Kittens Care Instructions:
Keep them warm.
Keep them full.
Keep them clean.
Here is a list of my go-to products for all of the above.
Baby blankets are warmer, and cheaper, than pet blankets.
- Swaddling Blankets
- Good for wrapping up neo-natal kittens while bottle feeding them
- Also collects any by-products the kitten may emit
- Easy to wash and store
- Sherpa Blankets
- Mother-less kittens love to ‘nurse’ on them
- Kittens love nuzzling the satin binding
- Extremely warm and cozy
- Line little cubbies, boxes, and nooks with blankets to create cozy little sleeping places
- Buy several so you can wash some while you’re using others
- Fleece Blankets
- Laid on top of a large dog bed, it’s perfect for lining a bathtub or a box, creating a birthing suite for pregnant mama cats
- Easily washable, because the birthing and raising of kittens is messy. And dog beds are hard to wash
- Tiny kitten claws don’t get stuck in the fabric
- Buy several, so you can switch them out every other day or so for washing
- This specific fleece blanket is my absolute favorite. It’s very warm, but lightweight, making storage easy. It washes beautifully, staying soft and fluffy after many, many washes. It comes in gorgeous colors that’ll complement any kitten’s coloring, and are big enough to enclose you AND the whole litter if you’re so inclined. Which you will be when you feel how soft these are.
Kittens without a mama (or small litters) appreciate having this Snuggle Kitty to cuddle with. It even has a heartbeat. Cute or creepy? You decide. But if you throw that ticking heart at me at night, we are no longer friends.
Another warming option is a Snuggle Safe Heating Disc. When microwaved, it provides gentle warmth for about ten hours. Use it with the enclosed cover, and/or slip it underneath the kitty’s blankets. Mommy cats who have recently delivered their kittens also appreciate this vet/shelter-approved heating pad.
Pregnant cats, nursing cats, and kittens have vast nutritional requirements. Free feeding them high-calorie kitten food gives them the nutrients they need.
This is the dry food I free-feed the kitties
And here is the soft food.
For kittens who need supplemental feeding, I use KMR mixed with water that I’ve warmed up in my wonderful Electric Tea Kettle. The beauty of an electric tea kettle is most apparent during nighttime feedings: you can plug it in and warm your water up wherever you plan on feeding your kittens, and it’s easy enough to use that even a sleep-deprived American can figure it out.
These Blender Bottles are brilliant at mixing up silky-smooth bottles of KMR and warm water. (Silky-smooth is key when you’re syringe-feeding tiny kittens. No clumps allowed!) And they come in adorable colors that’ll make you smile at 3 AM.
When kittens are ready for soft, solid food, I like these types of dishes: they have removable bowls for easy filling and easy washing. These food mats keep the dining area nice and tidy while kittens are learning which orifice the food goes in. It’ll keep your floor dry, is waterproof, and can be tossed in the washing machine. Get a few – one to wash and one to use.
Managing Poop, Smells, and Germs
The variety of poop-managing tools is staggering. My hands-down favorite product are these disposable litter boxes. A properly cleaned litter box is key to fighting diseases being passed between litters of kittens. And nothing is cleaner than a brand new box every week or so. No washing; no scrubbing; no sanitizing. Just put the used boxes (litter and all) in a giant trash bag, and you’re the grossest, but cleanest, Santa in town.
It’s easy to cut down the sides with a box knife so tiny kittens can easily hop in. Each box is also magically infused with baking powder, which cuts down on odor and also makes nice biscuits.
What goes inside these modern miracles? For kittens learning how to use the litter boxes, I like this kitten litter. Once the kittens are older, I switch to this litter. I’ve been experimenting with this crystal cat litter. If you keep the solids scooped up, the liquids are absorbed into the crystal, and there’s NO SMELL. I’m super impressed so far.
Speaking of scooping, the secret to cutting down on smells is to scoop early and often. Like, every time you walk into the room. This is easily done if you keep a Litter Genie right next to the litter boxes. Refills can be found here. Litter Genie locks out the scent of the used litter, and it’s easy to toss the full bags in with your Santa bag o’ litter.
I place the litter boxes on one of these awesome litter mats to cut down on tiny feet tracking clumps of litter. Or clumps of worse things. These puppy pads help widen the target area for kittens learning to aim. Sometimes they make it into the litter box, but the “business end” isn’t quite where it ought to be. Absorbent puppy pads to the rescue!
Sometimes I get cats who have come from hoarding situations, and who have never used a litter box before. This litter attract powder helps them acclimate.
I’ve tried several air purifiers, and this air purifier is my favorite on the cost:effectiveness spectrum. I place it right next to the litter boxes to capture any smells that escape. Here’s a plug in version that I also use with my own cats.
And if you have the means, I highly recommend picking up one of these: Litter Robot. My own cats use it, and it’s a game changer. The price is woah! But totally worth it, in my opinion.
* might actually be a lie.
Many shelters and vets use Rescue disinfectant to clean animal areas and supplies. It’s a one-step cleaner, disinfectant, and deodorizer. It’s effective against a broad spectrum of bacteria, viruses and fungi, including Parvo, staph, HIV and more. With a quick spray, surfaces can be sanitized in 30 seconds, and disinfected in 5 minutes. But more importantly, it’s non-toxic, non-irritating, and safe to use around pregnant cats and kittens. It also comes in wipe form.
To wipe up an actual kitten, however, use these Seventh Generation Free and Clear Baby Wipes. No scent means no mad mama kitty. This waterless shampoo is also brilliant at cleaning kittens who are too small for a bath, or who just need a quick spot clean.
Cats and kittens who have fleas are treated at the shelter before I bring them home. After 24 hours or so, I brush the kittens with this flea comb to remove any detritus. And by detritus, I mean dead fleas and their poop.
Most kittens and cats do not ever need a bath. But if an older kitten has had fleas, or is recovering from coccidia, a bubble bath may be in order. It may sound strange, but Dawn dish soap is brilliant at cutting through grease, diarrhea, dirt, and most other things that stick to kittens. It’s very mild; many vets and shelters use it when bathing kittens.
I treat cat trees just like carpet. They get vacuumed using Pet Hair Eraser Hand Vacuum, and then I shampoo them with this hand-held shampooer using this excellent carpet shampoo made specifically for pets.
Can’t quite tell where the smelly spots are? Try using this UV Flashlight to find urine spots. You’ll be the grossest detective around. Just like you’ve always wanted.
Once you’ve found the spot, you get to use the most adorable appliance ever: this Hands-Free Spot Bot. Oh, please get one! It’s so fun to use, and you’ll feel like Mrs. Weasley, with a tiny robot cleaning stains for you while you put your feet up and play with kittens.
For bigger spots (or if you, like me, have an Ancient and Incontinent Beagle), I use one of two carpet cleaners: this beast or it’s slimmer, lighter cousin. I actually love them both so much I should’ve given named them cutesy fraternal twin names.
Actual footage of the things you can do while your Spot Bot does all the work. Special cameos by Felix, Marvin and an exoskeleton.