Kittens are surely one of the cutest animals on the planet. They give much joy to the families they live with.  Kittens are also a big responsibility.  These darling little furballs can’t take care of themselves. It takes time, effort and patience to take proper care of a kitten, but it is well worth the effort.

To help you care for your new fur baby, I’ve provided the following informative guide.  If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me at [email protected]  Thank you and read on!

The type of care varies depending on a number of factors:

  • Age of the kitten
  • How the kitten was obtained
  • The health of the kitten

One thing that is consistent in all situations – every kitten needs loving care.  They need to feel safe.

Moving on…

The ideal age to adopt a kitten is 10 to 12 weeks.  Some kittens get adopted as early as 6 weeks, which can result in them being fearful.

In some cases, a person may find themselves responsible for newborn kittens.  It could be the result of finding stray kittens where the mother has died or abandoned her litter.  There are also occasions where both the mother cat and her litter are discovered.  While the mother cat is the best caregiver for the kittens, they all will still need help from us.  So let’s get started, my friends!

How to take care of newborn kittens

The biggest challenge in caring for newborn kittens is in the event there is no mother involved.  Newborns up to the one-week-old need to be fed every 2-3 hours. They should be weighed daily and the amount consumed at each feeding should be recorded. At 2 weeks old, kittens can be fed every 4-6 hours.  After 3 weeks old until they are weaned they should be fed every 6-8 hours.  Sometimes more frequent feedings are required.  Your veterinarian can best advise you.

Kittens should be fed kitten formula, a kitten milk replacer (KMR), which can be purchased at most pet supply stores.   You can use a syringe with a Miracle Nipple attached.  This can be found in pet stores. The nipple is good if the formula should slowly drip one drop at a time.  Newborn kittens have no gag reflex and it‘s important they not get too much formula at a time.


A newborn should eat about 8 milliliters (ml) of formula per ounce of body weight per day.  To calculate the amount to give at each feeding, divide the total amount of formula per day by the number of feedings.  Keep a log of the newborn kittens’ weight and formula consumed on a daily basis. At two weeks old kittens can be fed every 4-6 hours.

After they are 3 weeks old until they are weaned they should be fed every 6-8 hours.  Sometimes extra weak kittens may need more frequent feedings; your vet is the best to advise on this.  After feeding you should burp the kitten– hold the kitten upright against your shoulder and pat gently on its back.  Be careful not to overfeed, as this can cause diarrhea.  Kittens less than 4 weeks old will most likely go to sleep after feeding.

Older kittens may want to play.

newborn kittens

Feeding several kittens?  What seems to work best is to feed a small amount to each kitten in rotation, then repeat until they are all adequately fed.

Feed the kitten on its stomach and tilt the bottle.  Feed with your dominant hand — belly down and head up.  Feed very slowly – not too fast, because as mentioned above, newborn kittens have no gag reflex.  Gently hold the kitten’s head up – be sure they can swallow, if not, take them to a vet immediately.  If the kitten eats and then turns its head, stop the feeding.  Patience is key.  

Be sure to keep kittens warm – newborns cannot control their own body temperature.  Place a heating pad turned on low (no more than 100 degrees) under a thick blanket or some thick towels, test the warmth and then keep the kittens on it.

Another task that needs to be done for motherless kittens is that you must stimulate the newborn kitten so it can urinate and defecate.  So, after each feeding takes a cotton ball or cotton pad or tissues moistened with warm water and gently rub the kitten on its lower abdomen and the genitals and rectum. Just rub only long enough for them to urinate with each stimulation, and defecate once a day.  Be careful not to overstimulate so as not to cause chafing.  Make sure the area is kept clean as well.

When the kittens are about 4 weeks old, you can introduce them to a litterbox.  Buy a litterbox with low enough sides for kittens to get in and out of easily.  Use a non-clumping litter (kittens can sometimes nibble on litter clumps.)  The kittens should catch on soon – if not, just do a scratching motion with the kitten’s paw in the litterbox.

How to care for kittens with a mother – If you find a litter of kittens alone, don’t automatically assume that their mother is not around.  If the kittens are sleeping peacefully and look clean, the mother is most likely around and caring for them.

No matter how good a cat mother is, and the mother is the best caretaker of newborn kittens, both she and her litter need rescuing.  Think about it – the mother cat will go into heat again, get pregnant again.

All of her kittens who survive will keep reproducing as well.  TNR, or trap-neuter-release, works to help this problem of overpopulation by neutering feral cats (feral means these stray cats have not been socialized and are not adoptable).

These feral cats are also given medical treatment before they are released.  It does seem sad to release them, but they are not domesticated and are not adoptable into families.

However, what the rescue group I volunteer for does to help many of these feral cats is instead of releasing all of them, we offer them to factories, farms, etc., where they are cared for and these cats are excellent at ridding properties of their rodent infestation.  In some cases, these cats actually lose some of their feral ways and actually become affectionate.

Truly a win-win situation!!

How often to take kittens to your veterinarian



credit: Pet Education


credit: Pet Education

I hope this information has been of help to you, my wonderful readers!!