A cat’s digestive habits can offer a peak into their overall health. While it may seem a bit gross to examine your cat’s poop, it’s an easy way to ensure that you are offering a diet that works for them.
Not only can your cat’s stool give you the okay on their food intake, but changes in their poop can point to developing illness as well. So how do you know if your cat’s poop is normal?
In this article we will discuss the many forms of cat poop that you may see in the litter box, and help you understand what healthy stool should look like in our feline friends!
What Does Poop Tell You About The Health Of Your Cat?
Before we dive into the different types of cat poop, you should first be aware of just how important it is to stay on top of your cat’s litter box habits.
While we tend to think of our cat’s poop as something we should quickly scoop and avoid looking at, a quick glance is more helpful than you may think.
A cat’s poop appearance can tell you quite a bit about their digestive health. Their stool can be a direct reflection of how they’re feeling, and if they are battling any unseen medical complications.
Some of the many conditions that can affect the appearance of your cat’s poop include:
- Food intolerance
- Gastrointestinal upset
- Intestinal parasites
- Digestive abnormalities
- Kidney and liver disease
- And more
What Does Healthy Cat Poop Look Like?
If you are going to identify abnormal poop in your feline friend, you must first know what healthy cat poop looks like.
Cat droppings can come in many forms, but there is a general description of what you should expect in a healthy cat. Healthy cat poop should be classified by normal color, consistency, and frequency.
Healthy cat poop should be formed (yet pliable) and brown in color. Cats should also have at least one bowel movement a day, or at least follow a normal schedule in terms of their litter box habits.
Not only should their poop be brown in color, but the color should not change if their diet remains the same. If their stool texture or color ever has a sudden change in appearance, it’s best to contact your veterinarian for further advice.
What Are The Different Types of Cat Poop?
Now that we have discussed what healthy cat poop should look like in a cat, let’s dive into our detailed cat stool guide.
Changes in a cat’s 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, let’s discuss the different types of cat poop.
Hard Balls Or Pebbles
Hard balls or pebbles of cat poop can point to constipation in your furry friend. This stool will often be a rich brown color, and may occur inside or outside of the litter box.
You may notice your cat straining each time they attempt to pass stool, or may take longer in the litter box than usual. Some cats are even noticeable struggling each time they have a bowel movement, or may begin to avoid the litter box all together.
Not only will constipation cause their stool to be noticeably hard, but you may also notice that litter does not stick to this stool.
Stool in constipated cats will often lack moisture, meaning litter will have nothing to cling to.
Poop in constipated cats will also be in hard segmented balls, as their stool is often separated during passing due to struggling so much.
Sausage Shaped & Slightly Firm
Sausage shaped stool that has the consistency of soft playdough is a sign of a healthy digestive system.
This often means that your cat is responding well to their daily diet, and are likely free of any intestinal parasites that cause diarrhea.
This stool should be brown in color, and remain consistent in texture and color as long as their diet remains the same. Litter will also stick to this form of cat poop, as each passing will contain some moisture.
Formed but Slightly Mushy
Formed by slightly mushy stool can be normal in some cats, but may also point to minor irritation in their digestive tract.
This description refers to stool that can still be easily scooped when cleaning the litter box, but may seem to contain more moisture than usual.
The stool may also have a more pungent smell than their usual stool, and may even have a slight change in color.
Mushy stool does not have to be a major cause of concern, but should be monitored for any additional changes.
If their stool resolves back to its usual form within 24-72 hours and is not accompanied by any other symptoms, you generally have nothing to worry about.
If your cat’s stool is in the form of mushy blobs, this can be a sign that they are lacking fiber in their diet or are beginning to show signs of gastrointestinal upset.
Mushy stool may stick to the scoop when you are trying to clean their litter box, and will likely have a change in color from their usual stool.
Not only will this form of poop have a change in appearance, but it may also have a more pungent odor.
This type of stool can tell you that your cat needs a bit more fiber in their diet, but if their diet has remained the same, this likely points to another underlying issue.
Sudden mushy stool should warrant a trip to the vet, as this could mean your cat is displaying symptoms of a developing illness.
Mushy & Very Challenging To Scoop
If a cat is passing mushy stool that is unable to be scooped, this is often considered to be diarrhea.
Diarrhea in cats may vary in color, and will often be accompanied by a strong odor. Your cat may be passing stool frequently, and may be displaying other gastrointestinal symptoms as well.
The sudden appearance of diarrhea in your cat’s litter box can point to gastrointestinal illness, intestinal parasites, or other complications that can cause GI upset.
Diarrhea should always warrant an immediate trip to the vet, as this requires medical intervention to treat.
This type of diarrhea is extremely watery, and is unable to be scooped unless it is coated in litter.
Liquid diarrhea in cats is never normal, and always points to some type of underlying complication.
Diarrhea is not necessarily a disease in itself, but rather a symptom to another cause. Because of this, liquid diarrhea in cats should always lead to a prompt visit to your veterinarian.
Liquid diarrhea in cats is a serious symptom, and will lead to dehydration if it is not addressed quickly. Not only can liquid diarrhea cause dehydration, but it is also extremely uncomfortable for our feline friends.
If your cat is experiencing diarrhea of any kind, you should always contact your veterinarian for further advice.
My Cat Has Hard Poop
If your cat has hard poop, you may be wondering how to get them through their constipation. If your cat is still able to pass their stool and is not straining too much in the litter box, then there are a few changes you can implement in their routine.
First, you can monitor their daily water intake and make sure they are spending enough time at their water bowl.
If you don’t think they are consuming enough water, you can entice them by purchasing a cat water fountain, putting more water bowls around your home, or even flavoring their water with a taste they enjoy.
Another option you can consider is discussing your cat’s daily diet with your veterinarian. Your vet may be able to recommend a diet that has more fiber, or may even point you in the direction of cat approved laxatives and probiotics.
Some cats also benefit from a prescribed laxative in severe cases of constipation.
Another way to relieve constipation in our feline friends is through daily exercise or weight loss. Obese cats struggle with constipation more than others, and can benefit from daily exercise to help promote bowel movement.
If your overweight cat is struggling with constipation, it may be time to implement more daily exercise.
My Cat Has Loose Poop
If your cat has loose poop, it is usually best to visit your veterinarian. While slightly loose stools that only last for a couple days may not be a major cause of concern, anything that lasts longer than 48 hours or transitions into diarrhea should be taken seriously.
Loose stool can be due to minor GI upset or inflammation, but diarrhea is often a symptom of something more.
Diarrhea in cats can be a result of dietary indiscretion, unhealthy diet, intestinal parasites, pancreatitis, kidney disease, liver disease, and many other medical complications.
Diarrhea in cats can quickly lead to dehydration, so we always suggest contacting your veterinarian for further advice.
As you can see, there are multiple types of cat poop that can point to different issues in our feline friends. Be sure to review the information that we discussed above, and you can stay on top of your cat’s digestive health going forward!
My name is Amber. I am a dedicated animal lover that turned my passion into my career. I am a Licensed Vet Tech with 12 years of experience in veterinary medicine, but I recently took my career online to help spread accurate information on animal care. With how vast the online world is, I have a strong desire to ensure that the reader always walks away with helpful pet advice. With the experience I’ve gained from my time in this field, I have been able to travel the world, offering my services to as many animal rescues as I can find. If I am not at my laptop, or back home visiting family, you can find me somewhere in the world, cuddling every furry friend that I can find! More About Us
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What does normal cat poop look like? Normal cat poop should be brown or dark brown in color, but not black. It should have a firm, pliable consistency, but not too hard or soft.Is it normal for cat poop to be hard? ›
If you see hard, dry feces, or if you notice that your cat is straining while defecating or exhibiting other symptoms of constipation, contact your veterinarian - especially if diarrhea is a factor as dehydration may quickly become a problem.Is cat poop usually runny? ›
A healthy, “normal” cat poop is generally dark brown, firm (but not hard), and shaped like logs or nuggets. Moist logs or even a wet “flop” from time to time probably isn't cause for alarm.What does abnormal cat poop look like? ›
Small, hard balls of poop are considered abnormal and unhealthy because they can be an indicator of constipation. This is a serious issue for cats because it may indicate problematic health concerns like neurological or metabolic conditions or a colon obstruction, notes International Cat Care.How firm should cat poop? ›
Normal cat poop should be brown or dark brown in color, but not black. It should have a firm, pliable consistency, but not too hard or soft. It should leave no residue on the ground when it's picked up.Does wet cat food cause soft stool? ›
Poopology: Your Cat's Stool.
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If your cat seems to be feeling well otherwise, a bland diet may be the best cat food for firm stool. Try it out and see if she feels better in a day or two. A bland diet consists of 1 part protein such as cooked ground turkey or boiled boneless, skinless chicken, and 2 parts starch, such as sweet potato or pumpkin.What should healthy cat poop look like? ›
If they're healthy, their poop should: Be deep brown in color. Feel not too hard or too soft or mushy. Not smell too foul, though some odor is normal.Why is my cat poop soft and smelly? ›
The odour of healthy cat poo should be mild and barely noticeable. Smelly faeces is usually a sign of an issue in the stomach or intestines – caused by a digestive disorder or parasites to bacteria and poor diet. 'There's also a distinctive metallic smell that results from digested blood,' says Brian.Why does my cat have loose stool? ›
What are some causes of diarrhea? Infectious agents, such as bacteria, viruses, coccidia, and intestinal worms (hookworms, roundworms, whipworms), or non-infectious irritants, such as chemical toxins or poisonous plants, are some of the more common causes of diarrhea.
For many cats, their runny stool is caused by digestive problems. Sensitive stomachs can produce smelly stools that aren't precisely firm. However, the Royal Canin Feline Digestive Care Dry Cat Food is formulated to support your feline's sensitive stomach.How much should a cat poop per day? ›
As a general rule of thumb, cats will poop once, maybe twice a day. If your cat is pooping a lot more than that or missing a couple of days in a row, it's not a bad idea to talk to your veterinarian. This may be your cat's normal routine, but then again, it could indicate something's up with your cat.Does cheap cat food make cats poop more? ›
Cats fed low quality food may have more frequent or larger bowel movements because more of the food ends up unusable by the body. Cats fed too much food may also have more frequent and/or larger bowel movements.How often should a cat poop on wet food? ›
An indoor cat may go two to three days without passing faeces.Is dry food better for cats with diarrhea? ›
Elsey's cleanprotein Chicken Recipe Dry Cat Food. In general, wet food is the best option for cats with diarrhea. It helps to prevent dehydration and is usually easier for cats to digest. Plus, it can be much tastier than dry food.Is light brown cat poop normal? ›
Color of Your Cat's Poop
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.
- Change Your Cat's Food. There is no need to withhold food from cats who have diarrhea. ...
- Fiber. Some types of cat diarrhea get better with a low-fiber (highly digestible) diet. ...
- Encourage Water and Electrolyte Intake. ...
- Probiotics. ...
- Anti-Diarrheal Medications.
Twice a week is a general guideline for replacing clay litter, but depending on your circumstances, you may need to replace it every other day or only once a week. If you clean the litter box daily, you might only need to change clumping litter every two to three weeks.How long after eating does a cat poop? ›
When something is ingested by your cat, it usually takes between 10-24 hours to move through the entire digestive tract. Some objects, however, can take much longer – even months!How do I know if my cat has diarrhea? ›
- Mucus or blood in the stool.
- Worms in the stool.
- Accidents in the house.
- Defecating with increased frequency.
- Straining to defecate.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Loss of appetite.
- Tiredness or weakness.
If they're healthy, their poop should: Be deep brown in color. Feel not too hard or too soft or mushy. Not smell too foul, though some odor is normal.What are the signs of constipation in cats? ›
- Straining and difficulty passing faeces (called tenesmus)
- Pain when passing faeces.
- Decreased frequency of defecation.
- Production of small, hard dry faeces (stools)
Melena in Cats. Melena, the term used to describe a black, tarry appearing feces, is typically seen due to bleeding in the upper portion of the gastrointestinal tract. It is also been seen in cats after they have ingested a sufficient amount of blood from the oral cavity or respiratory tract.What do you feed a cat with loose stools? ›
For many cats, their runny stool is caused by digestive problems. Sensitive stomachs can produce smelly stools that aren't precisely firm. However, the Royal Canin Feline Digestive Care Dry Cat Food is formulated to support your feline's sensitive stomach.Why is my cat poop soft and smelly? ›
The odour of healthy cat poo should be mild and barely noticeable. Smelly faeces is usually a sign of an issue in the stomach or intestines – caused by a digestive disorder or parasites to bacteria and poor diet. 'There's also a distinctive metallic smell that results from digested blood,' says Brian.How often should a cat poop on wet food? ›
An indoor cat may go two to three days without passing faeces.What can I add to my cat food for constipation? ›
Increasing water intake:
- Feed canned food — increased water content will improve hydration and soften the feces.
- Add water to dry food if your cat will not eat canned food.
- Use water fountains or running water sources.
Most cats should drink about 4 ounces of water per 5 pounds of body weight in a day, give or take an ounce in either direction.How much olive oil do you give a cat for constipation? ›
Olive Oil Dosage if Your Cat Is Constipated
For a mild bout of constipation, VetInfo advises one-half to one tablespoon of olive oil, or five to ten drops if you use a dropper. Add the oil to your cat's food.
If your cat likes a good belly rub, then you know when she's happy her stomach is soft, palpable and comfortable to your touch. However, if you notice her stomach is starting to look distended, feels firm or she acts painful, these are signs something could be wrong.
If your cat is pooping less frequently and having some difficulty, she may be constipated. While there is some normal variation, if it's 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 (inside or outside the litter box)Does tuna cause constipation in cats? ›
Cat Constipation Remedies
You may try offering your cat the following to relieve his constipation — but only after you've gotten the okay from your vet: Canned cat food, low-sodium tuna or low-sodium chicken or beef stock to add moisture to your cat's diet and create softer stools.
If your cat's poop is long and thin, like ribbons, and it hasn't always been that way, she might be having trouble getting it out. The shape of your cat's poop tells you a lot about how much effort it takes her to expel her feces; long, stringy poops can mean your cat has some kind of growth in her colon, like a tumor.Why is my cat's poop runny and light brown? ›
Color of Your Cat's Poop
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.
As a general rule of thumb, cats will poop once, maybe twice a day. If your cat is pooping a lot more than that or missing a couple of days in a row, it's not a bad idea to talk to your veterinarian. This may be your cat's normal routine, but then again, it could indicate something's up with your cat.