• Home
  • /
  • Cat Health
  • /
  • Why Does My Cat’s Poop Smell So Bad? (Fixing Stinky Cat Poop!)

Why Does My Cat’s Poop Smell So Bad? (Fixing Stinky Cat Poop!)

Posted in: Cat Health - Last Updated: February 24, 2023 - Author: Dexter Jones
Posted in Cat Health 
Last Updated: February 24, 2023  
Author:  Dexter Jones

Probably one of the most thankless jobs you'll ever do for a cat is pick up their smelly, stinky poop. 

Seriously! Your cat has no problem showering you with love and bonding with you when it comes to giving them snacks or playing with them with cat toys. But, when it comes time to scoop up stinky poop, it's a thankless task that someone just has to do and your cat will let you know their displeasure if you don't get it done quickly.

Of course if you regularly find yourself  thinking, 'my cats poop stinks up the whole house', then it can be a combination of especially smelly cat poop, but it can also be because you left it in the litter tray for too long.

Do that, and that stink is going to permeate around your home pretty quickly. Best get to it and bag it as soon as you get a whiff!

Still, the issue comes down to just how smelly it can be. And while you can expect all cat poop to stink, it's only when things are really bad that you probably need to take notice. (You know, when that cat poop smells like death!). 

why does my cat's poop smell so bad

Why Does My Cat's Poop Smell So Bad?

If you find that your cat's poops are smelling worse than they were before it might be because of cat health digestive disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease, bacterial growth, other forms of gastrointestinal tract inflammation, diarrhea, or a number of other note-worthy reasons.

It may even be down to simple food intolerances or food allergies. 

In this article, we'll take a look at some of the potential causes for why your cat's poop smells bad as well as some things you can do to help combat it.

Keep in mind that any stark shift in your cat's pooping habits or their feces should be brought to the attention of your veterinarian as soon as possible, as there may be a serious underlying issue at play.

1. Cat's Diet

As with most other animals (humans included), cats can be very sensitive when it comes to the types of foods they're eating or that otherwise make up their diet.

A cat that may be sensitive to certain grains, for example, will likely end up with smellier feces when compared to a cat whose stomach is more easily able to break down those same grains.

It's important to gauge what your cat will and won't eat and square that with how things come out of the back end. If you find that a certain cat food gives your cat smellier poop, you'll want to try to avoid that type of food in the future. 

If you aren't sure what may be causing the issue, for one reason or another, try progressively eliminating certain parts of their diet to see what the culprit may be.

For example, if you tend to give them cat treats, dry cat food from a certain brand, wet cat food from another brand, and some human food, try eliminating one of these foods to see if it affects their stool smell. In general, it is the cat's diet that is either responsible for a healthy cat poop or, on the other hand, a foul-smelling stool.

There are also a wide variety of specially formulated cat food for smelly poop that are specifically made to reduce the ingredients that are know to cause this stinky poop issue, so these are well worth trying.

cat smelly poop

2. Eating Too Many High-Protein Foods

One of the most common things you'll hear about bodybuilders and weightlifters that eat a lot of beef and chicken, whilst also drinking a lot of protein shakes, is the increase in "smelly farts", and while this isn't exactly the same as what cats deal with, it's more common than it isn't.

While humans and animals both need protein, it's important to understand that the smell only comes by way of an excess amount of unused protein in the body. 

Especially for cats that are indoors, even though they still need protein, it doesn't mean giving them nearly as much as you would a cat that is active while outdoors.

Simply put, sometimes the easiest way to resolve the issue is just watching what you eat.

So, another change to their diet that you can try, is a switch to low protein cat food.

3. Digestive System Issues

Just as the types of foods can play a factor in the smelliness of your cat's poop, there can also be some underlying digestion issues at play that can be just as bad. Often, an infected GI tract can result in some really pungent smells.

While you can take some time to see if any digestive issues have to do with poor absorption of certain protein, fats or starches in their food, you ultimately want to bring your cat to the vet to see exactly what the issue may be if it goes on for too long.

4. Parasites 

If your cat manages to pick up a parasitic infection, this can be a pretty serious problem, with some of the more tame side effects being an upset stomach and some smelly poop and diarrhea. Intestinal parasites like Coccidian or Trichomonas can be a real problem if not treated, and often a cat's smelly poop is their calling card.

As with digestive issues, if you suspect your cat may have a worm or other parasite in their system, you want to get them to a vet as quickly as possible to administer antibiotics along with other veterinarian interventions.

5. BacteriaI Infection

Similar to parasites, if your cat picks up a bacterial infection or any other type of infection, there's a chance it could result in more toxic and smelly poop.

A cat that consumes meat that is infected with E. coli or salmonella can potentially suffer from some digestive issues, resulting in some particularly bad-smelling cat poop.

The same is true when it comes to certain infections. For cats, it's not uncommon for them to have an infected anal gland.

When this happens, the glands can become clogged up, producing a runny and smelling discharge. 

Cats have anal glands on the sides of the inside of the anus, which are full of strong-smelling liquid. If they suffer from anal gland Infections, the liquid could take on a very strong foul smell, making the cat poop very smelly. 

While this isn't poop per se, it can be incredibly smelly and can get all over their litter box if you aren't careful

In either situation, you want to visit a vet to see what proper medication your cat may need to resolve the issue.

6. Medications 

Interestingly enough, while an infection or dietary change may result in smellier poops from your cat, so too can certain types of medication. 

Pain and hormone drugs have been known to alter a cat's chemical balance, with longer-lasting drugs resulting in poop that smells considerably worse than normal.

Generally, these situations, as bad as they are, will go away once the medications have cleared up and the cat is no longer in pain. 

It may also be worth looking at cat medications that aren't nearly as strong, to better determine what helps handle the pain while also being not as taxing on their body.

Why does my cats poop stink

Fixing That Bad Cat Poo Smell

Now that we've gone over some of the different reasons that could otherwise explain your cat's poops and why they've become so smelly, you might think that you're stuck with it until going to the vet.

For some of these listed, there is a spark of truth to that, however, for most, there are some steps you can take right away to hopefully reduce the cause of stinky poop so that your house doesn't smell so...poopy!

1. Change Your Cat's Diet

As mentioned a few times, your first step should be to take a look at their diet and see what you can do to change it. Try to find out what foods your cat is especially sensitive to while cutting back a bit on the amount of protein you offer them per meal.

Consider taking them to a vet to have a more in-depth meal plan charted out for you if you don't know where to start or what to do. 

You can even look at giving them digestive supplements to help improve digestion within the cat's intestines, giving you more room to breathe when it comes to the diet options available.

If you don't know where to start, consider going online and looking for cat food brands that are the most helpful for kitties that are suffering from smelly bowel movements

2. Clean The Litter Tray Regularly 

If you find that the cat litter smell is particularly bad, one thing you'll want to do is spend some time cleaning their litter trays. Make sure you stay on top of scooping out any of your cat's stools. Have a good sift around just to ensure there are no cat feces hidden just below the litter surface.

On top of just cleaning it once or twice a day (depending on how many cats you have) you'll want to make a point of adding in a bit of baking soda to combat any errant smells while also changing their litter out weekly as a minimum.

To go that extra mile, make sure you clean out your cat's litter box every two weeks as bacteria can linger, causing bad smells. Use soap and warm water to scrub the entire inside and outside of the litter box, killing any potentially unwanted lingering bacteria hanging around.

3. Vacuum & Clean Your Space

If you've already managed to clean your cat's litter box, the next step is to be more aggressive in your pet's cleaning routine. 

That means spending more time hitting up the rugs, carpets, and other draperies. You also want to find most areas that your cat frequents as these areas may have dander and other remnants that may either host some of the aforementioned bacteria or just smell bad in and of itself.

4. Use PrettyLitter

Investing in a health-monitoring litter like PrettyLitter can be a smart way to keep your home smelling fresh and to quickly identify any potential health issues in your cat.

This silica-based litter effectively traps odors and dries moisture instantly, while also changing color to alert you to potential health problems. By using PrettyLitter, you can ensure that your cat's health is monitored and that any issues are addressed before they become serious medical emergencies.

stinky cat poop

Why Is My Cat's Poop So Smelly? The Verdict

The truth is, while you can expect a certain odor from your cat's poop smell it should never be so bad that it becomes difficult to breathe. 

If you have a sharp increase in putridness or they are showing a symptom that you are anxious about, make sure you schedule a visit with the vet as early as possible to check out your cat's digestive system. 

Not only can they give you some ideas on how to resolve the issues surrounding your cat specifically, but they may have some useful tools that can help bring down the smell.

Get 30% off and FREE shipping on cat supplies!

U.S.A only

To Find out why we recommend chewy.com, click here

About the author

Dexter Jones has been a solid member of the ‘Mad Cat Dad’ club since time began! Dexter has been a keen cat writer for many years and lives in Croatia. He lives with his two tabby cats, Milly & Marly, who also flew in from the UK to start their new Adriatic island life together.