Why do cats bury their feces?

Why do cats bury their feces?

Cats are very unique animals and their behavior is proof of this. Among some of their curiosities we highlight the fact of burying food, objects and even their droppings, but why do they do it?

Why do cats bury their feces?

The cat, a very clean animal

To begin with, you should know that the cat is a naturally clean animal that feels comfortable in a hygienic environment. Proof of this (and of its intelligence) is the ability to urinate and defecate in the litter box, a behavior that is not only carried out in our house: a wild cat will not urinate anywhere, only in the place considered to be its territory .

It is for this reason that many cats tend to urinate all over the house when they are adopted. If this is your case, do not hesitate to visit our article to learn how to prevent cats from marking with urine .

However, the cat does not cover its feces solely for hygiene: there is a compelling reason why the cat carries out this behavior. Keep reading!

Why do cats bury their poop?


One of the main ways of communication of cats is through smells. These animals emit a series of pheromones to transmit specific messages. Among them are the pheromones involved in territorial marking, which they can leave through urine and feces. In this way, other cats and animals can smell the pheromones found in the feces and obtain information. For this reason, cats, just like dogs, bury their feces for a very simple reason: they want to cover up the smell . The reason goes beyond hygiene: cats cover their feces so that other predators or members of their species cannot locate their territory .

It is an instinctive behavior, so that, regardless of whether there are other animals in our home or not, it will bury its feces.

By burying the droppings, the cat considerably reduces the smell, giving us to understand that they are not a threat to those who pass through the same territory. It is a sign of submission.


Why doesn’t my cat cover his feces?


Unlike cats that do bury their feces, cats that don’t want to make it clear that the territory is theirs . They usually do it in high places such as beds, sofas, chairs…, so that the smell can spread better and the message is clear and effective.

In any case, if your cat does not use the litter box, get proper information, since some sick animals or those who do not have a clean litter box will not want to use it. Likewise, it is possible that, in households with more than one cat where one of them is clearly dominant, the submissive relieves himself quickly and does not bury them out of fear; he wants to get out of the sandbox as soon as possible. Similarly, it is likely that the dominant does not bury them precisely for that reason, because of his hierarchical rank. In these cases, it is important to offer the kittens several litter boxes, bearing in mind that the ideal number is one litter box per cat plus another extra.

On the other hand, those kittens that have been adopted very soon and, therefore, have not spent as much time as they should with their mother, will not have learned this behavior . This way, cats don’t bury their feces because they don’t know they should. However, you can teach him to bury his feces by accompanying him and showing him.


Why doesn’t my cat cover his stool anymore?


Although the above cases are the most common, it is possible for a cat that was burying its feces to stop doing so suddenly. When this situation occurs, it is most likely that his litter box is dirty and, therefore, the cat does not feel comfortable. In fact, it is even possible that he relieves himself outside the litter box for this reason. Therefore, it is important to carry out a strict control of the litter box in order to keep it very clean.

On the other hand, if you have recently changed the litter box and it has been from this moment on that your cat does not cover its feces, the cause is that it does not like the new substrate . Cat litter should be chosen based on the animal’s tastes, not ours. In this way, even if we want to choose a perfumed substrate, the cat will probably hate it and will not use it. 

Lastly, if your cat has stopped burying her feces with the arrival of a new feline, she may have taken on the dominant role and feels like she no longer needs to cover it up . Again, he tries to offer them enough resources to avoid conflicts between them. Also, do not miss this other post where we talk about Dominance in cats.

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