April 24, 2012 1:27 PM   Subscribe

Why does my cat go MEOW MEOW MEOW before she poops?

YANMV but:
Cat has always yowled before she poops. This has gone on since forever, and given that said cat is a well-fed (a little fat) healthy bag of tricks, I'd always thought that everything is okie dokie. Her poops are normal, although, ahem, big.

Was wondering if this is something I should be scared about, since my vet has warned me (re a different cat) that vocalizing can mean "OH MY BLADDER IS FUCKING KILLING ME."

posted by angrycat to Pets & Animals (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Mine too. When i was younger, I decided he was afraid of the dark (litter box is in the basement) and installed a night light for him. It didn't help... If it's been going on for forever and kitty is otherwise in good health, it may just be a cats being cats thing. Couldn't hurt to mention it next time you are at the vet.
posted by sarae at 1:37 PM on April 24, 2012

If it's right before, as she's in the poop position, maybe it's because the poop is large and she's having difficulty passing it.
posted by Solomon at 1:38 PM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I had a cat who got the blocked bladder syndrome that some male cats get, and his symptoms were yowling and pacing, going into the litterbox and back out, and in general acting like he was in real distress and pain. It was pretty obvious that something was wrong.

One of my late girl cats would do what yours did - meow a couple of times before she pooped. The vet said nothing was wrong with her. I changed the litter from the Litter Pearls stuff to a very fine sandy clumping litter and she stopped meowing. Most cats prefer a fine-textured clumping litter (it's similar to what they would eliminate in naturally) so maybe your cat doesn't like her litter?
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 1:41 PM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

My cat does this. Because of this.

No, really. He's leash trained and he's much happier doing his business outside and would every single time if he could. When the weather is crap or I don't have time, he'll use the box--but not without sitting in front of the door and yowling a few times first. When we ignore him, he always eventually gives in and, resigned, uses his box.

Spoiled cat.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:56 PM on April 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

The only cats I ever had to do this had been box-trained by humans rather than a momma cat. I always took it to mean they were announcing the commencement of praise-worthy activity. Both also repeated the performance upon completion of their business and only stopped when commended for completing their natural function.
posted by batmonkey at 2:13 PM on April 24, 2012 [7 favorites]

Short answer to all cat-related questions: because cats are weird.

Longer answer: I don't know. I have had cats who announce their pooping, some pre-poop, some post-poop. Current cat does not meow, but simply leaps from his litter box and runs around the apartment in a wild-eyed fury. Most recent prior cat would stare at us and loudly meow to announce the Great Clearing of the Bowels, and would not stop until we praised him. It is possible that she is distressed, but if she's otherwise healthy and not changing any habits, it is likely that she's just an over-sharer.
posted by bedhead at 2:26 PM on April 24, 2012 [5 favorites]

Agreed on the "cats are weird" answer. If it's using the litterbox, then no real crisis, meow or not.

Mine will spend 2-3 minutes cleaning up -- burying the litter, sweeping up the loose litter around the box into a pile, then wiping off his paws. Once he's done that, he takes off FULL SPEED to the other end of the house, then launches and velcros himself to the couch, often moving it a bit on the process. Then starts meowing.

Part of this can be explained by my OCD ex who insisted on keeping the house absurdly clean... I think the cat realised that it was in his best interest to clean up his mess as best as possible, and then run the fuck away so as not to incur her wrath.

But no answer on the meowing.
posted by MysticMCJ at 2:37 PM on April 24, 2012 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: Okay, thanks all. I talk about poop far, far too much, so perhaps my cat is of a similar philosophy. Or all cats, maybe. Maybe they take their pooping to be an offering to the Great Poop Cat of all Poopdom.
posted by angrycat at 2:54 PM on April 24, 2012 [4 favorites]

My little orange kitten runs around like crazy after he poops. Cats are weird. So often the answer. (When other things check out healthy of course).
posted by sweetkid at 3:34 PM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

My Brodie does this. He's the only one of my 4 cats who does, and two of the others are his siblings, so I've chalked it up to "cat quirks, not otherwise specified".

Since he does the meowing before he even gets into the litterbox, I'd wager that he is just announcing "OK POOP TIME NOW!" He's generally a very polite little gentleman of a cat so it could be that he wants to make sure his litterbox-of-choice isn't already occupied, but of course only he knows for sure. Either way, his behavior is very different from that of a cat in pain -- my older Siamese has had some trouble with constipation due to her mutant-level fur density in the past. And when that was going on, she would basically circle the litter box nervously, every so often jumping in and straining and then getting out again. You could very easily see that she was uncomfortable. Whereas with Brodie's OMG POOPTIME announcements, there's just the signature series of meows followed by jumping into the box, doing business, then getting out again.
posted by aecorwin at 4:19 PM on April 24, 2012

My cat did this because pooping hurt his wee little butt and because he had kind of a crappy memory so pooping also really freaked him out each time he did it.

The old stand by is true: cats are fricken weird.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 4:22 PM on April 24, 2012

Response by poster: The cat in question is on my profile wackadoodle. It shows her reaching her theify cat arm into a pizza cat box. NB: She didn't get any.
posted by angrycat at 5:33 PM on April 24, 2012

I agree with Soloman.

I had a cat that would only do this after he had secretly eaten a rubber-band and was therefor passing poops that looked like a freight train.
posted by blueberry at 5:56 PM on April 24, 2012

me loves the stock answer, 'cats are wierd'!
posted by raildr at 6:34 PM on April 24, 2012

well i don't know about you but it feels pretty good when i have a good poop. i bet your cat is celebrating.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 8:16 PM on April 24, 2012 [4 favorites]

If your cat is eating dry food, it could easily be because your cat is somewhat constipated much of the time, and is anticipating that the poop will be uncomfortable. Cats eating dry food consume something like half the total amount of water as cats eating canned food, plus if it's not a grain-free food, the stool will have far more bulk than it should. This is one of the many reasons cats are better with canned food.
posted by biscotti at 1:13 PM on April 25, 2012

Please pardon the tardiness of this answer, but a possible explanation occurred to me several weeks ago, and the impulse to share it has finally broken through.

Momcats presumably keep the den where the kittens are clean of all potentially harmful debris until they're ready to leave and move around on their own, and it's dark, so I'd guess this is instinctive behavior that lets the mom know there's something to be taken care of.

The fact that adult cats are doing it in such numbers looks like an example of the retention of infantile behaviors into maturity typical of domesticates (including that autodomesticate, homo sap.)
posted by jamjam at 4:30 PM on July 5, 2012

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