Constipated 4 week old kitten!

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    (Sorry this is long–I’m new to the forum!)

    I have a 4 week old kitten named Lulu which I received when she was 1 week old. She had diarrhea for the first, sometimes the stool had little flecks of blood, other days it was closer to normal, but now in the past week she has been constipated. She started out on KMR liquid in a can (for 2 days), but seeing she had diarrhea, the sales person at Petco said the powdered is more easily tolerated. She has been on powder KMR ever since and it’s been diluted 1:3 or 1:4. She has also been eating a little bit of soft food this past week (Hill’s science diet ID for a couple days, now IAMS canned kitten food along with .1 Nutrical twice per day).

    Last week when Lulu hadn’t pooped for 3 days, my local vet suggested canned pumpkin. I also gave her a little Nutri-cal. When she still hadn’t pooped by the next day, I brought her into to the vet and Lulu was given an enema (saline and petroleum jelly)…still no poop, so by the next day she was given a couple more enemas spaced a few hours apart and she pooped!! It was very firm stool though, an inch and a half long as firm and wide as a pencil eraser. This was Sunday night and she has also been on Lactulose since the enemas. Well, now it’s Wednesday morning and again no poop.

    She is a very playful kitten, strong and hungry. Her belly does not seem quite as firm and puffy as it did before the enemas and lactulose, but I’m getting worried again. I have been reading the information on the Daily Kitten since I got her and it has been very helpful, but at the same time I am afraid to try suggestions given in posts without asking the vet too. I’ve never had such a tough time with a kitten pooping—or not pooping!!

    So my question is–How abnormal is this and what can I safely try with her??

    ***She is able to go pee on her own in her litter box and she appeared to be able to poop on her own early last week when she squatted and started pooping on the carpet!! I also try to stimulate her to go after each feeding, but I don’t want to make her raw. When I stimulate her now she seems to try squirming away and she puts her ears back. Should I just keep trying??—I had to work on her quite a while when she passed the hard stool on Sunday…



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    I’ve tried some of the things according to “Chaos’s Guide to Constipation” and I have also read in a couple other posts that switching back to liquid pre-mixed KMR helped others. I also had wanted to try a drop of oil in the replacer but my vet didn’t think I should try that, she is concerned that if the kitten vomits she could aspirate and then if she got oil in her lungs she would definitely die—that’s why I’m being so conservative and I’m afraid to try it. How safe is it??

    I also wonder if the wet canned food caused her to get stopped up–I’ve given her only small amounts with kmr–she bites and sucks it off my fingers and sometimes takes it off a spoon. At her last feeding I gave her KMR only, diluted at 1:4 and NO canned wet kitten food.

    I called my vet and the suggestion is to increase the lactulose to .2 and then she will be getting another enema this afternoon because this helped her pass the stool last time. I also plan to switch back to canned liquid KMR after this (even though it originally caused her diarrhea when I got her three weeks ago).

    Does this sound like it will work…my vet has not charged me for extra calls and questions, but I know they are not experienced with young kittens there, and there seems to be so much confusing information.

    (They are the vet who treats my other cat which I took care of from the age of 3 weeks old. They told me then they do not work with kittens that young, but she never had these issues–she was way easier and she is over a year old and healthy now!)



    Sorry to hear your kitten is having such difficulties.

    You’ve had and followed good advice. I can only add, from the experience of hand raising a feral kitten that had chronic constipation due to mega colon from the time she was barely two weeks old, that it helps to feed lots of small meals rather than fewer larger meals and to make sure the kitten gets plenty of liquids. Obviously, with bottle feeding she is getting liquid. It may be early to transition to canned solid food yet. I’d be inclined to make up a watery slurry of the canned food and water and offer small amounts of that alternated with the KMR, if your vet approves the idea.

    It sounds like you are doing a wonderful and dedicated job of caring for this baby kitten. They are so fragile at that age it is too often quite hard to find the balance of just what works best for them.

    Good wishes and prayers for your kitten and you.



    My kitty also had constipation problems. Try stimulating her with a cotton ball. I found the cotton ball less irritating to the bottom. I know you may not like holding the kitten down and stimulating her, but my kitty also squirmed so I had to hold her down and stimulate her thoroughly to get her to pass a stool. Just remember you are doing it out of love for her health, and mama cats also hold down unruly kitties with their paws.

    I didn’t start giving my kitten canned cat food until six weeks of age. A kitten your age would not be eating solid foods yet in nature. Powder milk formulas are known for causing constipation, so I think switching back to the liquid milk is a wonderful idea. If you want to try further diluting the powdered milk to either 1:3 or 1:2, then you could… this might ease her constipation. I always strained the chunks of powder out of my kitties formula to ensure it wasn’t clogging her up.

    What your vet says about mineral oil is true. It is toxic in large amounts and if aspirated. However, I did put a drop of it in my kitties bottle twice a day and it solved her constipation problem, but my vet okayed this and my kitty never got sick from it. Your kitty is already on lactulose though, so I seriously wonder how much good mineral oil would do since lactulose is suppose to be much stronger than mineral oil. If your vet has a serious concern with the mineral oil, I would listen to the vet.

    I think your best bet is a diet change for the kitty and to stimulate the kitten thoroughly despite the kitty’s protests. Please let us know how this turns out, the kitty will be in my prayers.

    P.S.: I meant to add this, A vet told me once to try running a stream of warm water over the kittens rectum if I couldn’t get a stool passed with stimulation, but she said I should always try stimulating with a cotton ball first. The water did help me some.



    Thanks for all of your posts! 🙂 Later in the afternoon after I posted, she passed stool…similar to the last one, maybe a little bit more, lighter in color, but only slightly softer. I had taken a break from the canned food and ¬watered down the KMR a little more. After she pooped I thought she’d be okay with canned food and KMR along with continuing the lactulose. She is 4 1/2 weeks old now and she is eating the canned food out of a shallow bowl. (The reason I started her on canned food was because I read on a different site that you could introduce it at 3 weeks and she had diarrhea when I started it. The Hill’s Science diet I/D food was also given to me by the vet.)

    I thought she would be getting more regular now, but again she has a round and puffy tummy and by the way she moves at times it looks like she needs to go to the bathroom (squats slightly). She still acts very energetic and plays, but I think I am going to cut back on the canned food again–that’s what I did last time. I gave her canned food every other feeding and in small amounts. I also think I will space her feedings closer together. I picked up her second dose of Nemex wormer from the vet and gave it to her yesterday, so I am hoping this does not have any negative effects.

    She acts so hungry and gobbles up any food I give her whether it’s KMR or canned food–I have been pulling it away if necessary. It makes me feel bad to do that but at the same time, I am so nervous about whether she goes to the bathroom and I know she needs to go poo to stay healthy!!



    How is Lulu doing today?



    She’s doing much better now and I think she is finally on the right track! She’s been going to the bathroom regularly since Saturday. She’s still on lactulose but it’s been reduced to .1 one time per day. She is also eating the IAMS kitten food mixed with Hill’s Science Diet WD and KMR. I went back to the canned liquid KMR too. This all seems to be working well for her and the vet says I will be able to slowly go off the lactulose. I’m very happy she is doing better!

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