If you’ve found yourself with orphaned kittens, you’re going to have to take on some of the responsibilities that their mother would have done for them. One of which is helping kittens that are just 4 weeks or so and younger poop after meals.
The easiest way to do this is with what’s called the ‘Triangle Method’. The Triangle Method is basically the term to describe how you position your fingers (in a triangle formation) when gently massaging a kitten to poop.
Here’s how you can use the Triangle Method to help a kitten pass feces:
How to Use the Triangle Method When Stimulating a Kitten to Poop
Orphaned kittens under the age of 3-4 weeks will need your help to urine and defecate (poop), as they are reflex eliminators at this age. This basically means you need to stimulate the kitten for them to poop, just as their mothers would.
For this, you can use the triangle method as a basis for how you’re going to perform the motions and position your hands.
Here’s the 4-step process to follow if you want to stimulate a kitten to poop and pee:
Step 1 – You will need to try and stimulate kittens to pass feces and urine after every meal. The items you need are;
- Cotton pads
- Warm water
- Something to catch the pee and poop, like a container or just a cloth
As they get older you can start stimulating them over their litter box to get them more comfortable with the idea of pooping there when they’re ready.
Step 2 – After they have finished eating, hold the kitten around their midsection and with a cotton pad soaked in warm water, start rubbing it on the kitten’s anus area in a circular motion or side to side using a triangle formation with your fingers. (Hence, the name Triangle Method).
Step 3 – You need to keep using this motion until they have emptied their bladder completely. If they are going to poop, you will feel or notice some abdominal effort. A healthy young kittens urine should be dilute yellow, and their poop a brownish-yellow and slightly firm.
Step 4 – Make sure the kitten is clean after they have finished, this will reduce any risk of infection. Gently wiping them with another cotton pad soaked in warm water will do just fine.
How Often Do Newborn Kittens Poop?
You need to try and stimulate kittens after every meal. They should be pooping 1-2 times a day at 2-3 weeks. This might progress to 2-3 times a day as you increase the amount they are eating going into weeks 4-5 of age.
From 4 weeks onwards most kittens are ready to learn how to use the litter box. Make sure they have easy access to the litter. I cut walkways through the sides off a small litter box with my last kitten. I started stimulating her over her box and letting her step in there at 4 weeks, and it was a really easy transition.
Kitten Not Pooping? Here’s What to Do
If you’ve been using the Triangle Method and stimulating your kitten using steps similar to what I’ve outlined above but they’re not pooping, there is an issue you need to get to the bottom of.
The most obvious answer is that your kitten is constipated. If you haven’t seen them poop in a couple of days, you should investigate the following possible causes:
Be Patient While Stimulating
There’s a fine line between overstimulating and not trying long enough. If you’re new to using the triangle technique it might help to ask your vet to demonstrate how to do it.
It’s possible you’re rushing it or not quite stimulating the right area to encourage the kitten to poop.
Dehydration is a common cause of constipation in kittens. If they have passed stool recently and it was hard, this is a sign that they are dehydrated.
Make sure they have easy access to freshwater. It doesn’t do any harm to put them near their water bowl and encourage them if they’re weaning off milk.
Worms and intestinal parasites in kittens are fairly common and can be easily treated. You’ll need to get them checked out by a vet to be sure what types of parasites they have. They will then advise you on the best course of treatment.
Ways to Prevent Constipation in Kittens
If your kitten has been weaned on to solid foods, you can add some more fiber into their diet to help with mild constipation. I covered in detail how the right type of pumpkin can help with constipation, as well as olive oil as a home remedy for constipation in cats.
If dehydration is an issue, there are a couple of things you can do. One is to add a little water to your kitten’s dry kibble. Another is to experiment with positioning and types of water bowls to see what they prefer.
A lot of cats prefer the sound and feel of moving water. You might have to invest in a cat water fountain, but these are awesome. I have one myself and it’s clearly obvious that cats like drinking from fountains.
Regarding parasites and worms, the best course of action here is to follow the advice of your vet. They will be able to determine the exact cause and best course of action.
TL;DR In Summary
I know a lot of people have heard of the Triangle Method but were not sure exactly what it was. I hope I’ve helped clear this up for you. I’ve used this myself to help newborn kittens poop after feeding. Not for quite a few years now though.
I know how daunting it can feel helping an orphaned kitten. They look (and are) so vulnerable without their mothers. But it’s one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever experienced.
If you have any experiences you want to share, I’d love to hear about them. Just drop me a note below. Thanks!