My Cat Doesn’t Cover His Poop
Treating poop is a normal cat behavior, right? Not necessary.
Feral cats that bury their feces do this for basically two reasons: One is to keep their presence unknown of potential predators. The other is to show that they no longer challenge dominant cats. These more dominant cats rarely bury feces and often leave waste on grassy pollen that lift and make it even more prominent.
So it seems the only reason for a domesticated cat to bury her poop is if there is a dominant cat in the house. However, it is a very natural cat behavior. So why isn’t your cat doing it?
Humans have stimulated our cats’ behavior by selectively choosing (and breeding) those who are ‘clean’. Cats that expose their feces for the world to admire them are not abnormal – they are just cats.
If your cat has always been dug and covered as normal litter box behavior and suddenly makes a statement with uncovered poop, wonder what else has changed? This could be the cat’s way of sending a smelly signal to other cats (or even a stray dog hanging outside the window) that owns the territory.
Declare “their” territory
In the wild, dominant cats (including jaguars, leopards, lions, and tigers) competing for territory do not bury their feces, and send a message that they declare that place to them. So a domesticated cat may choose not to bury its poop to let other cats – or their owner – know “I’m here.” Even if a cat has lived in the same place for a while, he may not feel that it is his territory. The smell of their poop indicates the presence of a certain cat.
Do what comes naturally
Cats who choose not to cover or have an out-of-the-box deposit can just do whatever comes naturally. While burying feces is generally a modeled behavior of mama cats, some cats never learn this. If they have never seen their parent in the litter box, they may not know what to do.
In fact, a study tracked female cats around and observed poop 58 times – and only twice did the cats try to dig a hole first or cover it afterward. Roaming cats can use unburied waste as another form of marking.
The wrong litter box
When it comes to litter boxes, size matters. Maybe your cat’s litter box is too small for her to physically turn around in the box to bury her poop. And, as the saying goes, cats can be picky – maybe she doesn’t like the feel of the cat litter, or the box is too dirty, and would rather not spend extra time there. If you suspect that one or both of these things may be true, try a new brand of litter or upgrade to a larger sized litter box.
Possible medical problems
There are no specific diagnoses that prevent your cat from burying its poop, but if your cat is experiencing pain, whether in its paws, going to the toilet, or just in general, it may stop them from doing more spend time in the litter box. Also, cats that have recently been declaimed may choose to skip the burial process.
Problems on and around the litter box
Quite a few problems can arise around the ‘litter box happening’. A cat that refuses to go on the litter box or stays on it for hours. A cat that does not bury its excrement or is just such a fanatic digger that the contents of the litter box are spread over the floor. A cat that pees and poops everywhere except in the litter box … things go wrong on and around the litter box. However, never punish a cat, it will increase stress and only increase problems.
Cat does not use litter box
Cats are very clean animals. They hate having to use a dirty litter box. Some cats even go so far as to refuse to go to the box if there is only 1 pee or shit in it. Is the litter box clean and does the cat not get disturbed during the toilet visit? Are there also no other things that currently stress the cat? Then there is something else going on. If your cat suddenly pee or defecate next to the litter box or elsewhere in the house, always rule out physical causes and visit the vet.
Cat needs to sit next to the litter box
The cat’s sudden uncleanliness always has a reason. First of all, rule out physical causes by having the vet check the cat for possible illness or defects. Only when it appears that the cat is healthy, you can find out the cause by asking yourself the following questions. Is the container clean? Has recently changed to cat litter? Or have you recently started using a different cleaning product? Is the container still in an easily accessible, safe place? Are there stress factors such as moving house, new family members or pets? Check whether the problem can be caused by this and try to solve the problem in an animal-friendly manner, whether or not in consultation with the vet or another expert.
Cat is constantly on the litter box
Is your cat very much on the litter box? Do you hear digging every five minutes and does the cat come off quickly? Your cat seems to have cystitis with very small puddles. Annoying and painful; the vet will help. Does your cat have an urge to urinate but nothing or a few drops come out? Do you sometimes find drops of urine outside the litter box? Is there blood in the urine? Does the cat meow when urinating? Then a kidney stone can pinch the urethra. In that case, go directly to the vet; the cat can poison itself!
Cat does not bury feces
Cats naturally bury their puddles and poo. By burying it, they actually ‘hide’ their presence, the odor is largely closed off by the material with which the stool is covered. If the cat does not bury its feces, it actually sends a message to other cats: “Here I am!”. So it is in fact a sign of dominance and cannot be unlearned. It is often a matter of throwing some grit on it yourself or scooping the pee or poo in question out of the tank in the meantime.
Cat scatters the contents of the litter box on the floor
Some cats seem to want to dig up to Australia, so to speak, so fanatically they are busy in the litter box. The result is often that the half content of the box is spread around the litter box, which of course gives the necessary clutter. The solution is simple: purchase a litter box with a canopy and use a walk-out mat. The ribs on the mat clean the cat’s paws and catch most cat litter. Finally: ‘diggers’ cannot be unlearned from their behavior either. It is simply in the beast and we humans will have to learn to live with it.
Cat hidden/sleeping on the litter box
If a cat also uses the litter box to hide or even sleep, then something is going on. Some cats consider the box a safe place and withdraw here in case of illness, fear, or stress. Try to identify the cause of the behavior. If the cat is ill or suspects it, go to the vet. Try to eliminate the cause of stress or anxiety. If the cat remains anxious and stressed, a Feliway vaporizer may be an option. This gives off an odor that makes the cat feel safe and at ease. If that doesn’t work either, get help from a vet or behavioral expert.