As every rescuer knows, you must carefully monitor the progress of tiny newborn kittens. Weighing the kittens is an imperative preventive measure in making sure all kittens thrive and make it to adulthood. Kittens grow fast during those first few weeks, doubling their own body weight every few days. If a kitten fails to gain weight during this sensitive period, it means something has gone wrong and it’s time for you to step in and do something about it.
A newborn kitten will have a low temperature of 95-97 degrees, which will go up to 100 degrees over the course of the first week. During this time it is critical to provide a gentle heat source to keep the kitten warm and stable. The kitten’s environment should be between 85 and 90 degrees at this time.
The image of a newborn kitten is a sweet one indeed. Just one glance at a tiny and fluffy feline ball of joy may be able to soften even the hardest of hearts, even just for a second. At birth, wee kittens don’t usually even weigh in at 4 ounces.
When kittens are first born they are completely helpless—their eyes are closed, their ears are folded, and they can’t stand, keep themselves warm or eat on their own. They rely on mom for everything!
Weight Of A Kitten At Birth
According to the ASPCA, kittens typically weigh approximately 3.5 ounces right at birth. However, this weight may vary depending on a few different factors, namely the number of kittens in the litter and the specific breed type. Some cats are simply bigger than others, often even from the start — think the Savannah, for instance.
Although kitties start out as tiny little creatures, the initial several weeks of their lives are all about rapid growth and development. It’s not unusual for a kitten’s weight to multiply in just a span of a couple of weeks. While a kitten is nursing with her mama cat, expect weight gain of a maximum of half an ounce each day. This type of reliable and consistent weight gain is a sign of a thriving youngster.
Weight Monitoring In Kitten
The Humane Society of Otter Tail County indicates that by the second week of a kitten’s life, she should be up to about 7 ounces in weight. By the third week, expect her to weigh in at a hardy and healthy 10 ounces, then at 13 ounces the following week. Around the fourth week, a mama cat often begins weaning her litter and slowly steering them away from nursing. Around the fifth week, your little one should tip the scales at roughly 1 full pound.
Food And Nutrition For A Newborn Kitten
Newborn kittens do not have any teeth and get all of their food and nutrition from cat milk. The first few days after giving birth, the mother cat will produce a very special kind of milk for the kittens called colostrum. This milk contains special ingredients called maternal antibodies which help protect the kittens from illnesses until their own immune systems are working. It is very important that kittens start nursing shortly after birth to ensure these antibodies are consumed from the colostrum.
If a kitten is orphaned and needs to be bottle-fed, a special cat milk replacement formula should be used to provide proper nutrition.2 A homemade kitten formula can be used temporarily. A newborn kitten should consume about seven teaspoons in a day and will eat small amounts every two hours.
Since kittens under four weeks of age do not have the ability to thermoregulate, we must help them maintain body warmth. One method is to place a warmed Snuggle Safe disk at the opening of the cage or crate. This disk then provides the needed warmth for 8 hours. Instructions for how long to heat the Snuggle Safe disk depending on the wattage of the microwave are printed on each disk. If you are unsure what wattage the microwave is, heat the disk for 5 minutes, then check the temperature with your hands. Make sure it does not feel too hot before placing it in the cage or crate. Cover the heating disk with a soft folded towel or blanket so the kitten cannot directly contact the disk. If no heating disk is available, place a heating pad on the low setting under the crate or on the bottom of the cage, then place a soft folded towel or blanket between the kitten and the heating pad.
How to weigh newborn kittens
Our forum experts offer some tips for weighing newborn kittens:
1. Weigh the kittens at least once a day.
For generally healthy-looking kittens, once a day should be enough. Catwoman707 suggests weighing at-risk babies twice a day. These would be kittens whose birth weight was 2.75 ounces and under, the runts in litters of five kittens or more, and kittens that are found away from their siblings and mother.
2. Weigh the kittens at the same time every day.
Weighing should be done every 24 hours at equal intervals. Our advisors suggest weighing the kittens at the same time every day to establish patterns in an effective way.
3. Keep the kittens close to the mother cat during weighing.
Mother cats vary in the degree of protectiveness over kittens but it is always less stressful for the mother cat to be able to see her kittens. “Make sure mom can see what you are doing so she doesn’t get agitated,” says forum advisor tulosai.
4. Mark the kittens so that they can be clearly identified.
If you have more than one kitten with the same color pattern, you need to find a way to clearly tell them apart. StefanZ suggests using food coloring on one of the kitten’s paws, choosing different colors or simply applying the dye to different paws. The coloring should be renewed occasionally because the mother cat washes it off.
5. Use an accurate kitchen scale.
Any good kitchen/postal scale should work. Some of our advisors prefer a gram-based scale as it provides a more accurate reading.
How Much Does A Newborn Kitten Weigh?
A newborn kitten weighs around 100g – the same as a bar of chocolate. With a body length of around 4 inches, it comfortably fits in the hand of an adult human.
Birth weight depends, amongst other things, on the breed of the parents and the size of the litter. Kittens from a large litter are generally smaller and lighter than kittens from a small litter. A Norwegian Forest cat already weighs more than a Siamese, for instance.
The mother’s living conditions during her pregnancy play a role. Stress, illness and poor nutrition can have a negative influence on kittens when they are born. On the other hand, a well-balanced and well-fed cat mother will probably give birth to heavier offspring