Why is cat poop so smelly?

Sulphur compounds make cats’ poop smelly, as for humans.


I am not sure that all cat poop is ‘so smelly’ (i.e. very smelly) but if it is there is a reason for it: protein.

Smelly cat poop!
Smelly cat poop! Raw image in public domain. Background added etc..
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

We all know that a cat’s diet should be relatively high in protein. So why does protein cause smelly poop?

The answer I have from a forum – and I can’t vouch for the veracity of the information – is that the amino acids in the proteins contain sulphur. It sounds like a good answer.

My research as I write:

All proteins are made of building blocks called amino acids.

My research tells me that methionine and cysteine are amino acids containing sulphur. Interestingly, taurine is an amino acid and it too contains sulphur. We know that taurine is an essential nutrient in a cat’s diet and commercial cat food always contains it.

Muscle meat is rich in the animo acid methionine. High cysteine foods are beef, lamb, chicken, fish and pork for instance.

So the forum advice is correct. Why does sulphur smell? Well we are into chemistry. Apparently pure sulphur does not smell. It is sulphur compounds that smell.

I am going to guess and say that during digestion the pure sulphur in amino acids is turned into a sulphur compound (H2S) which makes the poop smelly.

Hope this helps.

P.S. Stink bombs bought commercially are made of hydrogen sulphide (H2S). This is the same compound causing smelly poop. It is the same for people.

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