Cleaning the litter box is not a pleasant experience, however, it is one that has to be done. As gross as it may be, cleaning up after your cat is not only important for the cleanliness of your home, but also for your cat’s health. It’s a good idea to examine your cat’s stool from time to time to better monitor their health.
We have partnered with NomNomNow, and they have shared this useful information with us. So, what can your cat’s poop tell you about their health?
When taking a closer look at your cat’s stool, there are a few different aspects to pay attention to such as the color, consistency, contents, and smell of the waste. Each aspect can tell you different things about your cat.
For cats, normal stool should be a deep shade of brown. If it appears as any other color, this could be a sign of a health issue, and you should check in with your vet as soon as possible. Some unusual colors that you might come across are yellow, red, or black stool.
If your cat’s poop is more yellow than brown, this could be a sign of liver or gallbladder disease. Red and black in the stool can both suggest gastrointestinal bleeds. A black color likely means blood has been digested, which can be caused by a stomach ulcer or a sharp object. On the other hand, red stool typically means that there is damage in the lower gastrointestinal tract or colon. This can also lead to inflammatory bowel disease or blood clotting disorders.
Healthy cat stool should be firm, but not too hard. It should also remain in the shape of a sausage. For cat parents that also care for dogs, they should discover that cat stool is usually firmer than dog poop. This is because the ancestors of dogs are from temperate climates, but the ancestors of cats lived in deserts. Therefore, cats have colons that are adapted to remove moisture from their stool.
If your cat’s poop seems difficult for them to pass or it appears similar to rock-hard pebbles, then this is an issue. This likely means that your cat is dehydrated or doesn’t eat enough fibers. On the other hand, stool that is much softer or without a defined shape is also an issue.
If you notice your cat having diarrhea, this could be caused by a number of things. One of the most common issues for cats is inflammatory bowel disease, which is linked to an imbalance in the cat’s gastrointestinal microbiome. Diarrhea could also occur from kidney disease, liver disease, microbial infection, hairballs, or a sudden change in diet. If their symptoms do not go away between 24 and 48 hours, contact your vet.
If you see pieces of food appear in your cat’s stool, there’s no need to worry, however, be aware that there might be other items that are not quite as normal. Cats consume things that they shouldn’t, and if that’s the case, those items could easily end up in their poop.
The most common item you’ll find in your cat’s poop is hair. Cats love to groom themselves, so there’s nothing wrong with a little hair, however, if you ever notice larger chunks of hair, this could be a concern. Larger chunks of hair could be a sign that your cat is over-grooming, and it might not sound too bad, but over-grooming could be due to stress, itchy skin, or other diseases that can lead to excessive shedding.
Some cats might end up consuming bits of their toys, such as string. These pieces might appear in their stool from time to time, but it shouldn’t be a regular thing. If you notice an item that isn’t something they’re supposed to chew on, such as dental floss, you will want to find a way to keep those items out of their reach.
Another item that you might notice in your cat’s stool is white flecks. These objects are not something that your cat has consumed, but instead, they are parasites. These parasites could be due to a tapeworm infection, so if you see these in your cat’s stool, you should contact your vet right away.
Of course, cat poop probably isn’t something you enjoy smelling, however, the variants in the smell could actually help you detect certain diseases or conditions. Sometimes stinky poop could just be a result of a sudden change in diet, so take that into consideration as well.
Oftentimes, microbial infections, such as parasites and bacteria, are the cause of a smelly litter box. If you notice their stool starting to smell worse than usual, pay attention to their behavior. If your cat is acting strange, not eating as much, or vomiting, this could be linked to something more serious.
Cat poop might not be the most pleasant thing to observe, but by checking it regularly, you could find out a medical issue before it’s too late. Cats don’t always like to let us know when something is wrong, so cat parents often need to go out of their way to figure these things out. If you are ever concerned about the well-being of your cat or the qualities their stool, you can always contact your vet.
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Featured Image: Tom Thai