Unsure whether your kitty's poops are healthy or not? We've created a cat poop chart to help you decipher what each of your kitties poops means. It's like a horoscope reading, but better. Caution: if you are at all offended by cat poop talk or are mid-way through eating your lunch, this blog probably isn't for you.
Read on to find out what's so important about cat poop, how often your kitty should be pooping, and tips from Vet Doctor Lazaris to tell if your cat's poop is healthy or not.
Why do we care about cat poop?
Believe it or not, we aren't just weirdos that enjoy talking about poop 24/7. Poops are important as they reflect the inner workings of our and our pets' bodies. Bowel movements can signal your fur baby is all tickety boo, or they could alert you to a possible illness or issue. This is particularly useful as our fur babies obviously can't talk (as much as we wish they could). So inspecting their poops before you scoop it up into a cat poop bag is probably the best form of conversation you're going to be able to have with them over their health.
How often should a cat poo?
Sadly there isn't a one poo fits all answer. However, according to Michael the Vet, you should generally expect your cat to be pooping at least once or twice a day.
There are a number of factors that will affect your cat's poop frequency. These include their; age, diet, exercise level, environment, and if they have any underlying medical conditions. For example, as kittens, their pooping frequency will be much higher than once a day, more like after every mealtime. They do only have tiny little tums after all.
Next up we've created a pootiful infographic showing what your kitties poops might mean...
Cat poop chart
What Michael the Vet says -
"Seeing one of these poop presentations once might not be much of a concern as it could just be something the cat ate. If the poos are repeatedly diarrhoea, black, yellow, with fresh blood, then I'd be more concerned and go to the vet. Don't forget to also take pictures and samples for the vet!"
Hopefully, your cat's poop is looking brown, formed, and easily passed, however, if it's not, we're now going to run through a couple of the most common problems...
Issue #1: cat diarrhea
Cat diarrhea is one of the most common conditions vets see and will often be cured without treatment in a couple of hours or a day. The consistency can range from watery to soft, and lighter to darker in colour.
Our rescue kitty Boo used to struggle with continual periods of upset tummies, and the vet prescribed her probiotics pastes. This convinced us they were an important part of her diet and we wondered why there wasn't a food range available that already had these probiotics included - Scrumbles probiotic cat food was born. That's why we pack all our dry cat food recipes with over 1 billion live bacteria per kg, and all our treats and wet cat food with the tummy-friendly superfood slippery elm, for happy tums and bums.
What Michael the Vet says -
"There are many causes of diarrhoea in cats, but one of the most common causes of runny stools vets see are parasitic infections. These are often either intestinal worms or protozoa, like giardia, and even indoor cats can be susceptible. Keeping up to date with a regular flea and worming protocol is the best way to avoid these nasty infections and keep your kitty's bowels healthy and happy. Speak to your vet about all the options available for your cat."
Issue #2: What does it mean when a cat has blood in its poo?
There are some important signs to look out for in your cat's poop that could be cause for concern. On appearance, perhaps the most concerning is visible blood in their #2. Blood in their poo could either be red, showing it's fresh, or black, showing it's been digested. Fresh blood might appear as streaks in their poo or as visible droplets from their bottom. Whilst digested blood will be visible in the poo itself, normally turning the whole thing black (yum).
Depending on which one you see will give you a clue as to where the issue is arising. Fresh blood will signify the issue is in the lower part of the gut, whilst digested will be higher than the large intestines e.g the stomach or small intestines. Sorry if this is TMI, we did caution you at the start!
Often the cause will be minor and treatable, such as any of the following:
- worms or gut parasites
- a food intolerance
- anal gland issues
- rectal polyp
- an infection
- ingestion of a poison (like rat poison)
However sadly in some cases, it could be something more serious like cancer or a blood clotting problem.
Issue #3: How to help your cat poo
If your cat is struggling to poo at all and suffering from constipation, you might be wondering if you can do anything to help them on their way. For outdoor cat owners, it can be harder to track their bowel movements, so we've listed a few other signs you can look out for too:
- Straining without actually doing the deed
- A hard tummy
- Hunched posture
- Lost appetite
As cat constipation can be caused by a number of factors, you need to first try and figure out what's causing the problem. If you're out of ideas, don't hesitate to talk to your vet but there are a couple of common causes you can try to treat at home:
- Dehydration - if you think dehydration is causing your cat's constipation, up the water intake. Ensure plenty of water is always accessible, try different water bowls (such as cat water fountains), and always keep their water bowl apart from their food bowl. You can also switch to wet food, which has a higher water content than dry food to help keep them hydrated. We offer three flavours of meaty pate cat food recipes; including our chicken grain free wet cat food, tuna cat food and turkey cat food, with tummy-soothing slippery elm too.
- Fibre intake - fibre is essential for gut health and pretty poops. Feeding too much or too little fibre could cause constipation, so make sure you're feeding the correct amount.
- Exercise - if your cat's not moving around too much, its metabolism will slow down. Introduce some new fun games that gets their blood pumping - check out some of our cat enrichment ideas.
What Michael the Vet says -
"It's vital to differentiate from repeated straining to poo, to straining to urinate, as the latter is a big emergency (blocked bladder), especially in male cats. So if you notice straining, just make sure your cat is still able to pee. And seeing one of these poop presentations once might not be much of a concern as it could just be something the cat ate. If the poos are repeatedly diarrhoea, black, yellow, with fresh blood etc then I'd be more concerned and go to the vet. Also, take pictures and samples for the vet!"
More about Michael the Vet:
Michael Lazaris is a vet, presenter, and expert writer originally from South Africa. He completed his veterinary and zoology degrees at the University of Edinburgh, and currently works as a small animal vet in London, at the RSPCA Putney Animal Hospital. He's passionate about raising awareness about pet health, treating vulnerable pets and wildlife animals. Check him out on Instagram if you like seeing the odd kitten, puppy or pimple picking!
You might even have spotted him on shows such as The Dog Rescuer or Jo Brand's Cats and Kittens on Channel 5.