Skip to main content

Q&A: Why Is My Cat Having Trouble Pooping?

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He works with dogs, cats, exotics, and livestock.

Paired with weight and muscle loss, the inability to eliminate normally may indicate a more serious issue.

Paired with weight and muscle loss, the inability to eliminate normally may indicate a more serious issue.

Why Are My Cat's Poops Small and Watery?

"My 17-year-old cat has been having trouble pooping. When she does manage to poop, it's watery and not that much. She's eating wet and dry foods and is alert and seems normal other than her pooping issue. I can hear her belly gurgling...maybe gas? Is there something I can give her for the watery poop? It's only little pieces." —Bella

Dehydration and hairballs can cause a cat to have trouble pooping.

Dehydration and hairballs can cause a cat to have trouble pooping.

Weight and Muscle Loss May Be a Clue

Do you have photos of your cat from 10 or 15 years ago? Was she always this thin? Probably not. Just from the photos you sent, she looks like she has lost a lot of muscle weight.

If you do not have photos from back then, you can feel the top of her back and the head just in front of the ears. Is she very thin in those spots from loss of muscle?

Causes of Constipation and Weight Loss in Cats

Constipation and muscle weight loss can be caused by kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, and diabetes.

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Pethelpful

Dehydration can also cause the problems you describe, and based on those photos, I would also be concerned about hairballs.

How to Help a Constipated Cat

Before you can start any sort of home treatment, you need to have the underlying problem diagnosed by your local veterinarian.

Visit Your Vet for an Exam

After the examination, your vet will recommend blood tests. If they are not conclusive, they will do an SDMA test, which can diagnose kidney problems before there are other health problems (though that may not be necessary in this case).

Switch to Wet Food

The food is not the cause of constipation, but no cat that age should be on dry food. Give her canned food three or four times a day to avoid dehydration and keep her visits to the litter box normal.

You can start switching her over to only canned food right away, as this will not affect the blood tests or the exam when you take her to your veterinarian.

Best of Luck!

Let us know how she is doing. I hope the bloodwork comes back okay and you can just treat her for hairballs, but even if she had kidney disease, you can change her food and help keep her healthy for many years to come.

This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from your veterinarian. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Dr Mark

Related Articles