My kittens are starting to grow up, they are almost 4 weeks old. I'm not sure if they are supposed to start potty training or not. They have a mother (not orphans).

My issue is, they seem to have a serious diarrhea. For example, my kid grabs a kitten and kitten spills diarrheic excretions everywhere, which are very orange in color. The kittens of course do not eat or drink, but are still breastfeeding. They appear healthy and happy. They play and do not seem sick.

I don't know what to do or think. I hope someone with veterinarian record answers this, because I was planning to take them to the vet only after they become a month old, so I get a deworming as well as vaccinations at the same time. Vet is far, I don't want to make a visit too early and have the veterinarian tell me he can't give them shots because they are very young.

1 Answer 1


Deworm the kittens. Kittens have worms unless proven otherwise. It's always worth taking a fresh stool sample on your trip to the vet for fecal analysis, so the vet knows exactly what parasites to treat.

There are many causes of diarrhea in kittens, but start with the easy things such as deworming and fecal, then further tests if no improvement.

Kittens with diarrhea can become very sick from the dehydration alone, so do not leave it too late to be treated.

For vaccinations it is likely too young at 4 weeks, but it depends on your location what vaccines are recommended. Each vet or practice may have their own protocol, which may differ slightly. The most common protocol is the feline herpesvirus/calicivirus/panleukopenia (FVRCP or F3) vaccine given starting age 8-9 weeks, and 1-2 additional boosters 3-4 weeks apart. In rabies endemic areas, rabies vaccine is given as early as 12 weeks. For feline leukemia I typically give the first dose at about 12 weeks and booster about 3-4 weeks later.

Bottom line is it may be too long to wait until they are vaccine age to take them to the vet. If diarrhea continues or worsens until then you may have a very sick kitten, even if they appear well now.

  • The cat never pooped brown. I thought the orange is due to kitten poo which mom licks. I think the kitten poo is transforming, and may become brown once the kitten really starts to poo. Like when it gets older. Is this assumption correct? Because I know for a surety that the defecations kitten make when young and mom licks (meaning kitten does not need to go to litterbox) should be yellowish and can look a little orange in color. But this kitten's poo looked very orange. The mother had got a deworming twice before delivering the kittens. Would she need to be dewormed again? Thanks. Dec 16, 2017 at 4:21
  • 1
    @toothless199 Yes, kitten stool is often more yellow; however a kitten should be defecating without stimulation from mother by 4 weeks. Orange poo is definitely worth a trip to the vet. The routine deworming for the mother may have covered for many worms, but may not cover for giardia, tritrich, coccidia, etc. any of which could cause diarrhea in a kitten. With orange stool cannot also rule out hepatobiliary disease, but I'd be inclined to test for parasites first and if that's clear then pursue more extensive testing.
    – Harry V.
    Dec 18, 2017 at 5:08

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