No one really likes to think about their cat’s poo. Even when you are cleaning their litter box, you don’t really want to think about it. You just scoop and try to get it done and move on to something more fun. But the key to your cat’s health could be in their poo.
So let me tell you this story about this one time my cat was taking a big poo…ok, maybe I will skip that story and save it for the veterinary water cooler.
But in all seriousness, there is a lot you can tell about your cat’s health by looking at their poo, but first, you need to know what you are looking at and what is good poo vs bad poo.
What is Normal Cat Poo?
A cat will typically go poo about once a day. It should be:
Not too hard or too soft
It shouldn’t smell too bad, but it will smell because…well…it’s poo.
What is Not Normal Cat Poo?
Pooing many times a day
Diarrhea can be a normal occurrence in your cat from time to time, but it shouldn’t last for more than 48 hours. When your cat has diarrhea it can lead to dehydration or be a symptom of a larger health issue.
Constipation can be a symptom of larger health issues such as mega-colon, tumors, a blockage, or simply not having enough fiber,
If you have recently changed your cat’s diet, do not be surprised if you notice changes in their poo while they are adjusting. If you are unsure about anything you notice, don’t hesitate to call your Albuquerque vet.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are terrible. If you have ever had one then you know how painful they can be. If you think they are not painful for your cat, think again. The problem with a cat UTI is they can be harder to identify.
Causes of UTIs can be:
Stones, crystals, or debris in the bladder or urethra
Urethral plug, which is a build up of debris from their pee
Tumor (it’s not a tumor….sorry, I couldn’t help myself)
Spinal cord issues
Unfortunately, our 4 legged friends can’t just tell us that it burns when they pee. It is up to us to pay attention to the signs and symptoms:
Passing a really small amount of pee
Inability to pee
Bloody or cloudy urine
Loss of bladder control
Increased frequency of peeing….basically peeing all the time
Straining to pee
Crying out when they pee
Prolonged squatting when they pee
Fear of the litter box
Constant licking of the urinary opening
Strong ammonia smell
Increased water drinking
Hard and distended belly
UTIs can be life-threatening. If you think that your cat has a UTI you want to call your Albuquerque vet immediately.
It can be hard to diagnose a UTI. Your vet will often want to get a urine sample, but how do you get one? It’s not like you can ask your cat to pee in a cup for you. There are special cat litters that you can buy that is used to specifically collect urine samples for your vet. If you can bring in a sample, it will help greatly with the diagnosis.
If your cat is diagnosed with a UTI most likely they will be prescribed an antibiotic. Most of the time a UTI is easy to treat but it will not get better on its own. If it goes untreated it can lead to a blockage in their urethra and completely prevent them from peeing. A UTI can lead to kidney failure or rupture their bladder.
Cats are animals of mystery. They love to knock things over. They love to spy on you and hide around corners. Let’s not even try to understand the fascination with boxes. A lot of our house cats get bored. We can give them toys and try to captivate their attention, but they are naturally curious and natural hunters. Just as a puzzle exercises the human brain, it too exercises the feline brain.
Cat puzzles are food puzzles for your cat. It is an object that requires your cat to try to figure it out to get their food. There are lots of different kinds of food puzzles from batting food around to be able to put it in their bowl, or hiding food inside a ball. No matter what the puzzle is, the point of it is to force your cat to use their body and their mind to get their food. A study by the University of California, Davis, says that it brings out their domestic foraging behavior.
Cats use to have to forage for their food. Humans made it too easy by putting their food in a bowl. We took their jobs away.
There is some link to increase weight loss, and a decrease in anxiety, in cats that used food puzzles.
Just like with anything, if your cat has been eating out of a bowl its whole life, it will not want to jump right into foraging with a food puzzle. You need to start them off with something easy and let them work their way up to more complex ones. A lot of cat owners say their cat is too lazy to do it. If the puzzle engages their mind, they will not be too lazy and they will do it, especially because they will want to eat.
You do not need to feed every meal in a food puzzle, but a few times a week to change things up could be a nice break from routine for our feline friends. Food puzzles can be purchased or created. There are a lot of great food puzzle videos on youtube.
The information provided on this website is written by Vetco staff. All information is meant to be informational and is not meant as veterinary advice. If you have a health question regarding your pet, their treatment or anything concerning their veterinary care, please call Vetco to consult with a veterinarian.