You can learn a lot from cat poop. As with dogs (and humans too, to be fair) a quick check at your cat’s waste can tell you a lot about their health. It’s a good way to tell when things are running well, or when you may want to consider changing things up or heading to the vet.

It can be somewhat difficult to observe your cat’s bowel movements if they’re outdoor pets, but if they use a litter box, you should take advantage of the daily task of scooping their poop to observe it in detail. That little box is the perfect receptacle for droppings to be examined.

So, how can you tell what’s normal and what’s not? This guide will help you learn how to differentiate between normal poop and poop that’s cause for concern.

Cat Poop: What’s Normal?

Most cats will poop at least once a day. The amount of bathroom activity ranges, and 1-2 times a day is the average for a healthy cat.

If they’re healthy, your cat’s poop should:

  • Be brown or deep brown in color
  • Firm, but not too too hard, and not too soft or mushy
  • Not smell too foul, though some odor is normal
  • Not contain any streaks of blood or mucus

If you catch your cat pooping, there shouldn’t be any straining. It should come out easily, and not cause pain or strain.

If you’re paying attention and notice solid, brown, sausage-like poops, this is a good indication that your cat’s health is in check.

What’s Not

Now, there are lots of things that can indicate that things are not as they should be.

Color, content, and consistency are 3 staples to look at when it comes to cat poop:

1. Color

Brown to dark brown is normal.

  • Streaks of red blood and/or mucus mixed with normal stool are typically caused by inflammation of the large intestine. It doesn’t necessarily warrant an emergency, but if it persists, see your vet.
  • Black, tarry stool usually indicates bleeding somewhere in the stomach or small intestine and requires an immediate trip to the vet.
  • Yellowish-orange colour with pasty consistency might mean the development of liver disease or biliary issues.
  • Grey and greasy could indicate inadequate digestion and pancreatic problems or biliary issues.
  • Green stool could be excessive grass consumed, or gall bladder issue. Or it could be caused by undigested rat bait. 
  • White Spots that look like rice grains may be a sign of tapeworms.

2. Consistency

As mentioned, healthy stool should be firm, but not too hard, and not too soft.

  • Soft and mushy (but formed) could just be a result of a diet change, a little tummy upset, and if just give it a little time to resolve itself. If it doesn’t go away, it could indicate bacterial infection, intestinal parasites, or food intolerance.
  • Diarrhea (really runny) can be caused by a number of factors, including intestinal irritation (an intestinal parasite, for example), a bacterial infection, IBD, liver or kidney disease, food allergy, and food intolerances. Diarrhea is not uncommon for cats. Sometimes, it comes and goes quickly. Other times, it can last for days, weeks, or months, or come back on a regular basis. Diarrhea that lasts for 24 to 48 hours probably won’t cause a problem unless you have an older cat or a kitten. But if it lasts longer, your cat can get dehydrated, which can be dangerous.
  • Hard, pebbles of poop usually indicates constipation/dehydration. Constipation can be caused by over-grooming, not enough fiber in the diet, pain, kidney problems, or an intestinal blockage. You don’t need to worry if it only happens sometimes. But if it’s more common, happening on a realgar basis, that’s probably worth a call to the vet.

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3. Content

You cat’s poop should just be, well, poop. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, take a closer look.

  • Mucus could be an indication of an inflamed colon
  • An abundance of hair could indicate over-grooming, which may be caused by stress, pain, or allergies. A little bit of fur is normal. However, if you see a huge clump of fur, that’s not good
  • Small white bits could be worms

As you can see, you can tell a lot about overall by keeping an eye on cat poop. Sometimes, a little mushy poop isn’t a big deal, but if you notice something really off, or are concerned at all, trust your instincts. A quick call to your trusted veterinarian may be all you need to ease your mind. And remember – if you do head into the vet, don’t forget your stool sample!