Why Does my Cat Play With His Poop?
Hidden cat l Mikhail Vasilyev
The cat is a mischievous, malicious and playful animal: a piece of string or a cork is often enough to keep him entertained for a while. But, sometimes, some owners are surprised: the toy that drives the cat crazy is its own poop. Is it normal for an animal not to be disgusted by excrement? Why does he do that? What can we do to stop playing with his poop?
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The eliminative behavior of the cat is a frequent question among cat owners. In this article we will explain why the cat plays with its own excrement: what are the normal behaviors and how this type of behavior can appear.
The eliminative behavior of the cat
It is known that the cat can be very careful with its toilet. Its eliminative behavior is very structured, and appears very soon in the kitten. In fact, recently weaned, the kitten spontaneously develops the behaviors linked to their needs.
The cat will surely look quiet areas and where you feel safe, with some characteristics that cats love: they have to be absorbent and then can cover with their legs. This makes the cat go often, even without being taught, made his litter box (when he does not go outside). But sometimes, the thing changes (a flowerpot, the sofa, the shoes …), although Normally the cat is pretty clean, according to our criteria.
However, not all cats dominate the "coating" effectively. Innate behavior consists in digging around your needs, but it also happens that you do not dig in the right place and that the feces remain in sight.
Except in those moments, the cat has a tendency to avoid the areas in which it makes its needs. It does not have the same "disgust" that we do with excrement, but neither is it like the dog, which tends to be attracted to the smell (to the point of getting to eat it …).
The cat is, therefore, more delicate than the dog, but still an animal and will not identify the excrement as a dirty thing. Once the poop dries up and loses its smell, you can see it like a stone and use it to play without experiencing any disgust.
The cat: an opportunistic player who never loses a chance
When we want to understand the cat, to know what we want to "say, it is necessary to take into account a preconceived and erroneous idea about them: They are not lazy animals. Although they often have a calm and apparently not very active behavior, the cat is actually active throughout the day.
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This is due to their way of feeding: in nature, it is the small dams that make up their diet. And it takes the equivalent of 12 mice to feed a cat in a day. This makes you spend the day looking, since you wake up. Hunting is, in effect, the main behavior of the cat.
At home, the cat finds the comiza in its bowl, almost always without having looked for it. It is the game that occupies the cat and, therefore, will not lose the opportunity to jump on a small object that moves.
Hence the expression of opportunistic player: unlike the dog, which hunts in a pack and is able to track its prey, the cat will hunt rather on the lookout. He expects a prey to appear near him to jump at once, and the persecutions, if they take place, do not last long. And, above all, the smallest object that passes through his field of vision can quickly become attractive to him.
A pen, a ball of paper, toys for the cat, a piece of string: everything can be a toy for him although each cat quickly develops its habits and preferences.
But as we have said before, a poop imitates perfectly a ball (light, solid, rolling) and that does not produce rejection in the cat, it will represent for him the characteristics of a toy.
Cleaning the cat: how a poop becomes a toy
The cat quickly goes to select the toys with the most fun, and will tend to ignore the rest. To the annoyance of the owners who buy many toys, the cat has a tendency to ignore a large part.
But playing with your excrement is a habit that can start from the beginning. An adult cat that already has his favorite toys, has little risk of starting to play with his poop.
On the contrary, it is very common to see kittens play with their droppings. When they are small, curious and explorers, and all the behaviors related to hunting described above intensify when the cat is small. Everything that is small and moves will make you passionate for long moments.
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Most cats will abandon this toy in favor of others, but some prolong this behavior throughout their adult life.
What to do so that my cat does not play with his poop?
It is difficult to limit your cat's access to its litter box (it would not be very good for him and we run the risk that he will relieve himself outside). It is also not advisable to scold him, because he will associate reprimand with your presence, and the cat knows how to identify the moments when you are not ready to do what he wants and avoid punishment. This will only worsen the relationship between the two.
The best solution is simply to I can not get the poop out of the sandbox. There are boxes with higher walls or from which the cat can exit through an opening in the upper part. On the contrary, it is impossible for him to get the poop out of there.
Do not forget to give him, in return, toys that are equivalent and that he can use. It is important to provide activity to your cat, which corresponds to your needs.
Written by: Dr Stéphane Tardif
Veterinarian and editor for Wamiz
Read also: We dismantle all the myths and prejudices about cats!