Newborn kittens need help urinating and defecating. Mama Cat takes care of that, stimulating them with her rough tongue. If something happens to the mother and you need to feed young kittens, you'll also have to stimulate the excretory process. Fortunately, there's no tongue involvement necessary.
Feeding and then stimulating the orphan kitten goes hand in hand. If you're hand-feeding orphan kittens and helping them excrete, have your vet show you the best way to do it, as well as recommend a commercial kitten milk replacer. After each feeding, which takes place every two to three hours for baby kittens, you'll need to burp him and help him relieve himself. When the kitten finishes eating, hold him over your shoulder and carefully rub his back until he burps. Then it's on to rubbing his privates for peeing and pooping.
What You'll Need
Before feeding the kitten, place some warm water out. You can use either a cotton swab or ball, piece of tissue, soft washcloth or your finger to stimulate the kitten. Dip whatever you're using -- including your finger -- into the warm water before starting the process. The warm water makes the stimulator feel like the mother's warm, damp tongue. You'll also need tissues to wipe up pee and poop and a soft towel to dry off the kitten.
Using your item of choice, gently rub the kitten's anal/genital area after he's eaten and you've burped him. He should urinate and defecate with this easy stimulation. Once he's completed his business, clean him off and dry him.
On Their Own
It might seem as if you've been feeding and stimulating the kittens forever, but in reality by the age of three weeks they should be eliminating on their own. Leave a shallow, easily accessible litter pan out for them to use in the confined space you're keeping them in. It's instinctive for them to cover their pee and poop, so they should readily get the hang of it. If a kitten isn't eliminating on his own by this stage, take him to the vet.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.