A few days ago, a cat appeared in our garden and was very adamant that he was here to stay.

From pretty much the first day, we found poop on the lawn which looks like it is his. Somehow his instinct to bury his poop is absent or overridden/suspended by something else. He also does it half-way in the garden area where he usually sleeps, and my door—pretty much smack in the middle of his territory.

Background information: He had no collar, tattoo or chip that would provide any hints at ownership, but he appears clean and in good health. According to the vet, he is male, neutered, about a year old and without any apparent health issues.

My guess is he has not been homeless for long, and that he either ran away, was abandoned or rode as a blind passenger in some vehicle (he is very curious and thus prone to getting trapped in any enclosed space). He doesn’t seem to have anyone else taking care of him: the first time I fed him, he appeared starved; after that, his appetite returned to normal.

I am currently staying in a furnished apartment. My landlady lives in the main building, my apartment is in an annex, but we share a garden. She doesn’t want him in my apartment, so I only let him inside when I feed him. Other than that he has been inside only twice, hence I cannot tell for sure if he is house trained (he always did his business outside). It also means he is pooping on my landlady’s lawn, which she is not very happy about.

I have seen two other cats in the area, one of whom he engaged in a territorial fight with (the second other cat was sighted a few days before he showed up).

What causes him not to bury his poop—could that be a way of marking his territory? And what can I do about it?

1 Answer 1


You are right, all felines do not bury their faeces when they want to show domination.

Burying faeces is necessary for a cat to mask his presence to some place he is not supposed to be, mostly regarding to other felines. More careful cats also bury their food.

If the cat wants to challenge other cats in the vicinity, leaving faeces open is the best way to do so. I once had a 14 year old Maine Coon staying with me for a week. In his own turf, he always buried his faeces but when he came to stay with me, he never bothered to bury them. There were other cats around and this was a way to show who is the boss.

This behaviour come from very deep instincts felines carry. That's why I don't think you can do anything about it. I suspect as he gets used to your place, he would start burying them.

As an experiment, you can make him listen to cat fights. There is chance that he will think there are other aggressive cats in the neighbourhood and start taking precautions. But do not overuse this. This is like using laser pointers to control the cat, sometimes it is necessary but devastating to the cat's psychology if you use it constantly.

  • 1
    Good answer, and consistent with him not having not left any new “presents” in the last 24 hours (hope this lasts). I officially adopted him and started feeding him four days ago, two days after he first showed up; the fights were 2 and 3 days ago. Seems he has established himself.
    – user149408
    Sep 11, 2020 at 14:22
  • 1
    It is now day 4 since I cleaned up his droppings/markers, and I haven’t found any new ones. Solution accepted :-)
    – user149408
    Sep 14, 2020 at 17:39

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