Why Do Cats Bury Their Poop? Here’s the Scoop.

Hint: It has a lot to do with cleanliness.

Cats who bury their feces within their home area are merely fulfilling their hygienic instincts. By: greyhobbit

If you have ever had a cat, chances are you’ve glanced over at the litter box and wondered, “Why do cats bury their poop?”

As you’ve probably noticed, cats usually instinctively bury their feces and urine in the litter box (or in the ground). Cats have a thing for cleanliness, something dogs don’t seem to care as much about.

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Burying Poop Is a Survival Instinct

An exception to the turd-buriers: Certain tomcats (the macho males) will leave their poop lying around, mainly as an advertisement.

But the less powerful males, along with practically all female felines, will bury their waste to draw less attention to themselves. According to Beyond Words: Talking With Animals and Nature, this is simply a survival instinct. Cats will dig and bury their poo to hide their telltale scent.

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The Cat: Its Behavior, Nutrition, and Health informs us that most free-living cats bury their poop near their nesting sites or within their home range.

Normally, though, these independent cats do not bury their feces when they are out hunting or on the outskirts of their territories. By not burying it, they leave a territorial mark on that area. Burying the feces within their home area, meanwhile, fulfills their hygienic instincts.

Training Your Cat to Use the Litterbox

According to The Cat Care Book, tame kittens learn to use a litter box by watching the mama cat use it.

When you choose a kitten as your house pet, train her to use a litter box. Usually, she will jump right in the box, do her job, bury it and exit. If your cat misses the box, simply pick the feces up with some paper towels or gloves and put it in the box. This will be a sign for your pet that the poop goes there.

Watch this video for more tips on training your kitten to use a litter box:

Help Your Cat Maintain a Hygienic Lifestyle

Many people choose to have cats as pets because of their clean nature. Help your cat maintain its sanitary living conditions by providing a nice, fresh litter box when it becomes filled with buried wastes.

Cat families out there, be proud — think of all the other pets you could have chosen who would not have cared where they pooped.

So why do cats bury their poop? The simplest truth is that they don’t want to ruin their clean reputation.

Gayle Hickman

View posts by Gayle Hickman
Gayle Hickman has been researching and writing about pet behaviors since 2011. In addition to Petful, her articles have appeared on Reader's Digest, Yahoo Shine and WebVet, to name a few.

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