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Why Do Cats Bury Their Poop? Should You Be Concerned?

Why Do Cats Bury Their Poop? Should You Be Concerned?

Does it happen that every time you clean your cat’s litter box, you find the poop cover-up and wonder why they do it? Do they hate the smell, or is it bad for them? Should we be worried?

Cats hiding their poop is an instinct. This behavior was acquired when they were kittens close to their mom. Kittens learn everything from their mom, and watching her cover her poop leads to them doing the same. Your cat hiding its poop is not a cause for concern.

Besides learning the habit from their moms, the history of covering up their feces comes from them using their urine and poop to mark territory. All cats’ poop might smell the same to us, but it has a distinctive smell for them.

Cats have their reasons for hiding their poop or leaving it in the open. In the wild, cats leave waste in the open to declare territory. In addition, they do it to challenge another feline. Smaller cats hide it to let other cats know they’re not a threat.

Wild cats would also like to avoid being attacked by predators by hiding their poop to cover the scent. They often do it to protect their little newborn cubs.

Domesticated cats apply this same instinct in your house. They might be showing respect to you by acknowledging you as their superior, or they might be hiding the scent from other cats in the vicinity.

What About Domestic Cats That Leave Their Poop In The Open?


A domestic cat that doesn’t hide its poop in a house might be considering itself superior to its owner.

In some cases, some cats did not learn how to cover their poop adequately when they were kittens and need to be physically taught how to do it. Experts recommend that owners use their kittens’ paws to bury the waste so they can learn by mimicking the action.

Leaving waste out is also a cat’s way of declaring your house as its own to any unwanted visitors like other cats.

There could also be a health concern for a domestic cat to leave their poop uncovered. Being ill, too weak, or intoxicated are some reasons for your cat to go poop all-around your house. If this is the case, a veterinarian visit might be in order.

Other animals treat their feces in the same manner as cats. Some of these animals are armadillos, woodchucks, and weasels.

How Often Does A Cat Poop?

The healthy amount of cat pooping is similar to humans: too much or too little is a problem.

The average pooping for a cat is once or twice a day. There is no official time when your cat is supposed to be doing it during the day, so there should be no worries if it doesn’t poop right before or after a meal.

Pooping more than once or twice a day or even skipping a day or two between poops might be your cat’s routine. However, visit your veterinarian if this happens as there might be something affecting your cats’ health.

What Is Cat Poop Supposed To Look Like?


Another thing cats share with humans is the ability to notice health issues through their poop and how they go about their business.

A cat’s poop should be dark brown and not too hard or soft. If the poop is mushy or hardened, it is a sign of a kitten with some sort of illness. Watery poop means diarrhea.

Adverse changes in your cat’s poo can be caused by:

  • Eating toxic food for them such as onions, garlic, chocolate, alcohol, or grapes.
  • Allergies or intolerance to a new diet is bound to happen at any point in a cat’s life.
  • Parasites like roundworms can occur every other month if not adequately attended to.

There is a long list of foods that are harmful to cats that any pet owner should be aware of. Experts usually recommend keeping your cat on a strict diet without making any drastic changes to it.

Another common health issue of your cat’s butt is swollen anal glands. These glands are located on the opening of the anus, and they cover the poop with a unique scent when activated.

The anal glands are pressured by the poop coming out, and that’s how they release the scent. A poop that applies too much or too little pressure, or is too hard, would not do the trick, and the glands won’t release their scent.

These glands swell to the inside, so it is not visible to a cat’s owner. A cat with swollen anal glands will start scooting or licking its anus more often. These are signs of a needed trip to the vet.

Do Cats Clean Themselves After They Poop?

It happens sometimes. Cats are usually clean creatures and rarely need help cleaning themselves. Residues can occur in cats with bigger fur, but there are more common circumstances:

  • Soft poop may escape your cat’s cleaning expertise.
  • Overweight cats have a more challenging time thoroughly cleaning their butt.
  • Cats with arthritis and older cats would need help cleaning their butts.

Experts recommend using warm water on a soft washcloth to clean your cat’s bottom, and baby wipes work as well. If your cat can reach just fine but didn’t do a great job, plain water will do the trick. Normal cat poop is dry enough that it doesn’t leave any residues in your cat’s fur.

Why Is Cat Poop So Smelly?

Poop is not supposed to smell good. However, the cat’s poop does have a powerful lousy smell that makes our faces wince. Poop smell can be attributed to diet, digestive issues, or parasites. Nevertheless, the aforementioned anal glands cause a particular scent.

These odors produced by the anal glands are linked to pheromones and the resources a cat has to mark their territory. A male cat’s poop contains more scents than a female’s. Cat poop officially smells worse than dog poop. Not saying that dog poop smells good, but the components found in cat’s feces by scientific research are absent in those of dogs.

Is Cat Poop Toxic For Humans?


Cat poop is a health concern for humans in America. Some cats carry parasites, and when they poop, they shed something called an oocyst, a cell harmful to humans often associated with mental health.

This parasite cell is easily transmitted to humans. It is especially harmful to newborn babies and people with weak immune systems. Different studies have explored the connection between oocyst and schizophrenia. This health risk is due to the growing population of cats and the number of oocysts in their poop. The cell is also tough to kill.

Experts say it is easy to find oocysts on kid’s playgrounds, parks, and while gardening. Anywhere kids and adults can get their hands dirty easily. Researchers say that this is a health issue that needs a little more scrutiny. Still, infection by oocyst is said to be avoided by thorough self-cleaning if one has a cat or kids.

Doctor Fuller Torrey, an expert on the research, understands that there is no more significant concern because the parasite can be dormant in the human organism for 20 years. It would take decades to see an epidemiological effect on humans.


Cats hiding their poop is an instinct. They are trying to hide scent for possible predators or acknowledge a superior presence in their area. In a household, cats hiding their poop is a sign of respect for their owners.

There is no health concern for your cat, even if it is not hiding the feces at all. You should only worry if the frequency of the pooping or its form changes. Most cats can clean themselves, and sometimes, by pooping, they are just marking their territory.