Ever watch in awe while your cat carefully covers up her fresh poop with litter?
Maybe you’ve even wondered a time or two why she does that funny behavior.
Luckily, today you’ll get your answer.
“Covering their own feces is something that kittens generally learn from their mothers, and it’s thought that the primary reason for this practice is based in survival.” Dr. Marci K. Koski, a certified feline behavior and training consultant at Feline Behavior Solutions in Vancouver, told The Dodo.
Since our cats’ ancestors were prey to bigger wild animals, they would bury their waste so it wouldn’t reveal their location to predators — and domestic cats mimic this instinctual behavior, even though they’re safe in a warm and loving home.
But that might not be the whole story.
Some people have a slightly different theory as to why some cats cover their poop. “It’s also thought that sometimes less confident cats will bury their waste as a signal to other cats in the area (or home) that they are not a threat,” Dr. Koski said.
“I personally think that burying poops is more about an instinct to avoid drawing the attention of predators, but cats are also known to be fastidiously clean,” Dr. Koski said. “And because they have such sensitive noses, unburied poops might not be the most pleasant smell!”
(Your dog, on the other hand, might find it a bit more exciting.)