Kitten poop is essentially a diagnostic test that indicates their health.
When raising a kitten, be sure to look at their stool, when possible, do this every time they poop.
Diarrhea is an immediate sign that they are not healthy and that there is a more serious problem that must be addressed.
Kitten diarrhea is not normal and must be treated right away.
Take your kitten to the vet as soon as you notice symptoms; it is suggested to go as soon as the second bowel movement.
This is so vital because diarrhea is often a sign of something more serious, which if untreated can result in a quick decline and even death.
When treating diarrhea in kittens, the cause and symptoms must be addressed and dealt with to bring the kitten back to health.
Normal Poop vs. Diarrhea
What is the difference between a regular healthy poop and diarrhea?
If you are not used to seeing kitten poop or if you have only seen adult poop, healthy kitten poop may look off to you.
To prevent mistaking a healthy bowel movement from an unhealthy one we will describe the difference between normal poop and diarrhea.
A kitten on formula will have a stool that is mustard yellow and well-formed, while diarrhea is wet and not well-formed.
Monitor Kittens with Diarrhea
Considering that, this ailment can cause a rapid decline in a kittens health, it is vital to monitor their weight.
In general, it is important to weigh your kittens frequently, however, during episodes of loose stools it is critical to weigh them often, this can save their lives.
Diarrhea in kittens causes quick weight loss; they should be weighed a minimum of once a day; however, three times a day is ideal.
It is suggested to use a small scale in units to get a more precise weigh-in.
When kittens are this small, each ounce counts.
If the kitten is either losing weight or not gaining weight, you must immediately address the issue and seek medical attention.
As they regain health, continue to weigh them and document it.
As their weight goes up, it will be clear that they are finally retaining all the nutrients from their foods, and you will see that they begin to grow at a much faster rate.
Causes for Kitten Diarrhea
Kitten diarrhea can occur from a number of reasons; in order to properly treat them, take the kitten to the vet to find the underlying issue causing this problem.
First things first, rule out any potential causes.
Below are some common causes of kitten diarrhea, but please do not use this to treat your kitten, this is very serious and must be addressed by a professional.
Parasites in kittens such as roundworm and hookworm can certainly cause upset stomachs.
Luckily this is treatable with medication.
One way to discover the culprit of tummy issues is to consider what the kitten is eating.
Below we have laid out ways in which food could cause this to occur, read this section and rule out any of these potential risks.
What are you feeding the kitten?
Make sure you are feeding them kitten formula.
Never feed them dairy products or homemade formulas.
Kittens are not meant to ingest this; rather they need a formula designed specifically for kittens.
If you are using anything else, this may be the root of the problem.
What if you are using a formula?
Babies are incredibly sensitive, always ensure that their food is fresh and clean.
Always check the expiration date, never use any formula that is expired.
Be sure to store formula properly.
If a powdered formula is used, note that once you add water to it, it must be stored it in a working fridge.
If the formula is left out and not refrigerated kittens can become very ill.
Changes in food
Have you changed the kitten’s formula?
If so this could be a potential cause for diarrhea, switch back to their other formula and monitor bowel movements.
What if the baby is weaning onto wet food?
Around five weeks, kittens will begin to wean off milk to a slurry – a combination of wet food mixed with formula.
While cats and older kittens are meant to eat cat food, premature weaning can cause diarrhea.
If this issue is present during weaning, put the baby back onto formula as they may need more time to adjust.
It is okay if they are not ready to wean, they simply need more time, and they will naturally adjust.
This process should never be rushed as it can cause GI upset and diarrhea.
If this appears to be the cause and their bowel movements go back to normal, wait a few days before slowly weaning them again.
Underlying medical issues
Parasites and bacterial infections are often the culprits when it comes to diarrhea in kittens, however, it, unfortunately, can be caused by more serious medical issues.
Kittens with this problem may be experiencing:
Lymphoma, FIP, an inflammatory, infectious or immune disorder, panleukopenia, viruses, or another condition.
These medical issues are known to target kittens as their immune system is only just starting to develop.
Since kittens don’t have a strong immune system, nor have built up any protections, these issues if left untreated can be detrimental to their health or even fatal.
However, if action is taken early, the kitten will have a far greater chance.
This is why treating issues of diarrhea are so critical to take on early.
Overall, this is not something that should be considered normal in kittens and must be taken seriously.
Owners should seek medical attention rather than treating the kitten themselves as the cause is not always clear and is an indication that something is wrong.
Once you have taken the kitten to the vet, they will likely be put on medication to get rid of diarrhea.
While they are being treated, it is critical to provide care for the kitten.
Below we will go into depth on how to care for a kitten with diarrhea.
In addition to being seen by a vet and taking the necessary medication, providing supportive care to our sick kittens is vital and can be life-saving.
Caring for a kitten with diarrhea
In addition to treating the cause, it is critical to treat the symptoms and provide supportive care.
The number one symptom from diarrhea is dehydration.
This issue purges out the liquids and nutrients the kitten needs to survive; this causes them to dehydrate at a rapid pace which can lead to complications, further medical issues and could even be fatal.
One way to prevent dehydration is to replace water with electrolytes in their formula.
The glucose and electrolytes found in unflavoured Pedialyte will rehydrate the kittens and allow the muscles and organs to function as they should.
As soon as it has been detected, change the water to the unflavoured Pedialyte to prevent dehydration.
Some cases of dehydration may be so dire that subcutaneous fluid therapy may be needed.
At this point, the kitten should be seen by a vet, and they can train you how to administer the fluid.
If the kitten does not rehydrate with the electrolytes, these fluids can make all the difference and be the difference between life or death.
Another way to provide supportive care for kittens with diarrhea is to add probiotics to the formula.
This product will add healthy bacteria to the gut which helps it properly do its job.
Adding more vitamins during this time can also be helpful in sustaining the cat and during recovery.
Vitamins can be either injected or an oral supplement.
Providing these supplements can be very beneficial, as nutrients and vitamins are lost with diarrhea.
Keeping things Clean
This problem can spread, be sure to keep things clean.
If they use the litter box, regularly scope it out.
If this is happening in their bedding, clean it out after each episode and at least once a day.
Keep yourself clean too! Wash your hands before and after cleaning kittens.
Use baby wipes to keep their butts clean.
An unscented organic baby wipe would be the best choice; we want to avoid using anything with chemicals and scents.
There is always the chance that a wipe will simply not do, diarrhea can get extremely messy, and at times a bath is required.
Kittens are sensitive so make sure to use warm water, test water temperature with the inside of your wrist, if it feels too hot for you, it will be too hot for a kitten.
Use a sensitive shampoo, consider an unscented baby shampoo or a dish soap like Dawn, or a natural dish soap.
Ultimately, find something sensitive that will clean the kitten without hurting them.
Avoid washing their face; we do not want soap or water to get into their ears, eyes or mouth; instead, spot clean their head if needed.
Kittens cannot regulate their body temperature, so it is crucial to towel dry them until they are fully dry or use a blow dryer on a low setting from at least two feet away.
After being dried, they must be put back, and there needs to be a heat source available.
Keeping the kitten prevents this from spreading and staying clean helps their skin, dirty skin and fur can be very irritating, especially for kittens who have sensitive skin.
While we provided many tips and ways to treat your kitten’s diarrhea, it is extremely important not to wait when it comes to this.
As we addressed, it can cause severe dehydration which could quickly escalate the problem.
If after two bowel movements the issue has not gotten better after applying our tips, take the kitten to the vet immediately as it can stem from a medical issue that requires professional treatment.