Healthy Kittens without Mom (Age 9+ Weeks)
Healthy kittens at this age are well on their way to be independent. They’ll still be quite playful but from here on out, if they aren’t already friendly with humans, socialization becomes more and more difficult and time intensive. If they are healthy, it is best to leave them in their outdoor homes.
STOP: Look for Mom
Move kittens if in immediate danger, mom will not mind if they are handled by humans.
If kittens are safe but you can't find mom, pour a ring of flour around the kittens and look for flour footprints after a few hours.
At this young age, their best chance at survival is with mom.
Keep the Kittens Outside
STEP 1: Help Feed Mom and Kittens
If mom and kittens look well-fed, skip this step! Check in regularly to see if they're all staying healthy.
Affordable Dry Kitten Food
Optional: Wet Kitten Food
Summer: Lots of water!
Winter: Water in wide, deep bowls to prevent freezing
A Feeding Station is a good option to keep food dry and clean. Check out options for feeding stations below:
STEP 2: Provide Shelter
If mom and kittens are in a safe, warm, and dry space skip this step! Check in regularly to see if they're all staying healthy.
A Winter Cat Shelter is a good option in the winter or wet months.
STEP 3: Check for Other Cats
Spay and Neuter Surgeries:
Spay Mom Cat
Other cats in the area should be fixed to prevent future litters of kittens
Fix kittens when they reach 2-3 pounds (2-3 months old)
Kitten Care Steps:
STEP 1: Move Kittens Indoors
Ideas for Kitten Spaces:
Small Playpen or Crate
A Friend's or Family Member's Home
STEP 2: Warm the Kittens
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: Feed the Kittens
Kittens of this age should be eating independently.
Don't worry about overfeeding and expect some spills!
Canned Kitten Food
Dry Kitten Kibble
2-3 Shallow Water Bowls
Common Feeding Issues:
Diarrhea or dehydrated: Mix unflavored electrolyte solution (ex. Pedialyte) with wet food to rehydrate the kittens
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
STEP 4: Set Up A Litter Box
Low-Sided Box or Aluminum Pan
Non-Clumping Pellet Litter (usually made of pine or paper)
STEP 5: Weigh the Kittens
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 7: Kitten Health Care
Common Health Issues:
See your vet if you suspect your kitten is experiencing any of these issues.
Upper Respiratory Infection
Intestinal Worms or Other Parasites
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
STEP 8: Rehome Kittens
Once your kittens are 2-3 months old, rehoming is your best option for finding them a new family.