Your cat’s poop can give you a lot of information about her health. As such, if you start noticing your cat leaving little poop nuggets everywhere, it could be due to behavioral issues or an illness your furry friend is trying to hide.
Constipation is a common culprit of hard, dry feces that are expelled outside the litter box. Your cat might be straining as she tries to pass the waste, leaving some of the fecal balls hanging from her bum. This can be frustrating for fur parents, especially since the stain and odor of cat poop can be challenging to clean off.
Of course, there are also other possible reasons your cat may be dragging some of her poop out of the litter box. By understanding the reason behind this messy situation, you will be better able to come up with solutions to help your four-legged friend.
Why is your cat leaving little poop nuggets?
Cats take their hygiene seriously – they are probably the cleanest of all domesticated pets. They are passionate about grooming themselves, hate being dirty, and loathe anything that doesn’t smell good to them. When they use the litter box, they make sure that their fecal waste is completely covered to avoid leaving any scent. Overall, cats are fastidious groomers because this routine helps them survive in the wild.
So, if you see your cat leaving poop nuggets in inappropriate places, then clearly something is not right. Any sudden shift in your pet’s pooping habits could mean a problem that needs to be addressed.
Here are some of the common reasons a cat may leave little poop nuggets outside her litter box:
1. Your cat is being territorial
Territorial marking is a common behavior in cats, especially if they feel threatened by the presence of other pets. Pooping is one of their normal ways of showing dominance to other animals, so if there is a new dog or cat in the house, your primary cat may leave poop or spray urine in different parts of the house to warn the other pets.
If you are bringing home a new pet, make sure that introductions are done gradually and that your cat always has a safe place to retreat in case she does not like the newcomer. Placing more than one litter box around the house is also helpful in this scenario.
2. Your cat is feeling scared
Inappropriate elimination can sometimes be linked to fear. Your furry pal might be scared by loud noises coming from a construction site nearby, sudden loud explosions from fireworks, or an unfamiliar visitor at home. Whatever is scaring her, it is important to keep her litter box in a safe place where she can do her business privately and away from other pets or family members.
3. Your cat is stressed
Cats are extremely sensitive, even to the slightest change in their environment. They might hate a new piece of furniture you have just brought in, any new scents in the house, or moving to a new residence. In this case, you need to help Fluffy adapt to the changes slowly; otherwise, the stress brought about by the changes might be too much for her to handle and lead to destructive behavior like inappropriate pooping.
4. Your cat hates her litter box
Cats can be picky when it comes to their litter box. Your cat might dislike her litter box because you do not clean it regularly, or you might have changed the litter and she is not comfortable with the new texture, scent, or quantity.
As much as possible, try to limit switching from one brand to another – even the slightest change in texture or scent can be enough to upset Fluffy. Also, most cats do not like scented litter or the presence of strong chemicals.
Lastly, too little or too much litter can be problematic for your furry friend, causing her to do her business elsewhere. Be sure to know how much litter is comfortable for your fastidious fur-kid, to help her stick to her poop routine.
5. Your cat has health issues
House soiling or inappropriate elimination can indicate that your cat is struggling with pain or discomfort caused by an underlying health issue. For example, cats with arthritis might leave poop nuggets in the wrong places because it is too painful for them to lift their back legs to get into the litter box. Other symptoms might also be evident, such as trouble walking or difficulty jumping because of the pain.
Constipation is another health condition that causes cats to leave poop nuggets on the floor. When they are struggling with constipation, it can be difficult to pass stools or they might strain during elimination and only produce hard poop nuggets.
Other health issues that can affect your cat’s pooping behavior are:
- Liver disease
- Gastrointestinal disease
- Bowel incontinence
What to look out for when you see poop nuggets
It might sound gross, but as her human guardian, you might need to investigate your cat’s poop from time to time to detect signs of gastrointestinal problems. Cat poop can tell you a lot about what’s going on inside your kitty, so if she expels small, hard stools in the wrong places, you should definitely be checking them.
Here are some factors you need to consider:
1. Poop shape
A healthy cat poop should look like a sausage or a small log. Small, solid poop nuggets are a common sign of gastrointestinal problems like constipation. Conversely, if your cat’s poop looks watery, this is a sign of diarrhea that can be caused by one of several underlying issues.
2. Poop color
Although cat poop should normally be dark brown, this color can sometimes be influenced by your cat’s food. However, any poop that looks blood-red, black, green, or light brown can be a sign of gastrointestinal disease.
3. Frequency of bowel movements
Adult cats normally poop once or twice a day, while younger ones can poop more frequently. If you notice your furry companion pooping more than twice a day or missing her toilet trip for more than two days in a row, it might be time to give your vet a call.
4. Poop smell
You are probably already familiar with what your cat’s poop normally smells like. If you notice her excrement suddenly smelling foul or metallic, it is probably due to a digestive or stomach issue. Poor diet and parasite infections can also contribute to the strong and putrid odor, which warrants a visit to the vet.
5. Poop content and consistency
The content of your cat’s waste can also indicate the condition of her digestive system. If you notice jelly-like substances or other undigested matter like fur or pieces of food, then it may be that something is not right.
The consistency of the poop can also tell you a lot. Under normal circumstances, a cat’s waste should be firm and malleable; it should not be rock solid or mushy. The stool should be well-formed like a sausage and not lose its shape when you move it.
6. Poop size
As a rule of thumb, your cat should be able to pass her stool in a single piece or a few parts, in a cylindrical shape. Smaller, rock-solid poop could indicate constipation, while runny or mushy poop could be diarrhea. It might be best to visit your vet if you notice such changes in your cat’s poop size.
Cleaning up after poop nuggets
There may be occasions when your cat cannot make it to the litter box. If your furry friend leaves poop nuggets on the floor, follow these tips to make it as easy as possible to clean up after her:
- Be sure to wear gloves before cleaning your cat’s mess. Cat feces can contain parasites that can cause toxoplasmosis. If you are pregnant, ask someone else to handle the mess for you.
- Remove the poop using paper towels and seal it in the garbage bag to prevent bacterial spread and odor leakage.
- Mop the area with water and detergent, then wipe it dry.
- Use a good, enzyme-based cleanser such as the ANGRY ORANGE Pet Odor Eliminator to remove leftover stains and odor.
How to clean dried poop off your cat
Cats sometimes cannot clean their own butts due to certain health issues. If you see dry, fecal matter hanging from your pet’s bum, it is important to clean it immediately to prevent the risks of toxoplasmosis. To clean the dried poop from her bum, do the following:
1. Wipe your cat’s bottom with wet wipes
Use a damp cloth or wet wipes to tackle the dried poop and stained area. If the poop is too hard to remove, you might need to spray it first with cat dry shampoo or trim the clinging feces off the fur.
If you are using wet wipes, it is recommended to use a wipe formulated for cats to prevent harming your cat’s fur and skin. Pet grooming wipes like Pogi’s Grooming Wipes are safe to use because they are hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and designed with the right pH level for cats’ skin.
2. Bathe your cat
A thorough wash can be very helpful if your cat’s bum is particularly messy. Fill your sink with warm water and add a few drops of cat shampoo. The water level should only come up to your cat’s belly; if it is too deep, it can frighten your cat and cause unnecessary panic, making bath time stressful for both of you.
Use a vet-approved cat shampoo made with natural ingredients. You might want to try Burt’s Bees Hypoallergenic Cat Shampoo, which has a pH suited for cats and is formulated without sulfates, colorants, strong scents, or other harsh chemicals.
Lastly, we recommend using pet grooming gloves to remove poop leftovers and give your cat a nice massage during her bath. Once your furry companion is rinsed and cleaned, dry her with a soft towel. Keep in mind that bath time can be a frightening experience for cats, so make sure to provide treats and reassurance.
How to stop your cat from leaving poop nuggets
Rock-solid poops that look like small pebbles generally signal a problem. The most common causes include dehydration, kidney disease, and constipation. Sometimes, your cat might have difficulty passing out all the feces, leaving some of the waste hanging on her fur around the bum.
Your first step should be taking your cat to the vet to make sure that her unusual poop is not caused by a serious medical condition. Your vet will also help you determine whether the cause is behavioral or intestinal. This way, it will be easier to come up with a solution to help normalize your pet’s bowel movements.
Does milk help cats poop?
Giving your constipated cat some milk might actually be a bad idea. Cats are lactose-intolerant, so offering them milk can cause diarrhea and vomiting, adding to your cat’s health concerns.
However, in some cases, vets might recommend a small amount of milk for severe cases of constipation. That is because lactose can help the intestines absorb enough water to moisten and soften the bowels. But, before giving your cat any milk, make sure to get your vet’s approval.
Do cats poop out of spite?
While cats have earned a reputation for being cold and unfriendly, our furry pals do not hold grudges. So, if your cat leaves little poop nuggets around your house, it is not because she is being spiteful. Something is up with her, and it is up to you, her human guardian, to figure it out and find ways to help her.
How to help your cat poop
Finding unpleasant gifts around the house can be very frustrating. If the reason for your cat’s unusual pooping is constipation, you should intervene to avoid further mess and to provide your fur-kid with some much-needed relief.
One way is to add more fiber to your cat’s diet. Some great sources of fiber for cats are vegetables, plant-based fiber like pumpkin, and natural laxatives like Laxatone. However, make sure to give your vet a call before trying any home remedies to treat feline constipation.
Wrapping it up
Unlike with other pets, litter box training comes naturally to our feline pals because it is their instinct to bury their waste in sand or dirt. Thus, if your cat starts leaving poop nuggets around your house, something is clearly not right. She might have some behavioral issue triggered by anxiety or depression, or she may be struggling with an underlying health problem.
In either case, make sure to take your cat to your vet for an appropriate diagnosis and treatment. If your cat comes out with a clean bill of health, she might be struggling with behavioral issues. Try to get to the bottom of this – cats can be finicky sometimes, even about the slightest change in their routines. Hopefully, you can address Fluffy’s issues and prevent her from leaving you surprises again.
Image: istockphoto.com / krblokhin