When kittens are first born, they are helpless—they cannot see, hear, keep themselves warm, or eliminate waste on their own. They fit in the palm of your hand and weigh 3-5 ounces. Kittens like Darling, and his siblings, are completely dependent on their mother (or you!) for protection, warmth, and nutrition. Even so, these kittens can purr and make distress calls. They spend 90 percent of their time sleeping and the other 10 percent eating.

Kittens need to eat every 3 hours, no matter what time it is. Many people set an alarm so that they don’t miss a feeding. This is especially helpful overnight. It’s important that you feed your kitten regularly. Skipping feedings or overfeeding can cause your kitten to have diarrhea or develop severe dehydration.

You can feed your newborn kitten a nutritional substitute that’s called kitten milk replacer. It’s essential that you avoid feeding a kitten the same milk that humans consume. Typical cow’s milk can make cats very sick. If you’re unsure of which kitten milk replacer to choose, talk to a veterinarian. They can help you select the right one.

Why Weighing Kittens Is So Important

Blind, deaf, immobile and unable to regulate their body heat, kittens are very fragile and many don’t make it past the first week or two of their lives. Once a kitten takes a turn for the worse, it can be very difficult to save its life.

Having an early detection system in place can help deal with problems while they are still manageable. Good scales can help you do just that.

Often, the first sign of a problem is that a kitten stops gaining weight. The only way for you to tell whether or not a kitten is not gaining enough weight is by carefully weighing the kittens at least once a day and writing down the data for each and every day.

If you are faced with the daunting challenge of hand rearing kittens, weighing the kittens is crucial in determining just how much to feed. Overfeeding newborn kittens is likely to cause diarrhea, in itself a life-threatening condition as it can quickly lead to dehydration and kidney damage. Not feeding enough is just as dangerous and causes a kitten to fail to thrive and eventually die.


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.

Fast Growth

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

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.


Never attempt to feed a newborn kitten solid foods in an attempt to get her to gain weight. The only nourishment a kitten needs in the first weeks of her young life comes directly from her mother — milk. The mother cat’s milk is ideal for fulfilling a kitty’s very specific dietary requirements. Of course, if the mother isn’t around, you may opt to bottle-feed a kitten using formula and a kitten milk replacer (KMR). Never offer a kitten — or adult cat, for that matter — milk from a cow, as it can lead to digestive upset.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet,

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

What Do Kittens Eat Besides Milk?

Once your kitten is about 3.5 to 4 weeks old, you can start weaning them off of the bottle. This is a gradual process that takes time and practice. The process usually looks something like this:

  • Begin by offering your kitten formula on a spoon.
  • Later, start offering your kitten formula in a saucer.
  • Gradually add canned food to the kitten formula in the saucer.
  • Increase the canned food in the saucer, adding less and less kitten formula.

How Often Should A Kitten Eat?

The frequency that your kitten eats normally depends on how old they are:

  • Up to 1 week old: every 2-3 hours
  • 2 weeks old: every 3-4 hours
  • 3 weeks old: every 4-6 hours.
  • 6 weeks old: three or more feedings of canned food spaced out evenly throughout the day
  • 12 weeks old: three feedings of canned food spaced out evenly throughout the day

How Do I Keep A Newborn Kitten Warm?

Kittens should be kept in a cat carrier wrapped in a few layers of towels. Using a heating pad or heat disc (often the safer option) for pets alongside a soft fleece blanket can also help keep them warm. Ensure that the carrier is large enough for your kitten to move away from the heater when they want to.

It is very important to keep your cat carrier in a safe, warm room away from other pets. It’s helpful to go and check on your kitten throughout the day. If your kitten feels cold, you need to warm them up as soon as possible.

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