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Caring for newborn kittens catipedia-icon2.png

Look twice at an “abandoned” kitten

It’s not unusual to discover a kitten or litter of kittens hiding beneath a porch or bush in the spring and summer months, when most litters are born. However, a kitten or kittens left alone have not necessarily been orphaned. The mother may be hiding, away hunting, or in the process of moving the litter from one location to a new safe spot.

The best plan is to step back and observe the location for a bit. Give the mother time to return or to complete the litter’s move. If the mother arrives but isn’t wearing a collar, contact your vet or a local feral cat rescue group to learn the safest way to capture the mother and her litter.

When it becomes clear the kitten or litter has been abandoned—or if they appear ill, cold or malnourished—carefully wrap the kitten or litter of kittens in a warm blanket and place them in a carrier or box. Then schedule an appointment for a visit to the vet. Your vet will provide you with specific instructions based on the kitten’s or litter’s age and health.

Feeding newborn kittens: a labor of love

Ideally, a nursing cat should foster orphaned kittens: milk from a surrogate mother provides the best nutrition. Additionally, interaction with her and her litter helps socialize the abandoned kittens to other cats. If a surrogate mother can’t be found, orphaned kittens less than three weeks old must be bottle-fed every 1-2 hours with a commercial feline milk replacer. Cow’s milk should not be fed to kittens—it can cause diarrhea.

When the kittens are 3-4 weeks old, you can begin to give them milk replacer and softened kitten food in a bowl every four hours. However, supplemental bottle-feeding may still be needed. So be sure to consult your vet to determine the best diet and feeding schedule for your foster kittens.

Helping developing bowels

Kittens less than three weeks old are unable to have a bowel movement on their own, so a mother cat must lick and groom the kitten’s anal region to stimulate elimination. To mimic a mother cat’s tongue, moisten a cloth or bit of gauze in warm water. Then rub it on the kitten’s anus and genital region after each feeding to encourage elimination.

Keep them safe & warm

Newborn kittens won’t open their eyes until they’re 6-10 days old, and kittens up to two weeks old may not have mastery of their back legs muscles and will drag themselves by their front legs instead. No sight and limited mobility makes for vulnerable newborns—to keep them safe, place them in a pet carrier or large box until they have better awareness of their abilities and environment.

Because newborn kittens can’t regulate their own body temperature, they may need help from you to keep warm. So place a warm water bottle wrapped in a towel or a well-insulated heating pad at one end of the kittens’ carrier or box. Then check on the kittens frequently to help make sure they are not too cold or overheated.

Healthy from the start

Healthy, content kittens will sleep much of the time, eat heartily at feedings and readily engage with their environment and littermates. They will also gain weight and urinate and defecate normally post-feeding. If your foster kitten seems unresponsive, does not eat or gain weight or appears or acts differently from his littermates, consult your vet right away. Newborn kittens are particularly susceptible to a variety of illnesses and their health can deteriorate quickly, so immediate medical attention is best for a newborn kitten.



Below you'll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about our company, our products and caring for your cats. If you have a question that isn't addressed here, please feel free to contact us.

Q: How can I email or talk with the Purina Pet Care team?

A: If you would like to talk with us, please contact us here or call us at 1­-888­-228­-2469.

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Q: How are Purina Cat Chow products different from other healthy pet foods?

A: Inside every bag of Purina Cat Chow you'll find a selective blend of protein, fat, and fiber. Everything we use in our premium cat food formulas has a place in your cat's healthy diet.

Q: How can I be sure of the quality of the Purina Cat Chow products?

A: Our top priority is the quality of the food that nourishes not only your pets, but the pets we share our lives with, too. So from source to bowl, the quality of our food is assured by taking the following steps:

Ingredient Sourcing

  • Purina ingredient sourcing and processing meet or exceed FDA, USDA or AAFCO standards for pet food. And every supplier of ingredients for Purina products must meet our stringent standards for ingredient specifications, product safety, sanitation and manufacturing practices.
  • Ingredient Testing
  • All of Purina's North American manufacturing facilities have on-site quality assurance laboratories and staff. And we're working to expand the use of technology to further screen ingredients for quality assurance.
  • Ingredient Tracking & Control
  • 99% of all Purina pet food products sold in the U.S. are made in Purina-owned U.S. manufacturing facilities and Purina's sophisticated tracking system ensures important measures of control: All raw ingredients are tracked from time of receipt at our plants, through their inclusion in finished products, and on to retail stores.
Q: Where is your food manufactured?

A: 99% of all Purina-branded pet food products sold in the U.S. are made in Purina-owned U.S. manufacturing facilities. Purina's sophisticated tracking system ensures important measures of control: All raw ingredients are tracked from time of receipt at our plants, through their inclusion in finished products, and on to retailers.

Q: I am unable to find a particular product in my area. Can you help me locate it?

A: Yes, we can help. Although distribution of our Purina Cat Chow products is national, not all stores carry all sizes and varieties. Contact our Customer Service department via our Contact Us page or call us at 1­-888­-228­-2469.

Q: Do you offer coupons?

A: We offer coupons in local papers, through direct mailing programs and via emails to registered members. We don't have a regular section on our website itself. We suggest you watch for sales or promotions at your local retailer.

Q: Where can I find articles and information about my cat?

A: We believe there's always more to learn and to share and that discovery should be fun. It's one more way we're helping you and your cat share a better life together. Visit Catipedia for articles and information and... a little bit of fun.

Q: Where can I find articles and information about my cat?

A: We strongly recommend talking to your veterinarian for immediate answers to urgent situations. While is an excellent resource of information provided by cat care experts, your veterinarian can provide the best care for your individual cat.