Lately, has your cat been acting strange after she poops? She’ll meow loudly and run manically around the house for a few minutes, bouncing off walls, and skidding across the floor before calming down. You might be unsure what’s causing this behavior, and it’s worrying you. It is hilarious, but could something actually be wrong with your cat?
If your cat is suddenly running around like a maniac and seems to be in a state of euphoria, it is a real phenomenon commonly known as a “poop zoomie.”
While it may seem strange to us, zoomies are perfectly normal for cats. There are several reasons they might get the zoomies. Read on to learn more!
What Are the Zoomies?
So, what are the zoomies? Basically, they’re a burst of energy that happens when cats are relieved of something that’s been bothering them, like a full bladder or bowels. It’s sort of like our version of feeling lighter and more relieved after taking a big poop.
While the zoomies can be a little startling (especially if you’re not expecting it), there’s no need to worry. Your cat is just expressing themselves in the best way they know how—by running around like a crazy person!
There are a few different theories why your cat might get the zoomies, and they may do it every time they go to the litter box, or only occasionally. It is good to know a few reasons why this behavior might be happening.
The Reasons Cats Get Zoomies After Pooping
1. Just Woke Up
Because cats tend to sleep for very long periods of time, they store up vast quantities of excess energy during sleep. A cat who has just woken up may make a quick beeline to the litter box to take care of business and then feel the shock of a burst of energy!
They take off running in a burst of feel-good, just pooped, pent-up energy. Every cat, but especially house cats, need to let out pent-up energy in their own way. Some sleepy cats, especially younger ones, can turn into balls of fire at the drop of a hat as a way to get their bodies and metabolisms moving after long periods of rest.
2. Bad Smell
We all know cats are extremely sensitive to smell. If you put on too much perfume or use a citrus essential oil they will avoid you like the plague. Or if the litter box is too dirty they will refuse to keep using it and relieve themselves elsewhere in the house.
One theory for the poop zoomies is that your cat has just had a particularly stinky poo and in a fit of disgust is rushing away from the box in the hopes of outrunning the smell. This can also be their way of saying, “It wasn’t me!”
If you notice this happening frequently, it might be a good idea to check on the condition of the litter box and your cat’s diet. Perhaps a new food is causing some digestive upset and these are the signals your cat is giving to say that something is not quite right in their tummy.
3. Survival Instincts
Zoomies are a survival instinct that all animals have. When an animal feels threatened, its body releases adrenaline and cortisol, which gives them the energy to either fight or flee the danger. For cats, this often manifests as running around like crazy!
The idea is that the smell of fresh poop is a threat to their survival because in the wild it would have the capacity to attract predators. The instinct is to run as quickly and as far from a poop as possible so as not to be detected by something much bigger and much hungrier than you.
So, if you see your cat sprinting around the house after using the litter box, don’t worry—they’re just trying to stay alive!
This is a favorite theory of many, and perhaps the most understandable. “Poophoria” is a term that has been coined to explain this phenomenon. Joan Morris at The Mercury News explains that the vagus nerve in cats (and humans) runs from the brain to the colon, and the act of going poop can stimulate that nerve and cause some exhilaration.
The vagus nerve is the part of the parasympathetic nervous system that controls body systems like digestion, heart rate, and the immune system. When stimulated or in the reverse, soothed, it can produce effects like high anxiety and nervousness, or on the other hand, joy, openness, and connection.
The relief from a completed poo can stimulate this nerve and cause a burst of euphoric and ecstatic feelings that seed your cat careening around the house and flying off of furniture. It doesn’t last long, usually less than a minute, but it is amusing to watch (that is if your cat doesn’t manage to track cat litter all over the house as they run like crazy).
If your cat is acting strangely after pooping, it may be because they are experiencing zoomies. This is normal behavior for cats and there is no need to be concerned. However, if the behavior persists or is accompanied by other changes in behavior, it is important to consult with your veterinarian.
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