Why Does My Cat Run Around After Pooping?

Dogs notoriously have all sorts of weird rituals around pooping, but they're not alone in their weirdness. Cats, though they try to pretend they're the more dignified pet species, have their own set of pooping quirks. Chief among them is the habit (in some cats, not all) of going slightly nuts after pooping in their litter box.

crazy white cat
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Many cat owners report that their cat sprints out of the litter box after defecating. Why do some cats do this?

Like with so many animal behaviors, we don't have a concrete answer, but experts have several theories.

They experience "poo-phoria": The simplest explanation is that cats, like so many of us in the animal kingdom, simply feel good after pooping. Humans and cats both have a vagus nerve, which is stimulated by defecation. Cats may feel energized by the stimulation of this nerve, and may feel a desire to burn that energy by taking part in one of their favorite activities: running around the house.

They're celebrating their independence: After defecating, kittens typically get their rear ends licked clean by their mother. (Gross, but kind of cute.) Some veterinarians theorize that by running or jumping in the air after pooping, adult cats are celebrating or showing off their independence. They can clean their own butts now, and they're very proud. Great job, cats!

Kitten stands with her paws up.
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They're trying to avoid predators: In the wild, cats generally bury their poop, most likely to mask their scent and throw predators of their trail. By bolting away from the litter box after pooping, cats might be trying to increase their chances of survival by distancing themselves from their droppings as quickly as possible, thus making it harder for predators to find them. However, research has shown that cats do not typically run away from their waste in the wild, so this theory may not hold as much water as the others.

They're cleaning themselves off: Another explanation is that cats are clean creatures, and they simply want to rid themselves of excess litter or fecal matter. Jumping and running right after being in the litter box would help to shake off anything sticking to their feet or any other parts of them, so it may be that it just helps your cat feel extra clean.

Does your cat go crazy after using the litter box?