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Help/advice needed with Kitten litter training

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by Benina, Sep 9, 2020.


  1. Benina

    Benina PetForums Newbie

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    Hi all,

    Me and my other half adopted our first kitten 4 days ago. We have both had a kittens before with our families but this is our first together. She is such a sweet little girl but we're having some issues with her poo and urine.

    I'll firstly admit that, in hindsight, we made a mistake and didn't prepare well enough for litter training.

    She's also had diarrhoea since we picked her up 4 days ago. I spoke to a vet about it 2 days ago and they suggested trying some gastrointestinal food first. That seems to be helping as things have got a little more solid since we started feeding her that.

    Anyway, here's our concerns:
    • She doesn't always use her litter tray. At first she had one litter tray which was in the dining room. We gave her free reign over downstairs by the end of her first day but she wasn't using her litter tray if she was in the living room. We tried putting a second litter tray in the living room but she didn't always use it - for example she would wee in the corner while we cleaned the poo from the tray. Since yesterday we've had to confine her to the dining room and have put both litter trays in there. She has used the litter trays mostly since then but had one little diarrhoea accident last night (her only diarrhoea of the day). We have tried all the common tips on getting her to use her tray and my concern is that we might be doing something wrong and that when we re-introduce her to other rooms she won't use her tray from there again.
    • Our biggest concern is that when she does use her tray for a poo she gets it all in her fur (she's not longhaired) and drags it out with her. She also drags her bum across the floor to wipe it a bit (we've put newspaper down for this now). This has led to her smelling all the time, having poo all matted in her fur around her bum and lower tail and spreading little bits of poo around wherever she goes. We try cleaning her as much as we can with a wet cloth but we can't get it all.
    As mentioned - the last point is our greatest concern. I'm worried that we're not doing something right so any help/advice on all of this would be very much appreciated!
     
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hello @Benina and welcome :)

    The likely reason your kitten avoids the trays sometimes is because she has loose stools. This is partly for instinctive hygiene reasons (she does not want to contaminate her tray with abnormal poo) and partly because she may feel sore or uncomfortable when she has loose stools and associates the discomfort with the litter trays so avoids them.

    However, she knows what the trays are for as she is using them for pee and sometimes for poo, so this shows she is trying her best to do the right thing.

    The reason she drags her bottom along the floor after a poo is either because her bottom is wet and sore (due to loose stools) or because her anal glands are not emptying as they should each time she poos. Anal glands do not empty unless the poo is firm enough to put the right amount of pressure in the rectum during defecation.

    The solution is to focus on addressing the loose stool problem. The best way is as follows;

    1/ Take her off cat food and for a few days feed her a simple diet of home cooked chicken (legs, thighs or drumsticks). Serve the meat and skin chopped without bones and add a couple of dessertspoons of the cooking stock for fluids.

    2/ No other food, no dry food, no treats, no cat milk, no table scraps. Just plain filtered (or cooled boiled) water to drink.

    3/ The simple diet will slow down peristalsis and rest the bowel.

    4/ It is likely she will pass no stools for a few days. When she passes a formed stool gradually transfer her back to her cat food, taking a few days to complete the transfer.

    5/ If the stools turn soft again, immediately put her back on the plain chicken diet. Then you may need to find another cat food to transfer her to if the RC Gastro is not helping e.g one of the complete chicken recipes such as Thrive Complete, Seriously Good Chicken (both from Pets at Home) or Sainsbury's Delicious Chicken. Just that and no dry food or cat milk etc.

    6/ add another litter tray so she has 3 in all. This will give her more options if her stools are loose.

    7/ If she has diarrhoea/loose stools, empty the whole tray of litter, wash the tray with a solution of bleach & cold water, dry, and refill with new litter. Otherwise the tray will smell bad and she will avoid it for hygiene reasons.

    8/ Use a litter that absorbs fluids and odours well. Not wood pellets. Either a low dust non-clumping clay litter, or one of the cereal based clumping litters, or a shredded clumping wood litter called Cats Best Oko Plus.


    Has she been wormed since you got her? If not you can use Panacur granules and add them to her food (once she is back on cat food) Panacur can be bought from Pets at Home or other pet stores.

    You may find these cleaning mitts useful for cleaning her fur (they are suitable for kittens, and are unscented which is important for a cat)

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/ScrubbyPet-Shampoo-Mittens-Grooming-Reusable/dp/B06ZYHZPHQ/ref=sr_1_34?crid=23N94OY7Y67EV&dchild=1&keywords=dry+shampoo+for+kittens&qid=1599656728&sprefix=dry+shampoos+for+kittens,aps,143&sr=8-34

    If her poo does not firm up in spite of the diet, and the worm treatment, you would be advised to look at having some poo samples tested at the lab for parasites, bacterial bowel infections and viruses.

    Has your kitten had all her vaccinations btw?

    Please let us know how things progress :)
     
    Booksniffer and Benina like this.
  3. Benina

    Benina PetForums Newbie

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    @chillminx Thanks so much for the detailed reply - I will go to the shop and sort all that out and let you know how we get on!

    She was wormed at the end of August and had her first set of vaccines in the morning before we picked her up 4 days ago (Saturday). Her second set is booked in for 24th September.
     
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  4. Benina

    Benina PetForums Newbie

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    @chillminx how much cooked chicken would you suggest feeding her per day?
     
  5. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    It really depends on the individual kitten and their appetite, as they are all different. I usually let a kitten eat all they want of wet food or cooked meat.

    I'd suggest starting with a heaped tablespoon of chopped chicken + added broth x 4 meals a day. If she is still hungry increase it. If she leaves some, giver her a bit less. :)
     
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  6. Benina

    Benina PetForums Newbie

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    Well the 100% chicken diet seems to be working so far (touch wood) - she's not passed any stools since yesterday evening.

    She's also absolutely loving the chicken!
     
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  7. Benina

    Benina PetForums Newbie

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    @chillminx Well after 2 days of the chicken diet on Friday evening she passed a solid one. We started slowly introducing her to her normal food yesterday. We even let her back in the living room yesterday evening and she used the litter tray in the dining room from there. But when my other half went downstairs this morning there were multiple stools and a little bit of diarrhoea. She urinated in the corner of the living room this morning also...

    Very frustrating as it feels like we're back to square one now (and I think she's getting bored of the chicken diet)
     
    #7 Benina, Sep 13, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2020
  8. Benina

    Benina PetForums Newbie

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    Update:

    She doesn't seem to be interested in eating the cooked chicken at all now. Put some out for her last night (with a little bit of specific gastrointestinal food) and she didn't eat any. I cleaned it out and put in some cooked chicken this morning and she's not gone near that either
     
  9. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Benina - I'm sorry to hear the little one still has loose stools. This kind of problem is not always easy to resolve straight away, but I am sure we will get there! :)

    As an alternative to the chicken you could offer her poached white fish (pollock, coley, cod or haddock) . It can be cooked in the microwave in a covered dish with a few tablespoons of water added for stock. Or you can cook it on the hob on a covered plate (with water added for stock) on top of a saucepan full of boiling water for 10 minutes, Chop the fish and check for bones and serve with the juices. Tesco sells bags of frozen white fish (pollock) at a reasonable price.

    If she is not keen on the fish, other plain cooked meat would be OK e.g. turkey thigh (drumstick), chunks of leg of lamb casseroled for an hour. You may be able to come back to the chicken later if you pot roast it in the oven rather than boiling it. (Pot roasting method = use a roasting tin, put in the meat + about 5 cms of water, cover tightly with baking foil and cook at gas mark 5 for one hour at top of the oven) It has much more flavour when cooked this way and the nutrients are better conserved.

    The fish will be best for calming her bowel, but it she won't eat it then you will have to try other things. It is essential she eats. Kittens can go downhill very quickly if they stop eating and drinking.

    Other wet foods I would try are one of the simple recipes such as Thrive Complete Chicken, Seriously Good Chicken (Pets at Home) or Sainsbury's Delicious Chicken. They are all complete foods.

    If necessary offer her supermarket foods such as Gourmet, Sheba, or Felix AGAIL just to get her eating. You may even have to resort to dry food for now. Main thing is she eats at least a couple of meals today.

    I advise taking her to the vet tomorrow and asking for some Prokolin (or similar). It is an intestinal clay which binds the stools. It is not a cure but is another way of slowing down the bowel.

    I would also consider having some samples of her stools tested at the lab for bowel infections, parasites and viruses. You will need a sample from 3 separate days, and it must not be contaminated with cat litter. You can either go via the vet or directly to a good vet lab that deals with the public (as well as with vets).

    https://www.palsvetlab.co.uk/contact-us/

    Meanwhile for the moment, I advise restricting her access to certain areas of the house, or even just keep her in one good sized room, giving her several litter trays and all she needs, food, water bowl, toys etc. It will make it easier to clean up and she may be more likely to use her trays if there is not too much choice of other places to poo (e.g. carpets). This is just a temporary measure until the diarrhoea has gone. Then I am sure she will use her trays all the time.

    You could try adding an extra tray with a puppy training pad in (cut to size) Sometimes a kitty with diarrhoea will use that when they refuse to use a tray with litter in. Possibly the softness of the puppy pad appeals more, if their poor bottom is sore. Again this would be an interim measure until the diarrhoea is resolved.
     
  10. Benina

    Benina PetForums Newbie

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    @chillminx thanks again.

    The diarrhoea was nowhere near as bad as it was before but there was still a little there.

    I gave her some microwaved pollock about 20 mins ago and she ate a bit but then threw it up very shortly after...
     
    #10 Benina, Sep 13, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020
  11. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Sorry to hear the pollock did not agree with her. Maybe it is too new and strange to her.

    As there is still diarrhoea (and now some vomiting) the next step is to get some poo samples tested at the lab. We need to know what (if anything) is underlying all this.

    When the bland diet does not really help a kitten, then stool samples need to be tested. Your kitten could have e,.g. giardiasis, and this needs to be ruled out.

    I advise either asking your vet to arrange it (you will need to supply samples from kitty from 3 different days) or use the PALS VetLab by going direct. If you log on to their website you will see how to order a test kit, which you then use for obtaining samples to send to the lab.

    Meanwhile kitty must eat, so you should give her anything she can keep down for the moment - just as a holding measure until the stool results come back.
     
  12. Benina

    Benina PetForums Newbie

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    She's seen the vet today. They said that she doesn't seem to have any problems and they've given us some Panacur and some Pro-Bind and told us that if things don't get better after around a week we will likely need to do the stool tests. They also advised only feeding her one type of food.

    The bland diet of just chicken did work when she ate it, it's just that she won't eat that anymore and not eating is probably a bigger problem. It's frustrating.
     
  13. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Will she eat any of the simple plain chicken foods such as Thrive Complete, Seriously Good (Pets at Home) or Sainsbury's Delicious Chicken?
     
  14. Benina

    Benina PetForums Newbie

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    Haven't had chance to get her any of that yet as I'm back at work this week. I'll be getting her some as soon as I can get to pets at home
     
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  15. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Benina - I was wondering how things are going with your kitten? x
     
  16. Benina

    Benina PetForums Newbie

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    @chillminx I've been quiet and not said anything because I didnt want to jinx it but a week on from the vet visit and everything is seemingly OK at the moment.

    We found a food in tesco called 'Blink' that was basically 99% chicken and stock so we transitioned her from the gastrointestinal food to that. Since Saturday we've started transitioning her from the 'Blink' to Felix and it's going well so far.

    I can't thank you enough for all your help throughout this!
     
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  17. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Aww, I'm very pleased to hear things are going well. That's great news.! :) I;m very happy I was able to be of any help. :)
     
    Benina likes this.
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