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Home > Cats > Why Won’t My Kitten Poop? 5 Reason & Treatments

Why Won’t My Kitten Poop? 5 Reason & Treatments

cute little tonkinese kitten

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Dr. Lorna Whittemore

Veterinarian, MRCVS

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

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Kittens that are weaned, well cared for, well-fed, and have access to water at all times are rarely constipated. Indeed, constipation is more common in older, less physically active cats. So, if your little kitten isn’t pooping, you need to take her to your vet for a checkup. And if everything is normal health-wise, there may be other reasons for your kitten’s constipation.


The 5 Reasons Why Your Kitten Won’t Poop

1. Underlying Disease

Kittens, just like adult cats, can suffer from certain acute or chronic diseases that can lead to constipation. Although it is rare for a tiny kitten to suffer from chronic diseases, they can be born with abnormalities that can cause constipation, such as anal atresia.

In the case of kittens, intestinal parasites are a common cause of gastrointestinal problems, including diarrhea and constipation. Indeed, the worms (like roundworms) present in the intestines can become so numerous that they block the passage of stool.

In any case, only a veterinarian can properly assess your kitten, establish an accurate diagnosis, and determine the appropriate treatment. Don’t wait to visit your vet, as some medical conditions require urgent treatment. So, if it’s been more than 48 hours since your kitten pooped, it’s time to go to the clinic sooner if they are showing other signs of being unwell.

veterinarian is holding cute cat Burmese cat
Image by: ARVD72, Shutterstock

2. Dehydration

Dehydration can be another cause of constipation in kittens. If your kitten is very young and recently weaned, switching to solid food may cause temporary dehydration. Soaking the kibble for the first week or so can help ease the transition to solid food.

Any other illness reducing the amount of food or water your kitten takes in can also cause dehydration.

To ensure that your kitten stays well hydrated, consider buying a cat fountain, as constantly moving water attracts cats and encourages them to drink more often. Although all cats have their preferences, and some prefer to drink from a glass of water on your nightstand!

3. Obstruction

Obstruction in cats is a blockage of the intestines caused by the ingestion of usually a non-food object; this prevents the animal from defecating and is a medical emergency.

Indeed, cats are curious by nature, but kittens are even more so! Thus, a kitten can ingest an object (such as a hair elastic or a piece of ribbon) that will prevent the normal functioning of its digestive tract and block its stools from moving through the bowel.

Here are the most common signs of obstruction to watch out for if your kitten is constipated:

  • Swollen belly
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Refusal to eat
  • Straining to pass feces

If you notice the presence of one or more of these symptoms, take your kitten to the vet immediately.

vet holding the scottish fold cat in a veterinary clinic
Image by: Alice Rodnova, Shutterstock

4. Stress

Kittens are usually bursting with energy and have no problem coming up with ideas for exercise and entertainment. However, all cats can suffer from stress or anxiety if their environment is not suitable for them. Difficulties with housemates, apprehension to use the litter tray, wrong type of litter, lack of exercise and many other things can contribute to stress and reluctance to use the litter tray.

Position the litter tray in a quiet place where the cat will not worry about being interrupted, and place food and water bowls away from each other and the litter tray.

Provide an array of toys, buy an age-appropriate cat tree, use scratching posts, and sprinkle them all with catnip to stimulate your kitten’s interest.

5. Your Kitten Is Too Young

If your kitten is less than 3 weeks old and hasn’t been weaned yet, they will need stimulation to poop. Normally, it’s the mother cat’s job to use her tongue to gently clean the anogenital area. If, for some reason, the mother cat is no longer around, the young kitten may suffer from constipation from the lack of stimulation. If so, ask your veterinarian for advice on how to clean your kitten’s anus to stimulate bowel movement.

two newborn kittens
Image by: Joy Baldassarre, Shutterstock


Signs of Constipation in Kittens

Besides no stool in the litter box, other signs may tell you that your kitten is constipated:

  • Reduction in the number of stools in the litter box
  • Darker and smaller stools
  • Hard and compact appearance
  • House soiling
  • Many trips to the litter box
  • Plaintive meowing during defecation attempts
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen and sore belly
  • Note: Some of these signs (going back and forth in the litter box, soiling in the house, incessant meowing when going to the toilet) can also occur with urinary problems. Check that your kitten continues to urinate regularly, and if in doubt, contact your veterinarian.
kitten and vet
Image by: Maria Sbytova, Shutterstock

How to Prevent Constipation in Your Kitten

  • Good hydration and a suitable diet are essential to promote intestinal transit and reduce constipation in kittens (just like in adult cats).
  • Add wet food to his diet in addition to dry kibble.
  • Ask your veterinarian for advice on whether you can give your kitten specially-designed kibble with higher fiber to help with digestive issues.
  • Play with your little cat and offer him lots of toys to stimulate him physically and mentally.
  • Keep the litter box spotlessly clean, and preferably use clumping litter.
  • Worm your kitten regularly

Treatments for Constipation in Kittens

In certain cases of severe constipation in your kitten, the veterinarian can put in place an appropriate treatment to restore your cat’s intestinal transit, using medication to soften the stool. They might also consider a colon enema under anesthesia and more in-depth tests like an X-ray. Also, the vet might administer fluids if your kitten is severely dehydrated.



Although quite rare, constipation in kittens can be caused by lack of hydration, poor diet, insufficient exercise, intestinal parasites, obstruction, or other health issues. Unweaned kittens can also suffer from constipation. Fortunately, if the vet’s examination revealed no underlying health problems, your little feline should eventually find their way back to their litter box after you’ve made a few changes to their diet, water intake, and environment.

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Featured Image Credit: Lifesummerlin, Shutterstock

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