It’s not uncommon to see a cat go into the litter box just long enough to pee or poop and then move on with their day. It’s pretty normal for humans to try to do both in one sitting, per se, because it saves time and bathroom trips, as well as leaving you feeling like you don’t need to go again for a little while. Do our cats do the same thing, though? It doesn’t usually seem like they do, but why wouldn’t they? Let’s talk about the instincts that drive how cats go potty, and some medical issues to keep in mind.
Do Cats Pee and Poop at the Same Time?
Cats are unlikely to attempt to poop while they are peeing. They’re also not likely to attempt to pee and poop during the same litter box trip.
In the wild, cats don’t typically pee and poop in the same places. This is because peeing can be used to mark territory and communicate with other cats through pheromones, indicating sexual receptivity. Pooping, on the other hand, is not generally used as a form of communication with other cats. It can notify prey of the presence of the cat, and it can lead predators to find a cat. This is why cats instinctually cover up their poop but may not do so with pee.
Will My Cat Use the Same Litter Box to Pee and Poop?
While most cats won’t pee and poop during the same litter box trip, many people don’t realize that some cats don’t like to pee and poop in the same place at all. This is why it’s generally recommended to keep a litter box per cat, plus one extra. This means that you should have two litter boxes, at minimum, for one cat, three boxes for two cats, and so on.
If you have too few litter boxes for the number of cats in your home and you aren’t emptying the boxes frequently enough for the liking of your cat or cats, then you may end up with a cat that chooses to use the litter box for either peeing or pooping, and doing the opposite elsewhere in the house. Improper litter box maintenance or having too few litter boxes for the number of cats in the home are both common causes of inappropriate peeing or pooping in the home.
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Important Medical Considerations
While a cat will not normally pee and poop at the same time, some medical issues such as infectious diarrhea or urinary or fecal incontinence can cause this unusual scenario. When a cat is suffering from these medical issues, it is not able to control its urination or defecation.
Infectious diarrhea can be caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites, and even fungus. There are many possible causes for incontinence. From infections to obstructions, inflammatory conditions, stress-related or even neurological issues. It is possible that the straining needed to voluntarily induce either one can cause the other to also be excreted involuntary. If you suspect your cat suffers from infectious diarrhea or incontinence, please bring it to the veterinarian to find the root cause of the issue and evaluate the possible treatments.
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Cats are perfectly capable of peeing and pooping in the same trip to the litter box, but they are unlikely to do so. This is because their instincts tell them that peeing and pooping in the same place on the same trip isn’t the right thing to do. In the wild, doing the wrong thing in the wrong place can make hunting more difficult or endanger the cat by alerting larger predators to their presence. For cats, carefully choosing where they pee or poop can be the difference between life and death, so they try to be very selective.