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Why does my cat get the “zoomies” after pooping?

 by ben on 03 May 2019 |
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Cats are well-known for their strange behaviors and for some, this includes a case of the “zoomies” after using the litter box.

Cats are famous for their bizarre behavior and in some cases, this extends to Kitty’s peculiar bathroom habits. While animals are known to run around energetically when they get excited—a phenomenon affectionately known as “zoomies”—some cats also do this after a trip to the litter box. This has led animal behaviorists to investigate what, exactly, causes some cats to make a mad dash after they poop.

In the wild, predators often rely on their sense of smell to track prey, leading some researchers to theorize that sprinting after using the litter box is part of your pet’s survival instinct. This makes sense, as Kitty’s stink could alert nearby hunters that prey is near. In running from the litter box, then, your pet may be trying to distance himself from his waste and the accompanying danger it may put him in. This theory might also explain why many cats bury their waste—but it’s not the only possible explanation for Kitty’s litter box conduct.

Some theorists look to developmental explanations for the mad dash cats make from the litter box. As kittens, our pets are accustomed to being cleaned by their mothers, which includes their rear ends. As cats mature into self-sufficient felines, however, they no longer need their mothers’ care. This has caused some behaviorists to theorize that cats run from the litterbox to express their independence and that they no longer need their mothers to clean and care for them.
Still, others believe there is a physiological explanation for cats’ uncanny litter box conduct. Like humans, they have a vagus nerve that runs from their brains to their abdomen. According to this theory, stimulating the vagus nerve can lead to a sense of exhilaration called “poo-phoria” and zoomies are just your pet’s way of reacting to this rush of energy.

Like any rapid behavioral change, zoomies can also signal that something’s wrong with your pet. Some veterinarians believe that running from his waste can be a sign your cat is experiencing intestinal distress and attempting to escape from the source of the problem as fast as possible. If you notice your pet struggling to go use the bathroom, take him to the vet for a check-up to get to the source of the problem. If your cat has always engaged in a post-litter box lap, however, this is likely nothing to worry about, regardless of what causes Kitty’s zoomies.


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