I have two litters of kittens on the ground right now which were born 10 days apart. The moms, Loxa and Trixie, are co-parenting or raising them all together. Loxa has a litter of four, Trixie has seven. As expected, they are cute as hell.
When kittens get to be about four or five weeks of age, mom’s milk isn’t enough for them any longer so I introduce them to solid food. Once a kitten starts eating solid food, their mother refuses to clean them up “down there” anymore. If the source of the poop didn’t come from her, she’ll have nothing to do with it. In most cases, this will be the first time I have to deal with kitten poop as I normally don’t even see it until this stage.
This is like the toddler age for a kitten, except kittens learn what to do way sooner than human babies. We breeders call this “messy week.” You get some kittens (usually the girls) who feel the urge to go, see the little litter box I gave them, and they get it immediately.
“I have to poop! Oh good, there’s a litter box. I will poop in there.”
The rest of the kittens may need more guidance. It can go like this:
“Something’s coming out back there! OMG! What do I do? No! Don’t put me in the litter box! I have an emergency here! I said I have an emergency; stop putting me in the litter box! Oh god, it’s coming out, that feels better. I’ll just go along my merry way and maybe the others will think my fat brother did it. OMG! It’s following me! Let go! Let go of me!”
At this point the panicked kitten will scoot its furry butt on the floor in an effort to dislodge the stubborn poop, decorating the floor with poopigraphy and imbedding the rest into its tail and bottom. Butt baths can become a daily routine for the ones who don’t learn to stay and hover until the task is completed.
For these two litters, messy week will be prolonged because of the age differences of the kittens. The oldest litter is starting to figure out the litter box, but next week, the younger seven will discover solid food and the whole thing starts all over. Seven butts. Thank goodness it is messy week and not messy month.