why does my cat howl before and after using litter box?
Questions About Cats

Why Does My Cat Meow Loudly After Using the Litter Box?

Felines vocalize to announce their bowel movements when they have a health problem. If your cat meows loudly when defecating, it’s likely because the experience is uncomfortable.

Why does my cat meow loudly after using the litter tray? Your cat finds urination and defecation painful. A cat’s bladder or bowels could be a problem due to due to a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), bladder stones, feline interstitial cystitis or swollen anal glands. Alternatively, your cat may be announcing that it has soiled its litter, expecting you to clean it immediately. Cats don’t want to leave their scent behind due to predators.

If your cat is meowing after using the litter box, pay attention to what it’s trying to tell you. It’s your cat’s way of alerting you that it has a problem that needs your urgent care and attention.

My Cat Meows Before Pooping

Cats feel very vulnerable while eliminating. There are two reasons for this:

  1. While a cat is using the bathroom, they’re entirely stationary. This means that your cat cannot flee quickly from potential predators if it needs to do so.
  2. A cat’s waste can give off a distinct aroma. This gives away your cat’s location, which makes it feel anxious. It’s informing you of its plans so you can remove the scent straight after.

When your pet announces a litter box visit, it is saying, “watch my back.” Cats loathe feeling vulnerable, and it’s almost impossible not to feel that way while emptying their bowels.

This, in turn, can be a balancing act. As much as cats feel exposed while pooping, they still want some privacy. When your cat starts to vocalize, follow it but keep your distance. If it can smell you, it’ll know that you’re nearby. This will give it the confidence to do what needs to be done.

You’ll still need to react afterward, though. Once your cat has finished eliminating, get your scoop and remove the evidence. This will make it feel more comfortable.

My Cat Meows While Going to the Bathroom

If your cat is vocalizing while eliminating, a medical explanation is more likely. Cats that meow, howl, or cry when using the litter tray are experiencing pain.

It’s always possible that you’re just standing too close. Your pet may be asking for privacy. Likewise, they may be warning other household pets that the litter tray is occupied.

cat meows while going to the bathroom

If your cat is very young or old, it may also be confused about the litter box. Kittens sometimes struggle to understand how to eliminate, and they’re calling for their mother to help.

Very senior cats, meanwhile, can have feline cognitive dysfunction. This is a condition of senility, which leaves them feeling confused about how to perform basic tasks.

What’s most likely is that your cat is experiencing discomfort while eliminating. Several medical ailments cause these sort of problems.

Why Would it Hurt a Cat to Use the Litter Box?

Many medical concerns surround a cat’s litter box habits. These include:

  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
  • Intestinal Blockages or Bladder Stones
  • Feline Interstitial Cystitis
  • Swollen Anal Glands

Any of these conditions can be painful, and some of them may be dangerous.

Urinary Tract Infections in Cats

Urinary tract infections are common in felines. These painful infections are a result of bacteria working their way into a cat’s bladder. The most common signs of a UTI in cats are as follows:

  • Struggling or straining to urinate
  • Constant urination in small, almost non-descript quantities
  • Blood in the urine
  • Licking the genitals
  • Very strong-smelling urine
  • Urinating outside of the litter box

UTIs can be dangerous if left untreated, potentially leading to bladder stones or blockages.

Thankfully, a minor UTI is comparatively simple to treat if caught early. A vet will prescribe antibiotics to clear up the problem. If your cat has developed bladder stones, it’s more problematic. Surgery may be required.

The easiest way to avoid UTIs in cats is keeping their litter box clean. Regularly changing the litter and cleaning the tray offers less opportunity for bacteria to thrive.

Blockages in Cats

A side effect of UTIs is the formation of stones in a cat’s bladder. These cause blockages, making it difficult for a cat to eliminate. The side effects are similar to a urinary tract infection.

If a cat has bladder stones, it will need medical help. If your cat is vomiting, and if it smells like fecal matter, the concern is urgent. This suggests an intestinal blockage that is leaking feces into your cat’s digestive tract.

VCA Hospitals believes that bladder stones are often diet-related. This means that bladder stones can sometimes be treated through diet. The right food can dissolve bladder stones.

This can be a slow process, though. It can sometimes take as long as several weeks. This leaves a cat in discomfort for a prolonged period. The issue may become urgent in the meantime.

Surgery is a faster, and more impactful, treatment option. If possible, a vet will use a catheter to remove the obstruction. If this is not possible, a cystotomy and urolithotomy will be required.

Although no surgery is without risk, these procedures are considered safe. Most cats make a full recovery. Surgery will not be an option for a senior cat with pre-existing health concerns.

Feline Interstitial Cystitis

The symptoms of feline cystitis are similar to a UTI. Cats with cystitis will continuously attempt to urinate, but will be unable to do so.

However, cystitis is caused by an inflammation of the bladder. This is not related to a bacterial infection. The problem comes from within.

Often, cystitis related to stress. However, dehydration and poor diet can aggravate the problem. Remove anxiety triggers, encourage hydration, and consider a change of diet. Wet food with high water content eases bladder issues in cats.

According to Pet Health Network, feline cystitis will typically clear itself up in around a week. This is a week of severe pain for your pet, though.

Swollen Anal Glands in Cats

If your cat verbalizes when emptying their bowels, they may have inflamed or swollen anal glands. This will be visible upon inspection.

A cat with swollen anal glands will be in significant discomfort. They will scoot along the ground, and lick their rear constantly. Their anus will also smell very strongly.

Loose, watery stools cause swollen anal glands. Whenever your cat eliminates, some pressure is placed in the glands to release fluid. If your cat does not poop enough, or only releases loose waste, this pressure will not be applied.

Swollen anal glands can be avoided by feeding your cat a high-quality, protein-rich diet. You’ll also need to ensure that they receive enough fiber.

If your cat’s anal glands are swollen, it’ll need to be expressed. A vet can do this, or you can do it yourself following these instructions from AnimalWised.

Why does my cat meow loudly after using the litter box?

My Cat Meows After Pooping

If your cat is vocal after it’s used the litter box, it could be in pain. It’s rare for a cat with a medical ailment to eliminate silently, and then express their discomfort.

What’s equally like is that your cat is informing you what they’ve done. This is so that you can clean up the litter box. After your cat poops, they’ll bury their waste to hide the smell. They may also scratch the floor, which is an extension of this behavior.

As long as your cat can smell their feces, they won’t feel safe. It will likely put them off eating and drinking. You should never place food or water bowls close to a litter tray.

Change your cat’s litter when it’s eliminated, and see if it stops the behavior. Over time, your cat will learn to trust you. It’ll understand that, when asked, you’ll clean up after it.

If your cat continues to verbalize, a medical concern is more likely. It’s time to have some tests run.

My Cat Meows and Runs Around the House After Pooping

Sometimes cats run around the house and go a little crazy after they empty their bowels. This is strange behavior, but there are possible explanations. These include:

  • Your cat is fleeing from its waste, so it cannot be located by the smell.
  • Your cat wants to spread the aroma around the house, marking territory as it goes.
  • Your cat was in pain while defecating, and associates the litter box with that discomfort. It’s keen to get as far as away as possible.
  • Your cat is in a state of euphoria after releasing its waste.

The Dodo explains the latter scenario in more detail. The vagus nerve connects the brain to the colon. Defecation stimulates this nerve, and can cause a burst of energy and exhilaration.

A cat racing around the house after pooping is typically nothing to worry about. It’s normal feline behavior. The only exception is when it verbalizes while eliminating.