How often should my cat poo?

The frequency and consistency of your cat's bowel movements can tell you a lot about their health. A healthy adult cat typically has a bowel movement once or twice a day, but kittens, older cats, or cats with health issues might deviate from this pattern. It's important to know what's normal for your cat and to be vigilant about any changes, as they could signal health issues that require veterinary attention.

If your cat starts to defecate more frequently, there are several possible causes:

1. **Dietary Changes**: If you've recently changed your cat's diet, this could be the cause. Some foods, especially those higher in fiber, can lead to more frequent defecation.

2. **Dietary Indiscretion**: Sometimes cats eat things they shouldn't, and this can irritate their digestive system, leading to increased defecation.

3. **Parasites**: Intestinal parasites like worms can cause your cat to defecate more frequently.

4. **Infections**: Bacterial or viral infections in the gastrointestinal tract can also lead to increased bowel movements.

5. **Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)**: This is a chronic condition that inflames the intestines and can result in frequent bowel movements.

6. **Hyperthyroidism**: This condition, which is common in older cats, results in the thyroid gland producing too much thyroid hormone. Symptoms can include increased appetite, weight loss, and frequent bowel movements.

7. **Food Allergies or Intolerances**: Some cats are allergic or intolerant to certain ingredients in their food, leading to increased defecation.

8. **Colitis**: Inflammation of the colon can lead to frequent, small amounts of feces, sometimes with mucus or blood.

On the other hand, if your cat is pooping less often than usual, it could be due to:

1. **Constipation**: This is a common issue in cats and can be caused by dehydration, a low-fiber diet, lack of exercise, or the ingestion of hair or foreign material.

2. **Hairballs**: Cats groom themselves and can ingest a lot of fur, which can form hairballs in their digestive tract and interfere with normal bowel movements.

3. **Obstruction**: Obstructions in the digestive tract, caused by foreign objects, tumors, or severe constipation, can reduce or stop bowel movements. This is a serious condition requiring immediate veterinary attention.

4. **Dietary Changes**: Just as certain dietary changes can lead to increased defecation, others can result in less frequent bowel movements.

5. **Medications**: Some medications can affect the frequency of bowel movements.

6. **Illness or Disease**: Certain illnesses or diseases can decrease a cat's appetite and, consequently, the frequency of their bowel movements.

7. **Stress or Behavioral Issues**: Changes in a cat's environment can lead to stress, which can affect their bowel habits.

8. **Dehydration**: Without sufficient water intake, stool can harden and make defecation less frequent.

Any significant changes in your cat's bowel movements - whether an increase or decrease - warrant attention. If you notice such changes, especially if accompanied by other signs of illness like changes in appetite or behavior, weight loss, or vomiting, it's crucial to consult a veterinarian promptly. Your cat's health and wellbeing may depend on it.