How to Care for a Kitten During the First 3 Weeks

A kitten needs to be with his mother for the first 8 weeks of his life, however if this is not possible, you need to be the surrogate mother. Learn how to care for a kitten during the first 3 weeks.

Kitten Care Essentials

You need some kitten care essentials for the first few weeks:

Sleeping box; newborn kittens spend a lot of time sleeping, so you need to provide a warm, comfortable box. The room where the box is placed should be warm, as kittens don't have the capacity to keep a normal temperature and may suffer from hypothermia, which can be fatal.

  • Blankets and towels to keep the kitten warm
  • Special formula kitten food
  • Soft toys or paper

Later, your kitten will also need:

  • Litterbox
  • Cat litter
  • Food and water bowls
  • Toys

Kitten Health

The kitten needs to be taken to the vet. The vet will examine your kitten's health and look for parasites or diseases. A newborn kitten does not get vaccines until the age of 8 to 9 weeks.

Feeding the Kitten

If you have the mother cat nursing your kitten, you don't need to feed the kitten.

However, if the mother is not present you need to feed the kitten. Kittens have their eyes closed for the first 10 days of their lives, so you will need to use a syringe to hand feed your pet.

Get KMR and feed your kitten following the guidelines on the box, according to your pet's weight. Kitten food is different from adult cat food; it contains a special formula that is high in protein and fats. The food needs to be highly digestible and nutrient dense. Kittens need wet food, as this is easier to digest. Newborn kittens can't handle dry food, but this may be given after the kitten is 8 weeks old. Feed your kitten 10 to 12 times in 24 hours or once every two hours.

Don't feed the kitten cow milk; this may cause diarrhea or indigestion.

The kitten will start growing teeth at about 2 weeks. After 3 weeks, you may start giving your kitten a food bowl and train him to use it.


Newborn kittens cannot defecate without help. The mother helps kittens to eliminate food by licking their rectum. Use a moist cloth and massage your kitten's stomach and rectum to stimulate bowel movement. At this age, the kitten will not be able to use a litter box to urinate, so you need to clean after the kitten.

Playing and Socializing

The first weeks are essential in determining your cat's behavior. If the kitten is with his mother and brothers, he will learn how to play safely and will socialize. However, if your kitten is alone, you will need to cuddle him and play with him to develop a relationship with your pet. The kitten typically starts standing up at about 2 to 3 weeks, and will start playing at 3 to 4 weeks.