How can I tell if my cat is eating healthy based on her stool shape and color?

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No one really likes to talk about poop, but your cat’s stools can tell you a lot about her digestive health. Most cats will defecate once a day. A normal stool is deep brown and well formed, and it shouldn’t smell too foul.

DIARRHEA

Diarrhea is one of the most common problems among cats, and it can resolve itself as quickly as it develops. It can be caused by something as simple as an abrupt dietary change or something very serious such as cancer. Other times, it can last for days, weeks, or months, or recur on a regular basis—and one of the biggest problems with that is it can cause dehydration. Consult your veterinarian immediately if the stool is black or bloody, if it is accompanied by fever, vomiting, lethargy or loss of appetite or if it lasts more than a day or two.

Some of the other causes of diarrhea are:

• Food allergies or sensitivities
• Colitis
• Hyperthyroidism
• Worms and other parasites
• Pancreatic disease

CONSTIPATION

If your cat frequently strains, or there are hard stools, consult your veterinarian. There are a number of things that can cause cats to become constipated, including:
• Over-grooming, which leads to extra hair in the digestive tract
• Kidney problems
• Obstruction, including string or bones
• Diets low in fiber
• Colon abnormalities such as strictures or tumors
• Spinal problems or pain
Your veterinarian may suggest increasing the fiber in the diet, such as by adding canned pumpkin (cats love this taste!), including pre-and-probiotics and digestive enzymes or by switching to a more easily digestible diet that actually decreases the amount of poop in your cat’s digestive tract.
Make sure your cat gets more exercise and try to get her to drink more water, because these are all things that help constipation.

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