I haven't had a private moment in the bathroom at home in years. My husband generally leaves me alone, though on occasion, he needs to discuss some very important topic while I am otherwise occupied. My children, however, routinely need me for any number of important things while I am using the facilities.
Apparently, the very action of me entering the bathroom triggers perfect recall for very lengthy, hilarious stories. All important decisions about inviting friends over or needing spending money or a detailed recital of this year's entire Christmas list, or signing permission slips are routinely addressed through the bathroom door (unless I had forgotten to lock it, in which case, the inquisition occurs face-to-face without an ounce of decorum on the intruding party's part.)
I am asked to purchase apps for the iPhone more often in the bathroom than in any other room in the house, and despite my flat refusal to do so, they keep asking. Curious. If I ever need to feel wanted and needed and loved, all I need to do is go to the bathroom.
At work, nobody insists on me keeping the door open. They usually wait for me to emerge to ask me to sign documents. They also refrain from simply screaming to get me to hurry up. (Thank goodness.) However, I can't say I'm left alone completely at work, since it often seems that whenever I do find myself in the bathroom, someone needs me for something.
And then, there's my furry companions. For those who are uninitiated with cats: books, newspapers and important school or work papers take precedence over almost all other items on the cat daily agenda (sleep, food, litterbox) since it falls under the category of "bother someone." There is only one thing that comes before that: someone just sitting down on the toilet. It summons a cat like the "Bat Signal" calls for Batman.
Virgil, one of our cats, loves to come bopping into the bathroom, right at my heels. Normally, Virgil doesn't have much time for me - he considers himself my husband's cat. However, in the bathroom, I am suddenly (albeit temporarily) his new best friend. He seizes these opportunities to demand affection and to solicit play.
Daverio is a veterinarian at Williamsport West Veterinary Hospital. Creature Comforts, which has printed every other Tuesday, now will appear every other Sunday in the Lifestyle section, begining Nov. 17.
He touches me with his front paws, grooms my hands, winds his body around my legs - and has even hopped onto my lap on a few occasions. If I'm sitting in a chair, he doesn't give me the time of day. Lovable, but odd.
Through the years, many of our cats have liked to sit in the sink and beg incessantly for a drink directly from the faucet (the "good" water.) Murdock taught Grace about the "good water," and Grace taught Sr. Mary Agnes. Sr. M.A. became so fixated on beating Grace to the bathroom in the morning; she often slept in the sink to get a head start. Virgil still hasn't learned to drink from the faucet at 9 years old, but that hasn't stopped him trying, though always ending in a bedraggled, wet mess - and still thirsty. He's sweet, but he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
"Igor," one of my childhood cats, was so anxious for his breakfast each morning; he would go to the trouble of unrolling the toilet paper for my mother to help speed things along. He was also famous for barging in on guests and surprising the heck out of them in the bathroom.
You're probably wondering why cats like to bother people in the bathroom. I bet you're expecting a brilliant answer, since I'm supposed to know about these things. Sorry. My answer: cats are weird. I do have an idea, however misguided it may be.
Cats are mostly very intelligent and it doesn't take them long to figure out that they can be very silly and even annoying while someone is in the bathroom, and will likely get away with it. It is against all rules of statistical probabilities that you will spring up off the toilet and seize them as they sprint away. (Even if you did try this, you would fail, since cats are adept at always being just out of reach when it really counts. Not to mention the added bonus of you feeling and looking ridiculous.) So they can get away with stuff like biting your feet, without being punished for it - at least not right away. But one thing's for sure: cats are different from dogs in this instance. Cats that won't leave you alone in the bathroom are, well, normal. Dogs that do this may have some ... issues.
To learn more about dogs and this subject, read the follow-up article: "Degrees of Separation."