Do Big Cats Bury Their Poop?
Reader David from Florida writes to ask: “Do wild cats bury their excrement like domestic cats?”
If you’re a regular reader, you know that lions, tigers, and other big wild cats love cardboard boxes, catnip, and unraveling rolls of toilet paper just as much as their smaller, domestic counterparts do. They also share some of the same bathroom behavior.
Cat poop might just smell like cat poop to the human nose, and the scent can get lost in the mix of smells in a jungle or forest, but the glandular secretions in feces convey plenty of information to other felines and can make a cat’s presence known to other animals with strong senses of smell. Wild felids often bury their poop within the core of their home range so they don’t attract attention from other cats or predators, but will leave it exposed at the edges of the range or between ranges either to mark their territory or because they’re less concerned with hiding their presence.
In a house with no wild predators or territorial disputes, domestic cats usually bury their poop anyway because of instinct, unless they’re ill or confused about the social pecking order (but what cat doesn't think they're in charge of the house?).
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