If you have ever owned a cat, chances are you’ve glanced over at the litter box and wondered, “Why do cats bury their turds?”
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.
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 in order to hide their tell-tale scent.
The Cat: Its Behavior, Nutrition, and Health informs us that most free-living cats bury their turds near their nesting sites, or within their home range. However, normally, 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 are leaving a territorial mark on that area. Burying the feces within their home area, meanwhile, fulfills their hygienic instincts.
According to The Cat Care Book, tame kittens learn to use a litter box by watching the mama cat using it. When you choose a kitten as your house pet, you should train it to use a litter box. Usually, she will jump right in the box, do her job, bury it and exit. If kitty misses the box, simply pick the stool 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.
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 owners out there — be proud! Think of all the other pets you could have chosen, who would not have cared where they pooped.
The simplest answer to the question “Why do cats bury their turds?” is, they don’t want to ruin their clean reputation.