a cat pooping outdoors

How Often Should Cats Poop?

It is normal for cats to poop at least once a day, with younger cats usually going more often.

The actual frequency will depend on a range of factors such as:

  • how old your cat is
  • what they eat
  • how much they eat
  • how active they are
  • their health
  • whether they are on any medication or supplements

The poop should be formed but not hard, brown in colour and should be passed without difficulty. 

Ask a Vet

If your cat hasn’t pooped for a long time or is pooping several times a day, or if you notice blood in your cat’s poop or the form of their poop changes for more than a couple of weeks then we recommend you consult a vet to ensure that no serious health issues are being missed.

JustAnswer allows you to talk in real-time to veterinary experts for a small fee.

Things That Can Affect Cat Poop

If you have noticed changes in your cat’s poop, there are a number of possible reasons for this.

Below are 5 of the most common factors that cause changes in a cat’s toilet habits.

1. Changes In Their Diet

It is important never to suddenly change your cat’s diet.

If you are adjusting their food, do so slowly to avoid digestion issues.

The best way to introduce new food is by adding a small amount of new food to the old food and every few days increase the amount of new food while decreasing the amount of old food until the old food has been completely phased out.

eating moist cat food

The amount of food your cat eats will also impact their poop patterns, so if you are feeding them more or less than usual this may cause changes too. 

A sudden change in your cat’s diet will cause them to have poop issues for a few days.

After a few days on the new diet, assess their poop and consult a vet if it has not begun to return to normal. 

2. Dehydration  

If a cat is not drinking as much water as they should be they may have hard poops that they find difficult to pass.

You can encourage your cat to drink by giving them fresh water in their water bowl a couple of times a day or by using a cat fountain.

Some owners find cat water fountains help to encourage their cats to drink more. 

3. Overhydration 

A cat that is drinking a lot of water will have loose stools.

If a cat is overhydrated it is either because they have a health condition that is causing them to drink excessively (such as feline diabetes) or because their food contains a high percentage of water.

cat getting hydrated

If your cat has runny stools or you think they are drinking more than they should be, consider talking to the vet so you can rule out underlying health problems.

4. Anxiety 

If your cat has anxiety or depression then it may struggle with its bowel movements.

If your cat has become constipated it could be due to a change in the house, for example if there is a new person or pet in the home or there’s been a change in sleeping arrangements.

cat pooping in litter tray

There are any number of things that could cause a cat to feel more anxious than usual.

If this is the cause, your cat’s bowel movements should return to normal within a week.

5. Health Issues

If your cat’s toilet habits have changed it could be due to health problems.

If you notice any changes in your cat’s poop then it is best to get them checked by a vet.

cat pooping in litter tray

Being aware of what’s normal for your cat is very useful as their toilet habits are one of the easiest ways to keep tabs on your kitty’s health. 

Why Isn’t My Cat Using Their Litter Box?

Maybe you are concerned about your cat’s behaviour more than their poop. Have they started to go elsewhere to do their business?

If so, there are some potentially simple solutions to this problem but it is always a good idea to work with a vet to ensure there isn’t a medical reason behind their change in behaviour and new habit. 

Make Sure The Litter Box Is Large Enough 

As a rough guide, a cat litter box should be one and a half times the length of your cat.

This makes sure the box gives your cat enough space to do their business, cover their waste and have some space for future uses.


A larger litter box helps to make your cat feel comfortable using it. 

Make Sure The Litter Box Is Clean

The litter box should be cleaned regularly and the litter should be fully replaced every couple of weeks or so (depending on the litter type being used).

Avoid using harsh chemicals to clean out the litter box as the strong smells of the chemicals will make your cat avoid using the litter box. 

Litter Box Positioning 

It is best to position the litter box somewhere as quiet and stress-free as possible.

Choose a location in the house with little foot traffic so your cat doesn’t feel stressed or anxious when using the litter box. 

If your cat (or your neighbour’s cat) has taken to using your garden as a litter box, check out our article on how to stop cats from pooping in your garden for top tips on putting a stop to this unwanted behaviour. 

Cat Poop Warning Signs 

If your cat’s pooping habits change, it could be due to a medical condition so a trip to the vet is needed.

You should also take your cat to the vet if you notice blood in their stool or if they are straining to pass a bowel movement. 

a cat pooping

If they are struggling to poop they are constipated and may need rehydration and if they are straining to urinate this could be due to a urinary obstruction that requires urgent medical treatment as it can be fatal. 

What Causes Poop Problems? 

If you have noticed a change in your cats bowel movements or how their poop looks it could be due to a number of issues.

Take note of the changes and consult a vet for advice. 

A runny stool could be caused by: 

A hard stool could be caused by:

A stool that is black in colour could be caused by:

  • Internal bleeding 

A stool that is light in colour could be caused by:

  • A problem with the gallbladder/ pancreas
  • Food not being properly digested

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