Have you ever noticed that your cat buries its droppings under cat litter after doing its business in the litter box? And did you wonder why your velvet paw does that? Your animal world has the answer.
In fact, it’s a relic from the days when the ancestors of cats did their business in the wild. To do this, they dug a small hollow, deposited their droppings there, and then buried everything.
And the reason is very logical: it protected them from larger predators, which they were less likely to track down. Mink, weasel, and other animals still do that.
Cats Bury Feces for Fear of Enemies
“It seems like a survival instinct,” explains cat behavioral consultant Dusty Rainbolt to the Catster website. Larger cats like lions or tigers do not bury their droppings – which is no wonder after the explanation above: They have fewer natural enemies than small cats.
They also mark their territory, but with urine and not with their feces. They bury the latter so as not to lure enemies on their trail and not to betray themselves to their prey.
In their home, cats do not have to fear predators or kill prey – and yet they instinctively hold on to this behavior. According to Dusty Rainbolt, that’s a good sign: it shows that your cat is comfortable using its litter box.
On the other hand, if the loo is in a noisy place, next to the food bowl, if it is too big or is shared by other cats, your cat may sometimes refuse to use the litter box or suddenly stop hiding its business under cat litter.
Then it’s important to watch the kitty and find the exact reason – and change the circumstances. Because if your cat doesn’t go to the litter box anymore, it is guaranteed to look for another place. And very few cat parents should be happy about that.