We all know that cats have some peculiar bathroom habits! But perhaps one of the more perplexing litter box behaviors are the post-poop zoomies. You might be familiar with the concept of "zoomies" from your cat running up and down your hallways at 4 am.
But some cats have zoomies of a different type! Some of our fluffy friends have a funny little habit of using the litter box, only to dash like mad around the house. This leads many cat owners scratching their heads and wondering, "Why does my cat do this?"
Like most things with our favorite feline species, there are various theories and ideas behind why cats get the sudden urge to bolt around the house after using the litter box.
Some animal behaviorists link this post-litter box sprint to a cat's innate survival instinct, noting that a cat might fear that a predator could track them based on the smell of their waste. This instinct often explains why cats bury their waste in the litter box. The sprint might be a way to get away from the location as quickly as possible to further avoid predator detection.
Others speculate that, as kittens, cats are used to having their rear ends cleaned by their mothers. As they reach adulthood and start using the litter box, they don't need their moms anymore - so when they dash away from the litterbox, they're showing off their independence by dashing away.
Interestingly enough, another theory shows that cats might have more in common with us humans than we thought! Both humans and cats have a vagus nerve running from their brain stem. In both species, this nerve can be stimulated by defecation, leading to what some have called "poo-phoria", a pleasurable sensation which can range from feelings of exhilaration to elation. So when a cat makes a dash for it, they might be experiencing their own form of "poo-phoria" and want to exert the sudden rush of energy and excitement.
Others still speculate that a cat that is experiencing intestinal distress or difficulties going to the bathroom might sprint out of the litter box to try and get away from the source of distress as quickly as possible. If you observe your cat straining or struggling to go to the bathroom then suddenly darting away, it might be time for a vet checkup.
Of course, the source of these post-poop crazies could be as simple as a dingleberry getting left behind. Some cats run around after using the box to try and shake off any excess waste that might cling to their furry little behinds.