Taking Care of Kittens

Taking Care of Kittens can be simple when the Mother Cat is able to and does her job well, but that is not always the case. Also, even when Mom tries her best, there are things that you, as the human Mom, need to monitor to keep all safe and healthy.

The following topics about kittens are primarily about kittens in the first 6-8 weeks of life. These are such important times. It's an exciting time, but it can also be quite overwhelming, especially if you are trying to raise little ones for the first time! Young kittens have lots of needs, change and grow rapidly, and every day is often a new adventure. There are several things you can do to ensure that new kittens, with or without their mommy cat, are as safe as possible and get the best chance to start life happy and healthy.

Taking Care of Kittens: Important Considerations

taking care of kittens

The steps to take when considering kitten care vary greatly depending on whether or not mom is available or able to care for and nurse her babies. Newborn kitten care, for instance, is much more involved without mom than with her around. For more about this topic, please see this article about newborn kitten care.

The stages of kitten development are important to understand, regardless of whether mom is present or not. Having a better understanding of how kittens develop and grow, what behaviors are normal and not normal, and what to expect at various stages. This article about kitten development will help you understand all this and more!

Another major point of consideration when taking care of kittens is when to begin weaning kittens, as we discuss in this article. This is another topic that varies greatly depending on whether or not mom is present and caring for her babies, but is still something any pet parent with nursing kittens (bottle- or mother-fed), need to consider. Weaning is an important part of the development process, and proper timing and techniques are critical.

Orphaned kittens often come with a wealth of problems, including respiratory or eye diseases and/or issues like fleas. Kittens with fleas, as you will learn from this article, need to be treated very differently than adult cats. They also require different timing for the administration of cat vaccines, as you can learn here.

These are just a few of the many points to consider when taking care of kittens. As you can see from the questions and answers below, there are many other problems and questions that may arise when you're caring for very young kittens (especially those under 8 weeks old) and even with slightly older kittens.

The most important thing to remember is that you have the power to give any kitten a great start toward a happy and healthy life!

kitten in bag

INDEX OF ARTICLES ABOUT KITTENS

Newborn Kitten Care

KITTENS WITH FLEAS

Kitten Development

Kitten Weight Chart

Weaning Kittens





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What Other Kitten Owners Have Said.

Click below to see contributions from other cat lovers...

7 week old kitten died 
Hi. I'd been given a kitten at 6 weeks old. He was litter trained and weaned and was very confident and happy. But I'd only had him just over a week, …

URGENT HELP NEEDED 
We just got our children two 3 month old kittens yesterday. They were very scared so we kept them in the finished basement so they could get used to us/the …

Very weak kitten gone completely limp 
My kitten is suddenly very weak and unwilling or unable to stand. He meows in pain, is not interested in drinking formula, and is about a month old. He …

Bottle-feeding Kitten - long term effects? 
Hello :) I just recently adopted a male kitten who's about 12-14 weeks old. The shelter I got him from said he was bottle fed as a kitten because he …

6 week old kitten not eating and just sleeping 
My 6 week old kitten has been acting weird the last 24 hours. My kitten is not eating or drinking, she's very skinny, and she's not playing. Is she dying? …

Sneezing Kitten 
I adopted my kitten five days ago from a local animal shelter. He is about 3 and 1/2 months old. For the first three days I kept him in my room and kept …

Staggering gait of cat 
Worried about our 5 month old kitten. He was doing fine until about 2 weeks ago. He started having difficulty getting up and walking. His gait is very …

5 month old manx kitten won't poop 
My 5 month old Manx kitten will not push her poop out. My vet told me she may not have feeling allowing her to know when she has to go due to her being …

kitten stopped eating 
My kitten is about 7 weeks old and she just stopped eating. She will drink milk and water. She seems to be sneezing a little much too. What's wrong with …

Kitten behavior question. 
I fell in love with a pair of 7-8 week old(?) sibling kittens at a shelter. One is a gray tiger-stripe male (medium-short hair) and his sister is a gray/orange …

Kitten Not Eating and is Sleeping 
QUESTION: My kitten seems to sleep A LOT. She won't eat or drink anything. What is wrong with her? ANSWER: There could be a number of things …

Kitten's Hind Legs 
Chloe, my cat, just had a litter of four kittens. All are thriving. They are eating, warm, whining when hungry, etc. One of the two that were born …

Is a drastic kitten behavior change at 6 months normal? 
My kitten is 6 months old and has had a drastic behavioral change in the last week. She has gone from a lively, playful, curious kitten to one that sleeps …

Cat litter and food bowl 
I just got my first pet: a beautiful kitten! The laundry room is big enough for her and she's just starting to eat on her own and use the litter box. I …

Kitten with Digestive Problems 
My dad has a barn cat and there's no way he'll pay for a vet to see it. It is about 2 or 3 months old but it hasn't grown in this past month. For the past …

Kitten not looking so good. 
My kitten, Mickey, hasn't been eating and sleeps A LOT! She has lost a lot of weight and I'm starting to get worried. What is wrong with her? Dear …

Kitten has swollen anus? 
We found a kitten that looks to be about a month old. The kitten has a swollen anus and the area is crusty. Is there anything that we can do at home for …

Kitten not eating or drinking... 
I have a 6 month old kitten, a rescue, who has not been eating or drinking for over 24 hours. He was vomiting and defecating mucus, after a short bout …

Why is my 8 week old kittens face swollen? 
My kitten Marley just turned 8 weeks old on the 14th. She is one of six kittens from my older cat Minnie. This morning I realized her face was bigger. …

11 week old kitten vomitting pinkish white foam 
Felix, 11 week male kitten had his first time throwing up yesterday. It was a pinkish white foam. His stools have been soft as well. I've only had him …

Newborn cat defecation  
My mommy cat isn't producing milk, and I have already lost 2 of her 3 kittens and am feeding KMR to the other one. She seems to be getting better and is …

Kitten with eye problem twitching while awake 
My kids brought home a kitten about 4 days ago. I'm assuming she is 4-6 months old. She obviously has a dual eye infection, but seemed otherwise healthy. …

Kitten's white chin is suddenly turning brown. 
My kitten had a white chin until 2-3 days ago when it started turning brown-ish. There are no bumps or red spots, so I don't think it's "acne." Could …

Red/possibly bloody vaginal/anal region of my kitten 
My kitten is 3 1/2 months old and we recently took her to get her second set of shots. We noticed she was very lethargic after the shots were done and …

Given my kitten numerous baths and still has a foul odor 
I have given my daughters new kitten a bath numerous times and the foul odor does not seem to go away. At first when we first started giving her a bath, …

My kitten can't breathe! 
My kitten is about 5 weeks old and he is very weak and can barely walk. Its kind of like he is hiccuping but he can't breathe and I don't know what to …

Kitten Skin Torn 
My kitten got stuck in the belt of our car. We've got him to where he's doing ok, but it tore the skin off one of his legs. I was just wondering if the …

Kitten with swollen groin area 
I am hand raising a kitten. She is approx. 5-6 days old. Things were going good until I noticed this evening that the inside of her right leg near her …

2-day old kitten defecating question 
I have a newborn kitten that is only two days old. I understand that newborns are not able to defecate on their own, but my newborn kitten is and I don't …

Bloated kitten or pregnant cat? 
I recently picked up a tiny stray kitten. At first I would have guessed she was around 3 months old. I noticed her stomach was quite big and assumed she …

Changing a queen cats nesting spot 
Hello. My 1 year old female cat just had a litter of 4 kittens 2 days ago. She chose her nesting spot under the cupboard. I prepared a comfortable nesting …

Traveling with and Separating Kittens from Mom Cat 
My boyfriend and I will be moving any day now, and I was wondering if you could give me a few pointers on how to travel with cats. I've never traveled …

10 WEEK OLD KITTENS WANT MILK 
Hello, I have two 10-week-old kittens, a male and a female. The male kitten keeps biting the female kitten's teats, as if he is trying to get milk. I'm …

Mama moving kittens! 
We have 1-week old kittens. This is the first litter for mama cat. Since they were born last week, she has moved them to 5 different places! Should we …

Kitty changes fur color 
Hi, Dr. Neely. Good Day. I have a 4 month old black/smoke kitty and I just observed that his fur is changing into grayish white from black/smoke and …

Rescued Kitten Health Concerns 
Hello, We rescued a kitten who was dumped in front of a house yesterday. We named him Lucky and think he is 12-18 weeks old. The kitten still has all …

Is My Seven Month Old Kitten Healthy? 
I have a domestic shorthair seven-month-old kitten. I travel on the weekends to visit family, so my kitten always comes with me. It's about an hour and …

Kitten with Swelling Symptoms 
I have been nursing a 2 week old kitten, and he is eating fine. The kitten pees and poops, but his penis and butt have become swollen. What could this …

What is wrong with my kitten 
My little kitten won't stand on his back legs and his neck can't stay up or straight. Also, he loves to run but he can't walk. Dear Alisha, Without …

Pus near kitten's penis 
I have 3 week old kittens. All of the kittens that are male are normal except one. He has a dime-sized, filled-in circle around his penis that appears …

Sick 2 month old kitty 
Hi, My 2 month old kitten got sick very suddenly. I noticed she was making a weird noise in her stomach and her back legs were very weak/wobbly. I brought …

Did my cat eat her kittens? 
Hi, My cat had 2 kittens Saturday night, totally unexpected to me. I noticed a change in her nipples and food habits but didn't think she would be …

Kittens' Health and Proper Development if their Mother had Pyometra 
QUESTION: I am considering adopting an Ocicat from a breeder who told me that the mother cat had pyometra prior to breeding and that their vet advised …

Inappropriate Kitten Suckling Questions 
I have a munchkin ragdoll cat (8 months old) who sucks on my ear lobes and a tuxedo kitten (4 months old) who will suck on anything, but mostly he prefers …

Kitten has swollen anus, red lump, & diarrhea. 
Hi there, I recently got a kitten from my mother-in-law. I've had him for just over a week now. He's now 6 weeks old. He is very active and eats and …

Newborn Kittens Not Nursing 
Our Himalayan had 3 strong, appearing to be healthy, kittens this morning, however I'm concerned that they are not nursing very much. One in particular …

7 week old Kitten with Leaky Bum 
I just bought 2 kittens. The lady said they were 7 weeks and that they were eating solid food and were litter trained. The litter box was in sight …

Starvation Syndrome in a Kitten? 
QUESTION: A small kitten (approximately 6 weeks old) arrived at my house. He had severe bite marks around his neck (which I have since taken care …

Possible cat adoption 
QUESTION I live in Florida and found about a lady who "breeds" bengal cats. She said she sells them and she has also told some that she gives …

Kitten's Breathing  
QUESTION I have noticed that my kitten seems to breathe at a faster rate than my 2 adult cats. Her breathing doesn't seems labored, just faster. …

Picking Up Kitty 
QUESTION My stepdaughter likes to pick up little Noah by the back of the neck, he is about 4 and half months old and I think he is too old for this. …

my black cat 
Hello We have a pesty black cat, Puffie who is 11 months old. He thinks he is the boss of everthing and is always fighting with our other cat Tooty …

13 week old Kitten Biting 
QUESTION I recently rescued a 10 week old male kitten (he is now 13 weeks) who was abandoned outside by his mother. He had roundworm and tapeworm …

Questions about Kittens Not Eating or Sleeping Too Much 
QUESTION: I rescued two 8 week old kittens-both brothers. Apparently very healthy, playing, sleeping, using the kitty litter box. One is eating …

Kitten Still Nursing 
Hi Dr. Neely, We got a kitten from a pet store, we have had her for 1 month and she is still wants to nurse. She is 3 1/2 months old. Any suggestions …

4 Month-Old -Kitten, Infrequent Vomiting 
Hiya I have a 4 and a half month old kitten who is very healthy and happy, but I woke up this morning and he had been sick, quite a large amount. …

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