Cat Poop & Diarrhea Stuck To Fur? 💩

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Originally published July 19, 2017

Cat Always Gets Poop Stuck in Fur

Cat poop stuck in fur is not a natural problem for cats. Cats’ systems are actually designed to poop properly without getting any cat dingleberries stuck in their fur.

However, it is not a rare sight in household cats, especially if they have long fur. Naturally, it is much easier for a cat with long fur to get poop stuck in its fur than it is for a short-haired cat.

If this happens on a single occasion, then all you need to do is take out the poop from the cat’s fur.

We are going to tell you how to do that in this article. However, you should keep an eye out because if it happens again, then the poop stuck in your cat’s hair could indicate a bigger issue. Let’s get to the bottom of this!

So what’s the problem?

The number one culprit is diet. Think about it: what we eat as humans affects the consistency of our poop, and it’s the same way with cats.

If we eat too much fat, we will have sticky poop (an ex-boyfriend’s father once told me – “If you have to wipe more than once when you poop, then you have too much fat in your diet.”).

Tips and Tricks for Grooming Ragdoll Cats

For cats, too much fat in their diet is not a likely issue. The problem is usually dry food, which can make their poop quite hard with rough margins that get stuck in the fur like thistles.

If this is the case, then switching your cat to wet food might actually be the simplest solution to the “my cat keeps getting poop stuck in their fur” situation. You can alternate the wet food with the dry to get a balanced diet that produces non-sticky poop.

If you aren’t feeding your cat dry food, but still encounter this issue, then you should find out what in their diet makes their poop sticky. You might also start keeping a food diary to document what your cat is eating and how it affects their poop.

This could take a while, but you are sure to identify the culprit sooner rather than later. Since cats have a personal body response to various types of food, then observing the exact reactions in your cat is the best possible solution.

Cat Poop and Diarrhea Stuck To Fur IMG_9750

Other possible issues besides dry food could be that there are allergies. Food allergies can modify the consistency of the cat’s poop and make it sticky. If this is the case, then you have to treat the allergy to make the poop normal. The veterinarian will help identify the allergen and then provide you with options to remove it from the cat’s diet.

Aside from these, there can be mechanical issues causing the poop to get stuck in your cat’s fur. For instance, if your cat uses a litter box that is too high, then it might get too close to the edges and the poop would get stuck in its fur.

Try to observe your cat when it is pooping to find out if this is the problem. Adopting a cat is not for the squeamish!

Charlie in litter box
Charlie in litter box

Normal Poop vs. Sticky Poop

Normal cat poop is quite dry, but not dry enough to be edgy and get stuck in the cat’s fur. This is why getting poop in their fur is not a normal issue for cats. Things get problematic when the poop doesn’t have its normal consistency anymore.

If the poop is too dry, it becomes thistle-like and gets tangled up in the fur. On the other hand, the looser the stool is, the sticker it is. Semi-solid stools are very easy to stick to the fur and quite difficult to get out.

Anything looser than that and all the way to diarrhea adheres closely to the fur, which makes it very difficult to clean off. You will have to be extremely thorough to get out loose poop from the cat’s fur, but it is absolutely crucial that you do it because it can damage the skin.

The Most Common Situations

Large pieces of poop caught onto the cat’s fur – These are easy to see and also easy to smell. As you can see in the first picture, cats can get quite large pieces of poop stuck in their fur. Long-haired cats are more prone to this and you will need to trim it out of there as soon as possible.

Small pieces of poop caught onto the cat’s fur – These are not so easy to spot, especially in long-haired cats because the poop often gets masked by the fur. This is a problematic situation because the poop in the fur can start a mat. In this case, you will need scissors and a trimmer to get it out.

Diarrhea in the cat’s fur – This is very different from the other two situations described because it usually means that a large part of the cat’s fur is covered in diarrhea. It is very important to clean this entire area thoroughly every single time because diarrhea can cause skin issues.

Very small pieces of poop caught onto the fur around the anus – This is probably the most common poop-in-fur issue. Sometimes, when cats poop, there are small bits that get stuck in the fur around the anus. They usually clean these out themselves, but some cats are less likely than others to be thorough in the anal region.

Cats with mobility issues may not be able to reach their anal region, which makes this an important problem for them because the poop in their fur affects the skin around their anus as well as their perianal glands.

Why Should You Get the Poop Out of Your Cat’s Fur?

If the smell and stains on your floors and carpets are not enough to get you to trim out the poop from your cat’s fur, then here is more about the complications that could occur if you leave it there.

A larger piece of poop in your cat’s hair is quite impossible to ignore, so it’s a given you will get that out as soon as possible. It’s the smaller bits or the diarrhea that are problematic because, if you have a cat with long hair, then you might not even notice it right away.

Little pieces of poop in the cat’s hair could lead to the formation of mats, large, bad-smelling mats in your cat’s fur. As you may know, mats should always be taken out because they prevent the skin from breathing properly and could lead to dermatological issues.

Moreover, if the mat has poop at its center, this makes it even more dangerous because the poop will ferment and it will lead to the formation of bacteria. Having this bacteria close to the sensitive skin under the mat can be problematic and it can lead to the development of dermatitis.

Diarrhea is far more acid than regular poop, which makes it corrosive to the skin. If your cat gets diarrhea and you don’t clean up the area properly, then you may notice that it will get a local inflammation.

All you have to do clean its fur and skin with warm water and cat shampoo. However, if the skin is already affected, you may have to apply local treatment to the damaged skin as well.

As for the small pieces of poop that get caught in the fur around your cat’s anus, you should get them out as soon as possible to prevent irritation and local inflammation.

As mentioned above, poop ferments and it generates bacteria, which could lead to inflammation and even skin infections in the anal region. This is something you should avoid because it will affect your cat’s defecation which could cause digestive issues as well.

If small mats get formed around the anus, then every time the cat poops, other small layers are added to it. These mats could also block the cat’s anal glands or they can even prevent the cat from defecating correctly.

You may notice the cat straining to poop in the litter box. All you have to do is remove the cat mats and clean up the area to get things back to normal.

How to get dried poop off a cat

Depending on the type of poop that your cat has stuck in its fur, you have to use a different method to remove it. Here is what you can do with each type of poop:

For large pieces of poop – Use a tissue to pull off the dried poop nugget. Then remember to check the fur for small pieces of poop that might be stuck in there.

Pay special attention to the tips of the fur that might still have poop stuck onto them. Trim the entire area to remove other deposits and to make sure that everything has been removed.

Cat Poop and Diarrhea Stuck To Fur IMG_9754

For small pieces of poop – You may need to use a trimmer, a comb, and a pair of scissors. The smaller pieces typically get stuck all the way up to the skin. Put on a pair of rubber gloves and use the comb to delimitate the poop from the fur around it.

Then press on it with your fingers to break it into smaller pieces. Use a trimmer to separate it from the fur and if this doesn’t work, use scissors to cut around the piece of poop. Then use the trimmer on the area to get out the smaller pieces of poop as well.

For diarrhea – Washing or using a wet wipe – When it comes to diarrhea, there is bound to be a big mess. If there is only a little diarrhea in the cat’s fur, then a wet wipe might be enough to get the cat clean. Please note that these should be baby wipes, which are alcohol-free.

However, if there is diarrhea on a larger part of the fur, then the wipe won’t be enough. The ideal solution is to give your cat a bath to wash away everything properly. It is enough if you only wash the soiled area.

However, we all know that giving your cat a bath can be quite complicated. A suitable alternative is to use a towel, warm water, and cat shampoo. First, use the towel soaked in warm water to get the area wet.

Then, add the shampoo to get it clean, and lastly, after you rinse the towel thoroughly, soak it in water to rinse the shampoo off the cat’s fur. Make sure you rinse a few times to get it all out.

For the small pieces of poop caught in the fur around the cat’s anus – You can try getting a sanitary shave for your cat from a groomer, especially if there are mats. The mats in this area are particularly difficult to remove and you should rely on a professional to do this. If there are no mats yet, though, you can try using a trimmer, as well as a wet towel and shampoo.

Many readers like to use the Scaredy Cut to trim their cat’s pantaloons.

Cat Fur Scissors

Two very important notes of caution about these suggestions: One, be very careful with using cat scissors, because this can cut skin and possibly lead to sutures from the vet or worse.

Even when owners try to protect their kitty by keeping their fingers between the skin and the scissors, people still report accidentally nicking a cat or mistaking skin for fur. Two, don’t use any shampoo or wipe that leaves a residue a cat would have to lick off—yuck!

Overall, remember that cats should not naturally have an issue with “poopy butt,” so if it’s happening, it is worth consulting a vet and reevaluating their diet. In the meantime, make sure you clean their bottom in a healthy and safe way!

Here are a few other suggestions for how to get dried poop off a cat:

  • Using a tissue to pull off the dried poop nugget
  • Washing or using a wet wipe
  • Getting a sanitary shave for your cat from a groomer
  • Trimming using blunt scissors, scissors with guards, or a bikini or beard trimmer
Cat Poop and Diarrhea Stuck To Fur IMG_9753
I put a paper towel under my cat before I cut it off, so that it will fall onto the paper towel and not my carpet, couch, etc.

How do you get rid of cat diarrhea stuck to fur? What other tips do you have for how to clean a cat’s bottom in a safe way? Share here!

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Comments (25)

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  1. As a lifelong cat lover, I’ve dealt with this problem many times. A cat bathing bag is very helpful! The bag I use is made of mesh, has a small top opening for Kitty’s head and an open bottom end for the area that most needs washing. (No idea where mine came from, but Amazon offers a wide variety.) A bag will keep Kitty stabilized and save you from getting ripped to shreds.
    Kitties experiencing chronic diarrhea should be seen by your vet. A common cause these days is hyperthyroidism. Quick diagnosis and daily medication can improve your senior cat’s health and quality of life while giving you more good years together. Our Holy Tara was on hyperthyroid meds for three years before she passed away at 18 1/2. My Baby Mew gets a little ointment in her ear every day, is 17 and doing great.

    1. Hi! I have a 19-year-old cat who has had chronic diarrhea for a while and they are unable to find a cause. They are thinking it might be the thyroid condition you mentioned and he will be retested. Can I ask what kind of medication your kitty was given? I’m a little worried because my cat will not take pills. Thank you!

      1. No, nothing new in the house. No air fresheners or anything like that. I have autoimmune issues so I’m pretty careful with things like that because I have so many allergies.

      2. I had a cat that had been sick with an infection and was given a strong antibiotic which took care of the infection, but left him with chronic diarrhea. Purina Fortiflora mixed in his food restored his normal gut bacteria and stopped the diarrhea. It was like a miracle! Vets have it, but it’s much cheaper on Amazon. My cat didn’t balk at having it in his wet food at all. I gave it to him for a few months then gradually tapered off of it although it’s just a probiotic so it can be used as a daily supplement.

      3. Try Purina Fortiflora mixed in your cat’s food. It can help restore a healthy gut bacteria and stop diarrhea. It’s a probiotic for cats and worked wonders for my beloved Jack.

  2. Excellent topic, Jenny! Thanks for all the great advice and info, as usual! 🙂 <3

    I keep Miss PSB's pantaloons area trimmed every 3 months. I trim and Daddy holds her. I'm always very careful to have my fingers between her fur and the scissors. This seems to be the easiest way for us. Since her diet is a mix of wet and dry food (the dry food part is non-negotiable with my stubborn hubster) we do see the odd dirty but fir once or twice (usually when it's getting close to fur trimming time). When that happens we just assume our positions and I remove the dirty area with my trimming scissors. I do want to get that Scaredy Cat set eventuall, though. Peg highly recommended it to me last year. 🙂 <3

    Big hugs & lots of love!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

  3. If this happens to either of my Raggies, it’s generally related to diet. Certain foods might cause their poop to be a bit softer than usual. If necessary, I’ll use an Honest brand baby wipe to remove the poop or if it’s a solid nugget, I’ll just grab it off with my hand.
    I have heard that having your litter too deep in the box can cause this issue , too.

  4. Aways a great topic to re-visit, Jenny! TYSVM for this fabulous & pawesome re-post!!! 🙂 <3

    Big hugs & lots of love & purrs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3 <3 <3

    P.S. It's going to be pantaloon & claw trimming time very soon for Miss PSB and Daddy is going to wear those new fabulously pawesome protection gloves we just won. I'll be sure to let you know how they worked and send pics via text, too. 🙂 <3

  5. Use a water bottle you can squeeze to create a forceful stream. Fill the water bottle with warm sudsy water. Direct the stream to where the poop is. If it’s dried, pause for a minute or two. Hit it with the sudsy water again and it will come off. Easy peasy! Dry off kitty with a paper towel.

  6. I have a British Shorthair one year old, small residues of poop getting stuck. We did medical checks and everything was OK. The vet changed the food to gastro but there is no change. The problem is that if I don’t catch her in time she starts running around the house and it gets stuck on beds, lounge furniture etc. Any ideas?

      1. Hill’s Prescription Diet GI Biome
        This is what the local vet recommended we change to but it has made no difference

      2. I’d take a look at catinfo.org to learn about feline nutrition. if they are on the right diet, they don’t have problems. Also, might need probiotics to rebalance the gut.

      3. My kitty was prescribed Hill’s ZD diet and it made no difference in his diarrhea. A friend recommended Merrick’s canned rabbit food and now my kitty’s poo is finally normal to dry. If it’s too dry, and sticks to his fur, he gets a teaspoon of canned pumpkin with his meals. Luckily he loves the pumpkin and we are both happy! The only treats (given with medicine) he gets now are a freeze dried pure rabbit product called Instinct Raw Boosters. Jenny, have you ever written a post about feline pemphigus? My poor kitty has this as well as chronic nausea and vomiting.

      4. No, I have not written a post about feline pemphigus – sounds miserable. Do you have a lot of experience with it now? Maybe you can share your story about it?

  7. My cat is having side effects from his antibiotics so his poop is really soft and getting stuck on his fur. we can’t bathe him because he has sutures around his inner thigh. We used cat shampoo and a damp paper towel and the cleaned it off with more wet paper towels to get the poop off. It was a struggle and let’s just say, everyone lost that battle.

    1. My ragdoll is used to his butt washes. When we have a bit of change in his diet, there might be a sticky nugget or diarrhea stuck to his fur. If I can’t get it off with a tissue, I’ll bring him to the bathtub and run the area under water, I use my hands to rub and clean the fur. The nuggets come off easily. I then dry his fur with some paper towels as best as I can and he can clean the rest himself. I always wash my hands thoroughly afterwards. There usually isn’t time to get a pair of gloves when he’s zooming around trying to shake the nugget off.
      My husband finds the pantaloons on our ragdoll way too cute to be trimmed, so I have the poop cleaning duties.

  8. Thank you for all of the advice!
    My gorgeous, fluffy Norwegian Forest girl is 11 and she rules this roost, baby!
    She’s ALWAYS hated hands on her belly below ribcage level and if you dare stray “below deck” under her tail? Watch out! She’ll strike you like a cobra!

    She is a biter big time, and not just a quick bite, either. Well, the warning bite is a quick one, but you can still lose skin on that one, too! She’ll chomp, chomp, hollllld and do a little twist with her head, THEN let go. She goes after you with her front paws, too, if you’re dumb enough to keep going. Which I am not.

    Anyway, I adopted a four month old rescue last September, and try as I might, she still ate his kitten crunchies. Wet food? I’ve tried every brand and the Queen turns her smug little nose up at it. Usually trying to bury it, too. So, Her Highness is getting a gradual crunchies change since the baby is now over a year, resulting in Poopy Butt.
    My dilemmas:
    °I’m disabled with a bad spine that comes complete with four spinal surgeries that included two fusions between the ages of 34-35 thanks to spondylolisthesis. Leaning over a tub is extremely difficult and painful.
    °Currently in a financial bind, so she’s behind on her rabies vax, (indoor only), groomer is a no-go.
    °I’m single and sounding extremely pathetic
    °I DO own quiet pet grooming clippers I purchased last fall when she developed a bad tummy mat I didn’t dare use scissors on, and brushes aren’t allowed there, though I try SO hard! It took over a week, a swipe at a time, but the mat was finally conquered and Elise received treats and catnip, praise and loves!

    I’m at a loss what to do, here. Last time I was in this situation, I had a live in boyfriend who did the kitty burrito trick with a soft towel. Her head out one end, they out the other. But he had the gentle strength to hold her between his legs on the floor snuggled in the towel as I clipped the dingle berries.

    Any advice for someone who’s extremely broke right now? It’d be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you,
    ~Ariane – The Matriarch of Dingle Berries
    Elise the Queen of Bites, Darth Tader the Prince of Purrs & Little Liam Rian the Prince of Nose Nuzzles

  9. Our rag doll cat has the opposite problem. His stools are rock hard when passed and although we have obeyed the vets orders he always appears to be constipated. The vets have given him the lachtosise for over three months now but with very little assistance. He gets as much went fish good with fibre biscuits and now the most expensive yin food,but with no success. He was cleared out in February by enenma but within days he was back to square one. Any help would be helpful,he is 7 years old.( ?) Rescued.

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