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Fostering Neonatal Kittens

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to foster kittens? Not sure if it's right for you? Learn about the ins and outs of feline foster care!

Neonatal Kittens Information Video

The video below will give you an overview of our foster program before diving into all you need to know about neonatal kitten care. 

Information on neonatal kitten care starts at 5:52

Ready to join the rewarding world of fostering?
Click here to apply today! 

What are neonatal kittens or "bottle babies"?

  • Kittens who are 1 day to 4 weeks old, with or without mom
  • Unable to regulate their own body temperature until at least 3 weeks of age
  • Need round-the-clock care: feeding and pottying every 2-3 hours
  • Lots and lots of sleeping, no real "playtime" yet
  • Very fragile and highly susceptible to illness
  • Orphaned neonatal kittens are at a huge disadvantage; it's not uncommon for them to pass away due to lack of maternal antibodies and underdeveloped organ systems

Why do neonatal kittens need foster care?

  • They require round-the-clock care and we are unable to staff the building 24/7
  • Despite thorough cleaning protocols and our best efforts, risk of disease transmission is higher in-shelter
  • Babies need socialization and nurturing

How do fosters help a litter of neonates with a mom?

  • Provide an environment that is as quiet and stress-free as possible
  • Simply let mom do what she does best; support mom and keep her comfortable
  • Make sure babies are getting proper care from mom; fosters may need to provide supplemental feeding
  • Monitor kittens' weights to ensure proper growth; watch for signs of illness
  • Handle and socialize kittens

What supplies does WHS provide?

  • Cat carrier
  • Wire crate or playpen
  • KMR (kitten milk replacer)
  • Kitten nursing bottles
  • Miracle nipples or standard nursing nipples
  • Oral syringes
  • Kitchen/food scale 
  • Heating pad
  • Fleece and towels
  • Baby wipes or cotton balls
  • Medical care
  • Support and advice along the way!


Can't foster right now but still want to help? CLICK HERE to donate supplies from our Wish List!

Ready to join the WHS foster program?

-> Click here to learn more and apply today!