How do I teach my kitten to clean feces from itself?
I adopted a kitten, when he was only 1.5 months old (he is now almost 4 months), from his breeder so he didn't know a lot things. So I've had to teach him how to use the litter box and even how to eat from a bowl. However the one thing I haven't been able to teach him is how to clean himself.
He tends to lick himself all over his body but from time to time he gets some poop on his fur which not only makes him dirty, but also my carpets and quilts. Is there a way to make him understand how to clean himself instead of me needing to cut away some of his fur so that the feces falls off?
You didn't say, but I'm guessing your kitty has medium to long hair. If this is the case, you will need to take him to the groomers regularly so they can shave his "back end." Otherwise, it is difficult for your cat to get that area completely clean.
Also, I'm guessing that you're probably still giving your kitten a lot of wet food. He is old enough to be eating dry kitten food. Try dry food during the day and a half a can of wet food at night. This will help solidify his stool so it won't get in his fur. If you have never given the kitten dry food, you will need to mix the wet and dry together until he gets the hang of it.
Also, remember, kittens usually rush the litter box process because they want to get back to all the fun things they're missing. I know it's frustrating, but it sounds like you are being very patient with him. I hope this helps!
Not all longhairs need their butts groomed on a regular basis, but that is especially true of kittens who are still learning and the elderly who are less flexible. Good points about diet and kittenish distractability. Arguably these should have been part of the basic briefing a breeder gave for care and feeding if someone hasn't adopted a longhaired kitten before...
@keshlam Very true about the breeder comment. But not so sure about this breeder, since he/she let the kitten be adopted at 6 weeks. 8 weeks is usually the minimum, and 10 weeks is even better so the kitten has learned what I call "cat law."
@kittyconsultant: That was my instinctive reaction, though I've never had one younger than a year. That's another "breeder should have" violated, and suggests one may want to keep an eye on this cat's health over the years since it suggests the breeder is... inexpert.
Downvoting for the suggestion to solve the issue through dehydration, which may solve this problem but will introduce others. There may be a protein sensitivity; switching to a different wet food can also solidify stools. (Source: a long-haired kitten with a sensitivity to seafood proteins who has been fed almost exclusively wet food most of her life.)
In my experience a healthy cat or kitten will produce rather dry poop that doesn't stick to the fur. That suggests that your kitten is having stomach issues and may need a vet visit.
Kittens usually have more sensitive stomachs than adult cats anyway, and from what I've seen a kitten with stomach problems is much more likely to have sloppy, messy poop than to throw up - and sloppy, messy poop will stick to fur. Kittens will also be more likely to step in it afterwards (cleaning up after that is not fun!) while they're trying to cover it up.
What I did with the last longhaired kitten I had when she had issues was to start with a box of tissues and use the tissue to "wash" her butt. You might get everything out this way, or you might need to brush/comb the rest out. I recommend doing this when the kitten is sleepy or you'll be trying to clean a squirming ball of energy that wants to play with you. Don't forget to thoroughly wash your hands and the brush/comb after you've thrown the used tissues in the trash.
If there's a lot of poop to clean, you might need several sessions, and if the kitten is having serious stomach issues, you might want to trim the fur there until you can get the stomach problems settled.
A few other thoughts:
- there's a difference between a healthy, more or less dry poop hanging from the kitten's butt and poopy mess sticking to the fur. The dry dangler is probably either the kitten rushing the job to get back to the more interesting things or a partial hairball that hasn't been fully passed. If it's a hairball, there'll be kitten fur holding the poop and you'll want to give the kitten hairball treatment.
- As others have said, the breeder really shouldn't have given you the kitten so young. You'll want to watch for other health issues.
- If your kitten has ongoing diarrhea, you need to see a vet.