Vet Approved Cat Stool Chart: Decoding Your Cat’s Poop

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Why use a cat stool chart? Because your cat’s feces is one of the biggest indicators of their health.

Put simply, a healthy cat should have healthy stools. While there are many specific health issues that can cause signs from constipation to diarrhea, it’s a simple rule that normal faeces (or stools) are a good sign that your cat is thriving.

When you visit your DVM veterinarian, it’s likely that you will be asked to describe your cat’s stools, as part of the general gathering of information about your cat’s health, and in particular, information about the gastrointestinal tract.

Cat Stool Chart

The cat stool chart infographic below is a simple, clear way of giving you information to help you decode the appearance of your cat’s feces.

The image on the left hand column is the starting point: choose whichever one most closely resembles your cat’s stool. The second column is a written description of the appearance of the stool, and the third column is an explanation of the most likely reason for that appearance. Finally, the fourth column give you advice on what action you need to take as a consequence of that particular stool appearance.

Cat Stool Chart

Normal and abnormal cat poop color chart

Breakdown Of Cat Stool Health Indicators Based On Color And Consistency

Cat stool chart litter box

Fecal abnormalities may point to a wide variety of issues affecting the digestive tract and beyond.

It can be difficult to observe your cat’s bowel movements if they are 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.

A normal cat stool should be brown or dark brown in color, with a reasonably firm consistency. The idea is that it should be formed, but should not be too hard.

There should be no sign of mucus or blood. It is possible to carry out “fecal scoring” based on a cat’s poop look, but there may be no need to get into such a detailed, formal way of carrying out an assessment.

Abnormalities that should be noted include:

  • Extraneous matter, like hairballs.
    Soft faeces (formed, but mushy) can be caused simply by a sudden change of diet (e.g. from Purina to a different brand). Other possible causes include mild or early cases of diseases listed below that can cause more significant diarrhea.
  • Loose faeces (diarrhoea) can be caused by a number of factors, including intestinal irritation (e.g. by intestinal parasites such as tapeworm), bacterial infections, liver disease, kidney disease, or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), food allergy, and food intolerances. Some health problems, like hyperthyroidism, can cause this type of diarrhea as well as a range of other signs of illness.

Broadly, There Are Two Sub-types Of Cat Diarrhea

First, small intestinal diarrhea tends to be larger pools of loose feces, passed less frequently. If blood is present, it may be darker, sometimes described as “tarry” (because it has been digested as it has passed through the digestive tract).

Second, large intestinal diarrhea (e.g. associated with colitis) tends to be smaller amounts of loose feces, passed more frequently, often with a sense of urgency. Streaks of mucus and fresh blood may be seen.

Read More: Best Cat Food for Diarrhea

Hard stool is the opposite of diarrhea, and this can indicate a range of other possible problems, You should also note the process of defecation: if your cat is straining when pooping (so-called “fecal tenesmus”) this can indicate constipation (e.g. megacolon or a blockage of some kind) or alternatively, this can be caused by irritation of the lower bowel.

You may notice your cat over-grooming around the same time as passing feces: this can suggest discomfort or abdominal pain.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What does a normal cat poop look like?

As mentioned above, a healthy cat poop should be brown or deep brown in color (not yellow, not pale, not black), and it should be well formed, like an uncooked sausage. There should be no blood, and no streaks of mucus.

How can I tell if my cat's poop is healthy?

You should monitor your cat’s poops in the litter box every day, so that you are familiar with the normal appearance and consistency of your cat’s poo.  The answer to “what’s the scoop about my cat’s poop” is a useful indicator of your cat’s overall health.

How much should a cat poop in one day?

There are no absolute rules about frequency and quantities of cat poops, but most cats in good general health pass stools once or twice daily, with lengths of four to six inches (10 -15cm) on each occasion.

Why is my cat's poop jelly-like with blood?

This is a sign that your cat's digestive system is inflamed for some reason: the jelly-like appearance means that the wall of the intestine is producing too much mucus, while the blood indicates that blood is oozing from the intestinal wall. These are both events that occur following inflammation of the wall of the intestine. A cat with this type of poop needs to be taken to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

Why is my cat's poop mucus?

If there is copious mucus in your cat's poop, this indicates that the wall of the wall of the intestine is inflamed, causing increased production of mucus. There are many possible causes, including parasites and inflammatory bowel disease, and you do need to take your cat to your local veterinarian for this to be investigated further.

Why is my cat's poop yellow?

This is an abnormal finding, and it may indicate a number of different conditions, including coccidiosis, or a bacterial infection or imbalance. You should take your cat to your local veterinarian for this to be investigated further.

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About Dr. Pete Wedderburn, DVM

Dr Pete Wedderburn qualified as a vet from Edinburgh in 1985 and has run his own 4-veterinarian companion animal practice in County Wicklow, Ireland, since 1991. Pete is well known as a media veterinarian with regular national tv, radio and newspaper slots, including a weekly column in the Daily Telegraph since 2007. Pete is known as "Pete the Vet" on his busy Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages, regularly posting information on topical subjects and real-life cases from his clinic. He also write a regular blog at www.petethevet.com. His latest book: “Pet Subjects”, was published by Aurum Press in 2017.

7 thoughts on “Vet Approved Cat Stool Chart: Decoding Your Cat’s Poop

  1. Linda Gaither Fager

    Thanks for info. My 15 yr old has constipation problem…have started feeding him only wet food with little extra water but he does drink water from water bowl. Suggestions to help him…..????

    Reply
    1. Avatar photoPete Wedderburn DVM Post author

      There are a number of possible answers, depending on the precise cause of his constipation. Make sure that your veterinarian has checked him recently: issues like liver disease, kidney disease and others can present with constipation sometimes. You should then discuss the specific issue of constipation with your veterinarian and depending on the details, they will be able to offer specific answers e.g. fibre for the diet, stool softeners etc. The right answer is different for each different cat.

      Reply
  2. Irum

    Very helpful article there. I recently changed my cat’s dry food brand since then she’s been having loose stool 2 to 3 times a day with foul smell and after some time I noticed blood in her stool although she is fine overall. She is drinking enough water plus she is unneutered 1 year old and never got to mate. Also, she likes to eat in small quantities after some time it looks like she is unable to eat at a time. I feed her dry food morning and evening, homemade for lunch.

    Reply
  3. Gillian Freeman

    My male neutered cat (was a stray so poss 8/9 yrs old) has started peeing small amounts on bathroom floor (litter tray in same room) and also poops small very hard dark lumps in same room. He eats and drinks well. Would appreciate your comments.

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta

      Hi Gillian, it’s hard to say if the two issues are related, but I would recommend taking your cat to see a veterinarian for a proper examination and assessment. It’s possible that he’s avoiding the litter box due to stress or discomfort associated with constipation, or he may have developed an aversion to the litter box for another reason. In any case, a wholesome high-moisture diet can help to support both urinary and digestive health, so I’d recommend looking into dietary improvements as well as an assessment from a veterinarian.

      Reply
  4. Keli Wittgan

    I just recently rescued a male cat that was dumped. He has been coughing and sneezing with mucus coming out of his nose. He is eating regularly and going to the bathroom regularly. I don’t have the money to take him to the vet at the moment. Is there anything i can do at home to help cure it. I have been using a wet cotton ball to wipe his nose after he sneezes. Please help me help this poor cat. I guess Hes prolyl 1 or 2 years old. Also, how can i tell how old he is for sure. Thank you for any help. First time owner of a cat.

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta

      Hello Keli, thanks for the comment. This is a big question. So, first off, coughing and sneezing with mucus can be a symptom of multiple conditions, but the best guess is probably a URI or upper respiratory infection. This vet-approved guide shares some more details on the condition and how it affects cats. Kitten Lady also offers some nice tips for caring for a cat with a URI. Regarding the age of your cat, it is difficult to get an exact age, but you can roughly age an adult cat based on the condition of their teeth, coat, overall physical condition, and behavior. This article goes in-depth on determining how old a cat is. Hope this helps at least a little bit. Thank you for stopping by!

      Reply

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