by Lorraine Shelton
One of the top reasons for cat owners to visit the vet is related to litterbox issues. How can you describe what is going on at home in terms that your veterinarian will understand?
Bringing in stool samples for analysis is helpful, but often fecal consistency is an ever-changing mix of good days and bad days. By taking careful observations where changes can be interpreted in a meaningful manner.
4 main stool characteristics to be noted:
Normal stool = medium to dark brown. Bright red streaks may indicate bleeding from the large intestine, while black or very dark red stools can be caused by bleeding in the stomach or small intestines.
Pale colored stools can be caused by disorders of the liver, gallbladder or pancreas.
Solid, hard consistency, and be easy for the cat to pass.
Often has a "cracked" or segmented appearance (like a Tootsie Roll). A soft, sausage shaped appearance could be normal for your cat.
Soft blobs, mushy pudding consistency, or fully liquid stools can be associated with parasites or other illness.
Foreign bodies that your cat has ingested, undigested food, rice-like segments from tapeworm infection, or long white strands from roundworm infection.
Mucus coating, is an important observation that may indicate inflammation of the colon.
Keep in mind that temporary changes in stool may occur due to minor issues like diet changes or stress, but if abnormalities continue, consult your vet.