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Why Does My Cat Dig In The Bathtub? (Can I Stop It?)

If your cat is constantly digging around in your bathtub you may be wondering why and what to do about it (click here for my best solution, on Amazon #Ad)

Why does my cat dig in the bathtub?

Cats love cool, smooth surfaces. Do you know one of the coldest, smoothest surfaces in your house? That’s right. It’s your bathtub. This is why your cat loves digging in the bathtub and a lot of other usual places as well, like the kitchen.

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So, now you know. But, can you just train the cat to keep out? Could your cat harm itself in the tub? Is it possible to distract it from the bathtub? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

What is a bathtub?

Why does my cat dig in the bathtub?

A white bathtub with chrome taps.

Most people know what a bathtub is, but to make sure we are on the same page, it is a fixed tub for bathing to define it. Do cats use a bathtub for bathing? Well, not always.

So what is their attraction towards it? Why do cats love digging in the bathtub? Do they even like bathtubs in general? Let’s talk about all of these questions extensively.

Other Common Reasons For Cats To Dig In Bathtubs 

Some cats will scratch and dig in the bathtub simply because they enjoy it. Bathtubs are like a safe space away from others where your cat can dig, scratch, play, and nap. If your cat sees you enjoying your bathtub, they’ll likely associate the area with something positive. 

Your cat may also be digging without using its claws because they like the feeling of the smooth surface on its paws. If your cat discovers they like the way the bathtub feels, they may continue to consistently dig inside of it as a soothing behavior. 

Their Claws Are Too Sharp

Cats will often scratch several surfaces to keep their claws sharp and to remove any chips from their claws. Your cat might occasionally dig the bathtub to keep its claws sharp, even if they have a scratcher. 

Your cat might get bored of the scratcher they have, so you’ll either have to add some more catnip to entice them back to it, or consider having a couple of options for them.  

Litter Box Problems 

If your cat is unhappy about the condition of their litter box, they might see the large space of the bathtub as somewhere they can potentially go to the bathroom. Your cat will dig in the bathtub to prepare a space to go potty, and will subsequently dig to bury their waste; this is what cats did in the wild to mask their scent.

Do cats like bathtubs?

Cats do like bathtubs. Why is this so? This is because cats adore smooth and cooler surfaces. And another theory that experts have come up with is that they are drawn toward natural water sources like ponds and puddles.

To no surprise, bathtubs resemble that, so to adhere to their wild instincts, cats just love jumping in the bathtub.

Can you train your cat not to go in your bathtub?

Technically, you can train your cat to not go in the bathtub. You can, in theory, train your pets to do almost anything. But to be more realistic about it, while you can train your cat to not go into your bathtub, it’s unlikely that it will work.

Even if it does, it’s going to be a difficult task in getting your cat to not visit one of its favorite spots in the house. You can imagine why.

How to prevent your cat from digging in the bathtub:

While training your cat to not dig in your bathtub is a challenging task in itself, coming up with ways to prevent it from doing so is much easier and doable.

There are multiple ways you can prevent your cat from doing so, some of which are as follows…

01. Cover the bathtub

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Understandably, not everyone can simply block access for their cat to the bathroom. A lot of people have litter boxes for their pets in the bathroom so disallowing their entry there is not the best alternative. For that, the best thing you can do is cover your bathtub so your cat can enter the bathroom but not invade the bathtub.

02. Get A Scratch Post To Divert Its Attention 

SmartCat Ultimate Scratching Post

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Scratching posts are a necessity for cats. It helps them keep their claws sharpened, and also allows them to safely remove broken-off pieces of their claws. This is a behavior that all cats possess, and giving them a post of their own to scratch at will divert them away from digging in your bathtub or scratching your furniture. 

When you bring home a scratch post, it’ll likely come with some catnip to entice your cat towards it. Be sure to give your cat praise every time you notice them using their new post, as it’ll encourage them to continue this behavior. 

03. Put aluminum foil around the edge

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Among the many things that cats are not fond of, aluminum foil is one of them. They despise the sound and feel of it, and so using it to keep it away from places it shouldn’t be in is a genius move.

You don’t have to be very extravagant about it either; just roll the foil up into a few balls and place them anywhere you would like to keep your cat away from.

04. Block Access to the Bathroom

The first and quite clearly the simplest thing you can do to prevent your cat from digging and making a mess in the bathtub is merely disallowing it from entering the bathroom.

You can either keep your door closed for this or just do anything that blocks its entry inside the bathroom.

05. Leave some water in the bathtub

If there’s one thing a cat owner learns in trying to bathe their pet, it’s that cats dislike water and would steer clear of it any chance they can. So a perfect way to keep your cat out of the bathtub is to leave some water in it. It is a bathtub, it isn’t inconvenient to have water being there either.

So while your cat would love to get itself that bathtub surface, it would hate the water a lot more, and so, a win for you!

06. Create an expected sound to keep it away

Cats don’t like startling sounds, and so in training cats, a plastic jar filled with pennies is a much-used thing. The idea is to fill a plastic jar with pennies inside and the lid tightly closed, so it doesn’t leave the jar, and if the cat is somewhere it isn’t supposed to be, the jar would fall over and hence startle the cat, making it leave the place instantly.

07. Make Sure It Has Clear Access To The Litter Box 

Cats can be picky about where their litter box is placed, and they don’t want to have to overcome obstacles to get to it when nature calls. You might want to consider moving it to another location if they’re scratching in the bathtub to prepare to go to the bathroom inside of it. 

Furthermore, if your cat seems to avoid the litter box in favor of the bathtub, you might have to clean it more often. Some cats are hesitant to use a litter box if it’s too dirty, especially if you have multiple cats in the home.

Should you discipline your cat for digging in your bathtub?

You should discipline your cat for digging in your bathtub. But, not negatively. As a cat owner, you love your cat endlessly. But sometimes, like a child, a cat can often be naughty and have bad behavior or do things that you might not entirely agree with.

Of course, discipline is a part of all life, human or animal, so disciplining your cat to motivate good behavior and stop it from being feisty can be essential.

There are some dos and don’ts in how disciplining your pet, but doing it healthily is always a good thing.

Can your cat harm itself in the bathtub?

There is a low chance of your cat hurting itself while playing in an empty bathtub. But, if it has water then it can be dangerous. However, because cats typically hate water or being bathed they are unlikely to be in the tub if there is any sign of water.

How do I stop my cat from using the bathtub as a litter box?

A black and white cat on a bath tub.

A black and white cat in a bathtub.

To stop your cat from using the bathtub as a litter box the first thing to do is make sure there’s no problem regarding its original litter box, like checking if it’s full or if something else is blocking its way and hence forcing your pet to relax in the bathtub.

Cats are generally tidy animals, and so if your cat decides to use your bathtub as a litter box, it’s trying to tell you something.

Of course, there are ways for keeping your cat away from the bathtub (which are already described above), but for it to make a mess like this, something needs to a looked into.

Can you distract your cat from the bathtub?

You can distract your cat from the bathtub. Simple things like using a cat tree (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad), and locating it near the bath can do this.

Why do some cats lick the bathtub for water?

While cats don’t precisely lick people the same way a dog would, it can be a love language for them as well. So if your cat is licking the bathtub for water, it could be because it reminds them of you.

Other than that, many people don’t realize that cats naturally dislike drinking water (what if they start jerking? click here) if it’s too close to their food, so if it’s avoiding the water bowl, keep this in consideration.

Another thing to make sure of is to keep the water bowl clean. Yes, just throwing out the old water is not enough. Wash the bowl every day with water and soap, and you might not have to face this problem again.

Why Has My Cat Just, Suddenly, Started Scratching My Bathtub?

Cats can start exhibiting new behavior when something in their environment has changed. If you’ve moved their litter box, started them on a new food, or even changed something around your house such as its layout, your cat might start acting differently for a few days as they adjust. 

Why Is My Cat Digging The Tub After Eating?

Cats often exhibit resource-guarding behaviors despite being domesticated. This includes “burying” their food to keep it safe from other cats or other animals. As such, some cats will dig in strange areas shortly after they’ve eaten, as they have an instinct within them to bury their leftover food.

Lindsey Browlingdon