Everybody Poops is a popular children’s book designed to potty train toddlers. While it’s true that everybody poops, some species need more assistance than others in the early stages of development to perform this seemingly natural task. For young kittens, the ability to poop is dependent on their mother’s help. So, how to make a kitten poop is a crucial piece of information for healthy newborn kitten care. Here are the best practices for how to make a kitten poop, how to litter train kittens and how to troubleshoot elimination issues.
Why do kittens need help pooping?
Newborn kittens (up to three weeks old) can’t eliminate on their own. Acclaimed veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker speculates that this is more of an evolutionary tactic rather than a physical one. The mother stimulates the kittens to poo and pee in order to control when and where they make waste. Since the kittens are so vulnerable at this early age, it’s to help protect them from predators.
How to make a kitten poop — Step-by-step instructions
When caring for a tiny tyke, you are acting as the surrogate mother, and as such, you are in charge of how to make a kitten poop.
Here’s how to make a kitten poop:
- Have a few light-colored, warm, moist washcloths at the ready.
- After you are done bottle feeding the kitten, hold him firmly (but not tightly) with his belly in the palm of your hand.
- With the washcloth, gently massage his whole abdomen and hindquarters area in circular strokes (you will be recreating the full tongue bathing that is performed by his mother).
- He should begin peeing — this normally takes under a minute.
- Then, stimulate his anus area — this should prompt the kitten to poop — continue the motion until he’s fully done eliminating.
- Gently wipe up all the waste with a clean washcloth — but just use warm water (do not use soap!).
Troubleshooting for how to make a kitten poop
It’s important to be patient and aware throughout this elimination process. Using light-colored washcloths enables you to check the color of the cat’s poop. Healthy cat poops are brown and have a toothpaste-like consistency. Almost anything else requires a trip to the vet.
Diarrhea is extremely detrimental to neonatal kittens, and its culprit is usually overfeeding or parasites. This icky condition is especially dangerous because it often quickly leads to dehydration. Erring on the side of caution and getting a kitten with diarrhea to the vet ASAP can save his precious life.
Constipation in kittens can indicate an imbalance in his diet or it could be a deadly obstruction. If he’s not pooping, add a drop of Karo syrup to his formula. And if that doesn’t work, try diluting the kitten replacement formula with a few extra drops of water. If adjustments to his food aren’t producing fast results, seek medical attention right away.
How to make a kitten poop — in the litter box!
At about 3 weeks old, kittens will no longer need to be manually stimulated to eliminate and transition to using a litter box. This requires the right supplies and a watchful eye! Here’s how to make a kitten poop in the litter box:
- Get a low-sided container (something like a small cardboard box, foil baking sheet or Tupperware-type item will suffice).
- Sprinkle in enough litter to cover the bottom — do not use clumping litter or litter with fragrance.
- Put a soiled cotton ball or tissue (one that has been used to clean the kitten’s poop or pee) into the container.
- Place the kitten into the container — he should naturally get the hang of it!
- Continue to place the kitten in the container throughout his weaning process (if he’s not going in on his own).
Litter box training should go without a hitch, but here are some handy pointers:
- Set up one litter box per cat.
- Clean the litter box at least twice a day (more if it’s dirty).
- Put the litter box in a quiet and easily accessible location.
- If the kitten is having issues with using the litter box reliably, try adding litter box attractants or switching the type of litter. I have cats who will not go inside the box when I buy lightweight, fragrance-added kitty litter (it’s a stinky lesson but one that’s easily fixed). My current boys don’t like it, but I’ve had other cats who did.
What if you’re having trouble teaching your kitten how to poop in the litter box?
For litter box issues that don’t go away with some quick tweaks, there could be bigger issues at hand. Litter box issues are often caused by stress (try pheromone therapy or herbal remedies) or they can be a symptom of underlying medical issues. Get your cat a complete examination if these problems persist. If the kitty is deemed physically fit, then enlisting the help of a cat behaviorist is next.
Knowing how to make a kitten poop and properly introducing him to the litter box are crucial components to creating a healthy, well-adjusted adult cat.
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