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    Cat Poop – How Often Should A Cat Go?

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    Updated: February 5, 2020

    Cat Poop Freqency

    Earlier this year when we asked for topics that you all wanted advice and insight on, quite a few people asked us (some variation of) this question… How often should my cat “go?”

    It’s an important question, and one that — of course — has a not-so-straightforward answer.


    As with many things about cats, there are several factors that will influence the answer. These factors include, amongst other things…

    • your cat’s age (kittens typically defecate more often than adult cats)
    • what and how much you feed them
    • how much exercise they get
    • whether or not they have any underlying medical conditions which might affect their gut motility or health (inflammatory bowel disease, hyperthyroidism, pain, intestinal worms or other parasites, chronic kidney disease, or any of a host of other conditions)
    • whether or not your cat is on any medications or supplements (especially certain pain medications) that might affect their gut motility (i.e. how fast their food passes through their "pipes")

    General Rule of Thumb: All other things being equal though, the general "rule of thumb" is that a cat should pass a bowel movement at least once daily. Furthermore, that movement should be formed, but not too hard, a normal brown color, and they should pass it without difficulty or discomfort.

    Specific Rule of Thumb: Perhaps a better, more specific “rule of thumb” though is thatcat-poop-frequency.jpg if your cat’s bowel movements start to differ from their normal frequency, consistency, color, odor, or anything else, and that change persists for longer than a day or two, it’s time to visit your veterinarian, as this could be a sign of a problem.

    A Few Important Warnings About Cat Poop

    Regardless of which “rule of thumb” you choose to follow, watch out for these warning signs.

    • Blood in the stool is an exception — if you see blood in your cat’s stool, even once, you should have them and their stool evaluated by your veterinarian.

    • If you notice your cat straining to pass a bowel movement, be sure it’s that they are straining to defecate — rather than straining to urinate. Constipation is uncomfortable, urinary obstruction is rapidly fatal!

    • Never, never, never (NEVER!) attempt to give your cat an enema at home! (Yes, some people have tried!) Not only is it likely to end with your arms and face scratched beyond recognition (can you blame them though?!!), it may also kill your cat. Inappropriately administered enemas can cause rectal tears and phosphate-containing enemas (e.g. Fleet) and others can cause severe, life-threatening dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities. If your cat is constipated... take them to the vet!

    • If your cat is straining in the litter box and you notice that it's because he has a string, dental floss, or other "linear" material hanging out of his rectum, don't just jump right in and try pulling it out without first reading our "Cats and String - To Pull or Not to Pull?" article.

    If your cat is eliminating outside the litter box that's a whole other ball of proverbial wax. There are many potential reasons for such a change in behavior, and you should work with your veterinarian to try and figure out why your cat has taken up this new (and undesirable) habit.

    Below are some simple things you can check and address on your own, too. (Nifty trick: if you have several cats in your home and you need a trick to figure out which one is pooping outside the box, check out this nifty trick using crayons.)
    how often do cats poop

    Picking the Right Size Litter Box for Your Cat

    You should first check whether they have an appropriately sized box. Oddly enough, for most cats, the "best overall litter box” for general use usually isn’t a traditional litter box! The thing that most often fits the bill is actually a large, plastic under-the-bed clothes storage box.

    They’re typically plenty long and wide enough, with just the right depth, too. I love using the inner drawers of the ones linked below, as they've got great dimensions for most cats: approximately 27" long, 15" wide, and 4.5" tall — and you can get them in multi-packs to save money!

    IRIS Under Bed Storage Box
    IRIS Under Bed Storage Box Chest Drawer

    You might also try the following boxes for "sprayers," "kickers," and cats with bad aim.

    Nature's Miracle High-Sided Litter Box, Easy Clean Spout
    natures miracle high sided cat litter box

    BetterBox LARGE Cat Litter Box
    PetFusion Large Litter Box (the BetterBox). NON-STICK Coating significantly reduces cleaning time

    Using Litter Attractants and Pheromones for Cat Potty Problems

    If your cat is still going outside of their boxes, you can try a litter attractant, which does exactly what you'd expect: attracts a cat to their litter boxes.

    Dr. Elsey's Ultra Litter Attractant
    Dr.Elsey's Litter Attractant

    And since stress can cause a cat to eliminate outside of their boxes, consider placing a calming pheromone diffuser in the same rooms as their boxes so they feel comfortable and safe when they're ready to do their business.

    FELIWAY Classic Diffuser for Cats (30 Day Starter Kit)
    FELIWAY Classic Diffuser for Cats (30 Day Starter Kit)

    For More Help With Litter Boxes

    Litter Box 101: How to Choose the Best Litter Boxes for Your Cats and Why You Need To

    Litter Box 101: How to Set Up Your Cat's Litter Boxes to Prevent Potty Accidents

    Litter Box 101: What Type of Litter is Best for Your Cat

    Got a minute?

    We are conducting a survey of cat owners to learn more about the eating and litter box habits of cats. It will only take about 1-2 minutes to complete. Your experiences will help us help cats everywhere by providing better information to cat lovers.

    Cat feeding & litter box survey is anonymous.

    Take the Survey

    Thank you!

    Book of Cat Health and Safety Tips

    Topics: Cat Health, Litter Box, Cats, Cat Tips

    Please do not ask emergency or other specific medical questions about your pets in the blog comments. As an online informational resource, Preventive Vet is unable to and does not provide specific medical advice or counseling. A thorough physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinary-patient-client relationship is required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet is having an emergency or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic medical conditions, please contact or visit your veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.

    Please share your experiences and stories, your opinions and feedback about this blog, or what you've learned that you'd like to share with others.