We have a cat that just had kittens. The mother and seven kittens are in a big plastic enclosure and at this point the kittens can only wriggle and nurse. I don't think they can leave the container at all for a week or two.

But I imagine they still urinate and defecate, and I just realized that the enclosure is going to get pretty foul. Does the mother cat clean out the waste or do they just live in it or do the nearby humans have to take out the kittens and clean the thing periodically (which will make the mother very angry)?

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    you should leave this to the expert,the kittens mother will clean the kittens and their waste.we humans are not able to do a better job than the kittens mother can do,and it is very important for the kittens that the mother cat stimulates the defecation of her kittens(they need help to poop and the mother knows how). Mar 25, 2021 at 6:30

1 Answer 1


As I understand it, the queen (cat-mum) will help the kittens to defecate and care for the enclosure to stay clean.


Kittens are unable to pass urine or faeces without assistance for the first few weeks of their lives so the ano-genital region – the area around the bottom and the urinary opening of the kitten being hand-reared – needs to be stimulated using a slightly damp piece of cotton wool before and after each feed to encourage toileting. The mother would normally do this by licking the rear end of kittens before, during and after feeding.

(source: hand out from www.cats.org.uk )

I assume, that the queen will lick off the faeces of the kittens, because it is not much, maybe some drops, in the first weeks. It is logical, that there is some mechanism, because cats lived decades without human care, and their nests were not getting foul :)

Later, when the kittens could move themself around, the queen will teach them the places, where it is allowed to defecate. The nest will not be such a place :)

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    This puts human child rearing in a better light for me at least. (I mean, at least the bugger knows HOW to sh.t. And diapers are available.)
    – Stian
    Mar 25, 2021 at 11:09
  • @StianYttervik now that raises the question of what people did before there were diapers. Mar 25, 2021 at 17:04

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