Has my cat lost her mind?
August 17, 2008 3:50 AM   Subscribe

Why does my cat take a victory lap when she poops?

My cat is 17 years old (and is going to live forever, knocking wood). For the first fifteen years of her life, she'd use the litter box perfectly normally, no problems. Just in the past two years, whenever she poops in the box, she covers it up as usual, and then gallops up and down the hallway in some kind of deranged celebration. My roommate and I have taken to calling it The Poopie Run.

Has anyone got a real explanation for this? Any vets out there with any answers?
posted by tzikeh to Pets & Animals (28 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
My dog always used to bolt from the corner of the yard where he'd do his business, I imagine as a perhaps somewhat-effective way of clearing anything that remained?
posted by disillusioned at 3:56 AM on August 17, 2008

Best answer: My next door neighbor, Mr. Lee, said it best: "Cat is very strange animal."

Mr. Lee, you said a mouthful.
posted by ottereroticist at 4:03 AM on August 17, 2008 [29 favorites]

Bowel movements are very important to us elderlies. If she had opposible thumbs, she'd be clipping coupons. AND she probably feel 10 pounds lighter. Yehaa!
posted by Acacia at 4:24 AM on August 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

I Am Not A vet Wildass Guess - Maybe it's become infected with Toxoplasma? It lives primarily in cats, forms cysts in the brain and causes some very odd mental effects in rats and mice - they become attracted to the smell of cats rather than fearful, making them much more likely to become eaten and then infect the cat.

Humans can be infected too, and there's some evidence it alters human behaviour also.
posted by ArkhanJG at 4:25 AM on August 17, 2008

Our cat does that all the time, and she's only four years old. We figure she just feels light and energized afterwards.
posted by web-goddess at 4:49 AM on August 17, 2008

Our cat and dog (seven and five) both celebrate their poops by running around with a delighted, "I POOPED!" expression on their faces. (I think they just really enjoy having just pooped and have no social pressure to hide it.)
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:54 AM on August 17, 2008

yeah, i've known a bunch of cats and dogs who seem to have a reaction of "OH THANK GOD I FEEL MUCH BETTER NOW!!!" after pooping.

heck, there are times i'd like to take a victory lap after a bowel movement.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:46 AM on August 17, 2008 [9 favorites]

My cat does this as well. I always interpreted it as "boy, that smelled and I'd like to get as far away from it as possible."
posted by proj at 6:22 AM on August 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

My 1.5 year old cat does the same thing. Patiently poops, covers it up with litter, then BOLTS out of the litter box and runs around.
posted by whiskeyspider at 6:57 AM on August 17, 2008

My cats do this sometimes, and I've always assumed it was constipation.

You can try giving them a lubricant. It keeps them from vomiting, too.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 7:34 AM on August 17, 2008

The real question is, why doesn't everyone?

Seriously, cats are nuts. But she probably does feel better after a nice poop and wants to have a little fun. I doubt it's anything to worry about. The most I'd do would be maybe to give her a little more variety in her food- give her her regular food along with a choice of something with a little more moisture and fiber. She may choose that over the regular stuff.
posted by gjc at 7:53 AM on August 17, 2008

One of my cats (a large 16-pound tabby) used to cautiously peer around while he finished his dirty business in the corner of the yard. He'd bury his scat, then absolutely blaze across the yard for 20 feet or so.

I guess he figured that once his wolf bait is dropped, there are going to be predators on his tail shortly.
posted by porn in the woods at 8:09 AM on August 17, 2008

My cat does this. So does my dog.

A greyhound's poop-victory lap is truly a sight to behold.
posted by Lou Stuells at 8:13 AM on August 17, 2008

My cat does this too. I read somewhere that it might be connected to leftover instincts of covering their tracks, so they want to get far away from such an obvious sign that they were around. No idea how much truth there is to that.

Sometimes I can tell my cat's pooped before I smell it simply because he goes crazy and darts all over the place.
posted by quirks at 8:18 AM on August 17, 2008

I just had this conversation yesterday...
"Awww, your cat is running around playing!"
Me: "No, she just pooped."

My personal theory on this, having observed various states of kitty pooping success and failure (and doing the requisite chasing of the cat) is that if they don't make a 'clean break' from the cargo they've been holding, or they perceive that there has not been a complete delivery, they will attempt to outrun whatever it is that is chasing their butthole. Usually works, sometimes doesn't.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:21 AM on August 17, 2008 [5 favorites]

I've always seen it as parallel to the idea that you never step into the same river twice--you never step out of the bathroom with the same butt twice. A small hole opens up and you expel something and jumble up your insides, and you've got to do a bit of a walk to break in the new configuration, and also to make sure you didn't miss something at the back of the closet and have to go back. This is normal. isn't it?
posted by troybob at 9:23 AM on August 17, 2008 [5 favorites]

My cat does this, complete with an announcement of poop-victory. I have come to know his various meows - he has a "where the hell are you guys?" meow, a "pay attention to me NOW!" meow, and an "I pooped!" meow. So, he poops, meows loudly, and then bolts down the stairs and gallops down the hallway. We always thank him for sharing the news and go back to our business. My roommate's cat does something similar - no announcement, but she does the fun run through the apartment. Cats are 11 (mine) and 18 (roommate's).

We just assume that it's because they feel better after pooping. Also, cats are freakin' weird.
posted by bedhead at 10:19 AM on August 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Nice use of catshitinsane tag.

Our cats announce their poop status, too: one runs sprints down the hallway, another does laps through the house. I figured it was due to the liberating joy of completing a healthy bowel movement.

I love participating in the cat poop AskMe threads.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:31 AM on August 17, 2008

Our long hair cat does this, I've always assumed it's a combo of "please don't eat me" and "oh crap, I think something is still attached, I AM SO EMBARRASSED"
posted by bottlebrushtree at 10:47 AM on August 17, 2008

Our cat used to have the gnarliest soft poops - smelled like something had died (until we switched her food). She used to race after those poops, and we figured her ass was on fire and she was trying to run away from it.
posted by peep at 11:14 AM on August 17, 2008

To shake off the poop.

You'd do it too if you had no toilet paper and a furry butt.

This one time my sister's cat took a poop, but due to some freak of feline digestive system, a long hair was stuck in the poop, and lead back towards the cat's butt, where it was stuck inside another (assumed) poop that remained inside the cat in question once the cat started its victory lap. The victory lap turned to horror as the cat found itself being chased by its own poop like a boat dragging an angry water skier.

After she caught the cat, my sister calmly took a paper towel, grabbed the trailing hair, and yanked. The anchoring turd popped out of the cat, and all was well.

I leave it to later generations to reconcile this text with AskMe policy.

posted by fleacircus at 12:20 PM on August 17, 2008 [27 favorites]

I see the wisdom of Mr. Lee.

Have a cat who does this. Have a cat who hangs out near and guards the litter box for a while afterwards. Have had cats with no particular litter box behavior, outside the intended purpose.

The victory galloping cat is the cat only cat I couldn't toilet train. So perhaps she's just reminding me that I have a stinky litter box and spend my hard-earned money on litter because she won that round.

If this has been going on for two years, it's a Mr. Lee thing, not a health thing.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 1:27 PM on August 17, 2008

Response by poster: This is all really fascinating (and often hilarious). The thing is, sometimes she does it and sometimes she doesn't. At first I thought it was maybe poop-type specific (regular, mushy, hard), but after a few weeks of scientific study (scoop poop, compare to the poop from last time there was a victory lap--no, I didn't touch anything, just visuals), there is no correlation I can find. And she isn't fleeing the box area; she runs up the hallway, then around the living room, then back down the hallway. Sometimes she loses traction and skids sideways into my roommate's bedroom. It's utterly bizarre.

I'll ask the vet, I suppose, but since so many people in this thread have Victory Poop Cats, I figure it's nothing serious. Also, nothing we'll ever properly understand. Ah, well. Cats!
posted by tzikeh at 1:46 PM on August 17, 2008

I'll add another odd cat with the post-poop ritual. Mine runs from the bathroom to the living room, where she jumps from loveseat to couch to the other loveseat.

She does any number of other odd things. I chalk it up to "cats are damn strange animals."
posted by Kellydamnit at 2:02 PM on August 17, 2008

Best answer: See the Poo Gallop from the National Audubon Society's Field Guide To Gaits Of The Domesticated Feline

It's a well-documented behavior, actually. :P
posted by restless_nomad at 2:42 PM on August 17, 2008 [3 favorites]

My cats have always done this.
posted by hfbellefille at 6:20 PM on August 17, 2008

My cat does the Victory Poop Run too, sometimes with a wild yowl, sometimes not.
posted by Liosliath at 10:05 PM on August 17, 2008

Some of my cats do this some of the time. Cat is very strange animal, indeed.
posted by deborah at 9:59 AM on January 22, 2009

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