Many pet owners who have a newly adopted kitten will discover that for something so little and cute, they can produce some rather smelly feces which goes beyond the usual odour one would expect from cat feces.
What causes a kitten to smell like poop?
Basically, kittens are still learning, they are not as efficient at grooming themselves or burying their feces. In addition, kittens can be prone to diarrhea, which makes the situation worse.
Making a mess in the litter tray:
When I have had kittens (not for a long time now) I have noticed that they are not efficient in the litter tray as an adult cat. Most will attempt to bury their feces and sometimes end up with feces on their own paw. This, like grooming (see below) will improve as the kitten grows up.
The kitten’s mother teaches her kittens all things cat, and that includes grooming, but as with any young, it can sometimes take a little while to get the hang of things. Some kittens just aren’t as efficient at grooming yet, but this will come, in time.
Sudden change in diet:
Kittens can be sensitive to dietary changes. It is always recommended that you find out what food the kitten has been eating before adoption, and stick with that brand in the early days. If you do want to change the type or brand of food, do so over a few days. Add a small amount of the new food to the usual diet, so say 80% regular food, 20% new food, and increase the quantity of the new food while decreasing the quantity of the old food.
When a kitten weans, most most of them become intolerant to lactose, which are the natural sugars in the milk. Kittens produce an enzyme in their small intestine called lactase which breaks down lactose in the milk and converts it into glucose and galactose, to produce energy. As kittens wean, the body greatly decreases or completely shuts down lactase production, after all, most mammals stop drinking milk once they have weaned, so it is no longer necessary for the body to produce lactase.
If the kitten drinks milk after lactase production stops, the lactose passes into the colon where bacteria ferment, producing gas which leads to flatulence, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Kittens are curious and sometimes eat things that they shouldn’t. Kitchen scraps, plants and other random objects. These can cause gastrointestinal disturbances such as flatulence, smelly feces and diarrhea.
An parasitic protozoa which infects the small intestine affecting many mammals. Infection occurs via the fecall-oral route, contaminated water, food, environment, fomites (inanimate objects) and direct contact with an infected animal or person. The incubation period is anywhere from 1 to 14 days.
Giardia symptoms include foul smelling feces, greasy feces, abdominal pain and flatulence.
There are a number of medications which may be used to treat clinically affected cats, however, no drugs been approved for treatment of giardia in cats in the USA.
A common parasitic worm which can be transmitted to kittens via the mother’s milk. Other modes of infection include exposure to eggs in the environment or infected hosts (rats, mice etc).
Roundworm symptoms include stunted growth, pot bellied appearance, diarrhea, and roundworms in the vomit.
Treatment is a suitable anti-parasitic medication to kill the worms.
Worm kittens as follows:
- Every 2 weeks from 2 weeks of age until 12 weeks of age.
- Every month from 12 weeks of age until 6 months.
- Every three months from 6 months.
What can I do about a kitten who smells like poop?
Check his anal area and if it is dirty, gently wipe it with damp cotton buds. Most kittens are adopted between 10 – 12 weeks, and while they are ready for their new home, they still more to learn about how to use the litter tray and groom themselves. The good news is cats are fastidiously clean and this is only a short-term issue.
You can give the kitten a bathe in lukewarm water and an appropriate pet shampoo that is suitable for kittens. As most cats don’t like water be warned the kitten may struggle.
If the kitten is displaying additional symptoms such as diarrhea, lethargy, vomiting, pot bellied appearance, failure to grow and an unkempt coat, seek veterinary advice. Kittens are quite fragile and can dehydrate quickly.