My cat always has poop on his britches. Help!

Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:

My cat goes to the bathroom in the litter box, but he never quite gets it all out. He always, unfailingly, has poop stuck to his butt. And not just after he goes; it’s there 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He sits on our furniture, on our pillows, on us, and all over the house with this poop stuck to his butt. I have tried pulling it off with some toilet paper but he won’t let me. What is the problem? Why can’t he get it all out and what can we do about it? Thanks.


Siouxsie: First of all, Laura, we’d suggest talking to your vet. If your cat has diarrhea, it’s more likely that he’ll end up with poop on his britches. Solid, well-formed stools don’t generally leave a lot of cling-ons in the fur around a cat’s anus. Your vet may have some ideas on how to treat the diarrhea.

This chart shows feline body conditions. A 1 is emaciated and a 9 is grossly obese. If your cat looks like a 7 or a 9, he is at a high risk of developing Type II diabetes.

Thomas: Long-haired cats and overweight cats tend to have trouble grooming their rear ends, too. If your cat has long hair, your cat may have fewer problems with poop in his fur if you trim the hairs around his bottom. If you do trim the hairs on his butt, be sure to use round-tipped scissors so you don’t accidentally poke him. You’ll probably want to have a friend hold him as you trim.

Dahlia: Overweight cats are simply too fat to be able to reach around and clean their rear ends. If your cat is overweight, he’ll need your help in the cleaning department and you really should get him on a weight-loss plan in order to avoid health risks such as Type II diabetes, arthritis and lameness, and heart problems.

Siouxsie: The body condition chart at right shows a variety of weight points for cats. The average is a 5; if your cat looks closer to a 7, he’s overweight; and if he’s a 9, he’s morbidly obese. Consult with your vet about a healthy diet and exercise plan to help your kitty lose weight.

Thomas: A vet consultation is particularly important if your cat is very obese for the same reasons that severely obese people should talk to a doctor before undertaking an exercise program. You want to create an exercise plan that helps your cat burn more calories but doesn’t tax his already-stressed heart and lungs.

Dahlia: Now on to the subject of getting — and keeping — your kitty clean.

Siouxsie: The first order of business is a litter box check. Make sure you keep the box scrupulously clean. Remove waste at least twice a day. The less poop there is in the box, the less poop will get on his fur.

Thomas: If you use a covered litter box, remove the cover. If your cat is really big, either because he’s of a big breed like a Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest Cat or because he’s obese, he may not have enough room to assume an appropriate pooping position in a covered box.

Dahlia: And when you do clean the poop off your cat’s bottom, don’t just yank on the fur with a dry piece of toilet paper. Pulling the fur in a sensitive area such as the skin near the anus is very painful. Instead, use a washcloth dampened with warm water to moisten the fecal matter and then gently pull or wipe it out of the fur. You can use a moist paper towel instead if you wish.

Siouxsie: Your hygiene assistance will be most effective if you manage to clean him up before the waste has hardened, so if you can clean his bottom just after he’s finished doing his business, that will work best.

Thomas: If your cat was hit by a car or had his tail yanked really hard, it’s possible that nerve damage is making him somewhat incontinent. If this is the case, you’re going to have to get used to cleaning him up on a regular basis.

Dahlia: The easiest way to keep your cat from getting poop stains and cling-ons on your furniture is to use washable slip covers or blankets on areas where he likes to hang out. You can use an enzymatic cleaner like Anti Icky-Poo to get rid of stains and odors that are already in your furniture and carpets. (Although this product is marketed primarily as a urine remover, it, like all enzyme cleaners, will remove feces, vomit, and blood as well.)

Siouxsie: Good luck, Laura. We hope we’ve been able to help.

  • Iris Gray

    One possible reason for poopy britches that you haven’t mentioned is the way the cat sits in the litter box. My grey kitty actually sits right in the litter to “go,” and as a result she sits in the poop.

    Laura might seek the help of her vet or groomer to shave away the matted poopy fur. Grey kitty gets her britches shaved on a regular basis!

  • Debbie

    I have 2 long haired cats that always get (normal, not diarrhea) poop and/or litter stuck to their butt fur, so twice a year they both get their butt fur shaved (a wide area around their “privates” and a “free fall zone” down the back legs). This eliminates the poop problem, and it also eliminates the issue of the cats ingesting the litter that gets stuck to their fur.

  • Angela

    you could also use an unscented baby wipe or they do sell “pet wipes” also. I’ves used the unscented baby wipes to get poopy paws clean.

  • Adrianna

    Some cats have anal gland problems that can look like poo problems. Have you vet look for that.

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  • “The Boys” and Karen

    We have Persian cats; one of them in particular, often gets “dirty pants.” I suppose part of it is because he has short legs and a very round belly. And, our litter boxes have covers.

    We do try to clean off what we can; sometimes his “business” is a bit difficult to remove, though.

    In some instances, we will give him a “butt dip” by lowering his back end into a sitz bath tub-type thing. Dip him up and down just so his rear is in the water and then we dry him off.

    In really bad situations, we take him to the vet for a shave.

    At times when the stool does not come completely out, it could be because he’s not drinking enough water or may be because he’s not getting enough exercise.

  • Mila

    I had this problem with my one yr old Siamese/Himalayan – which was twofold.

    Iggy has short legs and a stocky body, so he carries his long tail somewhat curled (he actually looks like his tail is too big for him, ha). He kept getting poo all over his tail and bum, and then would drag his bottom on the floor to clean himself. (We invested in an H2O mop.) We had to bathe his backside regularly, and clean him up with a wet cloth when it wasn’t too bad. Not much fun for us, or him.

    Iggy also had a problem with diarrhea/stinky poo. After hundreds of dollars spent at the vet on antibiotics, several other treatments and prescription foods trying to solve the poo problems (and realizing that prescription brand cat food is no better than the cheap stuff – seriously, read the ingredients), I did some research and put him exclusively on wet food.

    Surprisingly, switching all my cats to only wet food cut down on litter box mess, and reduced the odor by at least 80% – contrary to what many people think about feeding wet foods. I no longer gag pulling the top off the box, and I have no more cat stink wafting into the rest of the house after they do their business! I also noticed Iggy started having a lot more energy.

    After doing some research, I learned that dry food is essentially cereal – and cat’s are not meant to eat many of the grain fillers used. I’m convinced this is what caused his digestive issues – after six months of trying different very high-end and prescription foods, wet-only fixed the issue in 4 days! One article maid a very good point – “you wouldn’t feed meat to a horse, so why would you feed grain to a cat?”

    Now, to solve the second part of the problem – the poop tail. I tried doubling the amount of litter in the box, allowing him to dig a deeper hole before doing his business, so he is able to keep his tail is out of the way. Since he keeps his tail curled (dummy), this solved that issue.

  • Mila

    @”The Boys” and Karen

    “At times when the stool does not come completely out, it could be because he’s not drinking enough water or may be because he’s not getting enough exercise.”

    Another issue that may be solved with wet food.

    Cats need to drink a lot of water if they eat dry foods, since dry foods are only about 10% water, and wet foods are about 75-80% water. Cats don’t have a very high thirst drive, so if your cat is not drinking enough, providing it with some wet food might help things move along.

  • Mino

    I read all the comments i got a persian kitten that always gets poop stuck to his fur, its a nightmare. I give him wet food from a tin the rest will be kept in a fridge till his next feeding, Could this be the cause for his runny tummy?

  • kaylooo

    here’s a tough one…i have a bobtail cat and she seems to be pregnant…however, Buffy seems to ALWAYS have poop stuck to her butt…i’ve had to pull it off her butt and use a napkin because she bleeds alot from!!

  • Lauren

    @ kaylooo:

    “here’s a tough one…i have a bobtail cat and she seems to be pregnant…however, Buffy seems to ALWAYS have poop stuck to her butt…i’ve had to pull it off her butt and use a napkin because she bleeds alot from!!”

    1. First of all, never “pull” anything off of your cats butt fur, the area is very sensitive and can be very painful for the poor kitty!
    2. Secondly, I highly suggest staying away from napkins, paper towels, or even regular, dry toilet paper because they are very rough, uncomfortable, and painful for the cat, especially on the backside!
    3. Always try and start by somehow soaking the backside area where the fur is matted and tangled with the stool. You can prepare the area by dipping the cats backside into a pool of warm water, or simply just using warm water to dampen a washcloth/paper towel and then gently cleaning the area so that you can loosen some of the knots. (if the stool is dry and incredibly tangled, then this step is extremely important, unless you want to cause yourself and your pet a great deal of pain and frustration).

    —On a side note, the fact that your cat is bleeding from your attempts to clean her butt, obviously the dry napkin approach is very dangerous!!

    4. If your cat’s hair is only mildly tangled, while you are soaking or dampening their area, you can try and gently start combing through the fur with your wet washcloth or paper towel. This can reduce the pain for your kitty, as well as help in preventing any bleeding that may occur from the tugging of a comb, or even the dry wiping of a napkin. However, if your cat is long-haired, or just intensely matted, you may not be able to make any progress with only the damp cloth.
    5. Now, if your cat is already cleaned up by the easy damp-wipe method, great! But for some other severe cases, the next stop would be to chose an appropriate brush or fine-tooth comb for the badly matted bottoms. Gently comb out the stool, using a steady inside-to-outside method, and begin to loosen any and all matted fur.
    —-*always remember to be gentle, smooth, and patient, for the sake of you and your pet!!
    Depending on the severity of your cat’s build up, this process may have to be repeated a couple times until your feline friend is fresh and clean. If not, once time through the steps should do the trick!

    Now, as mentioned in early posts, here are some other helpful hints in preventing this smelly, unsightly, and rather embarrassing issue in happening to your furry friends:
    1. Always keeping the litter clean from stool (cleaning the litter at least once a day) as well as maintaining fresh litter as often as possible, or as you see needed.
    2. If your cat is overweight, you may consider keeping the lid of your litter box, since sometimes the cats cannot find an appropriate pooping position in such a small space, and are forced to sit in their own stool.
    3. Paying attention to the type of stool your cat is leaving can also be a great help, since normal, smooth stool does not generally get stuck to the cats bottom, like diarrhea does. In such a case, you are advised to see a vet to help diagnose your pets digestive problems.
    4. Overweight and especially obese cats are mainly physically unable to reach the anal spot while grooming, therefore regular matted fur treatment should be provided. Looking into some weight-loss plans and healthy diets for your pet can greatly reduce this problem, as well as reducing your kitty’s chance of developing health problems.
    5. Last of all, long-haired and overweight cats both commonly have this issue, so trimming the fur around the butt or even shaving it can eliminate the problem altogether.

    Hope this helped!

  • Kay

    We have a long haired cat that was also getting dirty britches & then using our carpet to drag himself along for a clean (ew.)
    I went down to target, got a $14 men’s beard trimmer and brought it home. The first day, I turned it on randomly throughout the day while doing chores, etc., just to get kitty used to the sound without feeling threatened. The next day, I would walk over and pet him while I had the trimmer turned on, again not threatening in any way. On day three I turned it on while he was very relaxed and pet him all over with the non-trimming end. By day 4, I was able to trim his legs & around his tush while he lay on his back and my daughter scratched his chin. Now it’s pretty easy to trim him once a month and no more dirty britches!

    • Faiza

      He’s not sick he’s just getting used to his new pup food.There will namorlly be about a week’s worth of loose or inconsistant stool whenever you change his puppy chow. Just be prepared for it and race him outside when he’s gotta go cuz that stuff can stain the carpet really badly!You don’t need to mix his food if he has been on it for a few days, it is better to just keep course with the new food, because he could have some of the same problems getting used to his old food again.

  • Susan Edge


    I have a 7 week old kitten, its female. Everytime she goes to the litter tray to poop, she always sits back down in it and never cleans it off herself. I have to use baby wipes.

    Any tips and anyone k now whats wrong with her, i know she has worms buy we have gpt her dtuff for that.

  • mamaKat

    1 of my cats has poopie-bum. she is a larger kitty & I am more concerned about her 21 lbs than the vet was. she’s very active & after a failed jump last year, stopped jumping to the counter as well as washing her bum. we’ve given her many bum baths (since she was a kitten with giardia) so it’s nothing new to her however she seems quite offended every time.

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