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I always seem to have this problem.

My kitten has her second doctor's appointment coming up (second round of shots), and I still need to get them a stool sample for a checkup, preferably no older than 3 hours.

Murphy's law states that when a stool sample is required, a cat will not poop the morning of a doctor's appointment; except, of course, the one time the cat poops 10 minutes prior, in which case it states you will forget to grab it.

What can I do to encourage kitty to poop? Is there a type of food I can feed her ahead of time? Is there something I can do to encourage her to do her business in the hours before the appointment?

It's particularly important that I get a stool sample because her stool has not been tested yet (I adopted her a few weeks ago), and we do need to make sure she's off to a good start.

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    Well, legend says that as soon as you really clean out the litterbox, someone will use it and make it dirty again. – Oldcat Jul 16 '14 at 21:01
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    @Oldcat Ha, I actually tried that, washed it out and everything; the result was two cats peeing in the litterbox within about 5 minutes. – Jason C Jul 16 '14 at 21:04
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Anything that you give to actively induce a bowel movement is likely going to be adverse for the cat.

A better approach would be to monitor the cat's schedule. Likely the cat will have a bowel movement a few hours after eating, and this can be encouraged with being well hydrated. So feed your cat say 5 hours before the appointment (correct for any previous patterns you have noticed) and keep water available in a multitude of locations (don't force the water, the cat might become suspicious).

Another solution would be to bring in the stool sample at a later date, when it happens naturally.

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    You say bring it in at a later date, but what you don't realize is that kitty was in the vet's office when the doctor told me what days of the week they are available for a sample drop-off -- meaning she overheard the whole thing and likely will never poop on a Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday again. – Jason C Jul 16 '14 at 3:33
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    Reverse psychology: you have to convince the cat that a sample is not needed. I had a cat who could be relied upon to have an accident in the carrier on the way to the vet's, no matter what I did beforehand. It's like having kids -- "did you go?" "yes mom" "ok, let's leave" (5 minutes pass) "mom, I have to go!" – Monica Cellio Jul 16 '14 at 3:35
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Surely she must poo the day before? Assuming that the vet doesn't necessarily need today's poo (just the most recent poo), start saving scoops the day before, and replace the previous scoop with the most recent scoop, as the poos arrive.

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  • +1 great answer, may also want to check with the vet's office to see if the sample needs to be kept refrigerated. – James Jenkins Jul 23 '14 at 13:05
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    Vet specified 3 hour max age on poo and prefers unrefrigerated samples. This was the first thing I asked. :) – Jason C Jul 29 '14 at 3:08
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You could try chanting "poop poop poop move your bowels" over and over again and telepathically suggesting that your cat empty its colon. However, I've never found this to help, it may entertain you to watch the facial expressions of others in your household as you do it though.

On the serious side, if your cat drinks and/or eats more the probability of it pooping increases, water helps lubricate the passage and food obviously pushes things along... that being said I've never been able to time pooping or peeing in my cats and generally (much to their chagrin) take them in to have the "experts" collect stuff.

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