People in the United States love their cats. Psychology Today reported in 2013 that there were 86 million pet cats around the country. Many homes with cats boast more than one.
When people get a cat for the first time, they do not always know what to expect. Taking care of a cat is a lot different than taking care of a dog, for example. One main difference between the two kinds of pets is the way owners deal with their waste.
How Often Should Cats Poop?
There is no one “right” answer to this question as to the frequency with which cats need to have a bowel movement changes over time. Preventative Vet gives a number of factors that can influence how often a cat uses a litter box for this.
While adult cats should have at least one bowel movement each day, these factors need to be taken into consideration:
- How old is the cat? Kittens pass more bowel movements than their adult counterparts.
- What kind of food does the cat eat? How often? Both what a cat eats and how often they are fed can impact how often they have a bowel movement.
- How active is your cat? This can also change how often they defecate.
- Does your cat take any medication? As with humans, medications can impact how well a cat’s digestive system works.
- Is the cat sick? There are a number of medical conditions that will change how frequently a cat defecates.
You Can Learn A Lot About A Cat By Looking At Their Poop
If you pay attention to what’s in your cat litter box, you can learn a lot about how healthy they are. According to WebMD, normal cat poop:
- Is a basic brown color.
- Is formed into ball-like clumps.
- Has an unpleasant but not overwhelming odor.
Cats Can Suffer From Diarrhea
Cats can get bouts of diarrhea from time to time. One or two incidents of it should not concern you as it often clears up on its own. If it lasts more than two days, you may want to talk to your veterinarian.
There are a number of reasons cats can develop diarrhea. Some are more serious than others. Sometimes a change in the food they eat or even stress can lead to loose stools.
More serious causes include pancreatic disease, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, colitis, hyperthyroidism, and intestinal parasites (worms). If you see blood in the cat’s stool, you should take them to an animal clinic right away.
Contrary to popular thought, adult cats should never be given cow milk. That is a sure fire way to give them a case of diarrhea.
Cats Can Suffer From Constipation
If you happen to see your cat straining to go when they are on their litter box or you do not see any poop for a day or two, your feline friend may have a bit of constipation.
Again, if they have this issue from time to time, there is no reason to worry. If it is a constant thing, you should take them to the veterinarian.
Cats can become constipated if their diet lacks the proper amount of fiber, there is a problem with their kidneys, there is a blockage in their intestines, there is an issue with their spine, or they get too much hair in their digestive system from over-grooming.
Some people find success helping their cat with constipation by adding pumpkin to their food or by giving them medicine for hairballs. There is also cat food formulated to prevent the development of hairballs.
How Do I Get My Cat To Use A Litter Box?
People who have never had cats often worry about training their new feline friend to use a litter box. The good news is that most cats and kittens often just need to be shown where the litter box is and they will know to use it.
If your cat does not seem willing or able to get to the litter box, there are things you can do to make it easier for them, according to Animal Planet. Here are a few tips:
- Start with the right litter box. Smaller cats and kittens need a box with shorter sides so they can get in. You need the pan to be big enough to let the cat turn around. They also need space to bury their poop and pee.
- Get enough litter boxes. Experts recommend one more than the number of cats you have. For example, if you have two cats, you need three litter boxes.
- Put the boxes in the right places. Cats need to be able to get to them and they should be in a more private spot.
- Keep the litter box clean. Cats are picky and may not go in a litter box if it smells too bad.
- Use a litter the cat likes. If your cat refuses to use the litter box, it may be the litter they don’t like. You may have to try several kinds before you find the right one.
- Do not yell at a cat for making a mistake. If the cat goes in the wrong spot and the litter box is clean, just gently put them in the box. Upsetting the cat can make them less, not more, likely to use it later.
Again, for most cats, using a litter box is hard-wired into their brain. Most of the time, you will not have a problem getting them to use it once you have shown them where it is in your home.
You should never dump cat litter down your toilet unless you are absolutely sure it is flushable. If clumping litter gets down into your drain, it can turn into a substance that is a lot like concrete and will cost thousands of dollars to get fixed.
How Can I Train My Cat To Use A Toilet?
There are people who are able to get their feline friends to forgo the litter box and use a toilet instead. WikiHow has a list of steps people can take to toilet train a cat. The steps can be boiled down to these:
- Pick a bathroom for the cat to use.
- Find a product to use to help with the process. There are a number of options for products that can help you with this.
- Get the cat ready by gradually raising the litter box. At the final stage, it should be the same height as the toilet seat.
- Make the switch to the training seat. You need to use a litter that can be flushed down the toilet.
- Follow the instructions on the toilet training product for how to get the cat from using the training seat to just going into the open toilet.
There are some good reasons to not train a cat to use a toilet. Part of the reason using a litter box is so instinctual is that they have an instinct to bury their waste. Some cats, who are shy or skittish might find using a toilet to be too stressful.
If you need proof that some cats are able to use a toilet, you can see cats doing just that in this YouTube video.
One reason so many people like to have cats is that they are clean animals. They keep themselves clean and like to use bathroom facilities that are clean as well. That I why they bury their waste outside or in the litter box.
Cats are fun and generally easy to take care of. They do not need to be walked and if left alone will leave their waste in a spot that is easy to deal with.
If you clean the litter box on a regular basis, you should have no problems caring for your feline friend.