The Pet Parents® Guide to Taking Care of Newborn Kittens

Updated: September 08, 2022

After your cat’s pregnancy and labor comes the most exciting part, knowing that your lovable kitty cat now has kittens of her own. But with great joy comes great responsibility because taking care of your cat’s litter also involves you. So, whether you're acting as a substitute parent or working closely together with mother cat you should be familiar with how to take care of newborn kittens. In this article, we’ll talk about some of the most important things you should know about newborn kitten care as well as what newborn kitten supplies you might need.

how to take care of newborn kittens

"Newborn kittens are born blind & deaf and must always be kept warm."

Warm Bedding for Newborn Kittens

Newborn kittens are born blind & deaf and must always be kept warm. Normally, they will curl up together with other kittens in their litter and with their mother cat, but you can use soft Pet Parents® Pawtect® Blankets as bedding to keep them comfortable and cozy 24/7. These cozy blankets are made with Sherpup® Proprietary Multi-layered Fabric that generates an interior barrier that does not allow liquid or moisture to pass through. This type of fabric is also what gives Pawtect® Blankets the ideal softness and comfiness appropriate for newborn kitten supplies.

To make sure the heat inside the whelping box is enough to keep them all warm, you can also add heating pads under the blanket. Be sure that it does not get too hot if you add a heating pad. A comfortable, warm place to lay is essential in newborn kitten care, so make sure you have bedding on your list of newborn kitten supplies.

newborn kitten supplies

Proper Feeding for Newborn Baby Kittens

How long can newborn kittens go without eating? Typically, kittens will feed every 2 hours. You will know when they're hungry because they will start crying and moving around.

Although the kittens are still not able to see, they can find their way to their mother for nursing on their own! This is because of their tactile perception. Still, you should assist them in locating their mother's nipples for nursing and help them take turns feeding, allowing the smallest ones to go first. While a mother cat will usually have great instincts on how to take care of newborn kittens, she will not be able to assist the weaker ones the same way that you can.

In the case of the mother cat rejecting her kittens, dying from giving birth (we hope not), or not having enough milk, you can consult your veterinarian on what special formula or milk replacer to use. In bottle feeding newborn kittens, make sure bottles are sterilized before and after feeding. As the kittens age, the number of feedings they need per day goes down. You can start weaning kittens at four weeks of age.

Additionally, according to Animal Alliance NYC, kittens under four weeks old must not be given any solid food. It is also important to keep in mind that it’s not good to skip feedings or overfeed the kittens. Each of these can cause diarrhea, which then results in dehydration, a condition that can be life-threatening for small kittens (not to mention the trouble of cleanup!). Diarrhea in kittens requires an immediate visit to your veterinarian.

Newborn kittens also cannot pee or poop on their own yet. So, what is the best newborn kitten constipation remedy? If you are acting as the substitute parent for the mother cat, you must stimulate their private areas using a wet cotton ball after every feeding so they can eliminate.

Nutrition for Newborn Kittens

Newborn kittens basically don’t need anything but their mother’s milk. But in some cases where their mother may be absent or has stopped nursing them too early, you'll need to be more proactive about the litter’s nutrition. Kitten milk replacement that’s recommended by your vet will provide essential nutrients in an easily digestible form (as mentioned above).

During weaning, the kittens may now be given soft, solid food to eat. At this point, they must be offered only high-quality kitten food in parts that are appropriate to their age, weight, and health condition. When they are older, kittens can be given supplements daily to help strengthen their immune system and boost their overall health. There are a lot of cat supplements available in the market, talk to your vet to know which ones are trusted and true to their marketing words.

newborn kitten nutrition, what to feed a newborn kitten

Over-The-Top Hygiene

When taking care of newborn cats, maintaining good hygiene is key. Keep the newborn cats away from all soiled materials inside the whelping box. You will want to make sure you have plenty of lining for the whelping box when purchasing newborn kitten supplies. Use Pet Parents® Pawtect® Pads that you can change out regularly. This will keep everyone away from taking a bath on their own pee or poop.

These whelping pads are triple-stitched and have large, wide zig zag stitching that is accompanied by the sturdy, straight stitches that make one strong binding. This ensures that you don't have to second guess if the pads are going to successfully prevent messes without falling apart. Plus, you can machine wash them over and over again. With a pack of two, you can always have one on hand ready to go!

Pet Parents® Washable Cat Diapers are a great option for the mother cat, too! This will preventh her from soiling her young and the bedding as she will still have some bloody discharge weeks after giving birth. These cat diapers also allow mother cat to pee and poop without the mess and the cleanup. Pet Parents® Washable Cat Diapers has leak-proof, water-proof shells that will make sure messes stay inside the diaper and soft non-abrasive WickQuick® proprietary fabric. This fabric wicks away liquid fast, preventing your cat from developing diaper rash and urine burns. These washable diapers can also be re-used when your cat goes through her next heat cycle.

Also, don’t forget your own hygiene when worrying about how to take care of newborn kittens. You must always wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling the litter. According to My Pet Warehouse, it is essential to disinfect the whelping area from time to time. To keep the whelping area as clean as possible, keep these items on hand:

  • Newspaper or Pawtect® Pads
  • Heavy-based food and water bowls to prevent tipping
  • Fresh, clean towels
  • Big litter box for mother
  • Heating pads

These supplies will provide a more hygienic and safer atmosphere for kittens to grow, aside from the Pet Parents® products mentioned above.

A Healthy Environment for Newborn Kittens

Cats are easily stressed out, especially in the weeks after giving birth. An integral part of post-natal care and newborn kitten care is making sure that both the mother cat and the kittens have a healthy environment to rest. Make sure that you place the whelping box somewhere far from whatever easily causes stress on your cat - stray animals, other pets at home, house guests, and loud noises. Be sure to supervise any male cats around newborn kittens as well, even if it is the father.

"Keep the newborn kittens away from all soiled materials inside the whelping box. Use a Pet Parents® Pawtect® Pads that you can change out regularly."

Black and white newborn kitten, newborn cat

Socialization for Baby Kittens

Can kittens be socialized? Can you touch newborn kittens? It is important that both mother cat and her litter are socialized with people. This will help ensure that they will develop trust in humans and will grow into friendly and loving grown-up cats. But, can you touch newborn kittens? To begin socializing, you can start by handling the litter carefully while you weigh them every day. Make sure that your hands are freshly washed before touching the newborn kittens. Anxious signals from both your cat and the kittens will warn you to know when it is best to put them back in their whelping box.

Taking care of newborn cats can be hard work. Mother cats will usually do their part to help take care of newborn kittens, but there are situations in which you should step in as the pet parent. Follow these tips on how to take care of newborn kittens to help raise newborn kittens the right way. Your newborn kitten care will pay off as you see them grow up as healthy and happy kittens. It will make all the difference in the world and be completely worth it!