helping kittens with indigestion, upset stomachs and wierd color stools

Cat Indigestion, Stool Colors

Kittens often experience digestive problems, like Diarrhea, Constipation, Gas, Stool Odor, Bad Breath. It is important to monitor Stool Colors as this can be indicative of health problems.

Cat Stool Odor and Stinky Poo

Dear Simba,
We adopted a 7-month-old kitten from the SPCA 1 1/2 months ago.
He is very active and gets along great with our other cat. He has the most fowl smelling poop! He clears the house it is so bad! We have taken him to the vet and they examined him and did a stool sample. His stool was "normal", they found nothing wrong with him other than a gas problem. The vet suggested changing his food and we have done so, twice! Once to IAMS Kitten Dry Food and the other to Nutro Kitten Food. The stool odor has improved only slightly. His belly still looks and feels hard. Would giving him beneficial bacteria, like probiotics? It supposedly helps maintain a health balance of intestinal flora in humans. Thanks - Smelly Cat's Parents

Dear Smelly Cat's Parents,
I would go against giving kitty any type of human supplement without a vet's approval, though PROBIOTIC for Cats - Premo Pet have a good reputation. Let’s see if we can find a cause first. There are a couple of possibilities for kitty’s smelly stool and some of these do not show up in fecal exams. It might be worthwhile to test kitty for:
  • GiardiaNot found on fecal exams, these single-celled parasitic organisms attach themselves to or swim freely in the mucus lining of intestine. They can produce pungent stools. Vets usually administer metronidazole (Flagyl Rx) or fenbendazole (Panacur Rx) to treat this.

  • Coccidia Not always found on fecal exams, these small protozoan (one-celled organisms) multiply in the intestinal tract. They are most common in kittens less than 6-months-old. Most older cats are resistant to them. They are passed through the intestinal tract and can produce pungent stools and diarrhea (less likely in your case). Vets usually administer a sulfa antiseptic medication for 10-14 days for this. Reinfection is common because Coccidia can lie in the environment and can be easily re-ingested. It is important to thoroughly clean the home with bleach or disinfectant cleaners to prevent this.
Be aware that many cats are lactose intolerant so you might want to consider not giving kitty milk. Check out Purina Pro Plan Dry Cat Food, Focus, Adult Sensitive Skin since many cats suffer from tummy troubles! It is also possible that your kitten may be getting too much or not enough fiber. Check out Jenni's letter for tips on increasing fiber intake. Lastly, be sure that you leave water out for kitty 24/7. Proper hydration is necessary for good intestinal performance. Keep me posted. Simba

Dear Simba,
I have a 4-week-old orphaned kitten. I have been feeding him kitten replacement formula. At first he was constipated but that has now subsided. He will eat and about 4 to 6 hours later have a curded formula and a water ring around it. His stools are now slightly green, they have been yellow before. He is very active and his abdomen is not taut or distended. Lately I have been mixing the kitten formula with pedialyte instead of water. What else can I do?─Concerned

Dear Concerned,
You are a good person for taking care of this poor little guy. Here is the scoop: yellow stools are indicative of a bacterial imbalance in the bowel. If the little guy has diarrhea this is usually related to Coccidia. Coccidia are microscopic, parasites that affect the intestinal tract and liver. Best thing to do is to take the little guy to the vet or local animal hospital right away, have him checked out and treated.─Simba

Kitten Stool Color Guide

Hi Simba,
I just noticed a bloody stool in my 4-month-old kitten's litter box. It did not appear to be in the stool, but rather stuck on it with a sort of discharge. She is otherwise completely normal, and this is the only stool of this nature I have found. I am so worried!─Rebecca

Dear Rebecca,
It is possible that this may be an isolated event. At the same time, blood in the stool is indicative of more serious problems.

Poop Color Guide
Any of the following require that kitty receive IMMEDIATE medical attention.
  • Bloody: red blood in stool may indicate panleukepenia (distempter).

  • Black: possible bleeding high in the bowel.

  • Mucous: slimy substance may indicate severe bowel irritation.

  • White: possible serious bowel infection. High risk of death.
The following may require that you seek medical advice:
  • Orange: means there may be too much bile in stool.

  • Yellow: is indicative of a bacterial imbalance in bowel.
As you can see from the list, blood in the stool can be a sign of panleukepenia (distemper). This is a very serious condition. Whatever the case, please take the little gal to the vet and if she has not had her vaccinations, please have them administered. Your Pal, Simba

We have an 11-month-old cat. He was treated for diarrhea before a few weeks ago when our vet gave him a steroid injection and an injection of antibiotics. Two days later he continued antibiotics in a tablet form. The diarrhea that had mucous with it cleared up after about 4 to 5 days. Since then he is been fine, until just recently. The mucous has returned, as has the diarrhea and he leave little "spots" of loose stool when he sits down (not all the time). The vet noticed a "thickening" between his back legs that we seem to remember being something to do with a lymph node/gland. This "thickening" reduced and the vet gave us the all clear about 10 days ago. He still eats well, but does occasionally appear "hunched" in the way that he sits. He did have a brother that unfortunately died of an FIP-related stroke about 3 months ago. This cat is not showing any of the signs that the other did, but we thought it might be relevant.

We are taking him to our vet tomorrow, however we would both like a second opinion on possibilities, we are worried and we do not want anything to happen to this cat, losing the other was bad enough. K&D

Dear K&D,
Hopefully by now your vet have helped out kitty. Check out the letter from Concerned Kitties, as the symptoms they described appear similar to yours. My other thought is that kitty may have inflammatory bowel syndrome.

Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome is a slow-developing disease that causes inflammation in the intestinal track. It can develop in one of two ways the inflammatory cells can enter the intestinal wall in response to an injury or infection or parasites, food intolerance, bacteria, fungi, or cancer can cause the immune system to come into action which can cause inflammation. Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome is not life threatening and its symptoms can be treated. Adding extra fiber into the diet may help by improving the fluid balance inside the intestine thus relieving any diarrhea. Another venue includes antibiotics (for bacterial infections) or other prescription medicines. Your vet will have probably recommended some for your cat. Keep me posted. Simba

Giardia in Kittens

Hi Simba,
My name is Sharon, I have a kitten, Lambchop, whom we found outside last summer. Since day 2 of her arrival, she has been drooling, fatigued and has had diarrhea. She has had only the one bout of diarrhea, but concurring bouts of stomach aches, drooling, wet nose on top and whisker areas, fatigue and looks very sickly in the face and eye area. She is at times unable to even stand. As of today, we have taken her to the doctors/emergency clinic on 7 occasions!

Over the weekend it returned. I will have to call doctor in a.m. She also had to be taken in on Thursday. She was being treated for Giardia. The doctor even over medicated her in trying to rid it permanency. All of my other cats (4) and the dog have been treated. She is now 8-months-old. The doctors are really worried about her. She has been given a medication that is given 30 minutes prior to her meal for the last 4 days. It seemed to be working fine, but once again, she is starting to show the same symptoms. Please help this poor kitten, I do not know what to do.─Sharon S & Lambchop

Dear Sharon S & Lambchop,
If not eliminated, Giardia can be a chronic condition. What happens is that these protozoa grow and reproduce inside of the intestinal wall. They prevent the proper absorption of nutrients, damage the delicate intestinal lining and interfere with digestion. The result is a sickly and lethargic animal, like Lambchop. Treating Giardia involves medication and decontamination.

There are 3 drugs available in the United States to treat Giardia:
  • Quinacrine (Atabrine)
  • Metronidazole (Flagyl)
  • Furazolidone (Furoxone)
Your vet can discuss with you.

Decontamination is just as important. The thing about Giardia is that when expelled they are in the form of cysts containing many Giardia organisms that can survive in outside of the intestinal tract. It is very important that you thoroughly clean your home and wash suspected areas with a bleach or bleach like cleaner to remove all traces of this organism. Since Giardia can attach themselves to the hair & coat of your cats and your dog, it is important that you wash them with a quaternary ammonium compound, using the manufacturer’s recommended dilution. Leave the compound on the animal for 3 minutes and rinse off all the shampoo before you set them loose. You may want to consider putting your animals in a kennel or vet's office for a day to have them cleaned with quaternary ammonium compound you clean your home so as to avoid contamination. Simba

Constipation in Kittens

I just got a 5-week-old male kitten.
I have had him for almost 2 days now and he has not pooped yet. He has peed several times. It seems as though he tries, but to no avail. I have rubbed a damp washcloth along his bottom, and that has not worked either. It seems to me that he should have to go, because he has been eating very well! I have given him a tiny bit of tuna oil, because I was told that would help. So far it has not. Please help! Jenni

Dear Jenni,
While some cats respond to increasing the fiber in their diet using fiber rich pumpkin pie filling, I worry that your kitten is a bit young for these. Anyway, these remedies should not be applied without a vet’s supervision. At 5 weeks of age, your kitten’s stools will be very small in size (like a small tootsie roll), it is entirely reasonable that he has going potty.

Make sure also that you are feeding your friend Kitten Food only. Cats have very delicate digestive systems and it is possible that a recent change in his diet has impacted him. If your kitten cries in pain while trying to go potty, go to a vet, as painful bowel movements and severe constipation may indicate a presence of Megacolon. Megacolon is a condition in which the colon loses its muscular tone and enlarges. It leads to constipation and can be quite painful to cats. The good news is that it is treatable. Simba

Dear Simba,
I have a new kitten that I have been bottle-feeding since birth. She was born on September and she is my little baby. I have been trying to show her how to clean herself and she seems to be getting the general idea but I cannot seem to get her to poop. I have tried everything from rubbing her belly to putting her in warm water and I do not know what else to do. Please help! - Worried Mom

Dear Worried Mom,
Poor little guy! You are moving in the right direction. It is not an easy job. Know that mother cats usually lick the "back side" of their kittens in order to stimulate bowel and bladder movement. Because the kitten’s mom is not around it is your job to take care of this. Here are some tips:
  • Gently rub the kitten’s lower tummy, the genitals and rectum with a moistened cotton ball/pad, or tissue.
  • Rub only a little bit (be careful that you not over-stimulate the area and cause irritation)
  • Watch out for any chafing and lingering dirt.
Your kitten will do a litter better following this. The good thing is that you need to do this for only a few weeks. Let me know how things to. Your Pal, Simba

Flatulence in Cats and Kittens

My name is Brat, but my person may change my name to "Toots" if I do not get help soon. I tend to produce silent-but-deadly emissions. I do not think it is that bad, but you know humans....tell them what to do for me so I do not end up banished to the great outdoors.

Dear Brat,
So sorry to hear of your condition. I hope the following helps you keep your birth name.

Some background. Flatulence is almost always the result of either air swallowing or of the bacterial fermentation of food in the intestines. Liquid diets cause more air to be swallowed. The air then travels through the intestinal track and, well, you know the rest…You can reduce air swallowing by having your humans feed you dry food in small quantities, several times a day. As for bacterial fermentation, this is caused by food not moving through the bowels fast enough. Avoid any and all foods with milk or milk by-products, since most cats are lactose intolerant.

Also, ensure that your people play with you since exercise is important in maintaining a healthy intestinal track. You might also want to try PROBIOTIC for Cats─Premo Pet to help with the intestinal flora. Keep me posted. Simba

Kitten With Bad Breath

Dear Simba,
My kitten, Karma, is approx. 3-months-old and is a typical kitten but also very bright and loving. The problem is that she seems to have very bad breath! Is this common or should I be concerned..... Listerine Kitty's Mom

Dear Listerine Kitty's Mom,
Some bad breath is normal during the teething period in kittens. In older cats the most common causes of bad breath are dental plaque, tartar-induced gingivitis, and inflamed teeth. Check to see if Karma has any sores or inflammation in her mouth. Dental problems are very serious and can cause all sorts of ailments.

Other causes of bad breath may include nasal infections, feline acne among others. It is also possible that kitty may have some metabolic problems like kidney disease or diseases of the stomach which lead to chronic vomiting and the accompanying bad breath. Your best bet is to begin with a dental care program, which includes brushing of his teeth (click here for tips on how to do this). Check with your vet if you do not see an improvement. Simba

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