Cats are secretive about their toilet habits as this is a vulnerable time for them. When using the litter box, a cat cannot make a retreat from a predator or threat. Usually, cats prefer to poop and pee, cover it up to hide the evidence, and move on quickly. Sometimes, a cat will verbalize that it has used its tray, but why does this happen?
A cat that meows loudly after using its litter tray may be informing you that it has been to the toilet. No cat wants an unsanitary litter box, so it’s announcing that it’s time for you to clean up the mess. However, the cat may also be telling you that something is wrong with it physically. This vocalization can be an involuntary yelp of pain.
Some cats are more verbal by nature. They like to inform owners of their actions and intentions. If your cat has always meowed after using the litter box, it’s not likely to be a problem. If the cat has recently begun this behavior, you will need to find out why it’s happening.
Why Do Cats Meow After They Poop?
Not all cats announce that they have used their litter tray. In fact, some cats are very secretive about their bathroom routine. Monitor your cat from a distance when it goes to the toilet to identify the reason.
Eliminating can be quite a liberating experience for cats. This is most likely if the cat has been unwell. If the cat has diarrhea or constipation, a healthy movement is a source of relief.
You’ll understand if your cat is happy about going to the toilet because the cat will race around the home. This is mainly to burn off energy. The cat is also sharing the scent of its waste as this is a form of marking.
Eventually, the cat should start to consider emptying its bladder or bowels to be normal activity. This will not be a cause for celebration. If your cat keeps behaving this way, there is likely to be another explanation.
When your cat starts to meow, take a look inside the tray. Has your cat managed to eliminate? If not, it is likely requesting your assistance.
Struggling to Eliminate
Finding it hard to go to the toilet suggests that your cat is constipated, which can be uncomfortable. It may also point to an intestinal blockage. A young cat that cannot pass a movement will request help from its mother. As its owner, it will be your duty to help the cat relieve itself.
Take a damp cloth or wet wipe and gently rub this against the cat’s bottom. This replicates the experience of the cat’s mother licking its rear. This will stimulate the cat into eliminating.
Again, this should not become a regular feature of your cat’s routine. All cats get blocked up now and again. If your cat constantly needs assistance, you should review its diet. The Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery recommends psyllium-enhanced dry food.
Using the litter box is a vulnerable time for cats. Felines are used to bolting at the first sign of danger, but this is not possible when eliminating. The cat must remain rooted to the spot until it has finished.
If the cat has not managed to poop, this may be due to nerves. It is verbalizing to request your protection so that it’s safe should a predator or rival feline attack. This is most common in multi-cat households.
This is a careful balancing act. While the cat wants to feel secure, it may also be bashful. Look at this from the cat’s perspective; you would not want anybody watching if you were using the bathroom. However, there’s little scientific evidence to suggest that cats get embarrassed.
Requesting a Reward
Have you recently litter trained your cat? If so, your cat may be expecting a reward for using its tray. This has become part of the cat’s routine. Most cats grow out of this expectation once they reach adulthood. Your cat may continue this demand if you always offer a treat.
If your cat expects to be treated every time it eliminates, then you’ll need to reach a compromise. Offer your cat petting and positive verbal encouragement. Before long, this will be sufficient.
Request for Cleaning
A clean litter box is non-negotiable for cats. If the litter in the tray is soiled, it is unlikely to use it. If you establish a routine, your cat will likely trust you to clean up after it. Some cats will still give you a nudge, though.
If your cat meows at you, stand up and follow it. If the cat shows you what it has done, then it is announcing that you need to remove the waste and change the litter right away.
This may also apply if the cat has urinated. The same rules apply. The litter will potentially clump, and feline urine has a strong scent. Your cat wants any trace of its own waste, and by extension, its presence removed to avoid any unwelcome attention from predators.
Cats are very particular about their litter trays. Even if the box is clean and sterile, your cat may still be unhappy if you’ve changed something.
Changes to Litter
Cats love routine and do not cope well with change. This can become an issue if you switch to a different type of litter.
There are many things about the litter that could upset a cat. The scent, different textures, and color can be off-putting. There’s also the risk that a cat will be allergic to a new litter. Once your cat has a litter it likes, it’s advisable to stick with it.
Insufficient or Excessive Litter
You will notice that cats dig after eliminating, hiding waste in the litter. This is an act of self-preservation. The cat is masking its scent so that predators can’t find it. By burying poop, there is less chance of the cat being located.
If the cat’s tray contains insufficient litter, hiding waste will be impossible. Cats will find this distressing. The loud meow is bringing the fact that its toilet is not fit for purpose to your attention. The ideal amount of litter for any tray is about 3-4 inches.
Dislike of the Litter Tray
The problem may not be litter but the litter box itself. Cats can be fussy about their trays. Common complaints include:
- Too many high sides, so it is hard to get in and out
- Tough material underfoot that hurts your cat’s paws
- Inappropriate location – not enough privacy, or too close to food or water
Consider if your cat roams outdoors. In this instance, the cat may prefer not to use a litter box. Outside, it is easier for a cat to escape the aroma of its own waste, and it feels more secure this way.
Expression of Pain
If you find no other explanation for your cat’s verbalizations, it is likely to be in discomfort for one of these reasons:
Most older cats (10+) experience arthritis or joint pain. This will make using the litter tray difficult as cats lack the flexibility to climb in and out of their trays. The act of leaving the litter tray is becoming increasingly painful. No cat will tolerate this level of discomfort for long. It may also blame the litter box for the pain.
Change the cat’s litter box to an alternative model with one low side. The cat needs to be able to access its litter without too much movement. Feline arthritis cannot be cured, but the pain can be reduced through lifestyle modification. Also, speak to a vet about painkillers.
Urinary Tract Infections
If your cat meows loudly during or after urinating, a urinary tract infection is a possibility. Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice has stated that senior cats are likelier to get UTIs.
A UTI is a bacterial infection in the cat’s urethra. This will make it painful for the cat to pee. As is often the case with pain surrounding elimination, the verbalization will be involuntary. UTIs are painful but comparatively easy to treat. Look out for these symptoms:
- Inability to pee
- Dribbling urine
- Blood traces in urine
- Excessive grooming of the genitals
- Foul-smelling urine
- Urinating outside the litter box
Once diagnosed, your cat will be treated with a course of antibiotics. This will clear up the infection and ease the pain. The problem may return if you fail to keep your cat’s bottom and litter box clean.
Cystitis has similar symptoms to a UTI. However, cystitis leads to inflammation, not a bacterial infection.
Stress, dehydration, and poor diet can all lead to cystitis. Encourage your cat to drink water frequently. Eliminate all stress triggers, and focus on keeping your cat calm.
Cystitis will go away on its own after about a week. Expect plenty of litter box-based verbalization.
Intestinal blockages keep a cat from eliminating. Something is trapped in the cat’s body, making the elimination of waste or urine impossible.
In some instances, the blockage will be crystals. This is a side-effect of an untreated UTI. These crystals form in the bladder, making urination more difficult. This can be managed by offering your cat apple cider vinegar. The acidity of this liquid will dissolve bladder crystals.
If the blockage is in the intestine, this is more concerning. It may be a hairball or undigested food. Try offering your cat a spoonful of olive oil to lubricate the digestive tract and help pass the blockage.
If the cat does not eliminate inside 24 hours or continues to meow in pain, it should be seen by a vet. Intravenous fluids, or even surgery, will be required to flush out or remove the obstruction.
Swollen Anal Glands
Cats have glands in their bottom that are used for communication. These anal glands release a scent that reveals how the cat is feeling. Humans cannot detect this odor, but other felines can. Cats scent with their anus to denote contentment, stress, and anxiety.
These anal glands are naturally expressed when your cat uses its tray. When it eliminates, it releases some of the pressure from these glands. If a cat experiences loose stools for a prolonged period, these glands can swell.
This makes it uncomfortable for a cat to use its tray as waste applies excessive pressure to its glands. Your cat will likely scoot along the ground or lick its anus to excess.
If your cat meows loudly after using its litter box, you will need to identify why it’s verbalizing to you. The solution could be as simple as praising your cat or changing its litter. Start with the most basic solutions.