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5 Reasons Why Is Your Cat Not Pooping But Acting Normal

5 Reasons Why Is Your Cat Not Pooping But Acting Normal

You can learn a lot about your cat’s health by observing her feces. A normal cat poop should be brown and formed in the shape of a sausage. 

There are some general rules when it comes to a cat’s poop frequency and appearance.

Of course, you might notice certain deviations from time to time. Your cat might poop often all of a sudden, and, in some other cases, you might notice she hasn’t pooped in a while.

Why is my cat not pooping but acting normal otherwise? Is this a reason to be concerned?

It might be. It isn’t exactly a good sign if your cat hasn’t pooped for a certain period of time. But, there is also an explanation for this occurrence.

Let’s check out the five most common reasons why a cat doesn’t poop, and ways to help her.

1. Dehydration

Dehydrated cat

Lack of water intake can cause your cat not to poop, but she will continue to act normal, so, many owners might not even notice something is wrong with their pets at the beginning.

PetMD suggests that a healthy, adult cat should drink about 4 ounces, or ½ cup of water per 5 pounds of body weight per day.

If your cat hasn’t been drinking enough water lately, and if she mostly eats dry food, this could lead to dehydration in her.

Some other signs of dehydration that might appear are loss of skin elasticity and sunken eyes. According to the cat gum color chart, pale gums could also indicate that a cat is dehydrated.

How To Help?

For your cat to have normal bowel movements again, you need to make her compensate for the fluids she has lost.

You should change the water in her bowl even more than once a day.

If your cat isn’t thrilled about drinking water, you might want to get a fountain water dish to encourage her to drink more water.

Lastly, consider switching to wet food to ensure your cat stays well-hydrated.

2. Stress And Anxiety

stressed cat

Your cat might seem completely normal, except you noticed she hasn’t pooped in a while. This could mean she’s dealing with stress and anxiety.

Cats don’t easily show signs of distress, as in the wild, displaying vulnerability could make them easy prey for predators.

Therefore, most cats won’t show their pain or any bad emotions to their owners, but you might show some signs if you observe your cat carefully.

Judi Stella and her associates [1] point out how there might be many different stressors in a cat’s surroundings, such as sudden movements, unfamiliar noises, new places or objects, a stranger approaching their personal space, and so on.

Any one of these stressors can affect a cat’s normal bowel movement. So, you should think of whether there has been a recent change in your cat’s surroundings and routine that could cause her not to poop.

How To Help?

Stress and anxiety are, of course, bad for a cat’s health in general. To help your cat poop normally again and feel well, try to identify what’s stressing her out.

Once you pinpoint the stressor, you can either eliminate it or gradually expose your cat to it. 

What you shouldn’t do under any circumstances is to yell or punish your cat, since this can only make her more stressed.

If you don’t seem to be able to figure out this problem on your own, you should ask a veterinarian for advice. Some cats might even need to take anti-anxiety medications.

3. Lack Of Exercise

cat sitting in cat box

If your cat hasn’t been active enough lately, this could cause decreased intestinal contractions, meaning that she isn’t pooping as usual.

So, your cat will act like everything is normal – it pretty much is, since she isn’t experiencing any pain, but going too long without pooping isn’t good for cats.

A cat pooping too much is also a reason to be concerned, but, if the cat doesn’t poop at all for several days in a row, this can lead to serious consequences.

Cats need some form of exercise each day to have normal bowel movements, and a healthy stool.

How To Help?

Ensuring that your cat is physically active can naturally speed up her metabolism, making it easier for her to poop.

So, you should provide your cat with any kind of exercise – such as running outside, playing with you, or climbing on a cat tree.

The level of exercise will depend on factors such as your cat’s age, breed, and lifestyle, however, the Spruce Pets explains that, in general, cats need around 30 minutes of exercise daily to stay happy and healthy.

4. Hypothyroidism

cat sitting in her box

Despite your cat acting normal, a certain health issue could cause her not to poop. One of them is hypothyroidism, which the Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson describes as a condition characterized by an underactive thyroid gland in cats.

This health condition results in a lack of essential hormones for a cat to maintain a healthy metabolism.

Therefore, if your cat has hypothyroidism, her metabolism will be slowed down, meaning that she might not be able to poop, and could show some other symptoms, such as low body temperature, and cold intolerance.

How To Help?

If you have any doubts your kitten might have hypothyroidism, you need to take her to a veterinarian. 

He might suggest a change in your cat’s diet, as it’s good for cats with this condition to reduce fat intake.

Some cats might need to take hormone supplements. The prognosis is good, and most cats recover quickly.

5. Intestinal Cancers

CT of the whole cat

Unfortunately, a cat that hasn’t pooped in a while might be suffering from intestinal cancer. She could also be in pain, but, as I have already mentioned, might not show this easily to her owner.

Therefore, your cat could be severely ill, but still act normally. This is why you should always ask your veterinarian for an opinion, especially when you notice symptoms such as your cat not pooping.

VCA Animal Hospitals explains how an intestinal tumor can develop anywhere along the cat’s intestinal tract, meaning inside the small or large intestine.

These tumors can be benign or malignant, whereas malignant ones are prone to metastasize. The most common intestinal tumor in felines is lymphoma, which usually occurs in the large intestine.

Intestinal cancers are more likely to occur in cats between the ages of 10 and 12.

Some other symptoms that might appear in cats are reduced appetite, lethargy, weight loss, and pale gums.

How To Help?

The veterinarian will need to take various tests to diagnose intestinal cancer in your cat, such as blood tests, urinalysis, endoscopy, and a biopsy.

The treatment will depend on the cancer type, and its degree of growth and spread in the cat. The common options are radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery.

The prognosis will vary for each cat, depending on the cancer type and the stage at which the treatment begins.


As we could have seen, there are several reasons why your cat isn’t pooping, but is acting normal.

She could be dehydrated, and increasing her water intake should soon help her defecate normally again.

Another possibility is that she lacks exercise, which can be easily addressed by providing her with regular daily physical activities.

If your kitten is stressed out, and this is making her unable to poop, you’ll need to discover the exact cause of this emotion in her.

Furthermore, certain health issues, such as hypothyroidism and even intestinal cancers could lead to constipation in your cat.

It seems unbelievable that a cat could be very sick, but still act normal. However, cats are like this – always hiding their pain – so, they need our help in these situations.

Just to be sure, you should always ask your veterinarian for advice, since irregular bowel movements in cats aren’t normal, and can lead to serious consequences if left untreated.

[1] Stella J, Croney C, Buffington T. Effects of stressors on the behavior and physiology of domestic cats. Appl Anim Behav Sci. 2013 Jan 31;143(2-4):157-163. DOI, Retrieved July 21, 2023

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