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Unhealthy Kittens with Mom (Age 9+ Weeks)
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As soon as possible, a sick kitten should be seen and evaluated by a veterinarian, but kittens don’t always appear at convenient times. There are steps you can take to help them survive even before going to the vet. With every basic action of kitten care you're able to take, you are increasing their chances of survival.

STEP 1: Move Kittens Indoors

Anchor 1

If mom or kittens are difficult to catch, follow the below trapping instructions:

Ideas for Kitten Spaces:

  • Bathroom

  • Spare Bedroom

  • Small Playpen or Crate

  • Garage

  • A Friend's or Family Member's Home

STEP 2: Warm the Kittens

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Kittens at this age can regulate their own temperature, but it's nice to keep them cozy.

Options for keeping kittens warm:

These should feel warm, but not hot, to your touch. Make sure they have space to get off of the heat in case they get too warm.

  • Electric Heating Pad

  • Hot Water Bottle

  • Rice-Filled Sock Warmed in the Microwave

STEP 3: Care for Family

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Kittens of this age should be eating on their own, but if sick they may need feeding support.

Feed Mom Cat:

Kitten food provides extra calories and nutrients for mom.

  • Canned Kitten Food

  • Dry Kitten Food

  • Fresh Water in a Shallow Dish (to prevent drowning)

Start By offering a small amount of canned kitten food mixed with water.

  • Mix in unflavored electrolyte solution (ex. Pedialyte) with wet food to rehydrate the kittens

Not Eating? Offer kitten formula in small amounts, very frequently.

  • Mix powdered kitten formula: 1 part powder to 2 parts water

    • Diarrhea or Dehydration: Replace one part of the water with unflavored electrolyte solution (ex. Pedialyte) to rehydrate the kittens  

    • Still Not Eating? Mix goat's milk in with wet food

    • Low Blood Sugar: Mix a tiny amount of corn syrup, honey, or other simple sugars in with wet food

  • Check the Stomach Capacity Chart and feed the kittens based on weight, rather than age

STEP 4: Weigh the Kittens

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Weigh the kittens daily (a kitchen scale in grams works well). They should be steadily gaining weight.

WATCH FOR: Weight loss that goes for more than a day or a lack of weight gain for more than a few days.

STEP 5: Socialize the Kittens

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At this age, they are a bit beyond the ideal age for socialization but try your best!

  • Food is the fastest way to a kitten's heart

  • Play with Toys

  • Gentle Petting

STEP 6: Kitten Health Care

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Common Health Issues:

  • Upper Respiratory Infection   

  • Intestinal Worms or Other Parasites  

  • Malnutrition


  • Spay mom as soon as possible

  • Any other cats seen in the area you found the kittens should also be fixed in order to stop the cycle of kittens being born outside

  • Weight Requirement: 2-3 lbs (2-3 months old) for healthy kittens

  • Talk with your vet to see if they can help offset costs or find your local low-cost spay and neuter clinic

For Additional Support:

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