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Why Does My Cat Play With Poop? 5 Possible Reasons

Misty Layne Profile Picture

By Misty Layne

cat playing with poop

Our pets can do some pretty odd things sometimes. Whether it’s jumping at shadows or playing with poop, animals are always doing highly entertaining (or super gross) stuff. And while you might think that canines are the only ones to play with poop, felines actually do this too. But why?

If you’ve seen your cat playing with poop, then your second thought (after the first thought of “Ewww”) was likely “Why is my cat playing with poop?”. Well, there are a few reasons this could happen, and there are ways to get your cat to stop doing it. Here’s what you should know about cats and why they play with poop!

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The 5 Reasons Your Cat May Play with Poop

1. Your cat is a kitten.

Most often, a cat that plays with poop will be a kitten. This isn’t always the case, and there’s nothing wrong with your pet if they’re an adult cat doing this (so don’t worry!). But most of the time, kittens are the ones batting around poop and chasing it after it. This makes sense because kittens are still growing and learning, and they’re some of the most curious creatures around. Of course, they’d decide to try to figure out what poop is all about! As gross as this habit may be, they’ll likely grow out of it, and in the meantime, you can try directing their attention to actual toys instead.

kitten playing inside litter box
Photo credit: Natalia Kokhanova, Shutterstock

2. The cat doesn’t have enough toys.

Cats love to play, and if they don’t have enough toys that stimulate them and keep them entertained, then they’ll create their own entertainment! This is one of the most common reasons for felines to play with poop. The solution is simple enough: just get your kitty more toys (and maybe throw in a few that are interactive, so they’ll have a challenge). If buying toys is out of the question, you can still keep the cat entertained. Cats love playing with the most common household items, so toss your pet some cardboard tubes once the toilet paper has run out or set up a maze of boxes for your pet. You can even DIY toys for your favorite feline with very little trouble.


3. Your cat likes the smell of poop.

Pretty gross, we know, but some cats just like how poop smells, which leads them to play with it. Felines have far superior olfactory senses compared to us, so they can smell much more than a human. There may be something in the poop that smells intriguing or even delicious to them (even if it isn’t something we can smell). If you think your pet is simply enjoying the smell of their poop, try putting a bit more litter in the box; if they have more litter to cover their waste up with, the less they’ll be able to smell it.

cat burying poop in the litter box
Photo Credit: Mikhail Olykainen, Shutterstock

4. The cat might dislike their litter box.

Felines can be picky about any number of things, and one of those things may be their litter box. If your pet doesn’t like the shape of the box, the size, or even the location, they might be engaging in a bit of rebellion by playing with their poop. Luckily, this should be fairly easy to rectify, as you can try a different litter box out or move the box to a different spot in the home. If doing these things doesn’t get your pet to stop playing with their poop, there could be another reason they’re engaging with it.


5. The litter box isn’t clean enough.

Cats are known for being clean, so when the litter box doesn’t meet their high standards of cleanliness, they can act out in various ways to show their displeasure. You may see your pet going to the bathroom outside of the litter box, or you may see them playing with their poop. Either way, kitty is sending a message that the litter box needs to be cleaner than it currently is. You may need to do a complete, thorough cleaning of the box if this happens.

kitten on cat litter box
Photo Credit: Sharaf Maksumov, Shutterstock

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How Can I Keep My Cat From Playing With Poop?

Now that you know the reasons your cat is likely playing with their poop, you probably want to know how to get them to stop doing it. We covered a few ways to do that above since the remedy to the issue sometimes depends on the reason, but there are other things you can do that will help keep your pet from engaging in a nasty habit.

Try out a new litter.

Trying out a new type of litter may help cover the smell of poop more, so your pet is less interested in getting their paws on it. You may want to try out a litter that has baking soda (or contains something similar) that helps mask odors more. Just be aware when you’re doing this that kitties can be picky about litter, so you might have to try a few options before you find a litter that suits you both.

Scoop the poop immediately.

Another way to keep your cat from playing with their poop is to scoop the litter box out immediately after they use it. This one is a little harder to accomplish since you aren’t always around when your cat uses their litter box, but for the times you are home, doing this can help.

Spend more time with your cat.

The more time you spend with your favorite feline, the less time they have to go after their poop! Plus, spending time with your cat means the two of you get to have solid bonding time together.

Girl playing with her cat
Photo Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

It’s a bit gross when you find your cat playing with their poop, but there are reasons why they’re engaging in that particular activity. Your kitty may be bored due to a lack of toys, or they might have an issue with their litter box. They may also still just be an incredibly inquisitive kitten! Once you have an idea of what the reason is for them playing with poop, you should be able to rectify the issue.

But don’t be concerned if you find your kitty playing with their poop; this is normal feline behavior, and it doesn’t mean anything is wrong with your pet!


Featured Image Credit: Natalia Kokhanova, Shutterstock

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