Removing cat feces from the litter box or collecting it from the lawn in the garden is not one of the most enjoyable moments of living with the house and garden tigers.
However, as a cat owner, it is important to regularly keep a watchful eye on your cat’s bowel movements. You can recognize diseases by certain changes in the cat’s feces.
In our guide, you can find out what causes your cat’s bowel movements to change and why you need to be careful when dealing with the excrement.
What does cat feces look like?
Even if you don’t own a cat yourself and are therefore not often confronted with animal excrement, you can easily recognize cat feces. The dark brown feces are elongated in shape, about two to four centimeters long and one to two centimeters wide. It shows a firm and pliable consistency. Its surface is smooth.
Cat and marten droppings are very similar. However, if you look closely, you can tell them apart. Marten droppings are eight to ten centimeters longer than cat droppings. In addition, you will often see undigested food remains such as feathers or seeds in marten droppings; accordingly, they are not as smooth as cat droppings.
If you keep a cat, pay attention to the appearance of your cat’s feces in the litter box. Do not immediately dump it in the cat sand, because you can tell from it how your pet is doing health-wise. The color, shape and consistency of cat feces tell you a lot about your pet’s health.
How often does a cat defecate?
Your cat eats every day and should ideally have a bowel movement every day or every other day. If it takes longer for the animal to defecate or if it defecates only a few times, it is called constipation. You will notice the constipation because the animal has to push hard and may even be in pain. The feces may be covered with blood or mucus.
If the constipation does not disappear on its own or the symptoms are very severe, you must consult a veterinarian. He will examine the cat and initiate remedial measures.
What makes hard cat feces soft?
If your cat regularly has problems with digestion and defecates hard feces, you must pay attention to a fiber-rich diet. The fiber in cat food binds water in the intestines and keeps the feces soft. However, you should first check with your vet to see if your cat suffers from a condition called megacolon. Cats with megacolon need to be fed differently than cats with common constipation.
Why do cats have diarrhea?
If your cat defecates frequently and the feces are mushy, thin to watery and may have mucus or blood, the animal has diarrhea.
Diarrhea in cats can have many different causes. Triggers include:
Infections with parasites, bacteria or viruses.
Food allergies Poisoning Foreign bodies
Stress Benign or malignant tumors
In general: If your cat has permanently thin stools or diarrhea, you should definitely present it to the veterinarian. The vet can find out the reason for the diarrhea through a physical examination and, if necessary, further laboratory tests and initiate therapeutic measures.
In our cat guide “20 deadly and toxic foods for cats” you can read about which foods can be unhealthy, toxic or even deadly for cats
How can you judge cat feces by its color?
The cat is a carnivore. Just like the wild cat, the domestic cat likes to hunt and eat small animals such as mice, rats, birds or insects. Small chewed and well digested, it excretes the food in the form described above.
The appearance of the cat’s stool is highly dependent on what it has eaten. Depending on what cat food you feed, how high the grain content is and what the cat has eaten in the wild, the feces may be lighter, darker or discolored.
The color of the stool may be altered if your pet is sick. By the way the stool is discolored, you may be able to draw conclusions about the illness.
Cat feces yellow
If the color of the cat stool is yellowish, it may mean that the liver or pancreas is sick. It is best to ask your veterinarian for advice.
Cat feces white
If the cat feces is white, your cat may be fed too much bone. The feces dries up, becomes hard, and turns white. This fecal matter, also known as “bone feces,” can injure the intestines and become life-threatening to the animal. If the listed changes occur, you should go to the vet and have your cat examined.
Black cat feces (tarry stools)
If your cat’s stool is black, this may indicate bleeding in the anterior digestive tract. Denatured blood turns the feces black, making them resemble tar in appearance. The esophagus, stomach, small intestine, or even the respiratory system may be injured or diseased in the cat’s black feces. Visit the veterinarian with your cat!
Black feces can also be caused by medications or food that stains.
Green cat feces
Green cat feces is often the result of a cat eating too much grass or other green stuff. If she otherwise shows no abnormalities and the feces soon return to normal, you need not worry.
Cat feces red
If your cat’s feces have fresh red blood, this usually tells you that the posterior digestive tract is bleeding. The colon, rectum or anus area may be involved. Present the animal to your veterinarian!
Cat feces gray
If the cat feces is gray and runny, the discoloration may indicate that the pancreas is sick. Make an appointment with your veterinarian!
Cat feces colors and their possible meaning at a glance
Cat feces light brown?
Depending on what the cat has eaten, the feces can sometimes turn light brown. Light brown cat feces do not have to be pathological. However, if the feces are light brown and soft or thin for a long time, it may also be a sign of food intolerance or infection. The parasite giardia, for example, may be responsible. Talk to your veterinarian. He or she may ask you to provide a fecal sample for further examination.
How can I recognize worm infestation from cat feces?
For you as a cat owner, it is often difficult to tell if your cat has worms. Sometimes you can see worms or individual worm limbs in the animal’s feces. Many otherwise healthy animals show no signs of disease.
However, some affected pelt-noses may suffer from diarrhea and/or vomiting, for example, and loss of weight and appetite.
If you want to make sure that your cat does not have worms, have the animal’s feces examined regularly by a veterinarian. To be sure of the results, collect feces for three consecutive days and package them in a sample. The veterinarian will then determine whether your pet is suffering from worms, which parasites they are and how you can most successfully control them.
Worms in cats include:
Roundworms Hookworms Tapeworms Lungworms Bladder worms Heartworms
Is cat feces dangerous to human health?
Contact with cat feces can put your health at risk. Some cat diseases are transmitted to humans through cat feces.
Diseases that can be transmitted to humans via cat feces include:
Salmonellosis: Cats can become infected with salmonella from birds and mice, which they excrete back into their own feces. In most cases, the infections are mild. However, susceptible people should consult the doctor. Worm diseases, for example, caused by roundworms and hookworms: Children in particular pick up the worm eggs quickly and unnoticed via contaminated sand when playing in the sandbox.
Cryptosporidiosis: Humans can become infected with cryptosporidia through direct or indirect contact with contaminated cat feces and get sick with diarrhea because of it.
Toxoplasmosis: Toxoplasmas are considered particularly dangerous pathogens for pregnant women. If women are infected for the first time during pregnancy, this can lead to a miscarriage or malformations of the child. In addition to pregnant women, immunocompromised people must protect themselves against toxoplasmas. The pathogens are found in particular in insufficiently heated meat, in raw milk products or contaminated raw vegetables. Symptoms of illness in humans include flu-like symptoms such as headache and muscle pain. Giardia: Giardia, like cryptosporidia and toxoplasma, are single-celled organisms. Humans contract diarrhea through contact with infected cat feces.
How can I protect myself and others from cat feces-borne diseases?
If you take certain precautions in dealing with your cat and are appropriately careful, you do not need to worry in living together with your darling.
As general hygiene measures you should consider the following in everyday life:
Wash your hands before every meal! Have your cat’s feces and health checked regularly by a veterinarian! Avoid letting your cat lick you! Keep cutlery, plates and similar utensils away from your cat! Do not let your cat sleep in your bed! It has its own cat sleeping place.
Clean the litter box daily! Clean the litter box regularly with detergent and boiling water! Always wear gloves when cleaning the litter box!
Cover sandboxes so they are not abused as litter boxes!
Are you also interested in how to detect diseases in dogs by their feces? Then learn more about this in our guide “Judging dog feces – How to recognize diseases from their stool!”.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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