How to Care for a Newborn Kitten without a Mother

8 Best Ways to Care for a Newborn Kitten without Mother

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Taking care for a Newborn kitten without mother needs special effort round the clock. But, it will be done if you put in the dedication and time. Some of the feeding time requires being awake at night just like we do with our babies. However, they grow faster, so you are only going through this in a couple of months.

Most times, taking care of a newborn kitten is frustrating because you have to worry about their well being- are they feeding well? Are they growing as they should? You will have periods of sleepless nights. You need to be dedicated to your kittens and keep it on close watch.

After your effort to keep them, they may not make it, and that could be sad. The life rate for most kittens is only 40%, according to studies. But you will have an eternal bond with them through the caring period. If you want to know how to care for newborn orphaned kittens to help them develop faster and healthier, dig into this article!

How should I Handle the Kittens?

Kittens should not be over handled. If your kitten is barely a week old, please consult your veterinarian. To socialize properly with your kitten, you should start to handle them from the second or third week to the eighth week. This period is considered a safe and essential time for human and kitten socialization.

Another essential thing to note is that kittens are prone to injury if handled carelessly or roughly. You need to be very gentle while handling your kittens.

How to Care for a Newborn Kitten without a Mother

Some techniques to keep your kittens safe and healthy.

If you have or stumbled on an orphaned newborn kitten, take the following steps.

1. Attend the situation

Don’t assume they are orphaned if you see a litter of kittens because you didn’t know the mom around. The mother cat can leave her babies for a while. That’s normal! You can take a close watch to see if the mother cat would return. She is in the best position to take care of her kittens, so you shouldn’t take it. If she doesn’t come back for them after some hours, it’s time for you to offer help.

2. Kittens don’t need your type of shelter

If your shelter doesn’t require neonatal kittens, taking them into your shade is like a death sentence. Most shelters don’t have the room for very tender kittens, and if you want to keep them, then you have made them your responsibility.

3. Act Fast

Orphaned kittens need extreme care. Gather the kittens and make a care plan in less than 24 hours- you can adjust your care plan later on but now focus on their needs. If you notice any health issues like bleeding or gasping for air, please consult a vet as soon as possible.

4. Get suitable provisions

Now, quickly gather some materials and provisions to keep the kittens warm, fed, and safe. Look out for a checklist of documents to keep the kittens away from household hazards.

5. Make sure the Kittens are stable

Kittens need to warm, and they are not capable of controlling their body temperature. So, you have to help them regulate their temperature before you try feeding them, mostly if they have been exposed to unfriendly weather conditions.

A warm water bottle or a heating pad is enough to provide a steady and mild temperature for the kittens.

6. Feed the kittens

Feeding may be a little tricky if it is your first time! You can do it. Just be gentle while putting the bottle in, be slow and friendly while feeding them.

Another thing to note is never to feed cow’s milk to your kittens because it is hazardous to their health and can cause instant death. Purchase kitten milk in any pet trusted pet food store.

7. Make the Kittens go to the bathroom

Feeding may be a little tricky if it is your first time! You can do it. Just be gentle while putting the bottle in, be slow and friendly while feeding them.

Another thing to note is never to feed cow’s milk to your kittens because it is hazardous to their health and can cause instant death. Purchase kitten milk in any pet trusted pet food store.

8. Keep the kittens clean

Newborn and orphaned kittens need round-the-clock care, the younger they are, the more attention they require. You will have to provide 4-5 hours between feeding, ensuring they are safe, and an environment conducive to them.

With these few steps outlined, you can be able to access and take care of your new found pets.

Newborn Kitten Needs

During these few weeks of a kitten’s tender age, their primary concern is developing social and interaction skills, feeding, and warmth and learning how to excrete urine on its own. As the mother cat had left the kittens, care has solely become your responsibility.

Also, during the first four weeks of birth, don’t allow people to handle the kitten because they still have poor and undeveloped immune systems at that time. They are easily infected and prone to infections and illnesses. Always wash your hands each time you want to handle them.

Don’t let your kitten interact with other pets or animals around, even other cats. You can’t tell how these other animals will treat the little kitten. Kittens are very feeble at this stage, so be extra careful with them.

If you are having more than a kitten, you can keep all in the same box, this will help them provide warmth to each other, but don’t mix the sick and healthy kittens.

Dietary Requirements for Newborn Kittens

The mother cat feeds her kittens milk, and her milk provides all nutrition her kitten needs during their first tender weeks. Your orphaned newborn kitten needs protection and nourishment from you to ensure you give just that.

Kittens require a large amount of energy. Their energy should be 4-5 times more than that of the adult cat, so you need to provide them with the food that would give them the required strength.

Your kitten food should contain at least 25% protein. Make sure you choose food that offers specially designed for kittens. These kittens need to feed daily and regularly. For the first week of the kitten’s life, it should feed every 3-4 hours. Later on, you can reduce to at about 5 hours intervals.

When feeding your kittens, you should use a bottle feeder using kitten milk, which comes in powder or liquid form. This formula is similar to what we use for our babies, but specially designed for kittens. You can find the bottles and feeding nipples at a pet store; how much to feed your kitten depends on the kitten’s weight.

The feeding bottles of kittens come with guidelines and instructions and how to open the bottle nipple to allow the flow of milk. If the hole of the nipple is significant, they can take in much milk and drown in the process, don’t cut the entire nipple tip; this can lead to the drowning of the cat. If you’re having issues in preparing the fed- bottle, you can consult your Vet to help you do it.

Below are general points on how to feed your newborn kittens

  • Kittens should be warm. They cannot digest their food well if their body temperature is low.
  • Nurse your newborn kittens every 2-3 hours
  • Kittens of 4- 5 months should be fed every 3-4 hours, if they are asleep at night past their feeding time, do not wake them up.
  • Make a blended mix of 1 part powdered formula and two water parts.
  • When the kittens are about three to five years old, you can feed them milk replacer and small amounts of wet kitten food five times daily while you gently stop the milk replacer.
  • As your kittens grow to three to seven months, you should feed them three times daily
  • Weight gain in a kitten is a sign of a healthy life. But, introduce portion control as they grow older to prevent overweight.

Weaning Process

What is weaning in kittens?

Weaning process is were a kitten is slowly gets introduced  to normal diet as growing cat. For a baby kitten with the mother it normally starts after 4-5 weeks. Where as for a adopted kitten, you can start the weaning process after 3 week. This will help the kittento getting used to the normal diet. 

When a kitten is ready for weaning, it shows you some signals and expects you to grab. It starts by biting off the nipple and pulling forcefully; it would be able to lick off their formula from fingers. Continue to bottle-feeding while they do this, so they don’t miss out on any nutrition needed to obtain.

The first thing to do during the weaning process is to make the kitten take off formula from your fingers, then graduate to a spoon if used to this skill, and place formula on a flat plate.

While your orphaned kittens are up to three to five weeks old, start to give them the milk replacer, in a deep bowl then, introduce wet food so that they can easily chew. You can make a blend of heated milk replacer and premium dry food. Serve in a deep bowl, don’t forget to feed them four to five times daily. When they are up to six months, they will be used to their new diet and will be able to chew without you moistening it.

Teaching the kittens to use the bathroom (Litter Box)

Newborn kittens need help while they defecate or urinate. A mother cat would smooth her kitten’s body with her tongue to help them do this, but since she is not available and it’s just you, help them by gently rubbing them with a wet and warm cloth over their anal area and genitals. This process would stimulate them after each feeding and urine (pee) would come out.

This stimulation procedure should occur during the three to five weeks of life, always clean the area while you are doing with this.

When the kittens are now up to four weeks old, you can teach them how to make use of a litter box by putting them in the box after each meal. It will make it easier for the kitten to go in and out.

The special bedding for newborn Kittens

Make use of a simple box, and soft blankets to put the kittens. To keep them warm, you recommend you use a warm water damp bottle wrapped in a soft towel. Put two soft blankets into the entire box. Don’t use a heating pad in this case because the kitten may overheat.

How to make a kitten warm

If you want to use a heating pad for this, you should watch the kitten closely. The heat pad is placed so that the kitten can move away from it whenever it wants to. You can also set the heating pad or towel close to the kitten as you handle it.

Consult your Vet to get enlightened on the perfect temperatures for the kitten, monitor your heating pad, and make sure it’s working correctly.

Newborn Kittens need a veterinarian

Generally, getting in touch with your Vet during the first tender week of the newborn kitten is a great idea. This will help you monitor the kittens’ life progress, and if any health issue arises, you will be able to tackle it as soon as you notice.


Keeping newborn kittens wouldn’t be a good idea for everyone; they need a dedicated kitten lover who will provide selfless service and the special treatment they need. If you can do that, then take care of them! Your Vet would be there for you if you encounter issues.

With the information acquired above, keeping orphaned kittens won’t be a difficult task, and you would be pleased to watch them grow in health to an adult cat.

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