Newborn kittens need a comfortable home to grow up safely. All they need is timely food, a soft place to sleep, and lots of love and affection. They also need playmates as small as themselves so that they can goof around all over the place.
However, newborn kittens are quite fragile. If you live in colder climates, the first thing you should do is keep them warm. How to keep newborn kittens warm?
Kittens are furry balls of goodness. Their playful activities are a source of full-on entertainment. In return, the least we can do is keep them well-fed, warm and happy. As newborns do not know how to keep themselves warm, and if the mother kitty is not there, you would need to intervene and fast.
You can keep them in baskets or unused hooded litter-boxes. Ensure the box is properly blanketed and cushioned. Also, keep it a little dark so that they can sleep.
Adopting kittens is a good experience for beginner pet lovers, since they are low maintenance, occupy little space, and are less intimidating. Also, it is the best time to create a bond with them that you might not be able to do in the case of grown-up kitties.
This article will inform you about how to keep newborn kittens warm. Without any further ado, let’s paw right in!
Why You Should Keep Newborn Kittens Warm
Say the lady-cat in your house has given birth to a litter of kittens. The mother cat might not welcome human intervention in the upbringing process of her children. However, if you live in colder climates where temperatures drop to sub-zeroes at night, you can surely assist the mother in keeping her kittens warm and cozy.
On the other hand, you might find orphaned and helpless kittens on the streets or in the animal shelter. Or maybe someone found an orphaned litter and has put their pictures up on social media so that loving people adopt them.
Wherever you have found the newborn kittens, keeping them warm and well-fed, would be the first few things you would need to do to ensure their survival.
So, first things first. You have one or a litter of newborn kittens in your custody, and you have little to no idea what to do with them. You have a loving heart, and that’s a good start.
Newborn kittens are fragile, so warmth, food and affection are paramount. Newborn kittens cannot thermoregulate, or control their body temperatures, by themselves. Their eyes remain closed therefore they keep oblivious to their surroundings.
They have no idea what is happening around them, or what threats surround them. They are completely defenseless and at the mercy of their surroundings for their own survival. If they feel cold, they can barely make calls of distress, and as they cannot see, so they cannot search for a warmer place.
If you ever find a newborn kitty in distress and want to help it to survive, firstly make sure that it is warm.
Really, it cannot be overemphasized enough that how important warmth is to newborns, especially the orphaned ones that do not have a mother to snuggle with, or the ones that have been left uncared for in the streets for a long time.
Newborn kitties or kittens that are 4-6 weeks of age need temperature maintenance somewhere between 100 and 103°F or 38 to 39°C.
6 Tips To Keep Newborn Kittens Warm And Healthy
Below are some ways by which you can ensure that the newborns are warm, safe and healthy:
Keep the kittens dry:
If you have found abandoned kittens in the snow or after rain, then they must be soaked to the bone or shivering. Without further thought, just cup them up in the palm of your hand and huddle them close to your body or under your jacket. Once you have reached your home, pat their fragile little bodies down with clean and dry towels or blankets.
Wrap the kittens up in warm towels:
This is especially applicable when you have rescued the kittens from the streets or the place you live in is quite cold. While you keep them wrapped up, ensure that their face is exposed and there is no hindrance to their breathing. Just their body should be covered. Keep them wrapped up unless you have shifted them to your transport to take them home. When you have reached home and you are much warmer, you can unwrap them and place them in a blanketed basket, for example.
Check their temperature:
This is crucial. Refrain from feeding a cold or frost-bitten newborn. You can check their temperature by touching the soft pads of their feet. Alternatively, you can insert your finger in their mouth. If their paw pads or the insides of their mouth feel too cold, it means the kitten’s body temperature has dropped to life-threatening levels.
At this point, they should be warmed up immediately. Cover them up in soft towels and keep rubbing their feet with your warm hands. You can also hold them close to your body so that the warmth passes from your body to the kitty’s cold body.
Within 20-30 minutes you should be able to see significant improvements. It is only after you have ensured that the kitties are warm that you can start feeding them. This is because they cannot digest properly if their body temperature is too low.
Keep them cozy with heat–pads:
Once you have warmed them enough, place them in a small blanketed basket or a crate. If you live in colder climates, these kittens would need a constant supply of comfortable levels of heat.
There is something called a Snuggle Safe disk. It is basically a circular heating mechanism covered with a soft, huggable fabric. They can be placed underneath the kitten’s blanket or bed that will keep the kitten warm overnight and all throughout the day.
These Snuggle Safe disks need to be inserted into a microwave to raise their temperature. Once heated, they can provide 10-12 hours of heat at a stretch. They are bite-resistant so the kittens can munch on it as much as they want without any harm being done.
They are also portable so you can carry them to a friend’s place if you want to show your kitten to your friends and family. How long will you keep it inside the microwave for heating? That would depend upon the wattage.
All instructions are given inside the packet of the product but usually, you would need to keep it inside the microwave for no longer than 10 minutes. If you do not find a Snuggle Safe, use something similar to it, like a heating pad.
Ensure that you cover it with a soft fabric so that the kittens cannot come in direct contact with it.
Decorate the bed:
Place some foam or fleece underneath the blanket or bed, so that it feels soft and cushiony to the kittens. Cats love to make their bed before going to sleep.
They move around and round, paw their blankets, before finally crawling into a dreamy coziness. Newborn kittens do not do all that pawing, but they would surely love a softer bed.
Place the kittens close to each other:
If you have secured more than one orphaned kitten from the streets, then a natural, non-intrusive way to keep the kittens warm is to keep them together.
Kittens you fear are feeling cold can be kept closer to one another. They instinctively cuddle up—it is within their nature to absorb warmth from each other’s body. There are kittens that do not like blankets or heating pads—this natural cuddling process could come in handy for kittens who want to be left alone.
Q.1) If you cannot let kittens inside your house, what other ways are there to keep them warm outside?
Ans: Simply get large boxes which used to store a TV or an oven. Those would be big enough to house newborns. Fill the box with a blanket, cotton, or sponge, or surround the corners of the box with soft toys.
Keep the lid of the box half-closed, so that too much light does not get inside and they eventually fall into a deep sleep. Do not keep anything too heavy on top of the lid or else it will collapse.
Q.2) What are some easy ways to keep newborn kittens warm?
Ans: Some people have tried placing a lit table lamp close to the box or bed the newborns are sleeping in. The light of the lamp will provide heat too. Make sure that the light does not fall on their eyes or else they will not be able to sleep.
You can alternatively use a used sock and fill it up with rice or beads, and then microwave it for a minute. Then place the sock underneath the kitten’s bed.
Q.3) Can newborn kittens get too warm for comfort?
Ans: They can actually, especially when you are using a Snuggle Safe disk. After microwaving them, touch them with your hands to determine if the temperature level is comfortable. Though the kittens are cold, but do not forget, they have fur to keep them warm naturally, so too much heat is not required.
Cats are simply adorable, and newborn kittens are even more so. If they are born in the comfort of a loving home, then there is nothing to worry about. The mother cat and the caring ‘hoomans’ are enough to bring them up into lovely, healthy cats.
Problems arise when these little angels are born in the streets, left abandoned by pet owners, or maybe the mother cat has forgotten her way back to the kittens. If you ever find yourself lucky enough to stride by these little kitties, you will be compelled to take care of them.
Orphaned or abandoned newborns need to be kept warm first before you can actually start feeding them. So, how to keep newborn kittens warm?
There is no hard-and-fast rule to keep kitties warm. You can keep them warm in any way you prefer. You can place them in well-cushioned boxes, hooded litter boxes (without any litter), or simply on a rug at the corner of the room.
If they are wet, pat them dry. You can also place a Snuggle Safe disk or a water pad underneath the kitten’s bed to keep it warm.
Love and affection are all they need to survive. Once they grow up, they will thank you from their hearts!