Why Do Some Cats Eat Poop?

Disclaimer: The information presented below is for general informational & educational purposes only. Always consult with animal professionals in case of specific concerns.

Have you ever wondered why some cats occasionally eat poop? Gross as it may seem, it’s a perplexing behavior that many cat owners have experienced with their furry family members at some point or another. 

Have you ever wondered why you catch your house cat dining on dirty litter instead of his usual kibble? You’re not alone – cat parents worldwide have expressed their confusion and dismay over their furry friend’s choice in unusual cuisine. Despite our best efforts to prevent it, some cats simply seem to enjoy eating their waste or the waste of other animals. As perplexing as this behavior may seem, there are actually logical reasons why certain cats partake in this poop-eating pastime. In this post, we’ll explore some of the main factors that could motivate cats eat poop and help discern whether yours may be merely experimenting or exhibiting a sign of underlying health issues.

Why Do Cats Eat Poop?

Cats, like many other pets, may exhibit unusual behaviors that can perplex their owners. One such behavior is coprophagia, or the act of eating feces. Here are a few reasons why some cats may engage in this activity:

  • Nutritional Deficiency: Cats may eat feces if they’re lacking certain vitamins or minerals in their diet.
  • Health Issues: Certain health problems such as diabetes, thyroid issues, or parasites can trigger this behavior.
  • Behavioral Issues: Cats might eat feces due to stress, anxiety, or just out of curiosity.
  • Grooming: Mother cats often eat the feces of their kittens as a part of grooming and nest cleanliness.
  • Imitation: Cats might mimic the behavior of other pets in the household. If a dog engages in coprophagia, a cat might follow suit.

Are There Any Health Implications For Cats Who Eat Poop?

Yes, there can be potential health implications for cats who engage in coprophagia. Here are a few to be aware of:

  • Ingestion of Parasites: Feces can contain parasites such as worms or protozoans, which can infect the cat upon ingestion.
  • Bacterial Infections: Cats can acquire bacterial infections like Salmonella or E. coli from eating feces, leading to severe gastrointestinal distress.
  • Viral Diseases: Feces may also carry viral diseases that can be harmful to your cat.
  • Toxin Ingestion: If the feces consumed contains toxins or drugs (like from medicated pet feces), it may lead to poisoning or adverse reactions.
  • Digestive Upsets: The practice itself can lead to digestive upsets, vomiting, or diarrhea in cats.

Related: What Are The Potential Risks Of Cats Eating Cardboard?

Can A Cat’s Diet Affect Their Tendency To Eat Poop?

Yes, a cat’s diet can indeed influence their tendency to engage in coprophagia. If a cat’s diet lacks essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, they might resort to eating feces in an attempt to compensate for these deficiencies. Moreover, a diet low in quality protein can also induce this behavior as cats are carnivorous animals requiring a high-protein diet. If their regular food doesn’t meet this requirement, they may look for alternative food sources, including feces. Lastly, a sudden change in diet may also trigger this behavior due to the stress or the unfamiliarity associated with the new food. Therefore, providing a balanced and high-quality cat food that aligns with their specific needs can help curb this behavior.

Are There Any Behavioral Reasons Why A Cat May Eat Poop?

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Absolutely, there are several behavioral reasons that may drive a cat to engage in coprophagia. Cats, like humans, have individual personalities and behaviors that can sometimes be quite peculiar. In some instances, cats may eat feces out of sheer curiosity or boredom. A cat with a high predatory instinct might mistake feces for prey, especially if they are small and moving (like when insects are involved). Secondly, anxiety or stress can also trigger this behavior. Cats under stress may resort to coprophagia as a distress response, similar to how some people may resort to comfort eating. Lastly, it can also be an attention-seeking behavior. If a cat notices that engaging in coprophagia elicits a strong reaction from their owner, they might continue this behavior to gain attention. 

How Can I Prevent My Cat From Eating Poop?

Preventing your cat from engaging in coprophagia can be both a challenge and a necessity. Here are some strategies you might consider:

Provide a Balanced Diet: Ensure your cat’s diet is nutritionally complete, reducing the chance that they’ll seek missing nutrients in feces.

Regular Check-ups: Schedule regular veterinary exams to help catch and treat any potential health issues early.

Maintain Cleanliness: Cleaning cat poop continuously can help discourage this unwanted behavior. By removing waste promptly, you eliminate the opportunity for your cat to engage in coprophagia.

Behavioral Training: Discourage your cat from eating feces by distracting them with toys or treats when they show an interest in feces.

Keep Other Pets’ Waste Out of Reach: If you have other pets, make sure their waste is cleaned up promptly or kept in a place inaccessible to your cat.

Use Deterrents: In some cases, products designed to make feces taste bad to pets can be helpful. Always consult with a vet before trying these products.

Remember, every cat is unique and what works for one might not work for another. Always consult with a professional if you’re unsure about the best course of action.


In conclusion, the topic of why some cats eat poop is a complex and fascinating one. We have explored the various reasons behind this behavior, from nutritional deficiencies to learned behaviors to underlying health issues. It is clear that there is no one definitive answer, as each cat may have their own unique reasons for engaging in coprophagia. However, by understanding the possible causes and taking appropriate steps to address them, we can work towards preventing and minimizing this behavior in our feline friends.