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August 18, 2023 3 min read

Most of the time, cats are a huge relief -

Not only do they go poop in the litter box on their own, they usually manage to bury it by hand when they're done.

The dog next door is crying with envy!

But we also get questions like this from time to time:

“What's the deal with my cat not being able to bury poop? Where is the promised instinct?”

"My cat used to bury its poop, why does it suddenly stop doing it now?"

Okay, let's talk about something other than the "usual" today...
The "bad" behavior of cats that don't bury their poop.

Why don't cats bury their poop?

To figure this out, first we need to understand:

Why do cats bury their poop?

The behavior of cats burying excrement:

Cats bury their feces as a result of a combination of survival instincts and the observation and learning of their mother's burying behavior when they were young. Cats have evolved to be wary of predators. Small cats bury their feces to prevent powerful predators in the vicinity from discovering their tracks, and to prevent their prey from escaping after smelling the feces.

Kittens reinforce this instinctive behavior by observing their mother's actions in burying feces.

So, here are a few things you can look at regarding the reasons why cats don't bury their poop.

1.Declaring Sovereignty

In the wild, dominant cats (including leopards, lions, tigers, etc.) usually do not bury their feces, but rather use it as a signal to identify themselves and assert sovereignty over a particular area.

  • A cat that would originally bury its poop:

Maybe when it has spent a period of time with its tail carefully tucked between its legs, it realizes that there doesn't seem to be any threat in the environment!

So it boldly exposes its feces, proclaiming to you: I'm the boss!

  • In a cat household:

The dominant meow may also show authority by not burying its feces, telling the other meows that this is my territory!

2.Lack of teaching from mom meow

For a variety of reasons, some cats are separated from their moms at a very young age.

Nor have they observed other older meows burying their feces while growing up.

So this is a skill they may not have learned very well ......

If you are raising a very young kitten, you may need some manual assistance in training.


3.Inappropriate litter box/litter

If the litter box is too small or in the wrong place, it may not be easy for the cat to turn around and bury the poop.

Also, if the cat doesn't like the feel of the litter, or the litter box is too dirty, it may discourage it from spending more time in there.


4.Health problems

In addition, when the cat's body is affected by some diseases or injuries (e.g. urinary tract diseases, arthritis), it may also appear not to bury the excrement.

Why are cats unsuccessful at burying their poop?

In other cases shared by parents, cats can easily be mistaken for "not being able to bury their poop".

For example: frantic scratching of the wall after pooping, frantic digging on the floor or the edge of the litter box ......

What is the reason for this?

1.not enough maneuverable space

If the litter box is placed in a location that is too narrow and does not have enough maneuverable space, it tends to limit their behavior in searching for more litter to cover their poop.

Scratching the wall, or the side walls of the enclosed litter box may occur.

2.litter box problems

  • litter box is not large enough

May affect their judgment of where the border between the litter box and the floor is, and they may extend their claws to scratch the floor in front of the litter box.

In the cat's growth process, must pay attention to the cat litter box and the cat's body size match, if not suitable to be replaced in time Oh! Choose one with enough space.

  • litter box not deep enough

If the side walls of the litter box are too shallow, they can easily spill some of the litter when burying their poop.

This may also cause the cat to dig at the ground outside the litter box.

3.litter problems

  • There is too little litter in the litter box
  • Litter box not clean enough

It is important to keep your cat's living area clean and tidy!

When you come across a cat behaving strangely, don't risk laughing at its stupidity.

Look at yourself first: are you doing your job as a "pooper scooper"?

Richard Liu
Richard Liu

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