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Why Won’t My Kitten Poop? 7 Likely Reasons & Solutions

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	Dr. Nia Perkins Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Nia Perkins

Vet, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Constipation is a serious issue for kittens. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it can lead to serious problems if left untreated. In more serious cases, kitten constipation can actually be a sign of a deeper problem.

Getting to the root of your kitten’s constipation can help your furry friend get the veterinary care they need to live a happy and healthy life. Here are the top seven reasons why kittens won’t poop, as well as Treatment.


The 7 Likely Reasons Your Cat Do Not Poop

1. Lack Of Stimulation

Symptoms: Orphaned, under 1-month-old
Treatment: Stimulate anus

Unlike humans, neonatal (under one month old) kittens cannot go to the bathroom by themselves. During this time, it is the mother’s responsibility to stimulate the kitten’s anus to help them go to the bathroom. If the cat is orphaned and is under one month old, the constipation is most likely due to a lack of stimulation.

If your kitten is under one month old and is orphaned, you can stimulate them to use the bathroom after each meal. Use a baby wipe to gently rub their anus in a circular motion. Do this after every meal and continue the movement until after the kitten starts pooping.

This is the only way to get a neonatal kitten to have a bowel movement. After the kitten is about one month old, they should be able to go to the bathroom on their own.

persian kitten lying
Image Credit: Linn Currie, Shutterstock
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2. Parasites

Symptoms: Dull hair, constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, pot-bellied appearance
Treatment: Contact a veterinarian

Kittens can become constipated if parasites build up in their intestines. Roundworms are especially dangerous for kittens. Kittens are anywhere from 25% to 75% more likely to get roundworms than adult cats.

If your cat is showing other signs of parasite infestation, you will need to contact your vet. They will examine the kitten’s stool to determine if parasites are present. If they are, the cat will receive parasite medication.

In many cases, parasite medication is effective in kittens. However, it’s best to contact your veterinarian as soon as you suspect parasites are present to give your kitten the best chance at survival.

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3. Improper Diet

Symptoms: Itchy eyes, diarrhea, constipation, wheezing, lethargy
Treatment: Select a high-quality kitten food

Kittens require a specific diet to help them grow healthy and strong from a young age. If your cat is not receiving enough food or enough vitamins, they can become constipated or fail to poop frequently enough.

Kittens require kitten food that is high in protein, fats and vitamins. Most veterinarians recommend specially made kitten foods that are not produced by generic brands. Veterinarians also recommend against homemade diets since it is difficult to provide the kitten with all the nutrients they need.

Make sure that your kitten is getting some wet kitten food specifically. If they are only eating dry food, they will have trouble chewing and might not be getting all of the hydration they need to be healthy.

One last thing to think about when feeding your kitten is frequency. Kittens need to be fed around three to four times a day to account for their increased energy needs.

white kitten eating food from a white plate
Image Credit: Inga Gedrovicha, Shutterstock
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4. Dehydration

Symptoms: Low energy, loss of appetite, sunken eyes, dry skin, panting
Treatment: Increase water and wet kitten food

Water plays an imperative role in your kitten’s bathroom habits. If your kitten is not getting enough water, they will not be able to go to the bathroom. Make sure your kitten is drinking enough water. If needed, hand feed your kitten water and increase the wet food portions to combat dehydration.

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5. Internal Blockages

Symptoms: Vomiting, loss of appetite, swelling, fever
Treatment: Contact a veterinarian

If your kitten consumes inedible items, it can experience an obstruction in the intestines. These obstructions will render the kitten unable to defecate. Some common objects that lead to obstruction include floss, ribbon, and hairballs.

You will need to contact your veterinarian if you think your kitten is experiencing an obstruction. X-rays may help to confirm this suspicion. The veterinarian will create a plan in order to remove the obstruction, and get your cat eating and drinking again. Once the obstruction is removed, your kitten should have regular bathroom habits.

blue abyssinian cat kitten indoor
Image Credit: Kseniya Lanzarote, Shutterstock
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6. Megacolon

Symptoms: Constipation, lethargy, weight loss, anorexia
Treatment: Contact a veterinarian

Megacolon is a serious condition that affects the nerves and muscles of the colon. This condition is seen mostly in adult/senior cats. But if a kitten experiences megacolon, one of the most obvious side effects is obstipation, which is a severe form of constipation.

Megacolon can be caused by injuries to the spinal cord, obstructions, and other unidentifiable causes. A physical examination will have to be performed by a veterinarian in order to determine if megacolon exists. From there, the veterinarian will try multiple methods in order to treat the megacolon.

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7. Congenital Defects

Symptoms: Depends on the defect
Treatment: Contact a veterinarian

Certain congenital defects can render your kitten unable to defecate at all—you will have to go to a veterinarian to get this confirmed. This is very uncommon, but it may be the cause if you have ruled out all other possibilities.

siamese kitten close up
Image Credit: Yulia Kupeli, Shutterstock

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How Often Should Kittens Poop?

Noticing constipation in your kitten can be difficult. Even though kittens eat more than adult cats, they don’t necessarily have to go to the bathroom as much. In fact, some kittens can go as long as 24 hours without needing to go to the bathroom.

More so, changes in environment and food will impact how frequently your cat will need to go to the bathroom. For example, kittens go to the bathroom less whenever they are first brought into the home since it is a new environment.

As a rule of thumb, the kitten should be defecating about the same number of times you are feeding it. For example, the cat should defecate four times if you feed it four separate meals. As the kitten gets slightly older, it will have to go to the bathroom less frequently because its digestive system becomes more efficient.

gray kitten sitting in litter box
Image Credit: Andrey Khusnutdinov, Shutterstock

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How To Treat Constipation In Kittens

If your cat is experiencing constipation, here are three things you need to do to get your kitten back in a healthy state:

1. Talk To Your Vet

Always talk to your vet whenever your kitten is experiencing constipation or any other medical issue. Your veterinarian will be able to perform tests to determine the underlying cause and recommend medically approved treatments.

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2. Discover The Underlying Problem

Work with your veterinarian to discover the underlying cause of the constipation. Treating the constipation is not enough—you have to treat the underlying problems so that the constipation does not come back.

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3. Make Sure Your Kitten Is Drinking and Eating Enough

No matter what the underlying problem is, make sure your kitten is drinking and eating enough. An increase of water and wet cat food will help your kitten fight the constipation and ensure they get the water and nutrients they need to survive.

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Constipation in kittens is a serious problem. If your kitten is not pooping, one of the seven reasons above is likely to blame. We recommend working with your vet to determine what the problem is and to get appropriate treatment.

While you are waiting on the veterinarian appointment, make sure that you are providing your kitten with enough water and wet kitten food. Increasing their liquid intake may be enough to fight constipation.

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Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock