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Why Do Cats Poop When They Are Scared?

You’ve most likely heard of the ‘”flight or combat response,” a typical response to worry the place each people and animals are likely to react in certainly one of two methods to being startled: both working away or preventing again. What cat homeowners is perhaps much less aware of is the idea of defecation as a worry response.

Fast Overview


When cats are scared, their flight or combat response causes short-term shutting down of nonessential capabilities, together with digestion, which might result in evacuation of the bowels.


The scent of poop and anal gland secretions also can deter would-be predators.


Inappropriate toileting can have medical causes in addition to behavioral ones, so an evaluation with a veterinarian is beneficial alongside environmental modification to scale back disturbing stimuli.

A fearful cat may move feces as a consequence of a wide range of causes. Worry brings physiological modifications to the physique, which might embody a lack of bowel management. Moreover, cat may use elimination as a scent warning and to discourage predators.

Learn on for extra about why cats poop when scared, and the way to assist a scared cat.

Worry And The Digestive System

Many mammals, together with cats, poop when their combat or flight response is triggered.

Sure bodily capabilities happen with out us even fascinated by them: our heartbeat, respiratory, metabolism, fluid stability, and physique temperature, to call just a few.

Digestion is certainly one of these capabilities. We really feel starvation and know to eat meals, however our physique digests meals with out us having to consciously management it. These duties are often managed by the parasympathetic nervous system, which retains our our bodies working easily, with out utilizing any psychological vitality.

All of this modifications in a scared animal. Fearful stimuli reminiscent of loud noises, a brand new cat approaching, or a cat journey to the vet elicit a rush of epinephrine (adrenaline), which switches the physique over to its flight or combat response. That is the place the physique switches to utilizing the sympathetic nervous system reasonably than the parasympathetic.

The sympathetic nervous system, when it takes over, shuts down any nonessential capabilities for instant survival. Digestion is, clearly, important, however not within the instant second. All vitality is quickly diverted to the guts, muscle groups, and mind for optimum survival reflexes.

In some cats, this shutting down of digestive capabilities can result in instant emptying of the bladder and bowels. This isn’t only a cat factor both—many different mammals (together with people) can present this response. The abdomen muscle groups tighten, and the bowel and urinary tract chill out and empties, decreasing physique weight for lively flight and relieving the system of the vitality necessities of digestion.

This response, when actually because of the cat’s worry, will likely be instant. The cat will poop wherever it occurs to be when the scary stimulus occurs, they received’t go to the litter field or scratch round for an excellent place to poop, they only go!

Additionally Learn: Cat Digestive System: Anatomy, Illnesses, & Therapy

Deterring Predators

Much like a skunk’s spray, cats may defecate to discourage predators from coming any nearer.

Within the wild, cats are extremely expert predators, however they’re additionally prey. Which means that in addition to their wonderful variations for pursuing prey, additionally they have sure abilities at avoiding being preyed upon. Cat poop, in the event you can imagine it, is perhaps certainly one of these abilities.

Scent is a vastly precious sense within the animal kingdom, and passing a poop when scared is perhaps a helpful a part of the cat’s worry response. Simply as a skunk makes use of a noxious-smelling spray to repel attackers, would-be predators is perhaps delay if their potential meal smells like feces.

This impact may be magnified when a cat releases its anal glands. These small glands are discovered on both aspect of the cat’s anus and produce a foul-smelling liquid. They often empty when the cat poops, because the strain of the feces pushes the substances out of the glands. Cats can use these glands as a part of territorial marking, however additionally they empty when a cat is scared or excited.

Additionally Learn: Do Cats Have A Good Sense Of Scent?

Why Is My Cat So Scared?

New experiences or modifications can typically overwhelm younger kittens in the event that they aren’t correctly launched.

Fearful habits may be triggered by many eventualities. Listed here are some frequent scary conditions for cats:

You will need to try to discover the supply of your cat’s worry, in an effort to assist with decreasing their nervousness. Defecating is usually a signal of stress or worry in cats, however there are lots of different signs, a few of that are extra refined. Some frequent habits issues seen in cats are literally as a consequence of stress or nervousness.

Widespread indicators of worry in cats embody:

Is My Cat Scared-Pooping?

Pooping outdoors the litter field is perhaps associated to worry, however it may also be an indication of a medical subject.

Defecating outdoors of the cat’s litter field is usually a signal of stress or worry, however there are some well being points that may have an effect on your cat’s toileting habits. Constipation is pretty frequent in cats and may result in a change in toileting habits and even incontinence if the colon turns into stretched and broken. Different medical causes for inappropriate elimination embody feline cognitive dysfunction, arthritis, intestinal illness, and meals allergy symptoms.

In case your cat has been passing feces outdoors the litter field or has had a sudden change to their toileting habits, schedule a checkup with a veterinarian to rule out a medical downside and assess your cat for behavioral considerations.

Additionally Learn: How Typically Ought to You Change Cat Litter?

How To Assist A Scared Cat

Ensure your cat has protected and comfy locations to retreat for occasions they’re feeling scared.

All of us need our cats to be wholesome and blissful! When you’re involved about your cat, step one is to make an appointment with a veterinarian. If medical issues are dominated out, you may make some easy modifications to try to optimize your cat’s atmosphere to reduce worry and stress.

Present your cat with a protected house, ideally someplace they’ll retreat to with out different pets or individuals. You may need to get artistic utilizing child gates or cat doorways, or present an elevated mattress—cats like to be up excessive. Make this house as comforting and comfy as you possibly can. In case your cat needs to cover away, allow them to. By no means pursue a scared cat, as they’ll solely really feel extra threatened. Permit them to retreat if they should, and re-emerge in their very own time.

Cats are creatures of behavior, and a set routine may be comforting to them. Attempt to hold habits reminiscent of mealtimes constant, and keep away from any sudden or loud modifications to their atmosphere. Novel objects, individuals, pets, and sounds can all be scary to delicate cats.

Ensure your cat has all of the sources they want. Meals and water are a given, however keep in mind that it’s endorsed to have extra litter trays than you’ve cats, with totally different areas in order that your cat can’t be restricted from their entry to the litter by different pets. Scratching posts, cat bushes, and a number of hiding locations are additionally wonderful enrichment and luxury.

Fearful cats may acquire some reassurance by way of the usage of pheromone diffusers. Cats use pheromones to speak, each with themselves and different cats. The feline facial pheromone indicators consolation, reassurance, security, and consistency, and an artificial model in a diffuser may assist hold your cat calm.

If you realize what’s making your cat scared, and it can’t be eliminated out of your cat’s atmosphere, you may want to contemplate very gradual and mild desensitization. This may contain a gradual introduction to a brand new pet or a gradual desensitization to loud noises.

Behavioral wants in cats may be multifactorial and sophisticated. When you really feel you want further assist, contact a certified animal behaviorist.

Additionally Learn: 10 Fascinating Information About Cat Paws You Might Not Have Recognized

Cats Pooping When Scared: Remaining Ideas

Pooping from worry is a right away response, however often pooping outdoors the litter field may need a distinct trigger.

Releasing the bladder and bowels when scared may be part of the feline worry response, each to launch the physique of nonessential weight and to discourage any potential predators. Nevertheless, inappropriate elimination can produce other causes, reminiscent of sure medical issues.

In case your cat is defecating outdoors the litter tray, rule out medical causes with a veterinarian checkup, then examine modifications you may make to your cat’s atmosphere to assist them really feel extra reassured and relaxed.

Additionally Learn: The 8 Finest Automated Self Cleansing Litter Containers

Continuously Requested Questions

Do cats poop if they’re scared?

Sure, some cats (and different mammals) can poop when scared. That is because the physique shifts to “flight or combat” mode when scared, and releases nonessential capabilities such because the digestive contents. Pooping also can warn off potential predators by its unhealthy odor.

How do I cease my cat from pooping when scared?

First, rule out any underlying medical issues. Then, try to establish the supply of the worry and supply your cat with an escape route and a protected place away from the scary stimulus. A gradual and mild desensitization course of could also be required.

Why do cats poop when attacked?

An assault will provoke worry. The chemical substances concerned within the worry response in cats shift the physique into “flight or combat” mode, which might contain quickly shutting down nonessential capabilities reminiscent of digestion, resulting in the bladder and bowels being emptied. The scent may delay would-be attackers.

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