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The Scoop on Cat Poop


Cat Poop Problem: Constipation

As is the case with diarrhea, you don’t need to worry if your cat has an occasional, brief bout of constipation. But if your cat frequently strains excessively to poop or is unproductive in her attempt to have a bowel movement, you should contact your veterinarian.

There are a number of things that can cause cats to become constipated, including:

  • Over-grooming, which leads to extra hair in the digestive tract
  • Kidney problems
  • Feline megacolon -- an enlargement of the colon with retention of hard, dry stool
  • Some type of obstruction, including string or bones
  • Diets that are low in fiber
  • Colon abnormalities such as tumors or strictures (or narrowing of the colon)
  • Spinal problems or pain

To help ease your cat’s constipation, your veterinarian may suggest increasing the fiber in the diet, such as by adding canned pumpkin to your cat’s regular food. Or your veterinarian might recommend switching to a diet that is very easily digested, thereby lessening the amount of poop in your cat’s digestive tract.

Encouraging your cat to get more exercise and drink more water may also help poop move through her system more readily.

The chart below may help you to identify the cause of your cat’s poop problems:




Possible causes


Small, hard, dry stools

Less than once a day

Dehydration, megacolon, dietary issues


Small, hard, dry stools containing large amounts of hair

Less than once a day

Hairballs, over-grooming


Thin, ribbon-like poop

Less than once a day

Tumor or stricture


Black, tarry, loose stools


Stomach or intestinal bleeding. Seek immediate veterinary attention.


Smelly, pudding-like stools

2-3 times daily

Dietary intolerances, inflammatory bowel disease


Gooey poop filled with mucus

Multiple times daily

Inadequate dietary fiber; colitis

WebMD Veterinary Reference

Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on April 25, 2015
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