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Normal vs Concerning Cat Poop: Variations Explained (With Pictures)


cat pooping in litter box

How often do you really pay attention to your cat’s litter box when you’re scooping? If they have noticeable diarrhea or their bathroom habits change, it might be pretty clear that something is wrong. However, monitoring bathroom health is an essential aspect of cat care because it can give a lot of indicators to specific health issues or problems your cat might be facing internally.

Our article is in no way meant to trump your vet’s advice, so ensure you’re getting in touch with them when needed. Here we’re going to discuss what’s expected, what’s not, and when to see a vet. In addition, we are going to discuss a little bit about different health issues associated with bowel movements.

divider-catOverview of Normal Cat Poop

Normal cat poop might be stinky, but at least it’s healthy. Normal cat poop usually consists of a medium to dark brown, firm stool. All components of it should be thoroughly digested, and there shouldn’t be any abnormal color, texture, or atypical foul smells.

Cat poop
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Normal cat poop will look like your cats put a sausage in their litter box. It should be smooth and even.


Standard poop color ranges from light to dark brown most commonly. However, it can also be influenced by diet.


Normal poop should be firm but soft. If you’re picking it up, it should maintain its shape.


Your cat should be pooping at least once a day. Some cats might poop more, but any more than three times could be a cause for concern.

Overview of Concerning Cat Poop

Your cat’s poop can tell you a lot about their overall health. If you noticed things in the litter box have been awful lately, you’d want to keep note of a few key aspects.

Consistency of Poop

What is the consistency of the poop? Is it too thin? Is it hard and pebble-like? These questions can help you, and your vet later determines bathroom habits to analyze the issue better.

cat pooping
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Diarrhea in Cats

If your cat has diarrhea, it could be a significant signal that something just isn’t right with our digestive system. Whether they might’ve eaten something bad or encountered an ongoing dietary issue, diarrhea is never normal.

If your cat ate something that caused a momentary upset, diarrhea will likely resolve itself with just a few days passing. However, if the issue is a little more chronic, you might notice frequent diarrhea or what seems like normal stool followed by diarrhea. It’s always best to keep an eye on the color and texture to inform your veterinarian of the frequency.


Diarrhea often looks chunky or runny, consisting primarily of water.


Diarrhea can vary in color and be pretty much any on the spectrum. Each will be different depending on the underlying issue.


Have they had diarrhea regularly? Was it just for a day? Noting the length of symptoms is important to figure out if the issue is chronic or passing.

cat pooping outside
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Common Causes of Diarrhea in Cats

There is no one-size-fits-all explanation for why your cat might be experiencing bouts of diarrhea. However, here are some potential common causes of diarrhea in cats. To get to the underlying cause of your pet-specific issue, getting to the vet is imperative.

  • Viruses
  • Bacterial overgrowth
  • Bacterial or viral infections
  • Allergies
  • Digestion issues
  • Food intolerances
  • Liver disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Cancer


Constipation can alternate with diarrhea or standalone. Constipation often results from a harmless, moderately irritating issue like hairballs and indigestion. Lifestyle can also play a role in this. to next


If your cat is constipated, their stool is likely pebble-like and hard.

Smelly cat poop in litter box
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If your cat is constipated, the color will usually be very dark.


A constipated cat will be very irregular in their bathroom schedule. They might go days without pooping. If that’s the case, you can try things at home, like adding in extra fiber until they regulate. But if constipation keeps up, you’ll have to contact your vet.

Common Causes of Constipation in Cats

Just like diarrhea, there is no one-size-fits-all situation that a cat has constipation. It can be several environmental factors and dietary triggers that play a role. But here are some pretty common reasons:

  • Lack of fiber
  • Spinal issues
  • Bowel obstructions
  • Anxiety or stress
  • Hairballs
  • Dehydration

Color of Poop

The color of your cat’s poop can change over time. Some days it might change hue. But it should pretty consistently stay in the brown range. If it starts getting very pale or too black, it could indicate a bigger issue, especially if it’s always happening.


Brown is the color scene most often in cat poop. It usually signals a healthy stool, but if it’s extra runny or they’re having a hard time passing it, it might not be so typical.

cat poop on litter box
Image Credit: RJ22, Shuttterstock


If your cat consistently has green in their feces, it could signal a bacterial or intestinal infection.


If your cat consistently has an orange hue to their poop, it could signal a gallbladder or liver problem. Further testing is required if your veterinarian suspects it could be either of these issues.

orange cat poop in the grass
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Red stool indicates that there is bleeding inside of the intestines or rectum. This can be from bacterial infections or irritation. If the issue does not resolve within a few days, it’s best to get your cat into the vet as soon as possible.

Your vet will likely run a blood panel and possibly a stool sample to get to the underlying cause of bleeding.


Consistent yellow poop could indicate liver and gall water problems as well. This indicates bile in the intestinal tract with her innate in both of those areas.

Sometimes, yellow poop can be normal, depending on their diet and digestion. If the color stays consistent or you notice anything on this, it’s best to give more attention to the issue.


If a stool is black, it can signal that old blood is being excreted in the system. Since it is black, if it is blood, it is old blood, meaning there should not be anything in the intestines or colon causing the bleeding itself. This can signify many upper G.I. issues, including ulcers and other digestion problems.

Something as simple as infection can cause this, but other solutions are a bit more complicated depending on the underlying issue.

cat poop on plastic shovel
Image Credit: RJ22, Shutterstock

Visual Signs and Behavior

There are visual cues that something just isn’t right. Your cat might be experiencing pain, or they might start exhibiting unusual 1’bathroom behavior.

Struggling to Defecate

If your cat seems to be struggling to use the bathroom, this could be a sign of constipation, but it could also be something a little more sinister such as an intestinal blockage. That is why monitoring symptoms is important and never assuming that this is normal. Contact your vet right away if it seems like your cat is in an excruciating amount of pain.

Inability to Hold It

If your cat can’t seem to get to the litter box in time, this could indicate a more severe health issue. Some seniors can face problems like incontinence, but this can also indicate that your cat might have a UTI or some infection.

Suppose your cat is pooping on the floor. In that case, it’s very important to pay attention to the texture and consistency to see if it is an issue with loose stool or if it could even be a behavioral issue.

cat pooping in red litter box
Image Credit: nonzy, Shutterstock

Pain When Trying to Go

If your cat seems like They are obviously distressed when they’re trying to use the bathroom, it can signal a big problem. If they are experiencing pain while doing so, you will want to alleviate that by getting to the bottom of the issue as fast as possible.

When to Call the Vet

If your cat seems like they are in distress or if they are showing accompanying symptoms, it might be urgent that you get them to the vet. Waiting can contribute to a hydration loss and potentially have worse consequences. If you feel like your cat is in dire need of help, you should get them somewhere right away.

Cat Poop Chart

Appearance Indication What to Do
Hotdog-shaped, smooth Normal, healthy No action needed
Mushy, porridge-like Slightly normal Monitor for a few days
Watery, thin Diarrhea Monitor, call vet if it persists
Red color Bleeding in intestinal tract Call vet
Orange color Possible gallbladder or liver problems Call vet
Yellow color Possible liver or gallbladder issue Call vet
Black Upper digestive tract bleeding Call vet
Green Possible bacterial infection, roughage, parasites, occasionally normal (if it resolves) Call vet
Pebble-like, small pieces Constipation Monitor, call vet
Unable to pass stool at all Obstruction, severe constipation Call vet


If your cat stool looks normal, there’s no cause for concern. But if you’re noticing irregularities that don’t go back to normal, it’s best to seek veterinary attention to get to the underlying cause.

We could be straightforward, like a food allergy that simply requires a diet and lifestyle change. Or it could be something more complicated, contributing to the function of specific organs. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so always get a professional opinion.

Featured Image Credit: Stefano Garau, Shutterstock


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