Cat Care

5 Reasons Why Your Kitten Won’t Poop

kitten not pooping

If your kitten isn’t pooping on a regular schedule, there could be many reasons why.

It could be an indication of a medical problem or it could be your kitten’s age. Either way, you need to figure out how to get your kitten to poop.

This guide will help you to identify why your kitten isn’t pooping and what you can do about it.

Healthy Elimination by Your Kitten

In order to understand when your kitten isn’t pooping enough or if something is wrong with the poop, you need to know what healthy pooping practices are for your kitten.

According to PetMD, your kitten should poop at least once per day at a minimum no matter what his/her age is.

The poop should be a dark brown color. It should of a medium consistency and it shouldn’t smell any worse than typical poop should smell.

If your kitten’s poop is different from this, or if your kitten isn’t pooping at all then it’s time to pursue reasons why your kitten is having elimination problems.

Problems That Your Kitten Can Have If He/She Doesn’t Poop Regularly

Poop is unpleasant, but it is important to poop regularly to keep our bodies healthy. The same can be said for your kitten.

Pooping is a natural process that our bodies go through to flush toxins away.

If waste gets backed up, it can cause problems like lethargy, pain, and even death. If your kitten isn’t pooping, you have to get to the root cause fast.

In many cases, your kitten will just need stimulation. If the stimulation doesn’t work, then it’s a medical condition that needs attention.

Your Kitten’s Age May Be a Reason He/She Isn’t Pooping

Newborn kittens are literally helpless when they are first born. According to the Humane Society, kittens don’t have motor skills at first and their eyes don’t open until the second week of their life. They only begin to try walking at 3 weeks old.

While most animals have a natural instinct to relieve themselves, kittens don’t catch on to this until they are several weeks old.

They literally just don’t know that they need to go and they don’t know how. If your kitten has just been born within the last few weeks, this is the most likely reason that your kitten hasn’t pooped.

How Can I Help My Newborn Kitten Poop? 

Usually, when the kitten is this young, it’s mom will help the kitten with urinating and defecating. However, if mom isn’t around, it will be up to you to fill in for mom.

Mom usually does this by licking the kitten’s abdomen. We aren’t suggesting that you lick your kitten, but you need to mimic the feeling of the mother licking the kitten.

According to Hartz, you can stimulate your kitten by giving your kitten a very gentle rub on its genitals or right up under its tail.

Use a warm, moist towel or cotton ball. Your kitten may not go each time you stimulate him/her, but as long as your kitten goes at least once every 24 hours and doesn’t show any signs of distress, your kitten will be okay.

Here is a YouTube video that has a demonstration of how you can stimulate a newborn kitten.

You can see the technique that the cat owner uses and how gently you need to rub your kitten.

When Will My Kitten Begin Pooping on Its Own?

Around three to four weeks of age your kitten will begin pooping and peeing on its own, but this doesn’t mean your kitten will have control of his/her bladder.

Your kitten will probably have a lot of accidents on its bedding and, unfortunately, on its sisters and brothers since they tend to crawl on each other. This means you’ll be giving a lot of extra baths.

This also means it’s time to set up a litter box. However, if your kitten still isn’t pooping and peeing on their own by week four, it may be time to visit a veterinarian.

Your Kitten May Not Like His/Her Litter Box

Many times there isn’t anything wrong with your kitten. They just may be uncomfortable with their litter box.

Kittens are skittish creatures, so if you have an automatic litter box that makes a lot of noise, they may be scared of it.

Similarly, if you have the litter box near something that makes a lot of noise, they may be scared to go to it.

Your kitten may not like the room that the litter box is in. The room could be too bright for them.

Cats are nocturnal animals and their nature is to sleep in the day and be active at night. Your kitten may like the litter box more if it is in a dim and/or secluded location.

If you’ve just recently added a new kitten to your household, it could be that your kittens don’t like sharing litter boxes.

One other reason is that the litter box may not be clean enough for your picky kitten.

Changes In Routine Can Cause Elimination Problems

Cats are smart creatures and your kitten will easily pick up on your daily habits and household routines.

When these routines are suddenly changed or disturbed, it can make your kitten behave in mysterious ways.

One of those ways could be that they won’t poop. If your kitten isn’t using their litter box and you’ve had major changes in your household routine, help your kitten adapt to the changes to see if this is the reason they aren’t pooping.

Certain Medical Treatments Discourage Pooping

It is understandable that your kitten won’t want to eliminate themselves after getting spayed or neutered. If this is the case, don’t try to force them.

Deworming can also be a cause. While deworming generally causes diarrhea, there are some cases where it can have the opposite effect.

This isn’t normal, however, if it is short-lived you may not have anything to worry about. It’s always best to check with your veterinarian to be on the safe side.

kitten constipation

Medical Conditions Can Cause Your Kitten to Be Unable to Poop

If you’ve been stimulating your kitten and he/she still has not pooped, and you’ve tried other solutions and they haven’t worked, there could an underlying medical condition that is preventing your kitten from defecating.

Finding out what the condition is and getting it treated quickly is important to prevent worse problems.

Constipation is one of the most common medical barriers to pooping. Having a constipated kitten is nothing to be alarmed by if it only happens every now and then.

It should not be accompanied by any other gastrointestinal problems and it should go away on its own within a few days.

However, if it’s a common problem for your kitten and your kitten seems to be sick or distressed, it may be time to visit a vet.

Here are eight causes of constipation in a kitten.

1- The wrong kind of cat food can cause constipation. After weaning from milk, kittens should eat moist cat food and be slowly transitioned to dry food. Even as an adult, you cat should eat moist cat food sometimes to prevent diarrhea.

2- Veterinarian Elisa Katz says that your kitten can develop constipation from not having enough soluble fiber in his/her diet.

Soluble fiber is easily digestible. It can be easily fermented and turned into a gel that attracts water to the colon. Doing this adds moisture to the stool so it won’t be so hard to pass.

Soluble fiber also decreases the amount of time that waste is in the gastrointestinal tract. This will allow your kitten to poop on a regular and consistent basis.

Another fiber-related reason for constipation could be that your kitten is ingesting too much insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber has the opposite effect of soluble fiber.

It increases the time that waste stays in the gastrointestinal tract and causes the waste to “thicken” up. This is helpful if your cat has diarrhea, but too much of it can cause constipation.

3- Kittens get hairballs from constantly grooming themselves. Although grooming is a natural habit for cats, the hairs that they swallow can end up getting lodged in their colon and cause a blockage. This is especially true for kittens because their systems tend to be small and sensitive.

Hairballs can be prevented by regularly brushing your kitten to remove any stray hairs from his/her fur. If you have a long-haired kitten you can keep their hair trimmed low to help prevent hairballs.

4- Intestinal obstructions from other objects besides hair can occur. This is a serious condition that can lead to much more dangerous conditions besides constipation.

One way to tell the difference between simple constipation and intestinal obstruction is the presence of other symptoms.

If your kitten is suffering from intestinal obstruction, he/she will probably also exhibit vomiting. If the condition continues to get worse, your kitten may have dehydration, sluggishness, and weight loss.

5- The educational staff of Drs. Foster and Smith describe feline megacolon as a condition in which small, hard pellets of fecal matter become trapped in the colon, causing it to enlarge.

Your kitten will suffer from constipation and, if the condition is not taken care of, eventually obstipation which is the inability to pass fecal matter.

When it gets to this point, surgery will be required to remove the mass. A part of your kitten’s colon may be removed.

You’ll be able to tell if your kitten has megacolon because they spend extra time at the litter box but nothing comes out. They may also constantly return to the litter box in an effort to poop.

They’ll strain to poop, so much so that they may poop out blood (if they poop at all). If they finally poop, you’ll notice that their fecal matter is small, hard, round pellet-like pieces.

6- Parasitic infection occurs in almost half of all cats. Roundworms are the most common parasitic infection for cats and also most likely to affect young kittens over adults.

They live inside a cat’s intestines and survive off of the food that your cat eats.

While they generally cause diarrhea, roundworms can cause your kitten not to poop due to sheer numbers–the parasites can multiply so much that they actually end up blocking the colon.

Roundworms can make your kitten extremely sick and even after you have your kitten treated, the reinfection rate is high.

7- Manx syndrome is a rare condition in which a cat is born with a shortened or absent tail. It is a spinal condition that usually causes incontinence, but can also cause constipation.

This is because Manx syndrome can cause a loss of sensation around the perineum, which is the skin around the genitals and anus.

8- Imbalances in vitamins and minerals can sometimes be a culprit of constipation in kittens.

Low potassium levels can cause constipation and high calcium levels can cause it also. This can occur if you aren’t maintaining your kitten’s nutritional needs properly.

Final Tips

Having a new kitten will give you a lot of learning experiences, including learning about the reasons they won’t poop.

Most of the time, there will be a simple explanation such as the kitten needs stimulation or the kitten is at odds with its litter box, so there will be nothing to worry about.

If you discover that the problem is constipation, there are home remedies for this that are easy to do. For example, adding extra soluble fiber to your kitten’s diet can help with constipation.

If you are ever in doubt or suspect that constipation may be from a more serious condition, check with your veterinarian to put your and kitty’s minds at ease.