General Question

Spargett's avatar

Why do felines bury their urine/feces?

Asked by Spargett (5377points) February 5th, 2008

Do other species of “cat” do this as well, such as lions, jaguars, etc.?

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6 Answers

brownlemur's avatar

From what I know about felids, they tend to spray their urine in order to mark territory and for other various means of communication. In fact, next time you go to the zoo and watch a tiger, you may notice that the genitals of the male sometimes face backwards – this is so he can spray the urine around.

Are you asking about domestic cats? I’m not sure what the exact behavioral mechanism is that underlies a domestic cat’s proclivity to cover up its own wastes. Any felid biologists on here?

Spargett's avatar

We know why cats mark territory by spraying objects, which is a clearly different action then burying excrement.

syz's avatar

Small species are extremely vulnerable to predation and competition. They cover their feces and sometimes their urine in order to disguise the odor, especially if they are near the den – kittens are always at risk. They tend to be secretive and hard to find/see. The ancestors of domesticated cats were definitely small enough to be vulnerable to other predators and many of the same behaviors have carried over.

Adult animals will “spray” to mark their territory as a warning to interlopers and as an advertisement for mates. Spraying is a specific muscular effort that has to be learned and perfected – you will often see juvenile animals trying and unable to get anything to come out. These markings are typically not in the area of the den and are not directly associated with waste elimination.

Larger species do not hide their presence – they are the top of the food chain. They often spend a lot of time and effort announcing/delineating their territory to rivals and potential mates. In addition to chemical signals (spraying), they also verbalize, scratch their scent into tree bark, and use prominent geologic features to present themselves visually.

brittbaker's avatar

Because it smells bad!!! hahaha.

Horus515's avatar

I know that they can smell way better than we can, so it stands to reason that they can smell bad stuff better too. Which is probably why they bury it.

antoniusestrillo's avatar

feline is a cat family.. they are really cautious about their urine even their crap. they didn’t permit dogs take their waste, so they need to bury and hide it.

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