Cat Smells Like Poop – What to Do?

Every cat owner's nightmare is having their feline smell like poop. You don't want them traveling through your home and wafting the scent into every room. But how does this smell get attached to them in the first place? We've done significant research into the topic and found the possible causes. 

The reasons behind a cat's poop odor can vary quite a bit. But most cats with a distinctive poop smell will have one of these five issues:

  • Poop stuck on their fur (especially for kittens and long-haired cats)
  • Digestive issues
  • Dirty litter box
  • Anal gland infections
  • Other medical conditions (liver disease, intestinal blockage, arthritis, and obesity)

But knowing the potential causes of the smell is only half the battle. You'll also need to understand how a cat owner can combat these issues and eliminate the odor. Our next section will make sure this problem becomes a non-issue for every cat owner.

A super cute tabby cat cleaning himself while lying on the floor, Cat Smells Like Poop - What to Do?

How to Stop Your Cat From Smelling Like Poop

The easiest way to stop this issue is going over each cause and its respective solution. From there, the entire process won't seem like an impossible burden. Let's dive into the first issue and make sure your cat becomes free of this terrible, terrible odor. 

Issue 1: Poop Stuck on Their Fur

The likeliest culprit will be your cat having poop stuck on their fur. In most cases, cats do an excellent job keeping themselves clean and free of gross odors. But problems can arise when they have runny poop, and it ends up sticking onto their fur. 

As you might expect, this problem is more frequent in long-haired cats like Persians or Maine Coons. Their large amount of fur has a higher chance of attracting those smelly particles. Kittens have issues with this problem, too, because they're less careful about their cleaning habits.

A cute domestic cat licking his paws cleaning himself

But checking and solving this problem isn't overly complicated. An owner needs to look at their cat's bottom and see whether there are poop stains or matted-up fur. Your next step will be cleaning your cat's bottom using wipes to deal with any issues. 

If you suspect this problem will be a common occurrence, regularly trimming the hair around their butt is an option. Most people bring them to a professional groomer. But here's a guide for people who feel comfortable doing it themselves: 

How to Trim the Fur on a Cat's Behind

  1. Brush the matted fur away from your cat's anus. Lift their tail with one hand and run a brush carefully over the poop-tainted mats. Pull out as much loose fur from the clump as possible. But if the hair doesn't move or your cat's uncomfortable, stop the entire process.
  2. Place your cat into a sink filled with warm but not hot water. Hold the cat, so their behind is completely submerged within the water. Let them soak in the water for about five minutes. It'll loosen and break up those mats of fur. Proceed to add a small drop of cat shampoo to the mat and massage it with your fingers (wear gloves).
  3. You'll want to dry the cat using a soft towel. Most cats will try to escape, but cradling them in your arms should prevent these issues. It's essential to brush the cat's fur as they dry off as it'll help prevent future mats.
  4. Use small, round-tipped scissors to trim the hair right under the cat's tail. Lift their tail and snip the fur away in about a 1-inch radius around the anus. Be careful and avoid nicking the cat's skin.

What Kind of Wipes Can I Use on My Cat?

There are specialized pet-safe wipes meant for grooming cats and other pets. Please never use baby wipes for these activities as they usually have an unpleasant or dangerous ingredient. Stick with wipes explicitly made for cat bottoms.

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Do Cats Need Baths?

Cats don't require baths under normal circumstances. These animals are known for grooming themselves and doing it effectively, which removes the burden from their owners. But certain situations might arise where a bath will be necessary, and this step-by-step guide should get you through it:

  1. Fill your sink with about 3 inches of warm but not hot water
  2. Wet your cat from shoulders to their tail and utilize pet-safe shampoo
  3. Rinse them thoroughly as you'd do with your hair
  4. Use a moist towel or washcloth to clean their head gently (cats despise water getting splashed on their faces)
  5. Take a cotton ball and clean inside their ears. Never place any object in the ear canal.
  6. After a complete and careful rinsing, set the cat onto a towel and place it around them.
  7. Dry as much water as possible from your cat's fur
  8. Long-haired cats might require using a blow dryer. However, refrain from using it if the machine scares them. Place it on the lowest setting and see whether your cat tolerates it. 

Issue 2: Digestive Problems

If your cat doesn't have any visible feces on its body, the odor might be from flatulence. Several digestive problems could be the reason for your cat's case of gas:

  • Overeating
  • Food allergies
  • Poor digestion
  • Eating too quickly
  • Spoiled food
  • Food high in fiber
  • Dairy products
  • Hairballs

Any owner who thinks their cat's having flatulence issues should watch their diet. Take a close look at your cat's food bag and read the labels for any high-fiber ingredients. Switching to low-fiber cat food with a high amount of protein could be an easy solution.

But please, make the switch slowly over about a week as cats hate change. We recommend starting by mixing the new and old food, increasing the new food with each serving.

But if your cat's issue is how fast they eat, look to feed them smaller meals throughout the day. It should help stop any gas buildups in their intestinal system. 

Do Cat Hairballs Smell Like Poop?

Hairballs might have a similar cylinder shape to feces, but they don't smell like it. These disgusting balls are made up of tightly packed hair and won't smell like anything.  

Issue 3: Dirty Litter Box

A cute tabby cat lying on the lavatory

It might seem like common sense, but a dirty litter box can provide a cat with a poop odor. The easiest solution to this issue is cleaning the box thoroughly regularly. Scooping out waste should be a daily activity while refilling the container with fresh litter should be done at least twice a week. 

But make sure the litter box is dry before refilling, or residue could easily be left behind. The litter box's quality could also be a factor in why your cat smells a bit funky. Some litter boxes provide absorbent abilities to ensure these issues don't arise. 

Litter choice is always a massive factor in the cleanliness of a litter box, as well. Quality litter will effectively absorb your cat's waste to prevent the smell from passing onto them.

Tracking litter on their feet could be another reason your cat seems to send poop smell throughout your home. Placing a mat around the litter box should keep this issue at bay. It'll give them a place to scratch their paws and eliminate any litter pellets sticking to their feet or fur. 

Some owners end up spending a little extra on self-cleaning litter boxes to avoid maintenance upkeep. These high-end options will seal and trap odors from the waste into disposable plastic bags by themselves. It's a perfect solution for anyone genuinely bothered by the litter box aspect of being a cat owner. 

In any case, cleaning a cat's litter box is a must and can cause health problems when not done effectively. It'll help keep your cat's environment free of unwanted smells, germs, and bacteria. 

Will Cats Lick Poop off Themselves?

It's not common for cats to lick their rear area after doing their bathroom business. But if their poop is water or sticky, they might clean it off, especially when litter gets stuck in the area. As a result, cats will lick poop off themselves when required.

Issue 4: Anal Gland Infections

Your cat's anal glands are near their rear. They'll be located under the layer of skin coming from the anus, and the area will produce an awful poop smell when infected. 

Figuring out if a cat has an anal gland infection will require observing their bathroom visits. If your cat's scratching their behind across the floor or seems reluctant to use the box, it could signal an infection. Your next step will be bringing them to the vet for a check-up. 

Issue 5: Other Medical Conditions

Aside from anal gland infections, other medical conditions could cause this issue. The following conditions could result in the poop smell:

Any cat owner who suspects these issues or notices the symptoms needs to visit a vet immediately. From there, follow the vet's instructions to a tee, and hopefully, your cat will be back to normal soon. 

In Closing

We hope our discussions on poop-smelling cats answered all your questions. But if you have a few more, let us know in our comment section. We'd love to help in any way possible. Thanks for reading!

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