Too early weaning may also contribute to kittens eating cat litter. Kittens get their early education from their mothers, therefore, too early weaning leaves kittens without someone to emulate on which are desirable behaviors and which are not. Sudden and early separation from their mother can also cause stress to kittens which may manifest in compulsive behaviors like eating cat litter.
Whatever it is that is causing the kitten to eat cat litter, what is important to remember is that during this phase, make sure that kitten's litter is the non-clumping type as the clumping ones will cause digestive tract upset when swallowed. There are a number of natural cat litter options to choose from, the most basic being newspaper. Also, keep in mind not to punish the kitten because punishment may be associated with negative litterbox experience and the kitten may avoid the litterbox completely later on. Just remove the litter from kitten's mouth, remove kitten from the litterbox and play with the kitten to distract its attention from the unwanted behavior.
A veterinary office visit with your kitten will give you the chance to consult with and get correct advise from the veterinarian as to proper feeding and nutrition, the need for supplements, parasite control and preventive measures, vaccinations to protect against common infectious diseases and other pertinent matters related to your kitten's well-being.
Another major culprit when kitten eats cat litter is anemia, a condition wherein the number of red blood cells in the body is less than normal or there is low hemoglobin (the substance that carries oxygen) content in each red blood cell.
A vitamin and mineral deficiency, as mentioned above, may result in a nutritional form of anemia because the body needs vitamins, particularly the B vitamins, and minerals like iron to make red blood cells and hemoglobin. Fleas and intestinal worms can also cause anemia because they suck blood. Infection with certain viruses can damage red blood cells. Kidney diseases can also cause anemia.
Having raised a number of kittens from birth, I have always considered litterbox training as one of the happy milestones in a kitten's life. But occasionally comes along a kitten who eats cat litter! At the very least, this is distasteful and worrisome. There are a number of possible reasons why kitten eats cat litter:
Kittens are curious. Kittens like to explore the world using their senses – even including taste! Usually this is just a passing phase in the kitten's life. Some people would choose to just wait out this phase until the kitten grows out of it. I personally would not recommend waiting it out because this undesirable habit may be due to other more serious conditions. I would recommend an appointment with the veterinarian for a wellness check.
When a kitten eats cat litter persistently, one condition that might be causing this is the presence of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Animals can instinctively sense deficiencies and will subconsciously try to compensate for this by eating different materials, including cat litter.