The website “The Dodo” states in an article that the domestic cat goes bonkers after defecating. I have never seen it. In fact I don’t remember seeing any article about it until reading the Dodo article. Apparently, the behaviour is called the “zooms” or post-poop freak-outs.
How common is it and what might be causing it? I’d say that it is very uncommon and certainly less common than the Dodo article implies. Perhaps occasionally some cats might have a habit of running out of the cat litter after a poop. I don’t believe that there is an authoritative answer to the reason behind this behaviour but the best answer is that the cat feels better after a poop and is energised 😉 .
On occasion the reason for this behavior may be linked to specific events occurring at the time and place where the cat pooped as opposed to it being a “domestic cat behaviour trait”.
So, for example, a young cat might be playing with another cat. He fancies a poop and does it. While he is in the playing mood he races out of the litter tray and perhaps back to his buddy to continue playing.
Sometimes, in multicat households, the litter tray is an area of competition. There may be too few trays so cats have to compete for them. A cat who is bullied by another may feel the need to clear off quickly after pooping.
Or the household may be intimidatory for the cat and he hides a lot so when he poops he moves away from the area quickly afterward.
This form of feline behavior may simply be a version of the “cat crazies“. Occasionally cats become very active perhaps out of boredom and pooping gives the cat a prompt to go crazy for a while because he feels more comfortable.
The Dodo author speculates that the cause is the need for the defecating cat to run away from the his poop as an act of survival to avoid a predator associating the poop to the cat. I am sure that this is incorrect. Wild cats poop as a marking behaviour to tell others the boundaries of their territory; for the same reason they scratch the ground or trees and urinate (spray). Marking territory in this way does not square up with the Dodo theory, which I declare dead (get the pun 🙂 ?)
Other theories put forward by the same author are:
- The behaviour is a sign of discomfort while pooping. I don’t believe that that stacks up with running frenetically after pooping.
- Cats gain some energy after pooping. This does not sound correct either.
- Cats can’t stand the smell of their own poop! Nope, that’s wrong too.
- Another theory is that after a poop cats feel better which stimulates greater activity (as mentioned above). Dr. Sheth calls it “poo-phoria”. I like that terminology. As for the theory it is the best of the lot. It certainly sounds plausible from a common sense standpoint, if this behavior is a domestic cat trait as opposed to a reaction to specific circumstances.
Have you seen this behaviour in your cat and if so do you have your own theory as to the reasons behind it?