Kitten Care

Supplies you will need for newborns and young kittens:
-Heating pad covered with a thick towel – do NOT place kitten directly on a hot heating pad
-Kitten formula such as Pet Lac, Just Born or Kitten Milk Replacement (found at local pet stores and Wal Mart).The liquid formula is best to use if you are not sure what to do.
-Feeding bottles (Pet Nurser ones are best) and several nipples (found at pet stores with kitten formula).
-Eye dropper or syringe (without needle) in case the kitten will not eat from the bottle.
-Several bath towels for bedding and cleaning kittens.
-Kitchen food scale for weighing kittens (optional).
-Digital rectal thermometer (kittens that are 2 weeks old have a normal temperature is between 100 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit – newborns are about 97 degrees.)
-Have Emergency Vet or vet Clinic number handy.

To make a kitten box…
Put a heating pad in a box big enough to accommodate the pad and also provides an area in the box that will not covered by the heating pad. Kittens will crawl toward the heat when they are cold and away from the heat when they are warm. If they do not have an area where they can get away from the heat, they can become dehydrated and die.
Turn the heating pad on VERY LOW and cover it with a towel and place some soft blankets/towels around the kittens. Place the box in a warm and draft-free area.
Never let the kitten lie directly on the heating pad! It must be covered.
If the kitten has fleas give it a bath ONLY if the kitten’s body temperature is 97+ degrees Fahrenheit.
DO NOT BATHE A COLD KITTEN. Use a very small amount of Lemon Joy or Dawn dishwashing liquid. The citrus kills fleas and is safe for kittens. Flea shampoos and medicines for adult cats are too harsh for baby kittens and can poison them.
Use a fine tooth comb or your fingernails to pull out fleas and drown them in the water. I usually submerse the kitten in the water all the way up to their head so the fleas come to the top and I can kill them faster!
After towel drying the kitten as much as possible return the kitten to the heating pad. If you use a hair dryer, place it on the LOWEST setting as far away as you can and quickly blow back and forth only a few times to dry the fur so you do not burn the kitten! DO NOT BLOW THE DRYER IN THE KITTEN’S FACE!
If you do not remove all of the fleas, the kitten can be sucked dry of it’s blood and even killed with a severe infestation! Fleas are the #1 killers of baby kittens!


Determine the age of the kitten to see if it needs to be bottle-fed or if it can start immediately on canned baby food for kittens:
1 – 4 weeks old – will need to be bottle-fed kitten formula or mash. Weighs only 4 -16 ounces.
5 weeks and older – can be offered canned food for KITTENS ONLY but they may still need to be bottle-fed. Canned food must be creamy texture with no chunky food or big pieces. Please try to find the best quality canned kitten food and not low cost brands that are full of chemicals and dyes.
Feeding Instructions:
You will need to buy some pre-made kitten formula such as Just Born or KMR at the pet store with a baby bottle. The liquid formulas are faster and easier to use then the cans. Canned formula can be made at each feeding to stay fresher. Follow instructions on the labels!
Do NOT poke a hole in the bottle with a needle it will be too small. You will have to use some tiny scissors to poke through the top to make the opening. The hole in the bottle should only be big enough that if you hold the bottle upside down the milk drips out slowly. DO NOT MAKE THE HOLE TOO BIG!
PetLac KMR (Kitten Milk Replacer) or Just Born are the best formulas to feed a young kitten.
Do not give a kitten cow’s milk, soy or rice milk!

Warm the formula in a nursing bottle or medicine dropper by placing the bottle or dropper into a cup or bowl of hot water. Test the formula on the underside of your wrist to check the temperature. If it feels too warm or too cold on your wrist, it will feel the same for the kitten. If the formula is too hot, wait until the formula cools down. If the formula is too cold, continue soaking the bottle or dropper in hot water. Always be sure to test the formula again before giving it to the kitten.
Place the kitten on her stomach at a 45-degree angle (just as a kitten would nurse from the mother) and let her nurse until she turns her head. You can also hold the kitten in your hand with its stomach on your palm for support.
Do not hold the kitten’s head back or hold them on upside down on their back as you would a human baby,. The kitten could aspirate by getting formula into her lungs. Avoid allowing air into the kitten’s tummy and hold the bottle at an angle to keep liquid toward the nipple. Pulling back slightly on the bottle will help trigger the kitten’s sucking reflex. Never squeeze the bottle to force milk to come out.
You can hold the kitten with your other hand to keep her steady. See the top menu photo on this website page of baby Hanna.
Do not panic if the kitten does not eat right away. She may be more accustomed to her mothers milk, which is quite rich, and can sustain her for a longer time than replacement formulas. (If she is still not eating after 6 hours, seek veterinary assistance immediately. She may need to be force fed through a tube. Never attempt tube feeding yourself if you are unfamiliar with this procedure. If done improperly, esophageal or stomach damage and even death can result.)


After the kitten’s stomach is full, it is necessary to stimulate their private parts to help them eliminate. A kitten does not have the ability to do this until they are 4 weeks old. Stimulate by taking a warm washcloth, kleenex or paper towel and gently massage the anal region in a small circular or back-and-forth motion. You may want to hold kitten over a towel or sink while stimulating her. COUNT TO 60 to make sure the kittens goes. They will always pee before and after feedings and should poop 1 – 2 times a day.
ALSO, you need to BURP the kitten after feeding. This may take as long as 5- 10 minutes of gentle tapping on their back. If you do not burp the kitten they will end up with too much air in their stomach and they will get sick!

This is a general guideline. A kitten will eat more often or less often, depending on the kitten. The label on the container of kitten formula you purchased should indicate the recommended amount to feed a kitten according to body weight. If a kitten cries, she is either cold or hungry. A contented kitten sleeps quietly.
newborns up to 1 week old – feed every 2 hours day and night (YES, you need to wake up at night!)
1 – 2 weeks old – feed every 3 to 4 hours day and night
3 weeks old – feed every 4 to 5 hours day and night
4 weeks old – feed every 5 to 6 hours day and night
Never overfeed a kitten. If you do not feed a baby kitten on schedule it can go into hypoglycemic shock and die. You MUST feed the kitten on time and all through out the night.
Some kittens will eat and eat as long as food is offered to them. Follow the instructions and guidelines on the container of kitten formula.
When the kitten is about four weeks old, you can begin weaning the kitten with baby food (GERBER Chicken, Turkey or Lamb) or a high quality canned – kitten food mixed with KMR or Just Born Formula. Please make sure there is NO ONION in the Gerber baby food. It can kill a kitten.
Begin by adding just 1/2 teaspoon into the formula and warm it up. You will need another baby bottle for this and it is important to make a BIGGER hole in the bottle for the thicker formula to come out. Remember, it must be able to flow slowly out of the bottle if held upside down. Sometimes the formula gets stuck in the nipple so make sure to stir the formula well before putting in the bottle and shake the bottle often.
After about 5 weeks the kitten(s) should be weaned and they can be fed a high quality canned food in a very flat or shallow dish.
Make sure they have clean water to drink at all times. They should also be able to use the litter box by this time. Use clay litter only or preferable – Corn Litter we like World’s Best Cat Litter.

Do not use clumpable or scoopable litter for baby kittens. It will get in their paws and they will get sick if they lick it off.

Once the kittens are 8 – 9 weeks (2 lbs) they can be spayed/neutered and then available for adoption.

Much of this info thanks to