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Cat doesn’t cover her feces in the litter box

Why do cats not cover their feces?

Our question this week was:

My Bombay cat, who has lived indoors her whole life, doesn’t cover her feces…ever. Is that normal? BOY does it smell up the whole house. I worry that if she steps on it in future bathroom visits that she will then track it through the house. I have two children under two and they are always down on the floor. I love my cat, but things like ringworm and E-coli freak me out! Suggestions?

Shelly Hussenfuss


Hi – thanks for your email. Defecation is one way many cats will mark territory and assert dominance. It can act as a way to communicate social and reproductive signals to other members of the same species.

So…this behavior is normal in some cats. If this is the only thing your cat does to assert his dominance, consider your self lucky. Some cats will urinate outside of the litter box to mark territory which is very difficult to deal with as a cat owner.

I’d be reluctant to do anything major to change this behavior. I’d be afraid if you do any discipline or training of your cat in the box, it will cause litter box aversion (which you DON’T WANT!)

If she is indoor only, in good health, and receives routine vet visits – I wouldn’t expect her to transmit disease by tracking through it during other bathroom visits. If you think about it – any cat (whether they cover their feces or not) can potentially spread any “fecal” germs all the time. For example, when they groom themselves after their bowel movements and groom themselves, there could be potential contamination with their skin or fur when you pet them. In my experience, the risk is very small and not something I worry about.

It is always recommended that everyone in your home wash their hands after any contact with feces.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

P.S. Another thought – some foods can be digested slightly differently by different cats. You could consider changing the diet to another high quality premium cat food (such as Hill’s Science Diet) formulated to meet your cat’s life stage and needs. Make sure the food change is gradual. Some foods can create less “smelly” feces.

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We hope this gives you more information why some cats don’t cover their feces (also known as poop)