Part of pet ownership is the seemingly constant state of dealing with your furred friend's potty habits. When you've got a cat, dealing with poop comes with the territory. It isn't pretty, it isn't pleasant, but having an idea of how much your pet poops can help to make sure your four-legged family members are healthy, eating right, and feeling their best. As we all know, cats in particular have some pretty unique habits, including their instinctive urge to bury their poop. But how much poop is too much?
How often should my cat poop?
If you have a kitten, you can expect to be cleaning out the litter box a lot more often. Kittens tend to poop more often as they eat smaller quantities more frequently. Adult cats usually poop at least once per day. If you have an indoor cat that uses a litter box, it is much easier to monitor his bowel movements—especially since it's your job to scoop them up! It can be more difficult if your cat goes outside. If you are concerned about his poop patterns, consider keeping him indoors for a few days to get a chance to take a look through his litter.
Cat poop coming from a healthy cat should be dark brown, not too hard and not too soft, and only moderately stinky. Some odor is normal, but if you smell a particularly strong or disgusting smell, it can be a sign that something isn't quite right.
Why is my cat pooping less than once a day?
If you are noticing that your cat is pooping infrequently or having a day or two between bowel movements, it is important to look at her lifestyle and eating habits.
Some of the possible reasons a cat doesn't poop very often are easily amended. For example, cats that don't get enough exercise won't poop as often. Indoor cats benefit from activity and stimulation and might need a little help to keep from getting bored. Consider providing a cat tree or a few games and toys that your cat likes to climb, scratch or play.
Also, your cat's diet could be a consideration. If her food is full of fillers and carbohydrates like grains or rice, it is possible she is a little backed up. Cats are carnivores, and they genuinely like eating meats. Choosing the right food can go a long way to keep kitty healthy.
Make sure your cat has access to fresh, clean water. Dehydration can lead to constipation which would result in fewer poops. So, if your feline roomie isn't pooping, it doesn't necessarily mean a vet trip.
Why is my cat pooping more than once a day?
While cats do tend to poop only once a day, a healthy, active or young cat might poop a little more often. However, if the poop is watery, or you notice that your cat has diarrhea or not making it into the box, it can be a symptom of something worth checking into.
Just like with infrequent poops, a lot of poop can be a sign that something isn't right with the food your feline is eating. Make sure your cat isn't eating dairy products like milk or yogurt, because cats can't process dairy correctly and it can make them sick.
Diarrhea usually goes away on its own in a day or two, but if it doesn't, or if you notice blood or worms in the stool, book a vet appointment.
What if my cat’s poop is super stinky?
While all poop is odorous, cat poop is known to be stinky. Part of the reason for this is that cats communicate with their scents. When your cat is rubbing his cheeks along your legs, or brushing against furniture or walls, your cat is leaving his scent and marking his territory. Cats generally cover their poop to help mask the scent from other predators. A cat that considers himself to be dominant may choose to leave his poop uncovered for all to smell. In fact, cat poop scents even tell other cats a little bit about their owners! Researchers in Japan found that there are specific scent cues that communicate information about the cats owners as well as the cats sex, species and individual recognition. But if your cat's poop is really stinky, it might be time to change his food.
When to see a vet
If you are noticing a significant lack of poops, or the poop is hard and dry, your cat might be constipated. Alternatively, if your cat is pooping a lot or having diarrhea that isn't clearing up on its own, a vet appointment should come first on your list. Some of the reasons your cat's poop might be abnormal include bowel issues like inflammation, colitis, parasites, or food allergies or sensitivities. Worst case scenarios like hyperthyroidism, pancreatic diseases or cancer can be ruled out by a vet through blood tests.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.