It is a little disgusting, but you should look at it regularly. Your kitten's poop, and especially its color, can give you a lot of information about your pet's health. The color of a healthy baby kitten's poop is a little different than that of an older kitten or cat.
If your kitten is newborn to 4 to 5 weeks old and is healthy, the color of her poop will be brown with a slight yellow cast. It will be firm and she will poop a couple times a day. This is true if she is being fed and cared for by her mom or if she is an orphan who you are bottle-feeding. Kittens can't go potty on their own until they are about 10 to 14 days old. Their mom will stimulate them to go potty by gently licking their genital areas after she feeds them. If you're bottle-feeding your kitten, you must take a warm washcloth and gently rub her genital area after each feeding to stimulate her to potty.
By the time your kitten is getting most of her nutrition from solid food and less from milk, her poop should be a dark brown color. Her poop may be slightly darker or lighter, depending on her diet, but it should be firm and somewhat moist, though not runny. Your kitten's poop is going to be somewhat stinky, of course, but if she is healthy and eating a high quality diet, the smell shouldn't be too bad. She should have at least one bowel movement a day and if you notice that there's nothing in the box (or accidents outside the box) for a couple days, she should see a veterinarian.
Orange, yellow and white poop indicates your kitten is not well and you should take her to a veterinarian. In addition, if your kitten’s poop is black and tarry in appearance, you should seek medical attention. This can indicate bleeding in her bowels. Of course, if you see blood in your kitten's stool, you should take her to a vet. An abnormal stool color may indicate nothing more serious than that your kitten has an intestinal parasite and your veterinarian will give her a de-worming medication. However, an abnormal stool color can also indicate life-threatening conditions, so don't delay in seeking medical treatment.
Besides color, there are other messages in your kitten's poop. When you scoop the box (or clean up an accident) notice the texture and consistency of your kitten's bowel movement. Note how frequently your kitten is going potty and the odor. Is there mucus or hair in her poop? What's normal for one kitten isn't always normal for another. If you learn what is normal for your kitten, you'll be able to tell much more quickly when there is a change that indicates she may be sick.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Bethney Foster is social justice coordinator for Mercy Junction ministry, where she edits the monthly publication "Holy Heretic." She is also an adoption coordinator with a pet rescue agency. Foster spent nearly two decades as a newspaper reporter/editor. She graduated from Campbellsville University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English, journalism and political science.