March 2013 Issue

Why Do They Cover/Uncover the Litter Box?

This occasional series explores the reasons for cats’ often intriguing behavior. If you would like to suggest a topic, please write CatWatch Editor, 800 Connecticut Ave., Norwalk, CT 06854, or email One of the enduring mysteries of cats’ behavior is why they cover their feces after eliminating. One theory is that they’re trying to hide their presence from predators, as cats in the wild are believed to do, but no studies support that idea. Another suggests that the behavior is an indication of cats’ fastidiousness, but that doesn’t explain fastidious cats who leave urine or feces uncovered. The real answers are far more complicated.

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