How Often Should An Indoor Cat Poop?

Normal Pooping Frequency

The normal pooping frequency for an indoor cat is once or twice per day. However, this can vary depending on factors like the cat’s diet, exercise levels, stress levels, and age.

According to the ASPCA, most cats will poop once or twice per day on average [1]. Kittens under 6 months old may poop more frequently, while senior cats over 12 years old tend to poop less often.

Cats who eat a diet higher in fiber or get more exercise may poop more frequently. Stress and changes to environment can also temporarily increase pooping frequency. Most indoor cats poop once or twice daily, but any pooping habits from once every 2 days to 4 times a day can be normal for an individual cat [2].

Signs of Constipation

Common signs that your cat is constipated include:

Constipated cats will often strain when trying to have a bowel movement. They may frequently visit the litter box but produce little or no stool. The stool that is passed will be small, dry, and hard. Constipation can be painful for cats, which may cause them to act lethargic or experience a decreased appetite.

Causes of Constipation

Constipation in cats can be caused by several factors including:

Dehydration – Cats that don’t drink enough water can become constipated as their stools become too dry. Dehydration can occur if a cat doesn’t have access to fresh water or only eats dry food.1

Diet – Diets low in fiber or high in carbohydrates can lead to constipation. Cats are carnivores and do best on high protein, low carb diets. Lack of fiber can cause stools to become too hard.2

Lack of Exercise – Sedentary cats that don’t get enough exercise can become constipated more easily. Physical activity helps stimulate the bowels.

Medical Conditions – Diseases like diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and kidney disease can contribute to constipation in cats. Injuries, tumors, or strictures in the colon can also obstruct defecation.

Treating Constipation

There are several ways to help relieve and treat constipation in cats:

Increase water intake – Encouraging your cat to drink more water can help soften the stool and allow it to pass more easily. Adding water to wet food or switching to canned food can increase moisture intake. You can also try providing water fountains or ice cubes for your cat to lick.

Add moisture to food – Adding water, broth, or canned pumpkin to your cat’s regular food can help increase fluid and fiber to soften the stool. Veterinarians may recommend metabolic gastrointestinal food.

Exercise – Encouraging activity through playtime and exercise can help stimulate the intestines and promote normal bowel movements. Make sure your cat has opportunities for exercise daily.

Laxatives – Over-the-counter laxatives like lactulose or stool softeners may be recommended by your vet. These help loosen stool and allow it to pass more easily. Follow dosage instructions carefully.

Vet care – For severe or recurring constipation, your vet may administer enemas to stimulate bowel movements. In extreme cases, manual extraction of stool may be required. Seek vet care if home treatments don’t work.

Signs of Diarrhea

The most obvious sign of diarrhea in cats is loose, watery stool. Cats with diarrhea will pass stool more frequently than usual and often experience an urgent need to poop. You may notice your cat straining to pass stool or making frequent trips to the litter box only to pass small amounts of liquid feces (

Other signs of diarrhea in cats include:

  • Increased flatulence
  • Weight loss from dehydration
  • Lethargy due to electrolyte imbalances
  • Greasy-looking stool with a strong odor
  • Presence of mucus or blood in the stool

Severe diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration, especially in kittens and older cats. It’s important to monitor your cat’s energy levels and hydration status if they have frequent bouts of diarrhea ( Contact your veterinarian if the diarrhea persists more than 1-2 days or is accompanied by other symptoms.

Causes of Diarrhea

There are several potential causes of diarrhea in cats:

Diet changes or food allergies can trigger diarrhea. An abrupt change in diet can upset the digestive system and cause loose stools. Some cats may also have food allergies or sensitivities to certain ingredients like dairy, fish, or wheat (Source).

Parasites like worms or protozoa can invade the gastrointestinal tract and cause inflammation and diarrhea. Tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms and giardia are examples of parasitic infections (Source).

Viral infections like feline panleukopenia or feline leukemia can also lead to secondary diarrhea as the infection impacts the intestines and immune system (Source).

Ingesting toxins like plants, chemicals, or human medications can irritate the digestive tract and cause diarrhea. Cats can accidentally ingest toxins if they chew on houseplants or have access to harmful substances (Source).

Treating Diarrhea

If your cat has diarrhea, the first step is usually to withhold food for 12-24 hours to give their digestive system a rest. As noted by VCA Animal Hospitals, “For otherwise healthy adult cats, your veterinarian may advise you to withhold food for up to 24 hours.”

After this brief fast, you’ll want to transition your cat to a bland, easily digestible diet to help firm up their stools. The PetMD article recommends feeding “boiled chicken breast, boiled hamburger or boiled fish (cod, seabass, halibut or sole) with rice or pasta.” Give small, frequent portions of this diet for 1-2 days.

Probiotics can also help restore good bacteria to your cat’s gut and resolve diarrhea faster. PetMD suggests mixing plain yogurt or probiotic supplements into your cat’s food during a bout of diarrhea.

Making sure your cat stays hydrated is crucial when they have diarrhea. The Preventive Vet article notes “Offer a tablespoon or two every hour for a couple of hours. Then allow them to rest for a couple of hours.” Provide water, unflavored Pedialyte, or broth to replenish fluids.

If the diarrhea persists more than a day or two, is severe, or accompanied by other symptoms like vomiting or lethargy, vet care may be needed. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalances are risks, so your vet can provide IV fluids and medications to treat the cause.

When to See a Vet

There are certain signs that indicate your cat’s abnormal pooping habits require veterinary attention. These include:

Constipation lasting over 3 days – If your cat hasn’t pooped in 3 days or longer, it’s time to call the vet. Prolonged constipation can lead to serious health issues.

Persistent diarrhea – Diarrhea lasting more than 2-3 days could signal an underlying illness and warrants a vet visit. Don’t wait for it to resolve on its own.

Blood in stool – The presence of blood indicates irritation or damage in the digestive tract. Call the vet if you notice blood in your cat’s poop.

Weight loss – An abrupt decrease in weight alongside abnormal pooping may indicate your cat has a gastrointestinal issue. Have your vet check them out.

Lethargy – If your cat seems weak, inactive, or has lost their appetite along with pooping issues, they may have a more serious health problem that requires care.

It’s better to have a vet evaluate your cat earlier rather than later if they are exhibiting any of these symptoms along with inappropriate pooping. Abnormal bowel movements coupled with concerning secondary symptoms should not be ignored.

Preventing Abnormal Pooping

There are several ways cat owners can help prevent constipation or diarrhea in their cats:

Maintain hydration – Make sure your cat has access to fresh, clean water at all times. Consider getting a cat water fountain to encourage drinking. Feeding wet food, which has high moisture content, can also help increase hydration.

Feed high-fiber diet – Look for cat foods that list a specific fiber source like beet pulp or rice bran as one of the first few ingredients. Consult your vet for fiber supplement recommendations.

Provide exercise – Letting your cat play actively and promoting movement can help stimulate the bowels. Use interactive toys and spend time playing with your cat each day.

Limit stress – Changes in environment or routine can stress cats out and lead to abnormal pooping. Try to minimize major lifestyle changes and make vet visits less stressful.

Annual vet visits – Your vet can check for underlying issues and ensure your cat is healthy. Preventative care helps avoid many pooping problems.

With proper nutrition, hydration, exercise and vet care, you can help your cat maintain normal and healthy pooping habits.


For most indoor cats, normal poop frequency ranges from once daily to 4 times daily. As long as the stool is well-formed and easy to pass, your cat’s pooping habits are likely healthy. However, constipation and diarrhea can occur, especially from diet changes, ingesting something indigestible, stress, or illness. Key signs of constipation include straining, hard stools, decreased frequency, and vocalizing during elimination. For diarrhea, look for watery stool, increased frequency, vomiting, or lethargy. While home remedies like added water, canned pumpkin, probiotics, fiber supplements, or fasting may help, severe or persistent cases require a veterinarian’s care. Contact your vet if abnormal pooping persists beyond 48 hours or is accompanied by concerning symptoms. By feeding your cat a balanced diet, keeping their routine consistent, using a clean litter box, and reducing stressors, you can help maintain their regular pooping habits and bowel health.

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