Why Does My Cat Lick Its Poop?

As a cat owner, you may have found yourself cringing at the sight of your furry friend licking its own poop. It’s not exactly a pleasant experience to witness, but have you ever wondered why cats do this? The truth is, there are several reasons behind this behavior that may surprise you.

For starters, cats are known for their cleanliness and self-grooming habits. In the wild, they would cover up their feces to avoid detection from predators. By licking themselves and ingesting fecal matter, they’re able to eliminate any trace of their presence and keep themselves safe from harm.

Another reason why cats lick their poop is because they’re trying to clean their anal area after defecating. The sensation of poop on their behind can be uncomfortable and by licking it away, they’re able to remove any remnants and alleviate discomfort.

While these reasons may seem logical, it’s important to note that there are also instances where cats may be exhibiting this behavior due to medical issues such as intestinal parasites or dietary deficiencies. If you notice any unusual patterns in your cat’s behavior, it’s essential to monitor them closely and consult with a veterinarian if necessary.

In this blog post, we’ll delve deeper into the reasons behind why cats lick their poop, explore potential health implications associated with the behavior, and provide tips on what to do if you notice anything concerning. So if you’re curious about the fascinating world of feline hygiene, read on.

What Is Coprophagia?

Coprophagia, the act of eating feces, is a behavior that might seem bizarre and disgusting to humans, but is actually quite common among many animals, including our feline friends. It is estimated that up to 16% of cats engage in coprophagia at some point in their lives.

There are several reasons why a cat may engage in this behavior. One possible explanation is that they are trying to obtain nutrients that were not fully absorbed during digestion. Another possibility is that they are cleaning their environment and removing any trace of waste. In the wild, cats bury their feces to avoid detection by predators, and licking their anus helps to remove any lingering scent.

However, coprophagia can be a concerning behavior for pet owners. Excessive licking of the anus or poop can indicate an underlying health issue such as gastrointestinal problems or dietary deficiencies. Additionally, ingesting feces from another animal puts a cat at risk for contracting diseases or infections.

As responsible pet owners, it’s important to monitor our cats’ behavior and discourage them from engaging in coprophagia. Keeping litter boxes clean and providing plenty of toys and distractions can help keep cats occupied. There are also products available that can be added to a cat’s food to make its feces less appealing.

If you notice your cat engaging in this behavior frequently or showing signs of discomfort or illness, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any medical problems. As always, the health and well-being of our furry friends should be our top priority.

Why Do Cats Lick Their Poop?

This behavior, known as coprophagia, is quite common and can indicate underlying health issues.

Cats are known for their grooming habits and cleanliness, but what motivates them to lick their feces? One reason is their natural instinct to keep their environment clean. In the wild, cats would bury their poop to avoid attracting predators. Domesticated cats may not have this luxury, so they resort to licking it clean instead.

Another possible reason is due to a nutritional deficiency. For cats to properly digest food and eliminate waste, they require certain nutrients in their diet, such as fiber and enzymes. If they don’t get enough of these nutrients, they may turn to eating their poop in an attempt to obtain them.

In certain cases, coprophagia can be a sign of underlying health concerns. Cats with gastrointestinal or malabsorption issues may have undigested food particles in their feces, making it more appealing for them to eat. Additionally, cats with diabetes or thyroid problems may be more prone to coprophagia.

It’s crucial for cat owners to discourage this behavior by keeping litter boxes clean and providing a well-balanced diet for their feline companions. If your cat continues to engage in coprophagia or displays other symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea, consult with a veterinarian for further evaluation.

Cleanliness and Hygiene

While this behavior can be concerning and unsanitary, it’s essential to understand why cats do this and how cleanliness and hygiene play a significant role.

Cats are naturally clean animals, and they take pride in grooming themselves. However, if their litter box is not cleaned frequently enough, it can become dirty and unappealing to your cat. As a result, they may resort to licking their feces as a way to clean themselves. To prevent this behavior, make sure to clean the litter box at least once a day and replace the litter entirely every two weeks.

In addition to litter box hygiene, health issues can also cause cats to lick their poop excessively. Digestive problems or dietary issues can cause an unpleasant taste or smell in their feces, prompting them to lick it in an attempt to remove it. If you notice your cat engaging in this behavior more than usual, schedule a visit with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health concerns.

Lastly, stress and anxiety can also lead to coprophagia (the act of eating feces). Changes in their environment or routine can trigger this behavior, such as moving to a new home or the introduction of a new pet. If you suspect that your cat’s poop licking is due to stress or anxiety, provide them with a comfortable and stable environment and seek advice from your veterinarian on how to manage this behavior.

Why Does My Cat Lick Its Poop-2

Health Issues

Cats are notorious for their grooming habits, but when they start licking their feces, it’s time to pay attention. There are several health issues that can cause this behavior, including:

  • Digestive problems or intestinal parasites: If your cat’s stool has an unusual odor or texture, it may feel compelled to engage in excessive licking behavior after using the litter box.
  • Anal gland infection or inflammation: This uncomfortable condition can also lead to excessive licking of the poop as a way to alleviate discomfort.
  • Constipation: When a cat is constipated, hard and dry stools can accumulate around its anus, causing discomfort. Some cats may resort to licking their poop as a way to relieve the pain and irritation.

If you notice your cat repeating this behavior, it’s crucial to take them to a veterinarian for a checkup. A thorough exam and some diagnostic tests can determine if there are any underlying health issues causing this behavior. Once identified and treated, your cat should stop engaging in this behavior and return to normal grooming habits.

Stress or Anxiety

One common behavior that can arise from these emotions is excessive licking of their poop. But what causes this behavior, and how can we address it?

Cats thrive on routine and familiarity, so any changes in their environment can cause them to feel uneasy. This could include introducing a new pet to the household, changing their diet, or even something as simple as a different litter box. External factors like loud noises or thunderstorms can also trigger anxiety in cats.

When cats are stressed or anxious, they may engage in self-soothing behaviors like over-grooming or compulsive licking. Unfortunately, this behavior can extend to their elimination habits, leading to excessive licking of their poop.

Fortunately, there are steps we can take to help our cats overcome this behavior. First, it’s important to identify the source of stress or anxiety and address it accordingly. This could involve creating a safe and secure environment for your cat, ensuring they have regular playtime and exercise, and using pheromone sprays or diffusers to help calm them down.

It’s also crucial to maintain good litter box hygiene and provide your cat with a clean litter box at all times. This can help reduce the chances of your cat licking their poop due to discomfort or irritation.

If you notice your cat engaging in this behavior, it’s important to take action promptly. A visit to the vet is crucial to diagnose and treat any underlying health problems that could be causing your cat’s unusual behavior.

Diet and Nutritional Deficiencies

Gross as it may seem, this behavior could be an indication of something more significant – diet and nutritional deficiencies. So, let’s explore how your cat’s diet can impact their poop-licking habits.

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they require specific nutrients that can only be found in animal-based proteins. If their diet is lacking these nutrients, they may resort to eating their feces as a way to extract the missing components. Inadequate nutrition can also lead to other health issues such as brittle fur and skin problems.

Moreover, if your cat is not digesting their food correctly due to a deficiency in digestive enzymes or other digestive issues, their feces may still contain undigested nutrients. This could prompt them to lick their poop in an attempt to recoup those lost nutrients. Hence addressing any digestive issues promptly and providing digestive enzymes can prevent this behavior.

Consulting with your veterinarian on the best diet options for your cat is the first step towards ensuring they receive the correct nutrition. Providing high-quality animal-based proteins, essential vitamins, and minerals in their diet is also crucial. A well-nourished cat is less likely to engage in poop-licking behavior.

Behavioral Training to Discourage Coprophagia

Coprophagia can be a frustrating and unpleasant issue, but there are ways to discourage this behavior through proper behavioral training. As an expert on this subject, I have compiled some tips to help you tackle this problem.

The first step in behavioral training to discourage coprophagia is to identify the triggers and reasons why your cat engages in this behavior. Some cats do it out of boredom, stress, or even due to a lack of nutrients in their diet. Once you have pinpointed the reason for the behavior, you can work on addressing it.

One effective way to discourage coprophagia is to provide your cat with ample stimulation and playtime. This can help alleviate any boredom your cat may experience and reduce the likelihood of them engaging in this behavior. Additionally, providing a high-quality and balanced diet can also help reduce the urge to eat feces.

Positive reinforcement training is another technique that can be used to discourage coprophagia. This involves rewarding your cat for good behavior and ignoring or redirecting negative behavior. For instance, if you catch your cat about to eat feces, you can redirect their attention to a toy or treat instead. When they engage with the toy or treat, reward them with praise and affection.

It’s essential to avoid punishment-based training methods as they can be counterproductive and may cause anxiety and stress in your cat. Consistency and patience are key when it comes to behavioral training, and it may take some time before you see results.

In cases where behavioral training is not effective, it’s crucial to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be causing the behavior. In some cases, medication or other forms of treatment may be necessary to address the issue.

When to Seek Veterinary Attention

While occasional licking of feces may be normal behavior for cats, excessive licking or eating can be a sign of an underlying health issue that requires veterinary attention.

Let’s explore when to seek veterinary attention for your cat’s behavior towards their feces.

Dietary Deficiency:

Has your cat been spending too much time licking their feces? It could be a sign of a dietary deficiency. Some cats may try to supplement their diet by consuming their feces if they are not getting enough nutrients from their food. In such cases, it’s crucial to consult with your veterinarian to make dietary adjustments and ensure your cat is getting the proper nutrition they need.

Stress or Anxiety:

Cats are creatures of habit, and any changes in their environment can cause stress and anxiety. If you’ve recently moved or made changes to your home, your cat may be acting out by eating their feces. In this situation, it’s essential to work with your veterinarian or a feline behaviorist to address the underlying issue causing your cat’s stress.

Gastrointestinal Disorder or Parasites:

Excessive licking or eating of feces can also indicate a more serious health issue such as a gastrointestinal disorder or parasites. If you notice any other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy besides your cat’s unusual behavior towards their feces, it’s critical to seek veterinary attention immediately.


To sum up, although it may not be the most pleasant sight, there are valid reasons why your cat licks its poop. In the wild, felines would cover their feces to avoid detection by predators. By licking themselves and consuming fecal matter, they can eliminate any trace of their presence and keep themselves safe from harm. Moreover, cats may be trying to clean their anal area after defecating.

However, coprophagia could also signal underlying health problems such as intestinal parasites or dietary deficiencies. As a result, cat owners should closely monitor their pet’s behavior and seek veterinary assistance if necessary.

Maintaining clean litter boxes and providing a well-balanced diet for your furry friend can help prevent this behavior. Positive reinforcement training techniques can also discourage coprophagia.

If you observe your cat engaging in this behavior frequently or displaying signs of discomfort or illness, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian for further assessment.