If you see that your kitten is straining when they are in the litter box, they may be constipated. This may be caused by a change in their diet, by overfeeding or by some kind of infection. Constipation can be caused by intestinal parasites that are so numerous that they block the intestinal tract.
However, constipation could also be caused by dehydration. Always make sure that there is ample fresh water (whether in a bowl or water fountain) available for your kitten to drink. Always make sure that the bowl or fountain has enough water — especially in the heat of summer.
If you notice that the symptoms last for more than 48 hours, take your kitten to the vet for them to do a proper diagnosis (don’t wait that long if the kitten is still very young). Your kitten may be given an enema, X-rays may be taken, and other tests may be done as necessary. Medication may also be given, as necessary is there is another, underlying, cause for the constipation — for instance, an infection.
Diarrhoea in kittens
Diarrhoea isn’t an illness in itself, but a symptom of an underlying problem. In some cases it’s the only symptom, while in other cases it can be accompanied by various other symptoms.
Kittens are very sensitive to dietary changes, so diarrhoea could simply be a sign that the new food that you tried caused an upset stomach because the diet change was too sudden.
When you do change to a new food, you should at first mix the two foods, adding a bit more of the new food every day until only the new food is left. This should take about a week and should accustom them to the new food without upsetting their tummies.
Overfeeding could also be a cause of diarrhoea — kittens should be fed several small meals during the day. They could develop an upset stomach if they eat too much at one time.
When to see the vet immediately
There are some symptoms accompanying diarrhoea that is serious enough that you should waste no time in seeing the vet. These symptoms are:
- Dehydration — dry and tacky gums, listlessness, refusing to eat
- Blood or mucus in the diarrhoea — this could be a sign of worms, which can be life-threatening to kittens
- Fever — Here is an article about fever in kittens
- Frothy diarrhoea
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting — there may also be blood in the vomit
Treatment of diarrhoea in kittens
The treatment of the diarrhoea will largely depend on the cause, however, keeping your kitten from getting dehydrated is very important. They may be given fluids at the vet and may need to stay overnight or for a few days depending on the initial cause of the diarrhoea and the extent to which they have been affected.