Why is kitty trailing her poo?
January 13, 2008 10:09 AM   Subscribe

Why is kitty trailing poo from the litter box--and how do we get her to stop?

We've had kitty for about six months now, and she's always used her litter box very well--even in the six weeks she spent recovering from eye surgery. Recently, however she's begun trailing a nugget or two of poo after she uses the box. She seems to actually flee the box, taking some crap with her. The running is not new behavior, but the flinging of feces? Yep, that's new.

The specifics:
--Kitty is six, spayed, has chronic problems with feline herpes that we treat with lysine.
--Litter box is about 24" x 18" x 6", filled about halfway with World's Best Cat Litter (corn-based). It's kept in our only bathroom and scooped whenever we see hard detritus (once a day, usually). Litter is completely replaced every two or three weeks.
--She has two water dishes--a stainless steel bowl (changed twice daily), as well as a Drinkwell fountain (cleaned and refilled every week or two).
--She eats half a cup of kibble a day.

We'd been trying to switch her slowly from Science Diet to Felidae before we left for a week over the holidays (she's gained a chunk of weight since we got her, and we wanted to try something with less filler). Unfortunately, she refused to eat the new stuff. We had the cat sitters feed her just Science Diet while we were gone. When we returned, I tried reintroducing the Felidae. I suspected it might play a part in the poo problems, though, so I've been feeding her just Science Diet for the past four days. Thought the problem was fixed, but this morning led to two new nuggets on the floor. (Joy.)

She will be seeing her ophthalmogic surgeon next weekend; is a visit to her regular vet in order, too? Is this a food issue? A litter issue? A behavior issue? How do we get her to stop?
posted by weatherworn to Pets & Animals (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I have 3 cats and one of them periodically will have a turd stuck to its butt. I think he is just a tuned out cat who doesn't realize he has a big turdball hanging on its fur. Poor kittie. I love the cat but he is dumber than a box of rocks. Your cat might be the same--it might have nothing to do with diet and everything to do with being totally unaware.
posted by 45moore45 at 10:17 AM on January 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Shoot, I don't know the answer, but I'm tagging this in hopes someone else does. Our kitties don't usually drop nuggets, but they do this butt drag racing activity on the rug. It doesn't happen all the time, thank goodness. No walking around the house barefoot, that's for sure. I have yet to find a vacuum that says - will pick up poo streaks left from cat butt drag racing.

Good luck.
posted by healthyliving at 10:46 AM on January 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: anyone living in your house have longish hair? there's no way to explain this without being gross, but my dog used to have a similar problem involving bits left hanging attached to human hairs that would drop off after walking a bit. perhaps something similar?

healthyliving: i've heard that butt racing is sometimes related to uncomfortable anal glands.
posted by buka at 11:01 AM on January 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

weatherworn: We had a problem with this when we adopted a cat a few months ago. His problem is that he's a kinda poofy cat and turds would get stuck to the fur. Extremely easy solution? We give him a lion cut in the 2 inches around his rectum. Presto, nothing for the poop to stick to. In terms of the jumping part, what about replacing his litter box with a Booda dome? They're around $20 at your local PetSmart, are super-cute, and the exiting cat needs to descend by a small stairway before leaving the unit. That might cut down on the poo-flinging.

healthyliving: usually cats don't need to get their anal glands expressed (like dogs) but your cat(s) may. It would be worth taking them to a groomer, just to check, and you'll stop having, er, illicit butt racing activities going on.
posted by arnicae at 11:28 AM on January 13, 2008

When this has happened with my cats, it's been due to poo getting tangled with long hair or (in one gross but amusing case) tinsel that kitty has swallowed. Then kitty goes to cover poo, poo moves, kitty thinks OMG MY POO IS ATTACKING ME and leaps away, poo, still attached by some tether anchored within kitty, follows along like boxcars behind a locomotive, hilarity and poo nugget trail ensues. Hairball remedy can help, as can shaving kitty butt.

healthyliving: arnicae and buka are absolutely right -- have your vet express kitty's anal glands. Kitty will be immensely relieved and butthole surfing will cease.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:53 AM on January 13, 2008 [3 favorites]

thanks everyone, never heard of that. i thought it might be worms, but i'll check out the anal gland issue with the vet.
posted by healthyliving at 12:53 PM on January 13, 2008

healthyliving- just go to Petsmart or Petco or your local neighborhood groomer and have them do it. It will CERTAINLY do no harm to your cat, even if it doesn't solve the problem. Few vets express anal glands, they leave that to the professionals (the groomers).
posted by arnicae at 1:29 PM on January 13, 2008

I didn't know groomers would do that -- I've never had a cat professionally groomed. Wish I'd known -- probably would have been much cheaper than what the vet charged.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:55 PM on January 13, 2008

Best answer: Do you have long hair? Does kitty ever lick your head? One of my boys used to lick the head of a former long haired roommate, causing a lovely umbilical cord between cat and poo. Sometimes, you would catch him running around the apartment, being chased by his poo. Other times, he appeared to be taking his poo for a walk. The only solution was to get rid of the long-haired roommate. (NEVER yank the poo out; always cut attached hair with scissors or some other implement).
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 2:55 PM on January 13, 2008

Best answer: Your kitty is constipated. Much of their poo is actually fur. Just like humans need more tp when they don't get enough roughage, kitties have problems keeping their butts clean if they don't have enough roughage.

There are four great things that will help you: brush your cat; make sure she is getting good dry food; feed her canned pumpkin; or buy some malt flavored kitty lube. My cats love all four.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 3:29 PM on January 13, 2008

Response by poster: Heh. Both kitty and I have long hair, though mine is longer by an order of magnitude. I'll definitely keep an eye out in the litter box (and out!) for hair that might be causing the problem. I hadn't had a chance to sweep the floor for a couple weeks, and kitty is an unrepentant devourer of string, so that's a potential explanation. (Solution? Sweep more!)

If that's not the case, I may consider a Booda Dome to cut down on unpleasant surprises on the floor. (I just worry that the change in boxes would stress her out.)

Since she's always been fluffy in the rear region but didn't develop the poo problem until recently, I'm not so sure the problem is caused by the presence of ass fur.
posted by weatherworn at 3:36 PM on January 13, 2008

Response by poster: Oooh, gesamtkunstwerk, your answer appeared while I was composing my previous reply. Since the bonus nuggets are pretty hard, I've considered constipation. I'll work to follow your fantastic tips, too.
posted by weatherworn at 3:39 PM on January 13, 2008

My cat is a grumpy boy when we travel (or do anything else that upsets his lifestyle). He will come out and take a poo right in front of wherever we are to make a statement of his displeasure. He also likes to do it sneaky style, if we aren't around to catch him. So, it might just be a temper issue rather than a health-related worry. I have no clue how to stop it, but most of the time I guess I think our kitty is justified in his punishment for us leaving him.
posted by nursegracer at 6:26 PM on January 13, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the help, all.

We've been brushing kitty constantly and changing her water assiduously. It's been about a week since the last "trailing" incident, and all seems to be well in the litter box area. Woo! No extra visits to the vet!

Requisite kitty photos, most from before and immediately after her surgery.
posted by weatherworn at 10:11 AM on January 20, 2008

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