? The smells you make when you cook might be enticing enough to have kitty follow you around everywhere, hopeful, anyways. Even if we don’t give a cat human food, doesn’t mean they stop smelling it and knowing it’s likely delicious (and definitely perfectly edible)!
7. Your cat could follow you to see if you’ll be putting down meals; so he or she is in close proximity when you do.
Cat following you absolutely everywhere right before his or her mealtime? Your cat (or cats if you have multiple in the household and they all do this) could be following around waiting hopefully for the second you decide to make a maybe not-so-obvious break for the kitchen, where you’ll be one step closer to delving out that delcious cat food and – ah that full belly.
Who wouldn’t want to keep close in case a meal was in their future. I know if I’m hungry and the Instant Pot‘s about to be done with the pasta balanase, and the pasta noodles are all cooked and ready, I’m hanging out right near the food until that timer’s popped and I can have that tasty grub as fast as possible on my plate. Why wouldn’t my cats be just as eager about their grub?
8. If you give your cat attention when he or she follows you – your cat may follow you out of a desire to get that attention.
Don’t give your cat food when he or she follows you? You may be delving over something your cat wants nearly as much (or maybe even more, depending on your cat) without realizing: your attention!
Again, contrary to some people’s beliefs, I’d argue that the vast majority of cats do actually want human attention. Maybe not a lot of it, or maybe a more passive, non-physical version more than an active, physically being pet style attention giving, but no matter how you dice it, attention is attention.
Some cats go so far as to be in wanting-too-much-attention-from-you territory. It’s honestly not unheard of for feline pet parents to feel their cat wants way too much attention – more than they have to offer.
If this isn’t an unheard of problem to have, I’d say regular attention-seeking behaviour by following you around everywhere seems to be a good explanation (at least to me) for the behaviour. What do you think? Do you feel your cat might be following you around for attention?
9. Your cat could follow you because he or she wants to play.
Cats can’t communicate the same way humans do, and sometimes the way they choose to communicate makes no sense to us because – well we’re not exactly fluent in “cat.”
Cats sometimes do strange things like bite at human feet and ankles when they want to play – because, well, if you were a cat you’d understand.
When my little kitten, Cleo, wants to start a fun friendly war with her big brother Bjorn, she literally waltzes up to him and bites him. Sometimes she’ll jump on his back and bite, other times, if she doesn’t get him to play the first time she’ll lie back and wait for a moment, then hit him in the face. Either way, he’s not bothered by this behaviour because she never actually harms him and it seems to be cat for “playtime, now!” – sure is something they both understand.
Whether or not he wants to play at that very moment is a different story. Though after a few rounds of biting and hitting, he’s usually (annoyed enough maybe?) to be fussed to get up and play. Or he walks away 😉
All this being a round about way of saying – cats communicate very differently from humans, so if your cat does something even as simple as biting your ankle or following you around everywhere, it could mean something specific – like wanting playtime – is what’s on your cat’s mind.
Experiment by giving your cat playtime when he or she follows and if that’s readily accepted, maybe that’s what he or she wanted!
10. If you give your cat cuddles every so often when he or she follows you – he or she could follow everywhere to be pet more often.
Now I know when my cats are doing adorable things in my vacinity – like sleeping on their backs, or sitting up like humans – I just can’t fight the urge to go in for a snuggle and give that cat a good long pet. It’s not in me to ignore the behaviour or just go on my way without acknowedging it’s cuteness with a cuddle.
If your cat following you around everywhere leads to you delving out more snuggles, and you can tell your cat loves those, to me it’s an easy connection to make – your cat’s probably following in part because of those pets and hugs you’re giving out!
What do you think – could this be part of the reason why your cat follows you everywhere?
11. Your cat could follow you to try to gain access to rooms that are often closed off.
I keep plenty of rooms closed off to my cats throughout the day. Sometimes it’s because I don’t want them hopping on the kitchen table if it’s not cleared ofof and tidy.
Other times it’s because I don’t want them to have access to a room that’s completely riddled in clutter and needs to be cleaned.
Then there are times I keep them out because I want rooms to feel novel to them when they are finally let in – which honestly works and if you haven’t tried this, take a moment to try it.
Cats love being allowed into rooms they haven’t had access to for some time, so I have times of day I’ll allow cats into the bedroom and times I won’t. Times they’re allowed into the living room and times it’s closed off. It helps keep them interested in the space and feeling like it’s special.
Which is why, a lot of times, when a cat follows me around at a certain time of day and that’s typically the time of day I allow them access to a specific room that’s usually or often off limits – I know part of the reason they’re following me is because they want access to that room.
I’m definitely convinced that’s all they wanted when they spend all their time in that room for the next few hours even when I leave that room for 45 minutes myself. If they’re not following me after I open the door to the lesser-accessable room, I know it’s not my attention and company they were after.
12. There could be something else your cat wants, that he or she thinks following you around might let you know.
There are plenty of things cats could want in a day that have nothing to do with food, attention, cuddles, or play.
Some things for instance – water changed, litter cleaned, a door opened – the list definitely goes on for ages but you get the picture here.
If your cat follows you everywhere at a specific time of day, and you know at that time of day you typically give your cat something, like a refill of water so his or her bowl is fresh, maybe that’s got something to do with your cat following you – at least for that part of the day.
13. When you got up and left the room, you may have woken up your cat from a nap. Following you could be a form of greeting you after some dozy time “apart.”
This is one I’m super sure is way more questionable to those who want more concrete explanations of a cat’s behaviour than conjecture. But I have a cat who literally rubs/scents me when he gets up from a nap and follows me everywhere, so I do think there’s something to the idea.
If you have a cat who does this – wakes up from a nap and follows you around, then scents you and meows – my guess is to an extent, he or she’s probably saying “hi” to you again, after some time “apart” while he or she was napping.
Super cute behaviour by the way, if your cat does this, you should definitely take a moment to appreciate how lovely your cat is.
14. Your cat may follow you because it feels safer (say, if your cat doesn’t get along well with other cats in the house).
There’s a certain time of day – right before and just after I feed my furries their dinners – where my first cat, Avery, who was an only cat child for years, gets a bit fiesty and wants to play.
But he’s sometimes way too aggressive about the way he carries himself because, in my opinion, he’s just not used to other cats yet and needs to learn the difference between hunting and playing.
My second cat, Bjorn, is often chased in situations like this. And most of the time things go well. They’ll chase each other back and forth until they settle down for bedtime.
But on days when Avery’s particularly aggressive and Bjorn knows it and doesn’t want things to escilate, Bjorn follows me, knowing Avery won’t do anything around me.
Bjorn definitely feels safer around me during times like this – when he needs to efel safe – because he is safer. And while this is just one example of how cats can feel safer in human presence, and thus follow their humans around everywhere for a feeling of protection (and for actual protection, let’s be honest), I’m sure there are others you guys can collectively think of where human = security.
Likely if this explanation of your cat’s following behaviour is true, you already know it/sense it, because there’s a pattern and it’s coupled with fear – maybe in the form of some type of hiding behaviour. I’d love to know if you feel this is true of your cat, as well as a bit of an explanation of the behaviour, the time of day, why you think he or she is scared or stressed and wants security, etc.
15. Your cat could follow you because he or she has separation anxiety.
Seperation anxiety in cats is a real thing, guys! If you came home from your long day at work and your cat literally will not stop trailing you around the house from the moment you walk in the door, you absolutely could have a cat with seperation anxiety on your hands.
Need more information that will help you diagnose and maybe even fix this issue? Check out this article here on seperation anxiety in cats by The Ohio State University. Oh and be sure to check out my article on keeping an indoor cat happy, too, as that might help.
16. Your cat following you could be a leftover behaviour from kitten-hood; where following around and watching mom kept kitty safe & taught kitty a lot.
This is an interesting one I found suggested while browsing the net.
When cats are young, a little older then a very small kitten, they are safer if they trail around their mother, following mother cat around everywhere she is. She can protect them from danger they can’t protect themselves from.
Kittens also learn one heck of a lot by trailing around their mothers and watching their behaviour and how they engage with the world around them.
They can learn what to hunt, what to eat and what not to eat, how to hunt better, and so much more that’s easier to learn by watching then immitating and doing. Heck, maybe that’s part of why they’re so curious – it helps them learn to be better hunters.
Either way, kittens sure did watch their mothers a lot to learn about the world. Cats sure have good enough reason to think of us like we’re their mothers. We feed them and play with them, and groom them.
And so, like kneading, maybe this behaviour is a leftover from kittenhood? Maybe they follow us around in the same way they followed around their mothers. For the safety and security, but also to learn.
Your Turn: Why Do You Think Cats Follow Humans Everywhere?
Why do you think cats follow humans around everywhere they go?
If you have a cat who does this – or have multiple cats – when do they do it and why do you think they do it? Do you think they all follow you for the same reason? For different reasons?
Do your cats follow one person more than another in your household? Do they follow the same people for the same reasons?
Would love to hear your thoughts, experiences, and stories in the comments down below!