I'll Just Ask: How Often Should Cats Poop?

CatChannel and CAT FANCY veterinary expert Arnold Plotnick, DVM, considers how well a cat with FLUTD is doing by analyzing the cat's litterbox behavior.

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM

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Q: My 1½-year-old female cat, Melody, was recently diagnosed with FLUTD (Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease). After a month, I found that one of the most effective ways to get her FLUTD under control is hydration, hydration, hydration. She refuses to drink water (from bowls, fountains, sinks, distilled or filtered tap), however, so I completely did away with dry food and switched to an all-meat canned diet (high moisture/meat only, NO fish). I also give her Cosequin every other day to help any inflammation and healing in her bladder.

I am relieved to say that she is back to normal! The problem I face now, though, is that my cat rarely has bowel movements. The volume of urine clumps in her litterbox are nearly two to three times what they used to be; conversely the number of stools I scoop from the box is low, maybe one stool every three days. It appears that her bladder is being effectively flushed now, but her bowel is not. Should I be concerned?

A: Yes, hydration is very important in maintaining bladder health in cats. It must be frustrating to have a cat that doesn’t like to drink. Some tricks to try are to provide additional water bowls, ideally in an unconventional spot like the corner of the bedroom or the living room. Cats often get excited about a new watering hole and will often drink from the new bowls. Cats also tend to like flowing water, so a fountain-type water bowl might entice your cat. Sounds like you’ve tried these things, to no avail. Switching your cat to canned food is a very effective way to introduce additional water into a cat’s diet. Adding a few spoonfuls of water to the canned food creates a broth or gravy that cats will often lick after eating. As far as which diet to feed, I would recommend one of the prescription diets designed for cats with urinary issues, such as Hill’s c/d, Purina UR or Royal Canin SO. 

You must feed a highly digestible diet, because it sounds like your cat absorbs most of the nutrients and not much undigestible material is left over to form stool. As long as your cat defecates normally when she does finally go to the litterbox, I wouldn’t worry. If she strains to defecate or seems impacted with stool, you’ll either need to administer a stool softener or switch to a different diet to see if that helps.

I have two cats at home. One defecates twice daily. The other defecates every two days. They eat the same diet. Cats vary in how frequently they defecate. Every three days may now be the new “normal” for your cat. 
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Reader Comments

Vendetta    McMinnville, TN

2/18/2012 2:29:56 PM

I enjoyed this article. My 7 year old female cat poops twice daily and urinates twice daily but I believe that what is normal for my cat may not be normal for your cat.

ROBERT    MARBLE HILL, MO

2/18/2012 10:30:16 AM

I need to put in a camera I usally get 10 to 12 stools and about 5 to 8 pee clumps between 3 cats.
SOMEBODY TOLD ME THEY HAD 8 CATS THEY WOULD HAVE
TO USE A ERASER OFF A PENCIL TO GET THE TO GO!!

KimBerley    Miami Beach, FL

2/18/2012 3:22:59 AM

I have 2 babies (Mom was a stray my husband brought home last March). She was pregnant and of course I wound not part with her and we kept her son, Wendell. My cats love their litter box. Wendell loves the box and very clean (but messy)! HA!Hailey is a delicate lady. But growing up with cats, they prefer to drink their water away from their food. Their food is in the kitchen and water is in the living room by the window so they can hydrate and watch the birds. LOVE your article! I could talk cats all day!

KimBerley    Miami Beach, FL

2/18/2012 3:21:32 AM

I have 2 babies (Mom was a stray my husband brought home last March). She was pregnant and of course I wound not part with her and we kept her son, Wendell. My cats love their litter box. Wendell loves the box and very clean (but messy)! HA!Hailey is a delicate lady. But growing up with cats, they prefer to drink their water away from their food. Their food is in the kitchen and water is in the living room by the window so they can hydrate and watch the birds. LOVE your article! I could talk cats all day!

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