Do Cats Lick Their Poop? Uncovering the Unexpected Truth

Some owners have noticed their cats doing something strange: licking their poop. It seems like an odd behavior, but is this normal for cats? You might be surprised to learn that cats have been known to engage in this behavior for various reasons. In this article, we’ll explore why cats do this and whether or not it’s something to be concerned about.

If you’re a cat owner, you’ve likely seen your furry friend engaging in some interesting behaviors. From knocking things over for no apparent reason to staring out the window for hours on end, cats can be a mystery. One behavior that has left some owners bewildered is a cat’s tendency to lick their poop. But why do cats do this? Is it out of boredom, or is there something more sinister going on? We’re going to delve into this phenomenon and uncover what’s behind it.

While it might seem gross to us, licking poop is a natural behavior for many animals, including cats. However, just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s always healthy. As a responsible pet owner, it’s essential to know what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to your cat’s behavior. So, let’s take a closer look at this habit and whether or not you should be concerned about it.

Why do cats lick their poop?

Cats are known for their impeccable grooming habits, spending a significant chunk of their day licking themselves clean. However, some kitties take their cleaning rituals to a whole new level by licking their own feces. You might be wondering why a cat would engage in such behavior, but the truth is that there are several potential reasons as to why this happens. Let’s dive in.

Possible reasons for poop licking

  • Motherly instincts: A mother cat needs to help her kittens urinate and defecate when they are born. She stimulates them to go by licking their genital area, and then eats their feces to keep the nest clean and to protect her young from predators that may be attracted by the smell. This behavior may carry over to adulthood for some cats.
  • Nutrition deficiency: Some experts suggest that licking poop could be a sign of a nutritional deficiency, such as a lack of protein or digestive enzymes. By eating feces, cats may be trying to obtain the nutrients that were not absorbed the first time around.
  • Cleaning behavior: Cats are obsessed with cleanliness and are known to groom themselves consistently. To some cats, licking their feces is just another aspect of their grooming routine. They might see it as an extension of their anal area, which they naturally keep clean and tidy.

When to be concerned

While poop licking may seem gross, it’s generally not a major cause for concern. However, there are some instances where it may be a sign of a larger issue. If your cat suddenly starts exhibiting this behavior and has not done so before, it is important to take them to a vet to rule out any underlying health problems. Additionally, if your cat is consistently eating its own feces, there is a risk of contracting parasites or bacterial infections.


Cats have a reputation for being mysterious creatures, and the reasons for their strange behavior sometimes elude us. Poop licking is just one of the many strange things our feline friends do. While it may be disgusting to us, it is just another aspect of their natural instinctual behavior. In most cases, it is not a major concern, but it is important to monitor your cat’s behavior and consult a veterinarian if you have any concerns.

Reasons for poop licking When to be concerned
Motherly instincts Change in behavior
Nutrition deficiency Consistent behavior of eating feces
Cleaning behavior

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding your pet’s medical condition.

Is it normal for cats to eat their feces?

As a cat owner, you may have caught your feline pal indulging in their dirty little secret – eating their own poop. But fret not, you aren’t alone in this experience. It’s not an uncommon behavior for cats, although it may seem unpleasant to humans.

  • Coprophagia: The scientific term for feces eating is “coprophagia”.
  • Why do cats eat poop? The reasons may vary from behavioral to physiological. For instance, it may be a result of anxiety, stress or boredom. It’s also possible that cats eat their poop to compensate for a nutritional deficiency in their diet. Sometimes, it’s a learned behavior from their mothers who do it to clean their kittens.
  • Is it normal? While it may not be the most desirable behavior, it’s relatively common among cats. However, if you notice them continually doing it, it’s best to speak to your vet to ensure their health is in order.

If your feline friend is constantly eating their poop, it’s best to take action and discourage the behavior. You may want to try out different foods, or if it’s behavioral, engage them in activities that keep them stimulated, such as playing with toys or grooming them regularly.

As with any other unusual behavior exhibited by pets, it’s always best to speak to your vet first to determine if there are any underlying health issues. While it’s not the most pleasant experience to witness, it’s normal for cats to eat poop, and there are ways to discourage them from engaging in the behavior.

Causes of coprophagia in cats: Solutions to combat the behavior:
Stress, anxiety and boredom Provide them with stimulating activities such as toys, games and regular grooming.
Nutritional deficiency Switch them to high-quality pet food or consult with your vet for dietary supplements.
Learned behavior from their mother It’s a common occurrence and will cease on its own as they develop and mature.

Remember, always consult with a veterinarian if you notice any unusual behavior in your cat to ensure their health is in check.

Can Cats Get Sick From Licking Their Poop?

As distasteful and unsanitary as it may seem to us, cats have an innate tendency to lick themselves, including their poop. But is it harmful to their health? In this article, we’ll explore the potential risks and consequences for cats that lick their poop.

  • Cats can contract diseases from their own poop: Feline feces can contain harmful bacteria and parasites such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Toxoplasma gondii. If a cat licks its poop and ingests any of these pathogens, it can cause infections and illnesses such as diarrhea, vomiting, and respiratory issues. Additionally, if a cat goes outside and uses areas like gardens as their litter box, they may be exposed to other animals’ waste, which can pose even greater health risks.
  • Licking poop can cause intestinal blockages: If a cat licks the litter off their paws after using the litter box, it can lead to the consumption of large amounts of litter, which can build up in the digestive system and cause blockages. This can be especially dangerous for young kittens or cats with pre-existing gastrointestinal issues.
  • Cats with compulsive licking behavior may develop psychological issues: While some amount of grooming and self-cleaning is normal for cats, excessive licking, including licking their poop, may be a sign of underlying anxiety, stress, or boredom. In some cases, it can lead to the development of psychological disorders such as depression, OCD, or pica (the compulsion to eat non-food items).

If you suspect that your cat is licking their poop excessively or in a compulsive manner, it’s essential to take them to the vet for a thorough exam. The vet can evaluate them for any underlying physical or psychological issues and recommend appropriate treatment and behavioral modification strategies.

Signs your cat may be sick from licking their poop: What to do:
Diarrhea or vomiting Contact your vet immediately
Refusal to eat or drink Contact your vet immediately
Irritability or lethargy Monitor your cat closely and contact your vet if symptoms persist or worsen

In conclusion, while it’s not uncommon for cats to lick their poop, it’s not a healthy or safe habit. To prevent potential health risks and complications, it’s essential to keep your cat’s litter box clean, discourage them from consuming litter, and address any excessive or compulsive grooming behaviors with your vet.

How to prevent cats from eating their poop?

While cats are known for their cleanliness, there may be instances when they may engage in behaviors that are not hygienic. One of the habits that some cats have is eating their poop, which can be unsanitary for both the cat and the owner. Here are some ways to prevent cats from this behavior:

  • Keep the litter box clean. The first step to prevent cats from eating their poop is to ensure that the litter box is clean. A dirty litter box may make the cat feel uncomfortable, and they may resort to eating their poop to avoid it. Clean the litter box regularly, ideally once a day, and replace the litter every week.
  • Change the diet. If a cat is eating their poop, it may be an indication that their diet is not providing them with enough nutrients. Consult a veterinarian to determine if your cat needs a change in their diet or supplementation. Providing them with a balanced diet may reduce the likelihood of them eating their poop.
  • Provide plenty of water. Cats need to have access to clean, fresh water to stay hydrated and ensure healthy digestion. Dehydration may lead to constipation, which may cause the cat to eat their poop. Ensure that your cat has a bowl with clean water nearby at all times.

If these measures do not work, there are other steps you can take to prevent cats from eating their poop:

You can try to physically block the cat from accessing their poop by using a litter box with a covered lid or placing obstacles around the litter box to limit access. However, this may not be the most effective solution, as cats are adept at finding ways around obstacles.

Pros Cons
May help prevent a cat from eating their poop Cats may find ways to get around the obstacle
Easy to implement May be inconvenient for the owner and the cat

Another solution is to use deterrents that have an unpleasant taste or scent. A commercial repellent spray or a homemade solution of water, vinegar, and citrus may discourage cats from eating their poop. However, it is essential to test the deterrent on a small area before using it on the litter box to ensure that it does not harm the cat or the litter box.

Preventing a cat from eating their poop may take time and patience, but it is vital to maintain their health and hygiene. Consult with a veterinarian if the behavior persists or if you notice other signs of illness or discomfort in your cat.

What health problems can arise from cats licking their poop?

Cats may appear to be clean animals, but their habit of licking their private parts after using the litter box can cause several health issues. Moreover, if they lick their poop, it can lead to multiple health problems. Here are some health issues that can arise from cats licking their poop.

  • Intestinal parasites: Eating feces is a common behavior among pets, but it can lead to the transfer of intestinal parasites from one animal to another. When a cat consumes its feces, it may ingest a parasitic egg that can hatch into a worm inside its intestines, leading to serious gastrointestinal problems and weight loss.
  • Toxoplasmosis: Cats who eat contaminated feces containing Toxoplasma gondii can develop Toxoplasmosis, a parasitic disease that can cause fever, muscle aches, and inflammation of the brain in humans if they come in contact with infected feces. Pregnant women are more susceptible to Toxoplasmosis, as it can be transmitted to the developing fetus, leading to miscarriage, stillbirth, or birth defects.
  • Dehydration: Cats who consume a large amount of feces may become dehydrated, as they will lose more fluid through their urine and feces. Dehydration can lead to other health issues, including kidney damage, and can be fatal if left untreated.

It is essential to note that while cats may eat their feces due to behavioral issues or dietary deficiencies, a sudden change in their litter box habits may indicate an underlying medical issue. Thus, it is important to consult a veterinarian if you notice your cat eating its feces or displaying any other unusual behavior.

Certain steps can be taken to prevent cats from eating their feces. Firstly, ensure that your cat’s litter box is cleaned regularly, as cats tend to avoid using dirty litter boxes. Secondly, provide your cat with a balanced and nutritious diet recommended by your veterinarian. Lastly, supervise your cat and discourage the behavior by using positive reinforcement training methods or using products that discourage coprophagia.

Health Problem Symptoms Treatment
Intestinal Parasites Weight loss, diarrhea, dehydration De-worming medication, hydration therapy
Toxoplasmosis Headache, fever, muscle pain Antibiotics, supportive care
Dehydration Increased thirst, lethargy, dry mouth Fluid therapy, electrolyte replacement

Overall, cats licking their poop can cause several health problems, ranging from minor to life-threatening conditions. Ensuring a clean litter box, a balanced diet, and routine visits to the veterinarian can assist in preventing the behavior and tackling any underlying health issues effectively.

Do all cats lick their poop?

One of the most common questions pet owners have about their feline friends is whether or not cats lick their poop. The short answer is no, not all cats do this. However, it is important to understand why some cats engage in this behavior and what it may indicate about their health and well-being.

  • What is coprophagia?
  • Reasons why cats lick their poop
  • Health implications of coprophagia

First and foremost, it is important to define the term coprophagia. This refers to the act of a cat eating their own feces or the feces of other animals. While it may sound gross to us humans, this behavior is actually quite common in the animal kingdom. In fact, many wild animals engage in coprophagia as a way to obtain nutrients that they may not be able to get from their regular diet. However, in domestic cats, coprophagia is often seen as a behavioral or medical issue.

So why do some cats lick their poop? The reasons vary from cat to cat, but some possible explanations include:

  • Stress or anxiety
  • A dirty litter box
  • Health problems such as malabsorption or pancreatic insufficiency
  • Boredom or lack of stimulation
  • Curiosity

While the reasons why cats engage in coprophagia can vary, it is important to note that this behavior can have serious implications for their health. For example, eating poop can lead to the transmission of parasites or diseases, as well as nutritional deficiencies if the cat is not consuming enough of the right nutrients from their regular diet. In addition, coprophagia can be a sign of an underlying medical issue that should be addressed by a veterinarian.

Medical causes of coprophagia Behavioral causes of coprophagia
Pancreatic insufficiency Stress or anxiety
Malabsorption syndrome A dirty litter box
Intestinal parasites Boredom or lack of stimulation

If you notice that your cat is engaging in coprophagia, it is important to take them to a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical issues. In addition, providing your cat with a clean and stimulating environment, as well as a well-balanced diet, can help to discourage this behavior and promote overall health and well-being.

How often should a cat poop to avoid excessive licking?

Cats are notorious for their grooming habits that include licking their fur, paws, and even their poop. Yes, you read that right! While it may sound gross to us, cats lick their poop as a natural and instinctual behavior. However, excessive licking is not healthy for your cat and can lead to various health issues.

  • The number of times a cat should poop depends on various factors like age, diet, and overall health.
  • An average healthy adult cat should poop at least once a day or once every two days.
  • Kittens and senior cats may poop more frequently due to their developing or declining digestive system.

It’s essential to monitor your cat’s poop frequency and consistency regularly. Constipation or diarrhea can lead to excessive licking and can be indicative of underlying health issues. Always consult your veterinarian if you notice any drastic changes in your cat’s poop or behavior.

Moreover, providing your cat with a balanced diet that meets their nutritional requirements is crucial to maintain healthy bowel movements. Feeding your cat with high-quality protein and fiber-rich food can promote regular and healthy poop schedule.

Factors that affect cat’s poop frequency Frequency
Age Varies
Diet 1-2 times a day
Overall health Varies

In conclusion, a cat should poop at least once a day or once every two days to avoid excessive licking. However, the poop frequency depends on several factors that can differ from cat to cat. As a responsible cat owner, you should regularly monitor your cat’s poop frequency and consistency and take necessary precautions to maintain a healthy and happy cat.

Can medical conditions cause excessive poop licking in cats?

While there are many reasons why cats may engage in poop licking, certain medical conditions can also cause this behavior. These conditions may include:

  • Parasitic Infections: Parasites such as worms or giardia can cause discomfort and itching in the anal area, leading to excessive licking.
  • Anal Sac Disease: The anal sacs in cats can become impacted or infected, causing pain and discomfort in the area.
  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Digestive problems such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or food intolerances can cause excessive licking and even eating of feces.

In addition, cats may also engage in poop licking due to stress or anxiety caused by underlying medical conditions, such as kidney disease or hyperthyroidism.

Medical Condition/Issue Behavioral Symptoms
Parasitic Infections Excessive licking of anal area
Anal Sac Disease Excessive licking of anal area and scooting
Gastrointestinal Issues Excessive licking and eating of feces, vomiting, diarrhea
Underlying Medical Conditions (e.g. Kidney disease, Hyperthyroidism) Stress and anxiety related licking and behavior

If you notice excessive poop licking in your cat, it is important to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions and to ensure your cat receives appropriate treatment.

What are some behavioral reasons for cats to lick their poop?

Cats are naturally clean animals and grooming is an essential part of their daily routine. However, sometimes cats take their grooming habits to the extreme and may exhibit some abnormal behaviors such as eating, rolling or licking their own poop. Here are some reasons why cats may lick their poop:

  • Instinct: In the wild, cats have to keep their environment clean to avoid attracting predators. Therefore, cats may lick their feces to eliminate any trace of their presence and avoid being detected by predators.
  • Stress: Licking their poop may be a sign of stress or anxiety. Cats may feel stressed due to several factors such as changes in their environment, lack of interaction with their owners or other pets, or sometimes even due to medical conditions. In some cases, licking their poop can be a self-soothing mechanism for cats when they feel insecure or anxious.
  • Lack of nutrients: Some cats may eat their feces if they are not getting enough nutrients from their diet. This behavior is known as pica and can be a sign of an underlying nutritional deficiency.

If you notice your cat is exhibiting this behavior, it is important to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions or behavioral issues. Behavioral modification techniques, environmental enrichment, and changes in diet may help alleviate this behavior.

Understanding the reasons behind why your cat may be licking their poop is crucial in determining the best approach to addressing this behavior and keeping your cat healthy and happy.

Are there any natural remedies to deter cats from licking their poop?

While it is normal for cats to groom themselves, specifically their genitals after defecating, licking or eating their own feces is not only unappetizing but could also be a cause for concern as it could lead to health problems. Here are some natural remedies to deter cats from licking their poop:

  • Pumpkin Puree: Adding a teaspoon of unsweetened pumpkin puree to their meal could add fiber to their diet, resulting in larger, less appetizing stools for them to lick.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Adding a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to their water bowl could mask the smell of their stools. However, it is important to note that too much apple cider vinegar can be harmful to cats, so ensure you dilute it well.
  • Coconut Oil: Adding half a teaspoon of coconut oil to their food could add beneficial oils to their diet that might prevent them from eating or licking their own feces.

Although the above remedies might be helpful, it is also necessary to consider the underlying causes of why your cat might be indulging in this behavior. Some of the underlying causes could be:

  • Dietary problems
  • Stress or boredom
  • Feline leukemia virus or immunodeficiency virus
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Behavioral issues

If you are unsure of why your cat is indulging in this behavior, it is advisable to schedule a visit to the veterinarian for a thorough checkup.

Do’s Dont’s
Provide a clean litter box for your cat. Do not punish your cat for this behavior.
Steer clear of scented litters, as some cats may find the smell unpleasant. Do not add any harsh tastes to their stools that could be potentially harmful to them.
Ensure your cat is getting a balanced diet with enough fiber. Do not ignore this behavior, as it could be a sign of an underlying health problem.

In conclusion, while it is not ideal for cats to lick their own poop, there are natural remedies that can be used to deter this behavior. However, it is important to take note of the underlying causes of why your cat is indulging in this behavior, and it is also crucial to provide a clean litter box and a healthy diet to prevent this habit from forming.

FAQs: Do Cats Lick Their Poop?

1. Why do cats lick their poop?

Cats lick their poop due to their natural instincts. In the wild, a mother cat would lick her kittens to stimulate their digestive systems and clean up after them. Thus, when cats lick their poop, it’s mainly because they’re trying to keep their spaces clean.

2. Is it normal for cats to lick their poop?

Yes, it’s quite normal. It may be disgusting to us humans, but our feline friends have a different way of keeping their surroundings clean. So, if you see your cat licking its poop, don’t be too concerned.

3. Can cats get sick from licking their poop?

Cats can get sick from licking their poop only if they carry harmful bacteria or viruses in their digestive systems. However, if your cat is healthy and well-fed, you don’t have to worry about it getting ill from licking its poop.

4. Is it dangerous for humans if cats lick their poop?

Cats’ feces contain harmful bacteria that can make humans sick. Thus, it’s always advisable to wash your hands thoroughly and avoid contact with your cat’s poop to stay healthy.

5. How can I stop my cat from licking its poop?

You can’t stop your cat from licking its poop as it’s an instinctual behavior that’s hard to change. However, you can ensure that its litter box is clean to reduce the urge to lick its poop.

6. Should I be worried if my cat stops licking its poop?

It’s not unusual for a cat to stop licking its poop, mainly if it gets older and has health issues. However, if your cat stops grooming itself altogether, it may indicate an underlying medical condition that needs attention.

7. Can cats get sick from ingesting litter while licking their poop?

Most cat litters are non-toxic and safe for cats to ingest, but some may contain chemicals that can be harmful. Thus, it’s always best to choose a litter that’s safe and non-toxic for your feline friend.

Closing Title: Thanks for Reading!

Thanks for reading this article on whether or not cats lick their poop. We hope that we’ve answered all your questions and provided useful information. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly and keep your cat’s litter box clean to ensure that both you and your feline friend stay healthy. Don’t forget to check back later for more fascinating articles on pets and animals!