Identifying cat droppings by their appearance is an unappetizing challenge, but it’s not always easy. However, this guidebook provides sound assistance with pertinent advice. You can recognize excrement from cats by these 4 characteristics.
Recognition features at a glance
If you are consulting this guide in search of confirmation of an initial suspicion, please take a look at the following brief overview. To clearly identify cat droppings by appearance, the following 4 characteristics are crucial:
- Size: 2-4 cm long, 1-2 cm thick
- Shape: elongated
- Color: dark brown
- Consistency: firm, pliable, smooth surface
Has this short version put you on the right track to unmask a cat as a culprit? Then please read the following more detailed explanations about the appearance of cat feces, which confirm your suspicion.
Explanation of the characteristics
Please note that all information about the visual appearance of cat feces is based on average values. After all, it is the excrement of a multiform animal species with countless cat breeds, many of which cavort as free roamers in residential areas. In addition, feral cats make themselves unpopular in gardens with their droppings. It is obvious that big, adult cats produce their excrements in other orders of magnitude, than young house kittens on their first expedition in the neighbor’s garden. Variations below 2 centimeters and above 4 centimeters of 20 to 30 percent are within the tolerance range set by Mother Nature.
Elongated shape, dark brown color as well as pliable consistency describe the feces of a healthy cat. This specific appearance is due to the diet. On top of the menu is meat, preferably fresh and caught with their own paws. Equipped with a powerful set of 30 sharp teeth, the food is thoroughly chewed and ultimately excreted in the described structure.
If the animal suffers from health problems, this circumstance consequently influences the appearance of the excrement. Symptoms, such as diarrhea, make it impossible for even the expert to clearly identify cat feces. In this case a laboratory analysis brings light into the darkness. Special laboratories offer qualified examination of fecal samples to determine the genetic fingerprint. A professional sampling set is included in the price of about 60 euros. If you want to know exactly who is defecating on your property, this is the way to get final certainty.
Tip: Cat droppings and marten droppings look confusingly alike. An important clue helps to distinguish the excrements. As pure carnivores, cats excrete feces with a nearly smooth surface. In contrast, the droppings of martens are recognizably interspersed with coarse food remains, such as seeds, fruit stones or feathers.
Consider risk of infection
Cats are major hosts for toxoplasmosis, a common infectious disease. Cats excrete the pathogens via the digestive tract. If a human being comes into direct contact with the excrement, infection is often the result. In 90 percent of all cases, the disease is asymptomatic and unnoticed by the affected person. For pregnant women, small children and adults with weakened immune systems, however, fatal effects are to be feared. These correlations have a direct influence on the correct handling of cat feces. Consequently, this way you avoid all risks:
- do not touch suspicious excrements unprotected
- put on disposable gloves before direct contact
- Place feces in a bag, seal tightly and dispose of in household trash
A team of U.S. scientists from the Stanley Medical Research Institute in Chevy Chase and the University of Baltimore has demonstrated that toxoplasmosis pathogens remain infectious in soil for many years. If you recognize excrements as cat feces, safe disposal is not sufficient. From now on please always wear gloves when gardening. Replace the contaminated sand in your children’s sandbox and use a cat-proof cover in the future.