Black cat in the litter box

An indoor cat may go two to three days without passing faeces.

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How often should a cat poop on wet food?

By Dr. Liz Barton MA, VetMB, MRCVS Veterinarian

Updated on the

How often your cat poops can depend on whether they're eating wet food or dry food – or whether they're even eating at all.

How often your cat poops will usually vary depending on what type of food they're eating, whether it's dry or wet. Some cats may not even poop for a week

Is it normal for a cat to not poop everyday?

Most cats will pass faeces once or twice daily as adults. Older cats have slower digestion and may only poop every other day. Some younger cats may also be less regular. If they have outdoor access, they are likely to be pooping outside, but, if they are indoor only, they may go 2-3 days without passing faeces. If this happens regularly, it does make them prone to constipation – a common problem in cats.

How long can a cat go without pooping?

Some cats may not pass faeces for up to a week. By this time, they are likely to be constipated and may start to show signs of reduced appetite and even vomiting. If your cat hasn’t passed faeces for 4-5 days, you should have them checked by a vet. Early constipation can usually be cleared by laxatives. If your cat is very constipated, they may need an enema under sedation or anaesthetic.

How can I get my cat to eat canned food?

Some cats prefer dry food. If you want to encourage increased water intake, you can try adding liquid to the dry food. If you want to feed them tinned food or pouches but they are not keen, you can try warming the food to increase its smell. You can also try hand feeding small amounts or rub some on their paws, which can cause them to start eating more from a bowl.

Does wet food make cats poop more?

Wet food contains more water than dry food, so a cat will have to consume a greater volume to obtain the same calories. While a lot of the water will be absorbed and pass as urine, it may also bulk out the faeces – leading to more poop.

Which is better for cats, dry or wet food?

Wet food contains more water and is less-calorie dense. It is helpful for cats with kidney or urinary disease, who need increased water intake. Dry food is more calorie dense (so can be better value for money), and some kibble is designed to help reduce the build-up of tartar on the teeth to reduce dental disease. Dry cat food tends to have a higher cereal (carbohydrate) content. Cats are designed to eat a diet high in protein and fat, so make sure your cat has a dry food with a low-carbohydrate ‘filler’ content.

Can cats live on dry food only?

Cats can happily live on dry food only, provided it is a complete, balanced cat food – ideally with low-carbohydrate content. They will need to drink more water, if they are not eating any wet food, so ensure they always have easy access to fresh, clean water.

Do cats get bored of their food?

Some cats will be very picky eaters throughout their life, others will be happy to eat the same food every day. Your cat can safely go without eating for several days, provided they are bright and well, and drinking water. Sometimes it’s worth seeing if they start to eat the food again after a couple of days. Leaving the food down all the time can cause ‘food aversion’, where they are put off by the sight and smell. Remove all food for eight hours, then offer fresh food again. This may be enough to encourage your cat to eat the same food. If not, then you can start to try different foods to see if your cat has changed preference.

Will cats starve themselves, if they don't like the food?

Cats are extremely unlikely to starve themselves, if they don’t like the food being offered. If your cat is not eating and starting to lose weight, then you should see a vet as there is likely to be an underlying condition reducing their appetite. If your cat is refusing food but remains bright, healthy and their weight is stable, they are probably accessing food elsewhere if they have outdoor access. Neighbours may start leaving food down for them that they prefer, or they may be active hunters. If they’ve already eaten ‘out’ when you offer their regular food, they may show little or no interest.

Why do cats not finish their food?

Cats are different from dogs. Dogs hunt in packs in the wild, so need to eat as much as they can, as quickly as they can, or they risk missing out on their share. Domestic cats are descended from big cats, which tend to be solitary hunters. They can eat little and often once they have stored their food safely, as there is no competition. There are exceptions, but as a general rule dogs are more likely to eat all their food in one go, and cats are more likely to ‘graze’.

Should cats get wet food everyday?

It is normal to feed cats wet food once or twice daily along with ad lib access to dry biscuits. In most cases, it is not necessary to feed wet food provided your cat always has access to fresh, clean drinking water. If your cat has kidney or urinary problems, it is good to increase water intake by offering wet food at most mealtimes. Some cats will happily live on dry food without any wet food at all.

Can you mix wet and dry cat food?

Most cats show a preference for wet or dry food. It is common to offer both in separate bowls. All cats are different, and some may like the wet and dry being mixed together, though it is more common to keep them separate. Experiment with small changes and see what your cat prefers.

When should I see a vet?

If your cat is not eating for more than two days, and is less active or losing weight, you should see a vet. If you cat is bright, well and active, and not losing weight, you should investigate to see if they are being fed elsewhere. Try feeding them alternative foods: different brands, flavours, or wet and dry. If they are still refusing food, then it’s a good idea to have them checked by the vet.

What should I ask a vet about the most adapted diet for my cat?

There are many different diets available – some will reduce the risk of hairballs or constipation, and other diets are more appropriate at different stages of life. Take your cat to a vet and, after examining them and discussing their lifestyle, breed and age, the vet will be able to discuss different, appropriate diet options for your cat.

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