Why Does My Kitten Smell Like Poop?

Many pet owners who have a newly adopted kitten will discover that for something so little and cute, they can produce some rather smelly feces which goes beyond the usual odour one would expect from cat feces.

What causes a kitten to smell like poop?

Basically, kittens are still learning, they are not as efficient at grooming themselves or burying their feces. In addition, kittens can be prone to diarrhea, which makes the situation worse.

Making a mess in the litter tray:

When I have had kittens (not for a long time now) I have noticed that they are not efficient in the litter tray as an adult cat. Most will attempt to bury their feces and sometimes end up with feces on their own paw. This, like grooming (see below), will improve as the kitten grows up.

Improper grooming:

The kitten’s mother teaches her kittens all things cat, and that includes grooming, but as with any young, it can sometimes take a little while to get the hang of things. Some kittens just aren’t as efficient at grooming yet, but this will come, in time.

Sudden change in diet:

Kittens can be sensitive to dietary changes. Find out before adopting a kitten what it has been eating and stay with that brand in the early days. If you do want to change the type or brand of food, do so over a few days. Add a small amount of the new food to the usual diet, so say 80% regular food, 20% new food, and increase the quantity of the new food while decreasing the quantity of the old food.

Cow’s milk:

When a kitten weans, most of them become intolerant to lactose, which are the natural sugars in the milk. Kittens produce an enzyme in their small intestine called lactase which breaks down lactose in the milk and converts it into glucose and galactose, to produce energy. As kittens wean, the body greatly decreases or completely shuts down lactase production, after all, most mammals stop drinking milk once they have weaned, so it is no longer necessary for the body to produce lactase.

If the kitten drinks milk after lactase production stops, the lactose passes into the colon where bacteria ferment, producing gas which leads to flatulence, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Dietary indiscretion:

Kittens are curious and sometimes eat things that they shouldn’t. Kitchen scraps, plants, and other random objects. These can cause gastrointestinal disturbances such as flatulence, smelly feces, and diarrhea.


Giardia in cats

A parasitic protozoa which infect the small intestine affecting many mammals. Infection occurs via the fecal-oral route, contaminated water, food, environment, fomites (inanimate objects) and direct contact with an infected animal or person. The incubation period is anywhere from 1 to 14 days.

Symptoms of giardiasis include foul-smelling feces, greasy feces, abdominal pain, and flatulence.

There are several medications that may be used to treat clinically affected cats, however, no drugs have been approved for the treatment of giardia in cats in the USA.



A common parasitic worm that can be transmitted to kittens via the mother’s milk. Other modes of infection include exposure to eggs in the environment or infected hosts (rats, mice etc).

Roundworm symptoms include stunted growth, pot-bellied appearance, diarrhea, and roundworms in the vomit.

Treatment is a suitable anti-parasitic medication to kill the worms.

What can I do about a kitten who smells like poop?

Check his anal area and if it is dirty, gently wipe it with damp cotton buds. Most kittens are adopted between 10 – 12 weeks, and while they are ready for their new home, they still more to learn about how to use the litter tray and groom themselves. The good news is cats are fastidiously clean and this is only a short-term issue.

You can give the kitten a bath in lukewarm water and an appropriate pet shampoo that is suitable for kittens.

If the kitten is displaying additional symptoms such as diarrhea, lethargy, vomiting, pot-bellied appearance, failure to grow and an unkempt coat, seek veterinary advice. Kittens are quite fragile and can dehydrate quickly.

How do you get dried poop off a cat?

Most cats will clean themselves, however, young cats may have difficulty cleaning themselves. The best way to remove dried poop from a cat is with unscented baby wipes or a damp washcloth with a small amount of baby shampoo and wipe the area clean.

If the cat is seriously soiled, it may be necessary to either trim the soiled fur or bathe him or her. Most cats don’t like water, therefore it is recommended you try to remove feces with a baby wipe and if that fails, bathe the cat.

Always towel dry the area once cleaned and keep the cat in a warm room until the area is dry.


  • Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio