Chaos’ Guide to Constipation

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This topic contains 53 replies, has 24 voices, and was last updated by  Janis 3 weeks ago.

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  • #53268

    Chaos
    Participant

    So I have found my responses being mentioned quite often when people have questions about poop, (maybe not recently). So I thought I would make a comprehensive guide to your constipated kitten, mostly focusing on younger kittens. Here we go:

    Causes:

    Most often, when we find orphans or begin bottle feeding babies, they have already gotten used to mothers milk and their systems are already processing it. When we switch, the formula will constipate them. This is normal, and will work itself out in a few days.

    Occasionally, we find a kitten who has a blockage in their intestines. This is very serious and the kitten needs immediate medical attention. Surgery may be needed to reverse this. But, do not panic, this doesn’t come up often. To check, simply get a thermometer and put vaseline on it. Insert it into the kittens anus straight, and push in about 1/2 an inch, or about 1 centimeter. If it doesn’t go in by gently pushing, do not force it. When removed, there should be a small amount of feces on the tip of the thermometer. If the thermometer wouldn’t go in a trip to the vet is warranted.

    Another cause, alternatively, is too much fiber. This causes the stool to harden and become painful. Basically, while in the intestines, too much water is absorbed back into the body.

    In older kittens, the most likely cause of constipation is corn in the foods, or a food sensitivity. Remember, cats are true carnivores. They do not thrive on diets rich in corn, soy, or other fillers. This is why I feed mine corn and soy free food. (It also helps the smell!)

    There are many ways to treat it, but it is better to use a solution that is easier on the kitten. This list will go in order of what you should try before calling the vet:

    -Dilute their formula an extra part with water. So instead of 1:2 ratio, use a 1:3 or 1:4 ratio. Use a 1:4 when dealing with a kitten who has hard stool, or very young kittens who just switched to formula. Use less water each day until at the 1:2 ratio for young kittens.

    -Add 1-2 drops of oil to their formula. This can be canola, olive, or mineral oil. Use this when dealing with hard stool, along with dilution.

    -Use 1 mL of canned pumpkin along with a 1:3 dilution. Do not use if the stool has been hard.

    -Triangle Method, try to avoid doing this to very young kittens, as it can be a little rough for them.

    -Use a thermometer and vaseline to stimulate the anus by gently inserting and removing the tip of the thermometer into the kittens anus.

    -Give the kitten an enema with 1-2 mL of water or mineral oil.

    If after all of this the kitten still hasn’t gone the kitten should see a vet immediately. If the kitten hasn’t eliminated after 5-7 days (5 for young kittens up to 2 weeks, 7 for older) it should see a vet immediately.

    Usually kittens will resolve ongoing constipation issues when they are introduced to hard food or wet food. It is also important that we don’t irritate the kitten raw while trying to stimulate for poop. Only stimulate every other, or every 2 potty breaks, and use warm water with a cotton ball. Do not put anything on the anus if it is irritated, especially if the kitten can clean itself or has siblings.

    Some severe warning signs that the kitten should see a vet are vomiting feces or having diarrhea with mucous in it. These are symptoms of the kitten backing up, and needs to see a vet immediately.

    There is only so much we can do when it comes to pooping, and part of being good guardians for our furry babies is knowing when we should see a professional. Ongoing constipation issues that continue after weaning should also be brought up to a vet so they can recommend a change in diet or prescribe a laxative.

    If you see anything I have missed or have gotten wrong, please feel free to add on or correct me. I am in no way a professional, and all of this is knowledge I have gathered while researching about pooping issues for my fosters or bottle babies.

    Happy Pooping!

    #753015

    jcat
    Participant

    Chaos, you’re a gem, thank you very much. This info will be very useful! I would only add that powdered formula does tend to constipate kittens, sieving the formula after you’ve mixed it and before you give it to them may help but you may also want to try changing to liquid ready-mixed formula or to canned goats milk. I would also add, especially if you’re new to kitten care, don’t try pushing a thermometer into a wee kitten’s anus or giving enemas unless you are very confident you know what you’re doing. If in doubt, always turn to the vet.

    #753016

    CatLadi23
    Participant

    Thank you Chaos! You have taught me all I know about kitten constipation over these last couple weeks! lol! & very good points Jcat!

    #753017

    Chaos
    Participant

    See, I was trying to think of what to add, and I thought about those 2 points afterwards. Thank you JCat, most of this is what I learned prowling around here, messybeast, and yahoo answers, as well as what my vet has told me (: It is always great to know when to go to the vet rather than trying yourself (:

    I hope this helps newcomers! Constipation is very common and scary!

    #753018

    Chaos
    Participant

    Bumping for newbies (:

    #753019

    CatLadi23
    Participant

    Yes this should always be near the top, constipation is a very popular topic around here!

    #753020

    CatLadi23
    Participant

    bumping

    #753021

    Chaos
    Participant

    Bump (:

    #753022

    AV
    Participant

    great advice!

    #753023

    Vallanski
    Participant

    Thank you so much for such clear well written directions. I’m finding it very useful with my latest family of foster kittens.

    #753024

    Chaos
    Participant

    Thank you guys. I hope this has been useful to some people (:

    #753025

    feral
    Participant

    There’s always canned pumpkin you can try. I’ve used it for yrs. It’s worked well. You want to get the ‘unspiced’ kind tho. For kittens,you want to mix a small amt.with water to thin it out & give them about half an eyedropper full. Usually one dose does the trick. If not you’ll want to try the same thing about an hr. later. I’ve used it on the elders I’ve had in the past. They seem to have the problem more as they get older. With the fiber in pumpkin,it actually will work to firm up diarhea as well. It’s been a miracle worker for me & my furbabies since I never seem to be able to catch up with affording the cost of vet visits. If you’ve never heard of using it & aren’t sure about trying it,read up on it. It’s how I learned alot for all my feral & rescues in the past. the wonderful TDKers taught me alot as well. 🙂

    #753026

    Chaos
    Participant

    Yup that’s on there. It’s not recommended with constipated kitties with hard stool. Too much fiber is bad. It works well with warm water.

    #753027

    chibby
    Participant

    Arrrgghhhh!!! I should’ve read CHAOS’ post first before using the Triangle Method on my 2-week old kitties! I hope I havent hurt or damaged them (very worried). I’ll cease this procedure and stick to diluting + vegetable oil.

    Bump Chaos’ post for everyone’s benefit!

    #753028

    New Kitty Mom
    Participant

    My babies will be 3 weeks old on 4/1. Momma kitty died when they were 9 days old.I have been feeding KMR ever since. 4 days on canned and now have been on powdered for 4 days. Do they need to poo every day? Are they too young for the triangle method? Their poo is firm but not too hard, but not the “toothpaste” consistency I read about. They urinate and eat well. I have put pumpkin in the formula, but have since read this may also constipate as well. I am going to try dilution of their formula with their next feed.

    #753029

    chibby
    Participant

    Kitty Mom, I started switching completely to KMR liquid from powder. Even if you mix powder with water as much as you can, there are still itty bitty clumps that your kitties swallow and unfortunately do not digest, then gets dry and hard inside their bowels and gets mixed with outgoing feces. Stick to pure liquid until their digestive organ can churn solid food particles.

    #753030

    New Kitty Mom
    Participant

    Thanks I will switch back to liquid.

    #753031

    Chaos
    Participant

    Chibby, the triangle method shouldn’t have harmed your kittens, at 2 weeks old they are much stronger. They can usually handle it well. Don’t be too worried, I’m sure as long as their poop is coming out normally I’m sure they’re fine.

    #753032

    chibby
    Participant

    Oh CHAOS, by following your advice, my kitties pushed 5 days worth of poop!

    1. I switched from powder KMR to liquid. 2. Added 3 drops of mineral oil.

    3. After feeding, I inserted a lubricated thermometer and it came out instantly!

    After the next feeding I brushed their region with a cotton ball expecting only pee to come out but we got another surprise! It was a lot! First a little runny then turned to toothpaste consistency. Took a long while to let all of it come out but it’s so cute to just watch them push!

    Thanks Chaos!

    P.S. May cease the mineral oil to avoid diarrhea.

    #753033

    Chaos
    Participant

    I’m glad. If you notice chronic runny poop you can give them either .2mL of plain canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) with .2mL of warm water, or add 5mL to their bottle. I’ve noticed the first poop away from mom is usually very well formed, the rest usually become runny at some point. While they adjust to their new diets and their digestive system develops, their stool isn’t always well formed.

    #753034

    New Kitty Mom
    Participant

    I have also switched my kittens back to liquid KMR, with 2 drops of olive oil added, and 3 have pooped. It was a bit firm but I am hopeful this will do the trick. I agree with Chibby,the pushing is cute, they get such a look on their little faces!

    I want to thank y’all for this page! There are so many great tips for new “mommies”

    #753035

    Wolfemom
    Participant

    Thanks for posting for newbies like me. We are trying to sustain 3 orphaned kittens and I must rely totally on what I can glean from great sites like this one. I estimate these babies to be about 3 weeks old. We have had them for almost 5 days now and just got one of them to finally poop last night, after using a tiny sliver of a plain glycerin suppository. I have been doing the stimulation with a cotton ball process since day 1; recently diluted their powdered formula to 3:1 instead of the 2:1 that it was; tried the thermometer and lubricant stimulation, but two of our little ones still can’t “go”. They are urinating when stimulated, and I have gotten some fecal “stains” on the cotton ball. I have been feeding them the KMR powdered formula; I will be switching to the liquid formula as soon as I can get to the store, but it’s a problem as we don’t live close to a large town. The store where I got the KMR powder is about 30 minutes away, may be tomorrow before I can get back there. I read something somewhere about goat’s milk being good for kittens with constipation, but I have no idea where I read it or how to use it (undiluted or not?). I have the goat’s milk; any suggestions about using this to help their constipation? Also have the pumpkin to try. Just need any advice to help these little orphans; couldn’t find a vet around here on the weekend, so that’s out. Thanks for any help!

    #753036

    Wolfemom
    Participant

    Update, it’s almost 8 am here. I have given tiny slivers of glycerin suppository to the other 2 kittens; so far no real results. I have read several times about the “triangle method”. What is that exactly? I also need to make sure I am giving them the right amount of formula. I don’t have any way to weigh them, but I think they are about 3 weeks old. I have been letting them guide me to how much they want each feeding, and that is about 20 cc each time, about 4 times a day (that’s about all we can do, as our whole household works and/or goes to school). A lady has offered to take them during the day this coming week so that they don’t have such a long gap in there between feedings and I think I should let her do that- that will probably also help their “pooping” business. Thanks again in advance for your help.

    #753037

    Chaos
    Participant

    You can let the powdered formula simmer on the stove after reconstituting for a little while, this will help make the formula easier to digest. You can also add 1-3mL of canned pumpkin to help get things going. The poopy stains are good, that means they are trying to get it out, the fiber may help. Just be sure to keep the water diluted 1:3. I’d even try 1:4. At 3 weeks, kittens can go 6-7 hours between feedings, and it’s actually beneficial to give them a break when they are constipated so they can digest what they already have in them. I’d hold off on increasing feedings, when they can’t get everything out correctly, it can make them sick to keep filling them up. So try either lowering how much they eat to 10-15ccs 4 times a day, or 20ccs 3 times a day. They will be ok getting a little less food.

    #753038

    Canuto12
    Participant

    My kittens 2 days old and constipated, is olive oil actually safe btw IM using baby formula

    #753039

    jcat
    Participant

    Vanna, baby formula is not the best option, even when lactose free, it is not rich enough for kittens so if it is the only thing you have, please make it up to DOUBLE STRENGTH for your kittens. If you have access to KMR (kitten replacement milk), that is the best option. Canned goats milk (the baking aisle at Walmart) or fresh goats milk is the next best option. And finally there’s kitten glop, which is mostly either evaporated milk or condensed milk (the heat treatment means kittens can digest it) and other things, such as egg yolk, gelatin, yoghurt, mayonnaise etc. I’ll give you the link for the glop thread: http://www.dailykitten.com/chat/topic/links-for-kitten-raising-sites-eg-messybeast

    Check down the bottom of page 1 of this thread for glop recipes and links, and I totally recommend the youtube videos on bringing up orphaned kittens on that thread too, they’re an awesome start.

    If they’re only two days old, how do you know they’re constipated? They will not evacuate much when they’re only on milk and so very tiny. I would give them more time than this before you start worrying about constipation.

    #753040

    Canuto12
    Participant

    Thankyou, its very hard for me to get much stuff for her I live far away from shops only have scorned store that doesnt really sell any of those products can I feed her just egg yolk,is there any more simple remides ? Pls she lost her mother just yesterday from a dog attack and her kitten is living in a box with some of my old clothes and a sock filled with rice Whicher I put in the microwave to keep warm for her, I really want her to survive 🙁 x!

    #753041

    jcat
    Participant

    No, Vanna, you can’t feed her just egg yolk. Double strength non-lactose baby milk will do if you can’t get anything else, and you could add two egg yolks (no white) to that for extra protein and fat but the glop recipes use things that you should be able to get at the store, surely you can get evaporated milk or condensed milk.

    Don’t forget you can order kitten replacement milk online (or ask your parents to) from a reputable supplier like Entirelypets.com

    #753042

    jcat
    Participant

    And here are the glop recipes from the Messybeast site:

    ‘If commercial kitten formula is not available, a suitable feed mixture for healthy kittens is 1.6 ml evaporated milk, 1.6 ml cooled boiled water, 1 level teaspoon glucose, 1 small egg yolk (no white at all). One recommended by a veterinarian is 3 oz condensed milk, 3 oz water, 3 oz plain full fat yoghurt, 3 large or 4 small egg yolks (no whites).

    Another recipe for glop from messybeast:

    KITTEN GLOP

    Kitten Glop is a suitable feed mixture for healthy kittens and is also good for lactating queens. Most recipes refer to American brand names which are not understood outside of the USA/Canada. I have converted these to generic terms and noted alternatives.

    Ingredients

    1 envelope unflavoured gelatine

    water per gelatine package directions (approx 12 oz)

    1 12 oz can whole evaporated milk (not skimmed) See notes

    3 tablespoons plain yoghurt (not low fat)

    3 teaspoons clear corn syrup See notes

    3 tablespoons mayonnaise

    1 or 2 raw egg yolks (optional) See notes

    Notes

    If you have canned goat’s milk available, use this instead as it reduces the likelihood of lactose intolerance problems. Sheep’s milk is even higher in fat but not generally available in cans.

    Some recipes use 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons plain yoghurt and omit the corn syrup entirely.

    Clear corn syrup (e.g. “Karo” brand in the US) is a concentrated glucose solution. It contains 15% – 20% dextrose (glucose), a mixture of other types of sugar and may be flavoured with vanilla. Dark corn syrup is made with molasses and is more strongly flavoured. Glucose solution may be used instead.

    Raw eggs can be a source of salmonella. Do not use any egg white in the mixture, it can prevent other nutrients from being digested.

    Kitty vitamins and/or acidophilus are sometimes added. Only add vitamins if the diet is deficient in them – vitamins can be dangerous in too high quantities (hypervitaminosis) and vitamin imbalances affect development.

    Method

    Boil the water and mix in gelatine powder. Add the other ingredients in the following order, mixing well after each addition: half of the canned milk, corn syrup (if used), mayonnaise + yoghurt, egg yolk (if used), remainder of the canned milk. Use either an egg beater or a blender set to low speed.

    Serve the glop at room temperature or slightly warmed since the kittens will be used to warm milk. Warming the mixture makes it more pungent and therefore more appetising. Do not pour back unused portions into the stored mix as it may introduce contaminants.

    Glop sets into a jelly when refrigerated. It can either be stored in the fridge in a covered container for up to 2 weeks or frozen into individual portions in ice cube trays and defrosted as needed. Freezing it is very convenient.

    Note: gelatin, since it’s made from cows hooves etc, is chock-full of protein; it gives kittens the amino acids they need.

    #753043

    Canuto12
    Participant

    That is all the info I need, Thankyou so much for your replies 🙂 I will buy some online

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