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Home > Cats > Why Does My Cat’s Poop Smell So Bad? 10 Vet Reviewed Causes & Remedies

Why Does My Cat’s Poop Smell So Bad? 10 Vet Reviewed Causes & Remedies

Smelly cat poop in litter box

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Nia Perkins

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If your litter box is smelling a little ripe, it might be more than just the everyday cost of being a cat owner. Strong smells can be a sign that something needs to change in your cat’s diet or litter. This can also be a sign of health issues that may require veterinary attention.

Either way, it’s important to get to the bottom of it. In this article, we’ll take you through 10 of the most common reasons your cat may have a smelly stool.

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The 10 Reasons Why Your Cat’s Poop Smells So Bad

1. Poor Diet

long haired cat eating food from a cat bowl
Image Credit: Seattle Cat Photo, Shutterstock

Good food works wonders on a cat. But, if they are eating low-quality food or are eating too much, stinky stool might be the result. This can be accompanied by weight gain or excessive hunger.

Possible Remedies

Give your kitty an upgrade! High-quality food can be expensive, but there are many options out there for affordable prices. Work with your veterinarian to pick out the right food for your feline friend.


2. Food Intolerances

Not every cat has the same stomach, and not every food is right for every cat. Food intolerances can lead to diarrhea, constipation, and stinky stool. There are a few things that cats are generally intolerant to, like lactose. Your kitty might also have an allergy or intolerance to something more unusual, like certain types of protein.

Possible Remedies

A new diet may be key here too. It may be as simple as finding a food that doesn’t contain the possible culprit. Again, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian if you think your cat may be experiencing a food intolerance.


3. Digestive Issues

Even if your cat does not have any specific food intolerances or allergies, some cats have more sensitive stomachs than others. Frequent diarrhea and constipation can be a sign of sensitivity, especially if you’ve eliminated allergens as a cause. These cats usually need food formulated for sensitive stomachs or other medications that help keep them healthy.

Possible Remedies

Try a cat food formulated for sensitive stomachs. A consultation with a vet can also help you find a good solution for your cat’s stomach sensitivity.

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4. Wild-caught Food

cat hunting
Image Credit: katya-guseva0, Pixabay

An overabundance of lean proteins can lead to a ripe smell, and if your cat eats a lot of wild animals like birds and rodents, you might notice it. This smell is not necessarily a sign of poor health, but it isn’t very pleasant for us either!

Possible Remedies

Try to limit your cat’s outdoor time to supervised intervals. A collar with a bell can help keep your cat’s success down, but don’t rely on it! Many bell-wearing cats learn to hunt around it.


5. Dirty Litter Box

Sometimes, the smell isn’t necessarily a result of diet or a health problem, it’s a reflection of the litter box. Litter boxes that aren’t properly cleaned out can lead to strong smells over time.

Possible Remedies

Make sure you clean out the litter box every few days and change out the litter every few weeks. Occasionally scrub down the bottom of the box as well. Check out self-cleaning litter box options that might help reduce cleanup time. Don’t forget to check areas around the box in case your cat has left a mess somewhere you didn’t notice.

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6. Poor-Quality Litter

Like food, not all litter is created equal. Some types of litter are better at absorbing smells than others, and cheap litter can lead to a strong stench. Unscented cat litter and litter without odor controls are the biggest culprits.

Possible Remedies

Look for a litter brand that is scented and has odor-controlling ingredients like baking soda. Consider switching to a different litter brand if what you have isn’t working for you.


7. Medications

Veterinarian-gives-a-pill-to-a-cat
Image Credit: Piskova Photo, Shutterstock

If your cat is on any medications, they can affect the smell of your cat’s poop. This isn’t necessarily a sign that something is wrong, but you can always reach out to your vet if you have concerns.

Possible Remedies

If your cat’s medications are causing smelly stool, you might want to ask if there are any other alternatives. But some smells are unavoidable. If your cat is on medication for a short period, hopefully, the smell will only be temporary.


8. Bacteria or Parasites

If your cat eats something full of bacteria or parasites, smelly stool might be the result. Parasites and bacteria are often caused by eating wild-caught food. Bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella, as well as many intestinal parasites, can be behind this smell. Sometimes other signs of sickness are present as well.

Possible Remedies

Contact your veterinarian if you notice any change in the smell and consistency of your cat’s stool. They may want to test them for bacteria and intestinal parasites.


9. Intestinal Bleeding

vet assessing birman cat
Image Credit: Stock-Asso, Shutterstock

If your cat has intestinal bleeding, you’ll likely notice a bloody discharge or poop with a sharp, metallic odor. Intestinal bleeding can be a sign of various health issues, from a digestive issue to an injury. Please seek veterinary care if you notice any blood in your cat’s stool.

Possible Remedies

Please have your cat evaluated by a veterinarian to determine the cause of the bleeding.


10. Anal Gland Infection

Cats occasionally get anal gland infections that lead to a foul-smelling discharge. This discharge is usually not confined to the litter box, and will leak from your cat without bowel movements.

Possible Remedies

If you suspect your cat has an infection, have them evaluated by your veterinarian. Treatment may include flushing out the blocked anal glands, and medication to help treat the infection.

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Final Thoughts

Smelly poop can be annoying. But more than that, it can be a sign of a serious health issue for your cat. It can take some patience to determine the cause of the strong odors, but it’s worth the time and effort to make sure your cat is healthy and happy.

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Featured Image Credit: catinsyrup, Shutterstock

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