Arriving home from work one day, I had what I can only call a bad case of deja poo. I was at my wit’s end – it seemed useless to train my kitto to use the litter box! “My cat plays with poop,” I faced reality. And enough was enough.
This time I decided to do my research and finally end this habit of hers. She can’t be doing this. Sometimes I feel like she’d be ashamed I caught her, but other times, she wouldn’t even seem bothered. My cat plays with poop and I hate it!
That’s my confession and my yellowish little demon, Luci, is as guilty as charged. I couldn’t handle it anymore. She’d take poop out of the litter box and it would get everywhere! Honestly, I got tired of cleaning afterward. I know I signed up for every inconvenience that may show up once I adopted her, but…
Anyways, time to find out how to stop this stinky habit. Do you want to join me?
Is it normal that my cat plays with poop?
Nobody says it isn’t, so I guess the final answer is yes. I guess I’m a bit relieved because it means there’s nothing wrong with my Luci – there are other cats that do this too.
If your furbaby is also playing with poop, it’s okay. Don’t panic. Even though we’re all too familiar with cats covering their poop, we may not know why. There are a couple of reasons felines bury their feces, the first one being to hide from predators.
The other reason is that they don’t want to mark territory as theirs if there’s another, dominant cat. This way, your new fella shows your long-time furry friend that he’s not a threat. On the other hand, the more superior cat likes to leave his poop uncovered.
That said, most domestic cats learned to do this and it became a habit. So, why is yours not burying her excrement? Well, maybe you never trained her to do so, or she didn’t spend enough time with her parents to learn from them.
Be that as it may, yes, it’s completely normal for your kitty to play with her poop. Are you wondering why, though? Time to find out.
Why does my cat play with her poop?
By now you’ve learned that it’s not so unusual that your cat plays with poop, but the question is why. Truth be told, the answers may surprise you. I bet you’re ready to hear them all and finally do something about it!
1. Kittens mostly do this
Believe it or not, kittens are the most common culprits of playing with their poop. Don’t get me wrong, some adult cats do it as well, but it’s not so common. I’ve mentioned earlier that cats don’t cover their feces because they haven’t learned how to, and the same goes for this. They don’t know that it’s not a toy.
Your cat plays with poop when it’s hard because it has an interesting shape, and it’s lightweight. That’s why she can toss it, roll it around (initiating the chase!) and have fun while doing so.
By nature, kittens are more curious and playful than adult felines. They’ll explore everything in their surroundings. Don’t be surprised if she steps in her poo and smears it around. It takes some time for them to learn how to bury their excrement properly.
2. She’s bored
Did you leave her home alone for longer than usual? You probably forgot to take out her toys from her box and your cat had no other option than to play with her poop. Shame on you, human! If your furbaby is bored, she’ll definitely find a way to entertain herself.
Maybe you still didn’t get her enough toys so she can have fun, with or without you. You should be the one embarrassed, not your kitty. Run to the closest pet shop and get her something to play with.
Adult cats will never opt to play with their feces when they have enough interesting items to entertain them. They’ll be happy with a feather-toy, or even something as simple as a stuffed mouse.
3. Her litter box is not clean
I’m afraid this one is on you, too. If your cat plays with poop, it could mean that her litter box is not clean. That little rebel is kind of protesting by fouling your habitat too. Don’t find excuses, clean her “toilet” more regularly.
She may even avoid her litter box altogether. Even though you’re changing the litter, it may stink. So, if your cat is acting weird and she plays with poop often, make sure you clean the box thoroughly.
Cats’ noses are really sensitive and perhaps you can’t smell her pee, but she’s not going to walk anywhere around her litter box. Make sure it doesn’t have any particular scent since they (mostly) don’t like the fragrance of cleaning products either.
4. Your furbaby doesn’t like the litter box shape
Yup, this can be the case too. If she doesn’t like her litter box shape, you may see your cat playing with her poop. Follow her around when she needs to “go potty.” Does she head for the litter box or simply decide to poop elsewhere?
If you nodded or even loudly answered YES, then you know what to do. Take a trip to the pet shop and find another shape. This may be a bit tricky task since nobody can guarantee she’ll like the litter in a circle or triangle shape more. So, experiment.
There are multiple reasons a particular model bothers her, and if you crack her code, congrats!
5. She likes the smell
Okay, (finally) time to blame your cat because she plays with poop. We’ve been mentioning earlier how cats can pick up on scents way better than we do. Well, this may sound weird to you, but she may like the smell of her poop.
Perhaps, there’s an underlying scent that you simply can’t pick up, but she actually enjoys it. It’s possible that there are some undigested proteins in her feces that make her curious and she doesn’t want to simply leave it in her litter box.
However, don’t let your cat play with poop because even though it’s not messy right now and it may even be a comical phenomenon for you, you don’t want her to keep doing it. Try to prevent it on time with these tips.
How to prevent my cat from playing with her poop?
Okay, so we’ve discovered all the reasons why cats play with their poop, but since it’s a gross habit, we have to learn how to stop it, right? Here are some techniques people swear by. I’ve tried out all of them, including the catnip, and they worked.
You may not need to experiment with all five ideas, but I simply wanted to make sure it won’t happen again. I really hated cleaning Luci’s poop from my floor. How she somehow managed to cover every inch of it is beyond me!
1. Replace the type of litter or add more
The first thing I did was add a bit more of the litter I was using to fill her box. Apparently, cats tend to play with their poop if they can’t cover it. I highly doubted that was the case with Luci, but I gave it a try.
When this didn’t work out, I completely changed the litter I was buying. Some people advised that I should try out a litter substitute, but I chose not to. So I changed the brand and did the next step right after.
2. Change the location of her litter box
Apparently, if she doesn’t like the place where her litter box is, your cat will play with her poop as a sign of protest. Fascinating, huh?
For this reason, I decided to take her box from the corner of the room outside to the terrace. Since her bowls for food and water are in the corner of my living room, this option was the best. And it seems like she’s loving it!
3. Buy her toys
Another thing I immediately did was buy her a bunch of new toys. She had quite the collection, but it seems like it’s never enough. This time I chose a lot of interactive toys, and now she spends hours rolling that ball in a tower of tracks.
Also, I got a little laser toy and she sometimes brings it to me so we can play together. I swear, there’s nothing as entertaining as your furbaby trying to catch something and failing! All those funny videos of cats chasing the laser ray finally started making sense.
4. Spend more time with your feline
This is one thing I didn’t really have to improve upon, but it always gets tricky when I have to leave for work in the morning. That’s why toys help a lot! I let her play with puzzlements pockets mostly and lock her in the apartment.
But then once I get back home, I give her all the love she deserves. Also, I’m now more careful when it comes to business trips as well. I carefully pick a person to take care of her while I’m away and try to make our separations as short as possible.
5. Give her catnip
If I’m being honest, I’d been extremely curious about catnip. I had never given it to her before, so I was a bit cautious of her reaction. She had rubbed her face on celery leaves a couple of times and it was absolutely adorable how she behaved. (In case you missed it, this has a similar effect as catnip).
So, when I found these in one of the cities I was traveling to, I decided to give it a try. Place it around the house, outside of her litter box, and watch your feline enjoy herself. These small balls smell enticing to her – and put her on a bit of a kitty-high!
The positive thing, she’ll forget about her poop-playing days completely.
If your cat plays with poop, it’s nothing to worry about. Yes, it’s a weird habit of these little angels, but you can help her kick it. In this article, we’ve covered the most common reasons cats play with their poop, the first being that they are little and have no idea what are they actually doing.
Another thing was that they are bored at home, or that something’s off with their litter box, so pay attention to that. Dedicate more time to your furbaby, play with her, or simply have some quiet pet-owner moments.
Change the amount of litter or the whole box – who knows what bothers her there. The last one is something we can hardly accept, but kitties sometimes like the smell of their poop and its shape and texture are interesting to them, so that’s why they roll it around.
In the end, we went through possible solutions to this problem, and hopefully, they will be useful for you too! All things considered, you have to pay attention to your feline’s needs and listen to what she has to say. Because little miss purrfect knows what’s the best for her, right?