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Constipated kittens.

Species: Cat
Breed: Mixed long hair
Age: Less than 3 mon
I am fostering 5 kittens. I think they are about 5 weeks old. They still cannot use a litter box and are consuming about 1 tablespoon of KMR formula about 4 to 5 times per day. They are urinating ok but aren't pooping. What can I do for them? They don't seem uncomfortable and are playful, starting to pounce on stuff, and eating regularly.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

It is really common to see kittens get constipated when they are being fed milk replacer. One thing that can sometimes help is to add a small amount of sweet potato flavored baby food to their milk.

However, if these kittens are 5 weeks old, they can definitely eat solid food. (I usually start introducing solid food at 4 weeks.) You can get some canned kitten food and water it down and offer it as a soup in a saucer and then bit by bit put less water in it.

Sometimes just stimulating the anus (by rubbing it) can encourage the kittens to poop as well.

If they don't go within the next 24 hours, they may need to see a vet. The vet may give some subcutaneous fluids and also do an enema. That's not something you should try at home though.

I hope they do ok!

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thank you so much :) How can I tell how old they are? Their ears completely opened about 5 days ago and they are getting really mobile. They are not using the litter box and one of them even tried to eat the litter! I stimulate the anus when I'm also trying to get them to pee, but no luck...Are they old enough to start them on kitten food?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

It's tough to tell for certain. Do you have kitchen scales? Generally, a 4 week old kitten will weigh a pound and a 5 week old kitten will weigh about 1.25 pounds. If they're less than a pound then they still need milk replacer.

I had someone ask me a similar question recently. They had (I think) 3 week old kittens. The sweet potato baby food added to the milk did the trick for them.



Customer reply:

Thank you for your help :) I'll get them weighed and I'll start the sweet potato baby food. I'll post back how it goes...


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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.