Have you ever noticed your cat flying out of the litter box after pooing as if propelled by rocket fuel? Does your cat regularly take a ‘victory lap’ around the room after relieving themselves? Cats are known for their quirky habits and mysterious ways, but this may be the oddest feline behaviour yet!
It may not come as a surprise that the underlying reason for these shenanigans is, as yet, unknown, although there are plenty of theories. In this blog we take a look at some proposed reasons for cats who get the zoomies after having a poo. There are multitude of theories that have been put forth, ranging from the understandable to the more outlandish. But we’ll leave it up to you to decide as to which reasons for the post-poo victory lap are the most likely to be true!
If your cat rushes away from the litter box after toileting, it could be that they are experiencing some pain or discomfort and wish to get away from the source of the pain as quickly as possible. Inflammatory conditions of the urinary tract or gastrointestinal system such as cystitis, colitis and inflammatory bowel disease can all cause discomfort when toileting which can be stressful for your cat. Constipation can also cause cats to become anxious about toileting; which may make them want to flee the ‘danger area’ as soon as they can. This stress can also activate the cat’s ‘flight or fight’ adrenaline response, meaning their exit is extremely agitated.
If your cat has suddenly started rushing out of the litter box, it may be worth checking their litter box deposits for any signs that something is off with their toileting; a change in poo consistency or colour, or any signs of blood or mucus in the urine or faeces. Check in on their appetite, thirst and general demeanour as well, for subtle signs that something might be wrong. Taking your cat along to your vet for a check-up if you are at all concerned is always a good first step.
The domestic cats we pamper in our homes today are descended from wild cats, living in the African savannah. These cats were middle of the food chain, predating on smaller mammals and birds but at risk from larger mammals. Cats use scent as a major form of communication. One theory about these poo related zoomies is that cats are trying to put as much distance between themselves and their revealing, smelly deposits as possible. There is not any evidence to back this up. And feral cats have not been observed rushing away from their toileting areas. Some cats do cover their poo, however, which may be related to this innate survival instinct.
Another interesting theory about the zoomies is that this high octane, intense burst of activity is stimulated by a euphoria-type feeling. Cats (and people!) have a nerve called the vagus nerve; which runs right from the brain all the way to the colon. It has been hypothesised that passing a large deposit of faeces may stimulate this nerve. This causes a momentary ‘high’, a euphoric rush of feeling that your cat may then act upon by zooming around in a frenzy.
Cats are generally fastidious creatures who keep themselves scrupulously clean, prefer to relieve themselves in private and often even bury their poo. It is hypothesised that cats dislike being in a litter tray once it has been soiled. So they shoot out like their paws are on fire to get themselves out of the smelly situation as quickly as they can. This might explain why indoor cats using litter trays seem more prone to this behaviour than cats who defecate outside. But it still does seem somewhat of an extreme reaction to the perfectly normal and natural event of toileting.
It’s over to you – what do you think? Does your cat zoom around your house like they have wings instead of paws after they do a poo? Do you agree with any of our thoughts on why this may be?
If your cat always zooms around after doing their business and seems otherwise well with normal motions and urine, it is probably just one of those cat things to laugh about or sigh about depending on your mood at the time; and whether their frenzied dash knocks anything over! If, however, your cat has suddenly started this behaviour; seems agitated when toileting; or has any changes to their stools or urine, it may be worth a vet check to rule out any medical cause. Discomfort and pain can be displayed in lots of different ways by our feline friends. Some of which are very subtle… so if there’s any doubt, get them checked out!
Let us know whether your cat is a zoomies fan, and give us your thoughts on why this may be!