While is may not be the most glamorous or interesting of topics, checking on your cat’s pooping schedule is a good habit to get in to.
Noticing any changes when they begin can help us detect behavioural and medical issues early on, making them easier to manage or treat.
Remember, every cat is an individual and what’s normal for one may not be for another. There are a range of factors that can affect the frequency of pooping and so we want to be on the lookout for any changes.
What factors affect how often cats poop?
How often should cats poop? Let’s take a closer look at some of the factors involved:
As we feed kittens several times a day, it stands to reason that they will pass poop more regularly. This is entirely normal and as they get older they’ll pass poop less regularly. When your kitten first comes home at 9 weeks of age, they may pass poop 4 or 5 times each day and this is of no concern.
Senior cats can be less active, meaning their guts become a little sluggish. They may also drink and eat less than adults. These things can all contribute to your cat’s bowel movements being less regular than they used to.
Diet and frequency of feeding
What goes in must come out! We often find that those cats fed on wet diets may pass stools less often than those fed on dry kibble – these diets are more digestible and so there is less waste.
If your cat grazes throughout the day, they are likely to frequent their litter box more often than those who like to eat one meal a day.
Gastrointestinal issues such as inflammatory bowel disease, food allergies and intestinal lymphoma can all lead to frequent bowel movements and loose stools. Owners may notice other signs such as an increased appetite, vomiting and weight loss. Whenever a medical issue is a consideration, a vet visit is essential.
On the flipside, medical problems like dehydration can lead to constipation and infrequent pooping. We can also see constipation in those with a condition called mega colon (dilation of the colon) and in cats who have had pelvic trauma (such as from a car accident in the past).
Cats are sensitive critters who are not very tolerant of a change to their routine or a new stress added to their lives. This can include events like staying in a cattery or a new pet arriving in the home.
Signs can manifest in a number of ways and, for some, we may see they are passing stool more frequently and in places other than their litter box. If your cat has changed their pooping habits, consider what has changed in their environment recently.
On a side note, stress will often lead to cystitis and even urinary tract infections in cats, resulting in them peeing more frequently too!
Parasites are not uncommon in our furry friends, particularly for those cats who go outside, hunt or are raw fed. Your vet will let you know who often you should be de-worming your cat, which will usually be every 3-6 months for adult cats.
Signs of parasites can include diarrhoea, bloating, excess hunger and a dull coat. Intestinal parasites are not always visible in the stool as they can be microscopic.
Is your cat constipated? What are the signs to look for?
Constipation can cause signs such as bloating, lethargy, a reduced appetite, straining in the tray and infrequent passing of poop. Any cat poop passed may be dark and small, like little nuggets.
Importantly, owners frequently confuse cystitis (bladder inflammation) with constipation. Cystitis causes frequent straining and visits to your cat’s litter box; this is a really common issue, particularly in kitties who are stressed.
My cat is constipated. What should I do?
If you suspect your cat is constipated, this is something to discuss with your vet. We’d want to ensure this is the right diagnosis and to determine if it is severe enough to warrant any specific treatment.
From home, it can help to offer plenty of water and wet food, to keep our cat active and moving and to provide extra fibre in the form of bran flakes or canned pumpkin. It’s also essential to keep your cat’s litter box clean and attractive so they’re happy to poop when they need to.
For more severe constipation, your vet may issue some laxatives and/or an enema treatment. Dehydrated cats can benefit from intravenous fluids and assisted feeding. Of course, determining why the constipation has occurred in the first place will also be key.
How to Know When Something’s Not Right with Your Cat’s Poop
If you’ve gotten into a habit of checking your cat’s toileting habits, you will notice when something is different. This can mean passing poop more or less frequently and you may notice the stool is harder, softer, a different colour or contains some mucus or blood.
Your vet should be happy to assess the poop, which can mean bringing a sample into the consult or bringing along a photo for them to see.
When Should You Visit a Vet for Your Cat’s Poop?
When concerned something is different, organise a vet check. This may be if your cat’s stool has changed in consistency or if they’ve suddenly changed how often they’re passing poo.
For most adult cats, anything more than twice a day is unusual. Similarly, going more than 2-3 days without stool could indicate a problem.
Your vet can examine your cat from nose to tail, checking for worrying signs such as bloating, dehydration or abdominal pain. They may discuss some testing, such as abdominal imaging, to check for any faecal impaction.
Should cat poop be stinky?
Let’s face it, cat poo won’t ever smell pleasant. However, the odour should not be overpowering or foul, and this could be indicative of a medical issue.
How long can a cat go without pooping?
While we want cats to poop every day, if they miss a day this is not generally a big concern. We start to worry if we notice them not pooping and becoming uncomfortable after 3-4 days.
Is it normal for a cat to pass stool every 2 days?
For some cats, their gut transit time may be naturally slower. Anything from a poo every 12-48 hours or so can be considered normal.
What should I do if my cat is pooping frequently?
Some cats can poop a couple of times a day and this is their normal. If they start pooing more often, this could be indicative of a medical issue and a vet check is wise.
What If My Cat Poops More Than Twice a Day?
More than twice a day is usually too much for an adult cat and if this is out of the ordinary for them, it is worth getting this checked out.
Do Cats Revenge Poop?
No. While it can seem that cats are being vindictive or vengeful, this is simply not how they function. If they poo out of their tray when you’re away from home or their routine has been disturbed, this is linked to anxiety rather than a form of them punishing you.
What if my cat has diarrhea?
Diarrhea can lead to more frequent bowel movements and toileting outside of their tray. Some common causes include parasites, infections and abrupt diet changes.
What if there is blood in cat poop?
Finding blood in your cat’s poop can be alarming but is not that uncommon, especially in kittens and in those with ongoing diarrhoea. They have sensitive guts and we do sometimes see fresh red, blood and/or mucus in cat poop.
Can cat poop be dangerous?
Potentially it can, yes. One of the biggest risks is of Toxoplasmosis, which is especially dangerous to pregnant women.
Why is my cat pooping outside of the box?
Pooping outside of the tray is not an uncommon issue and can be indicative of anxiety or medical issues like arthritis or intestinal inflammation/inflammatory bowel disease.
What can I do if my cat is kicking litter out?
This can be a sign of a tray set-up that they’re not happy with. They may well need a bigger litter box with deeper litter. It may be worth investing in a tray with walls and a roof, to keep the home cleaner.