Brown-colored solid stools are a good indicator that your cuddly kitten is getting everything she needs from her diet and all of her organs are working properly. However, if her droppings are suddenly a different color, it may be time to get her in for a checkup.
Whatever goes into Mitsy’s mouth directly affects what comes out the other end. If you’ve recently weaned her and started feeding her solid food for the first time, it may take a while for her body to adjust. In the meantime, her business may be a different shade of brown, a little green or even close to black. If you haven’t changed her food, however, she could’ve gotten into something she shouldn’t be eating. Put up any plants and don’t leave food out on the counter. Anything out of the ordinary in her diet should make its way out without causing serious problems.
Worms also affect the color of what Mitsy leaves in her litter box, often making her stools dark and tarry. Kittens can get worms while nursing if their mom is infected or by sharing a litter box with another kitty who has them. One of the initial warning signs of worms is blood in her stool, although you may actually see fragments of worms in her droppings too. Tapeworm pieces look like grains of white rice. They can stick to the fur around her rear or fall off into the litter. If your pint-size companion has roundworms, you’ll see long neutral-colored spaghetti-like worms sticking out of her anus or attached to her waste. If you suspect worms, handle her litter box waste with caution, wearing gloves and washing your hands thoroughly afterwards. Take a stool sample to your vet for a proper diagnosis.
Kittens can be born with bowel abnormalities and sensitivities. Severe intestinal problems such as colitis, inflammatory bowel disease or even bouts of constipation can cause blood to leak into Mitsy’s stools. You might not see blood directly on her rear or in her litter box, but her stools will be very dark -- almost black. Darker than normal waste doesn’t always mean she’s bleeding internally, but take a stool sample to your vet just so he can check it thoroughly.
Color isn’t the only thing you need to worry about. Watch for diarrhea or watery droppings, as well. Loose stools aren’t always a major concern -- kittens can get temporary stomach bugs just like humans, although food allergies can also be the cause of her stool problems. If she has diarrhea for days, she can quickly become dehydrated and very ill. Just as a precaution, take her to the vet at the first sign of something abnormal in the litter box.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.