The worst part of raising a young kitten is scooping the litter box multiple times per day – it smells horrible, it’s messy, and young kittens don’t always have the best aim.
But understanding how often your 6-week-old kitten poops can help you keep a watchful eye on her growth and health as she gets older. Understanding her bathroom habits can also ensure you stock up on enough litter and never run too low!
6-week-old kittens poop once for every meal they eat, averaging 3-4 trips to the litter box a day. But wet food could make your kitten poop more often as it’s bulkier than dry food and fills her digestive system quicker. Your 6-week-old kitten’s stool should be dark brown and neither soft nor hard.
Just as you keep track of how much your kitten eats and when, you should also be monitoring her litter box usage—especially her pooping habits! To learn about how often 6-week-old kittens poop and what to keep an eye out for, read on.
How Do Kittens Poop Before They Learn to Do It Themselves?
The first few weeks of a kitten’s life are full of significant milestones, such as opening her eyes for the first time and learning to stand upright without wobbling. But unlike many animal species that relieve themselves instinctively — albeit, not always intentionally—a newborn kitten can’t poop or pee without a little help!
Before a kitten gains control over her bowels, her mother will take the lead and do something called “stimulation.”
After each feeding, the mother cat will lick the kitten’s anal and genital regions for up to 60 seconds at a time. This licking motion will usually trigger the kitten to pee first, eventually causing the kitten to poop if she has stool ready to eliminate in her digestive system.
If a kitten is abandoned before the three-week mark, you’ll have to stimulate the kitten yourself.
You can do this by massaging a warm and wet cotton ball or rag in the anal and genital areas with gentle, circular motions. Remember to avoid using soap, which can irritate a young kitten’s skin, and wipe away any pee or poop that the kitten releases to avoid possible infections.
Here’s a video that shows you how you can stimulate your kitten to pee or poop if you happen to have a kitten younger than three weeks old:
Can a 6 Week Old Kitten Poop on Its Own?
A 6-week-old kitten can usually poop on her own, and many kittens even learn how to use a litter box to poop by the time they’re just three weeks old. That’s because it takes about three weeks for your kitten’s abdominal muscles to be strong enough to force her bowels to contract without needing assistance from you or her mother!
By the time your kitten is six weeks old, she’s likely figured out how a litter box works and when to use it. Perhaps she saw her mother or her siblings use the litter box or even realized that she could cover her poop with litter—a feline instinct—if she went in the box full of clay litter!
It’s also possible to train a kitten as young as three weeks old to use the box with a little conditioning and reinforcement training.
To do this, you can:
- Use litter attractants to encourage her to go.
- Place your kitten in the box immediately after eating or waking from a nap.
- Avoid scented litters, as kittens prefer natural scents anyway.
- Give your kitten her favorite treat when she uses the box.
- Keep the box clean, as some kittens refuse to use a dirty box.
While it can be frustrating when your 6-week-old kitten has an accident or misses the litter box entirely, don’t punish her when these things happen. Remember that she’s still learning to read her body’s signs that she has to relieve herself and may not realize how urgent she has to poop until it’s too late.
There’s also the chance she isn’t a fan of her current litter box set-up, which is when you’ll want to ensure that the box is clean, the litter is unscented, and that the box is in a discrete location (kittens need their privacy, too).
How Often 6 Week Old Kittens Poop
6-week-old kittens usually make a trip to the litter box for every meal they eat on any given day. Since many kittens are chowing down on meals 3-4 times a day by the six-week mark, you should expect your 6-week-old kitten to poop up to four times a day. However, it wouldn’t be unusual for a kitten of this age to poop 1-6 times a day, depending on her diet and activity level.
Fortunately, you won’t have to scoop the litter box as often as your kitten gets older. Your kitten will eventually have better control over and more room in her digestive system and, finally, get down to pooping once or twice a day as she approaches adulthood.
Certain factors can trigger a kitten’s poop schedule to change from one day to the next—such as a mostly wet food diet—which tends to fill up the digestive tract quicker and lead to more frequent poops.
What a Kitten’s Poop Should Look Like
When you scoop your young kitten’s poop out of the litter box, you probably look away and hold your breath, hoping to get through this experience without dragging even more of your senses into it. While it’s essential to track your kitten’s poop frequency, it’s also useful to make sure your kitten’s poop is “normal.”
Your kitten’s poop should be dark brown (not black, pale, or bloody), neither firm nor soft, lack mucous, and come out at a relatively consistent schedule.
It’s essential to make a note of any changes you see in your kitten’s stool from one day to the next, as a change in color or consistency can be a sign of a severe medical problem. You also want to be vigilant while your kitten is in the box—spending significantly more or less time in the litter box can be a cause of concern.
Some common changes you may see in your kitten’s pooping habits (and what they could mean) include:
- Diarrhea: If your kitten’s poop is runny or liquidy, you may be feeding her too much, she could have worms, or may be allergic to a specific ingredient in her food. Take her to the vet if she has diarrhea for longer than 48 hours, as consistent diarrhea may lead to severe dehydration.
- Constipation: You’ll notice your kitten is constipated when she spends an abnormally long time in the box or appears to be visibly straining to poop. Your kitten may appear bloated, and her stool may be bloody or mucousy. The possible cause is dehydration or a hairball, so be sure to contact the vet if your kitten goes 1-2 days without pooping.
- Green: This could be a sign of a bacterial infection impacting her digestive tract, as well.
- Grey: You’re feeding your kitten far too much, or she may not be getting enough probiotics in her diet.
- Black: Your kitten may be experiencing severe bleeding in her digestive tract, and she likely needs to see a vet as soon as possible.
- Orange: Your kitten may have an issue with her gallbladder or liver that needs treatment.
If you notice that your kitten’s poop is anything but malleable and dark brown, you don’t have to immediately take her to the vet.
Allow the issue to resolve itself within 24-48 hours (unless you see other symptoms, like lethargy), as it’s possible that your kitten merely ate something she shouldn’t have, or this is her body’s natural response to stress. Any issue lasting for longer than two days requires immediate vet intervention and can be a sign of a severe medical problem.
Keeping a close eye on your young kitten’s poop sounds a bit gross, but it’s necessary if you want your kitten to grow up both happy and healthy.
Take your kitten to the vet immediately if her bowel habits change (she’s not pooping at all, or she’s suddenly pooping upwards of six times a day) or if she’s also exhibiting other concerning symptoms (like a lack of appetite, inability to stand, or severe lethargy).
The good news is that you won’t have to scoop your kitten’s litter much after she reaches her adult years. So long as her poops are normal and occur once or twice a day, you can assume that she’s a healthy, happy cat!
- Hartz: Going to the Bathroom, Kittens
- Catster: How to Make a Kitten Poop
- Preventive Vet: Cat Poop – How Often Should A Cat Go?
- The Spruce Pets: Kitten Feeding Schedule: How Much to Feed Your Growing Kitten
- National Kitten Coalition: Kitten Stool Chart
- Chewy: Remedies For Kitten Constipation
- WebMD: The Scoop on Cat Poop