Let’s Talk About Poop
As cat parents, we strive to provide our fur babies with the very best care possible. And, whether we find it unpleasant or not, an insightful indicator of a cat’s overall health status is its poop. If you know what to look out for, your cat’s stool can help you recognize key signs of certain dietary and health problems. This article will help you get acquainted with healthy cat poop and teach you what signs to look out for the next time you’re cleaning your cat’s litter box. So, let’s talk about cat poop!
How often should a cat ‘go’?
The general rule of thumb is that a cat should poop at least once a day. However, the frequency of your cat’s bowel movements is affected by multiple factors including the age , diet, exercise and health status .
Because of this, the exact frequency of the bowel movement will be individual, and you should monitor for its fluctuations instead. If your cat’s bowel movements start to differ from the normal frequency for longer than a day or two, it is advisable to pay a visit to the vet and resolve the cause of the change.
What does healthy poop look like?
Healthy cat poop should be deep brown in color and malleable in consistency . Poop should be passed in one piece or a few smaller pieces of somewhat cylindrical shape and segmented appearance. The odor shouldn’t be too foul, although this can be variable.
Reasons For Blood In Cat Stool
There are a few reasons why you might see blood in cat poop. Some are more serious than others.
Diarrhea can cause irritation of the lining of the lower gastrointestinal tract, leading to bleeding. If your cat has diarrhea or soft stools, they may start to appear bloody after a couple of days.
Constipation often makes a cat strain to defecate. This sometimes leads to ruptured blood vessels in the lower GI tract. The stool often appears hard and small and may have blood on the outside.
Both diarrhea and constipation can be caused by stress, dietary changes or intolerance, parasites, foreign bodies, infections, toxin exposure, inflammatory bowel disease, and many other illnesses.
Dehydration can cause constipation in cats. On the other hand, diarrhea often leads to dehydration. Chronic constipation can lead to a condition called megacolon, an enlarged intestine.
Growths like polyps, cysts, and tumors can cause blood in the stool.
Many diseases and disorders can cause GI problems that lead to blood in the stool. In some cases, the cat’s stool will look normal except for the blood.
Watch for dark-colored stools that look tarry or resemble coffee grounds. This may not look like blood at first because it is so dark in color. That’s because it is digested or partially digested blood. The presence of dark blood in stools means there is bleeding somewhere in the GI tract, like the small intestine or stomach.
How Can I Get My Cat To Eat Canned Food
Some cats prefer dry food. If you want to encourage increased water intake, you can try adding liquid to the dry food. If you want to feed them tinned food or pouches but they are not keen, you can try warming the food to increase its smell. You can also try hand feeding small amounts or rub some on their paws, which can cause them to start eating more from a bowl.
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Preparing Cat Stool Samples
At each annual visit, your vet will ask for a stool sample so the lab can perform tests on the fecal matter. Samples are best collected in approved plastic containers, which your vet’s office will provide. But you also can pick up a container at the office before your appointment, or purchase one online or at a pet supply store. Just remember: The lab will need a fresh sample, so it’s important not to collect your treasure from the litter box until the day that you drop it off at the vet. Once you scoop the fecal matter into the approved plastic sample container, refrigerate is its possible and make sure to jot down the date and time of collection so the vet’s office has accurate information.
What If There Is Blood In Cat Poop
Dont panic if you notice blood in your cats stool. It might just be that your cat had a bit of constipation and strained too hard while trying to go. If the problem continues and theres a lot of blood, the blood is bright red, or other concerning symptoms come up, take your cat to the veterinarian. Your cat may have an issue that requires medical treatment, like infection, parasites, food allergy, polyps, cancer, or bowel obstruction.
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Cat Stool Color Guide
While examining your cats stool may seem a bit odd, it is a great way to ensure that your cat is getting everything they need. Changes in their stool color can be a sign that its time to visit your veterinarian. They can help you figure out what could be causing certain health symptoms. To help you better understand your feline friend, lets discuss each poop color in cats and what it can mean for their health.
What Is Your Cats Poo Telling You
If youre like most cat parents, taking care of the litter box probably isn’t your favorite chore. Cats typically have at least one bowel movement a day but this varies depending on age, diet and health. Normal cat stool should have a long, round shape and a chocolate-brown color.
There are four common characteristics cat parents should keep an eye on that might indicate a health problem: color, consistency, contents and smell.
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Light Brown Cat Poop: Diarrhea
Among the types of cat poop we have soft cat stools. These poop types could result from different things from gastrointestinal conditions to feline parasites to diet problems.
If one day your cats stool is softer than normal, theres nothing to worry about. If, however, your cat has diarrhea for longer than one day, take note. Once your cats poop begins to look like liquid, consult your veterinarian.
Does your cat have diarrhea and is vomiting? Generally, soft stools that indicate a digestive disorder will be accompanied by other digestive symptoms such as:
Liquid poop, diarrhea in cats or soft stools may also be caused by intestinal parasites in cats. This is more common in younger cats. For more, we recommend taking look at our article where we discuss intestinal parasites in cats.
Sudden changes in feeding or inadequate food can also disrupt a cats digestive function. In addition, soft stool in cats may indicate other pathologies such as liver problems in cats.
Either which way, a veterinarian will be the one who, after examining your cat, will diagnose and treat the condition accordingly.
Symptoms Of Constipation In Cats
Constipation is characterized by infrequent stools or stools that are difficult to pass. Most cats will poop about every 24-36 hours. If your cat is pooping less frequently and having some difficulty, she may be constipated.
While there is some normal variation, if its been more than 48-72 hours without a bowel movement, you should contact your vet.
The main signs of constipation in cats are:
- Dry, hard stools
Normally, the poop is a rich brown color and should look well-formed. A healthy stool has enough moisture that litter will stick to it, says Dr. Liz Bales, VMD. Cats with constipation may have very dry, hard stools. You may find these stools outside the litter box, because the discomfort of trying to pass stool can cause cats to leave the litter box before theyre actually finished.
- Crying or straining in the litter box, or avoiding it altogether
Other signs of discomfort can be vocalizing or straining when using the litter box or going in and out multiple times before using it. Your cat may strain but not be able to poop at all. Showing discomfort in the litter box can also be a sign of serious urinary tract issues, so you should contact a vet if you see these signs.
Constipation is really a symptom of other issues, so you may also see signs of the underlying cause. These may include:
- Walking stiffly
If youre seeing any of these symptoms, with or without constipation, you should discuss them with your cats vet.
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A Few Crucial Warnings About Your Cats Poop
Irrespective of the rule of the paw and the when and not to worry list we discussed, here are some red alerts you should be on the lookout for if you are not confident about your cats poop.
-> Blood in the stool
The most important sign that is an exemption from the lists we have. If you notice blood in your cats poop, even once, or just a droplet, have them and their stool checked by the vet immediately.
-> Straining bowel movement
This should be identified correctly as it may often be mistaken as difficulty in urinating. Be sure that it is defecating they are having a hard time to do. While constipation is uncomfortable for cats, urinary obstruction is even more fatal.
-> Do not, at any cost attempt to give an enema to your cat at home
It wont just cause you scratches and battle scars from your cat, but your cat, too. Enema if administered inappropriately can cause rectal tears and its phosphate-containing enema can be fatal for your cat.
-> Notice a dental floss-like or string-like hanging out from your cats rear?
Do not just jump in and pull them out. Do a very gentle tug. But, if you feel resistance, stop and consult your vet in an instant.
Your vet will help you understand poop problems better, but this chart may help you find out what may be causing what your cat is currently experiencing.
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Content Of Your Cats Poop
Hair is the most common item noticed in stool, and if its not excessive, then this is totally normal, Waldrop says. If you find large amounts of hair in your cats poop, it can be an indication that the cat is over-grooming, he explains, which can be associated with anxiety, itchy skin, or diseases causing excessive shedding.
Tapeworms may also be seen in your cats poop, Waldrop says. They are shiny, white, and about the size of rice, he describes. They may also be moving. Most other intestinal parasites are not visible in the feces.
Other things to watch out for include pieces of cat toys or other household items, such as thread or dental floss. Some cats are chewers, and if you see these kinds of things in your cats stool, you will really need to keep those items out of your cats reach, as they can potentially lead to an obstruction, Waldrop says.
If you notice any of these objects in your cats stool, make an appointment with your veterinarian.
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What If My Cat Only Goes Every Few Days
According to Litter-Robot resident veterinarian Dr. Justine Lee, cat constipation can be an uncomfortable, chronic problem in felines. Constipation is more common in middle-aged and senior cats. Left untreated, constipation in cats can lead to an enlargement of the colonwhich is difficult and costly to treat.
If you notice that your cat only poops every 2-4 days, strains to poop, or takes an unusually long time in the litter box, make an appointment with your veterinarian. There are many ways to treat cat constipation, including dietary changes and safe laxatives. However, never give an over-the-counter enema to your cat without consulting your veterinarian.
Constipation can be especially dangerous for very young kittens. If you notice your kitten hasnt pooped in 3 days, get to a veterinarian to check for blockages and other issues.
How Often Do Cats Pee
Cats evolved in the desert, so their bodies are very efficient with water. This means they drink less, and usually pee less, than dogs. However, individual cats have a wide variation in how often they pee. A healthy adult cat should probably pee at least twice a day, but healthy cats may pee five or more times a day. Factors that influence how often cats pee include:
How much water they are drinking
Of course, if they drink more water, they pee more often.
Heat and humidity can both cause cats to drink more, and therefore pee more often.
If a cat is eating food that contains a lot of moisture, like canned food, it will affect how often or how much they pee.
Their overall health, as well as any medications
As mentioned above, a cats health, as well as any medication they may be taking, may influence how often or how much a cat pees.
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What Can I Do If My Cat Is Kicking Litter Out
Boy, was this a big issue in my house! My cat Zoe was kicking so much litter out of the box that the floor in the area felt like a sandy beach, and I had to keep a broom nearby just to keep up with this messy behavior.
To tackle this grainy issue, I first tried putting a top on the box with a flap in the front. Unfortunately, Zoe did not approve of the flap and let me know right away by pooping at the entrance to the box. However, she was okay with the top, which helped keep some of that litter inside.
I also put a mat under the litter box, which has helped a great deal. You can buy a mat like this online or at a store that sells pet supplies. The mat catches a lot of the litter that gets kicked out, so at least it doesnt spread out all over the floor. While the problem isnt completely solved, its much better now, and I dont always have to sweep up before I start a load of wash.
I hope that answered all of your unasked questions about cat poop. I know I feel like a cat poop expert nowalthough I think Ill avoid adding that to my resume )
The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.
Color Of Your Cats Poop
Under normal circumstances, a cats stool is dark brown, Waldrop says. Black is consistent with digested blood in the stool, especially if its shiny and looks like road tar, he describes. Tan or light brown can be an indication of liver or pancreatic issues, he says, but diets high in fiber will also produce a lighter-colored stool.
If you notice blood in your pets stool, make an appointment to see your veterinarian, Schwartz advises, as that can be a sign of a potentially serious problem and provide a route for bacteria to enter your cats bloodstream.
Pet parents should also call their vet if they notice mucus in the stool. Your cats poop should not have any coating, Waldrop adds. If you find coating on the stool, it could be an indication of colitis.
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Is It Ok To Have Light Brown Poop
Bile salts are released into your stools by your liver, giving the stools a brown color. If your liver is not producing enough bile, or if the flow of the bile is blocked and not draining from your liver, your stools may become pale or clay-colored. Having pale stools once in a while may not be a cause for concern.
What If My Cat Poops More Than Twice A Day
If you notice your cat making frequent trips to the litter box, you should first verify whether your cat is actually going. For instance, if your cat is straining to defecate, this could indicate a number of medical issues that warrant a veterinary visit, such as inflammatory bowel disease . And if your cat is just plain going a lot, it could be a sign of stress and anxiety.
Looking for an easy way to keep tabs on your cats litter box habits? The WiFi-enabled, self-cleaning Litter-Robot 3 Connect has a smartphone app that allows you to monitor how often your cat uses the litter box. A spike in litter box activitywhether your cat is urinating more, defecating more, or straining to do anything at allindicates that a trip to the vet is a must.
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The Contents Of The Poop
I would not be alarmed to see some hair in your cats poop. Cats, after all, are notorious for their grooming habits it is perfectly normal for them to digest some hair and excrete it later on.
But if you notice long and spaghetti-like strands in your cats stool, then beware! Your cat likely has roundworms. Meanwhile, cat discharge that has small pieces similar to rice grains can be tapeworm eggs.
Suffice to say, your cat should be brought to a veterinarian once you observe the said contents in her waste matter.
Is Soft Poop Healthy
Pain-free to pass: A healthy bowel movement should be painless and require minimal strain. Soft to firm in texture: Poop that is passed in one single piece or a few smaller pieces is typically considered to be a sign of a healthy bowel. The long, sausage-like shape of poop is due to the shape of the intestines.
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What Are The Different Types Of Cat Poop
Now that we have discussed what healthy cat poop should look like in a cat, lets dive into our detailed cat stool guide.
Changes in a cats diet and health can cause abrupt changes in their poop, making it important to be aware of all the stool forms you may see.
To better understand your furry friend going forward, lets discuss the different types of cat poop.