If you love cats, you’ll eventually have to deal with cat poop. While this isn’t a topic most cat parents like to talk about, it’s an important one that should be addressed. A cat’s bathroom habits are sometimes the first or only indication you’ll have that something is wrong. So, pay attention to that litter box! You never know what nuggets of information you may uncover.
Before you can unravel your cat’s bathroom habits, you first need to know:
How often do cats poop? Cats all have different defecation schedules influenced by a number of factors. On average, a healthy adult cat will likely poop at least once a day. A cat may poop more or less than this and still be perfectly healthy.
Now that you know the general rule, let’s dig into the secrets in your cat’s litter box.
What factors influence how much a cat should poop?
Just about everything in your cat’s life and environment can have an influence on how much they poop. Being aware of these factors and controlling as many of them as possible can help you keep your cat healthy and happy.
Kittens are notorious poopers. They do their best to get to the litter box in time, but tiny kitties have tiny bowels, and accidents happen.
It’s probably this reason why pet parents notice kitten poo more often than adult cat poo.
They do have to empty their bowels more often, but they quickly grow out of that as their control increases and their body gets bigger.
I know I said you can control aspects of your cat’s life to help keep the poops under control.
Obviously, you can’t control the age of your cat, but you can take steps to make sure her environment is suitable for her age. Kittens, for instance, should have access to multiple, short-sided litter boxes.
That will help prevent accidents and you can keep a closer eye on bathroom habits this way. Older cats may also need a box with lower sides to help ease aching joints.
Different cats like different types of litter. This can also change over time and with your cat’s age and special needs.
If you notice accidents outside the litter box, you might try switching litters.
What goes in the cat must someday come out of the cat.
That means if you feed your kitty something disagreeable, you’re going to find out about it pretty quickly. Keeping cats on a steady, predictable, suitable diet is key to keeping their poops under control and in healthy amounts.
Ask your vet for feeding recommendations at each checkup.
All cats have specific needs at different life stages. You can always ask your vet about food options if you notice any changes in your cat’s potty habits, too.
It’s not uncommon for cats to develop sensitivities or allergies over time, so it’s always best to check.
It’s not just what you feed your cat that matters, but how much you feed him. A cat on a controlled diet is likely to have predictable poop patterns.
However, if you keep your cats on a self-feeding, always available diet, you may never know how much poop is normal for your cat.
This is not to say that you should never allow cats to self-regulate their food.
Some kitties do quite well on this routine. If you’re worried about poop frequency or amount, though, it can be tougher to see changes in the litter box deposits if you aren’t sure how much Kitty is eating in the first place.
Cats need to drink adequate water in order to empty their bowels regularly.
Some cats are picky drinkers and won’t touch water that’s been contaminated with anything—even dust! If your cat doesn’t seem to be drinking enough and she seems to have trouble pooping, try changing her water.
You may want to try a neat kitty fountain that keeps the water fresh.
Just like humans, cats need some exercise to keep the bowels functioning at peak performance.
A slow, sluggish, fat cat is going to have slow, sluggish bowels. That can cause constipation and eventually serious blockages.
Help your cat stay regular by playing with her and encouraging her to stay active.
Balls, stuffed mice, jingling or crinkling toys that give feedback when pounced on are all favorites for solo playtime, too. Even though cats can entertain themselves, it’s always best to participate—it’s good for both of you!
In a perfect world, our cats would never get sick. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world.
We do, however, live in a world with vets, so even if your cat gets sick, you can get some help quick. One of the easiest ways to see if your cat is feeling ill is to check his poop.
If you’re used to his poop being a certain size, shape, color, and smell, you can see right away when something is wrong. You cat’s health can and usually will affect his poop frequency, too.
Sometimes, cats need some medical intervention for their health issues. While the meds might work wonders for the main problem, they can also cause constipation, diarrhea, or other gastrointestinal issues.
Be sure to report any changes in your cat’s poop frequency, smell, or appearance after starting or stopping medications.
How much poop is too much poop for a cat?
This is a tough one to answer. As you can see from the information above, there are many factors that dictate how much a cat normally poops.
Trying to say how much is too much is nearly impossible. The best answer I can give is if your cat seems distressed or she is pooping much more frequently than normal, it’s probably too much. That’s a good signal that a vet trip is in order.
That said, if your cat has diarrhea, that’s too much poop no matter how much they went.
When a cat has the runs, it’s not fun for anyone, but it is especially dangerous for cats who can quickly succumb to dehydration. If you notice runny stools in the litter box or goodness forbid on the floor, call the vet.
Is my cat constipated?
Since every cat poops in their own time and in their own way, it may be difficult to tell if your cat isn’t pooping enough.
If he’s constipated, you may not realize it until it’s gone on for some time. A keen-eyed cat parent will recognize the signs of constipation and get their kitty some help quick.
A constipated cat may seem agitated and uncomfortable.
You may be able to hear unusual gurgling in his abdomen, but not all cats show this sign. A constipated cat may seem to obsessively lick their tummy in an attempt to relieve cramps or discomfort.
This will differ from regular grooming and may seem frantic.
If you can catch your cat in the litter box, watch how he behaves. Is he straining to go? Does he spend a good chunk of time in the poo position but leaves the box clean? That’s a pretty good sign your cat may be constipated.
If you’ve been keeping track of your cat’s bathroom breaks, you’ll likely notice few or no poops in the litter box.
If this goes on for 48 – 72 hours, you may want to call the vet and have her checked for constipation.
To Cat It Up…
The bottom line on cat poop is that each cat is an individual.
Keep an eye on your cat’s normal routine and you should be able to spot any changes before big problems develop.
Don’t panic if your cat slips out of her routine for a day or so, but do pay attention to it and be ready to lend a helping hand if she seems to be having trouble.
How often do kittens poop? You can expect a kitten to poop after waking from a nap, after eating a meal, and after playtime.
That sounds like a lot, and it is! But kittens have very small bowels, so they will need to eliminate often. Make sure your kitten has easy access to multiple litter boxes to help prevent accidents.
How often do cats pee? Cats will need to urinate on their own schedule.
This schedule is affected by their age, health, diet, how much they drink, and their access to a suitable bathroom location.
Some cats use the litter box hourly, some every few hours, and some even more frequently. As long as your cat doesn’t seem to be in distress and his urine seems normal, don’t worry.
How long can a cat hold their poop? This depends on the cat. A healthy adult cat may be able to hold their bowels for many hours—may be up to 6 or more.
While an older cat may have trouble holding it in for more than an hour, some can go a bit longer.
Kittens will need to poop more often than adults and should never be kept from litter box access.