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Do Cats Like Privacy When They Poop? What Do They Prefer?

Cats may not value your privacy, especially when you’re just trying to sneak off to the bathroom. Maybe you don’t mind the four paws following you to the bathroom and having another living being watching you do your business while they rub up against your legs. But would they be as open to this behavior if the shoe were on the other foot?

Different cats have different preferences, and our precious little pets can be difficult little creatures to pin down. Knowing the natural behaviors of domesticated cats can be quite helpful for owners in understanding the reasons why they do the things they do. Here we will discuss a cat’s natural desire for privacy when pooping and take a further look into what they prefer.

divider-catclaw1Do Cats Prefer Pooping in Private?

Cats most certainly prefer privacy when relieving themselves. While their reasons for wanting privacy don’t quite line up with our privacy preferences, this is a completely natural behavior that owners should be aware of so that they can make their kitty’s bathroom usage as comfortable and accommodating as possible.

cat pooping outside
Image Credit: AjayTvm, Shutterstock

Instinct

While it’s easy to look at dogs and cats as being on the same level when it comes to domestication, that’s inaccurate. The domestication of dogs can be traced back at least 14,000 years ago, though some argue it could be up to 40,000 years. Cats may have lived alongside humans for thousands of years, but they were domesticated much later and have a much stronger link to their wild ancestry.

Cats may be fierce little predators, but they can also fall prey to much larger predators in the wild. They must always remain alert and be ready for any potential threats to their life or territory. They value privacy when going to the bathroom to protect themselves. Squatting to eliminate waste leaves them open and vulnerable, which is why they have a natural desire to sneak away quietly and use the bathroom unnoticed.

What Do Cats Prefer?

While outdoor cats will search for the most comfortable place to relieve themselves, indoor cats are dependent on where you choose to place the litter box and the type of litter box you’re using.

Elimination issues are one of the most common behavioral problems that cat owners seek help for. In some cases, it’s due to human litter box preferences not quite lining up with the cat’s preferences.  These issues can be prevented if you have an idea of what your kitty prefers.

It is important to always reach out to your veterinarian if your cat begins experiencing issues with going outside the litter box, as it could be due to any underlying health issue and it’s best to rule that out as a possibility first.

cat pooping
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Litter Box Location

The location of the litter box is very important when it comes to keeping your cat comfortable.  It is highly recommended that you find a quiet place in the home that is easily accessible, but free from heavy foot traffic.

Another thing to keep in mind is to ensure the litter box is nowhere near loud appliances like washers, dryers, or dishwashers. These loud noises could scare your cat and make them feel uncomfortable as they are trying to go to the bathroom.

If your cat does not feel safe and secure, it may lead them to try and find another location in the house to relieve themselves regardless of where the litter box is placed. This isn’t to spite you or anything, they simply need to feel safe and free to do their business in private. If they do end up doing their business elsewhere, just clean up the mess using an enzymatic cleaner.

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If you end up having to find a new place for your litter box, make sure you introduce your cat to the new location.

Litter Box Design

The design of the litter box can have just as much of an impact as the location. If you have an uncovered, open litter box that offers them no privacy, this may result in elimination issues. An uncovered box can potentially leave your cat feeling exposed and vulnerable.

Changing the type of litter box, you use has the potential to cause your cat stress. Cats don’t like changes in their environment or routine, so if you swap out one design of litter box for another, this may not sit well with some. A lot of cats can transition with no problem, but others will have much more specific preferences.

While covered litter boxes are typically the way to go when it comes to giving your cat the most privacy, it’s important to keep in mind that not all cats will be comfortable going in a covered box. This truly comes down to your individual cat’s preferences.

cat poop in litterbox
Image Credit: RJ22, Shutterstock

Ensuring Your Cat is Comfortable

The best way to ensure your cat is comfortable from the get-go is finding a quiet, low-traffic area in your home for the litter box that is not only easy to access but convenient for the human live-ins as well. If you have multiple cats, you will need multiple litter boxes. It is recommended to have one litter box per cat plus an additional. Scope out your home and search for the best areas to place the litter boxes.

Having this place picked out before bringing a new kitten home is ideal but even if you have had your cat for years, you can still work to make them more comfortable by moving the box then introducing them to the new location.

If you have a certain type of litter box design that is already working great for your cat, there may be no need to make any changes. If you’re getting a new cat, try opting for a covered box that offers them privacy right from the get-go. Of course, you want to ensure it is the appropriate size considering the size of your cat.

Since litter box design is not one-size-fits-all for cats, it may take some trial and error to figure out what works for both you and your cat.

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Conclusion

Overall, cats much prefer to do their business in private, without any disturbances or unnecessary noises in a place they can feel safe and secure. This is a natural behavior that stems from the need to protect themselves from potential threats in the wild. Thankfully, with a properly placed litter box and a comfortable litter box design, you can have your indoor kitty feeling as safe and comfortable as ever when it’s time to do their business.

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Featured Image Credit: Stefano Garau, Shutterstock

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