Kittens can’t produce their own body heat when they are newborns. They rely on their mother to maintain body temperature. When a kitten becomes separated from his mother you will have to take on the roll of warming him up. If you have both the mother cat and kittens in your home be mindful that the mother cat may not constantly stay with her kittens and you should check to make sure the kittens remain warm.
Hold a cold kitten against your bare skin so that your body heat can transfer to the kitten. Your armpit is a very warm area in which you can tuck the kitten.
Wrapping a kitten in a towel or blanket alone will not help them warm up because no heat is being produced form the fabric. Using water to warm a kitten is discouraged. Submerging a cold kitten in warm water may overheat him, cause shock, or make him colder as he dries.
During the first few days to a week of life it is important to maintain a temperature of 85-90 degrees F in the box your kittens are kept within. At 7-10 days of age you may begin slowly reducing the temperature to 80 degrees F and transition once again to around 72 degrees at the end of the fourth week of life.
Heat your kitten’s box by placing a heating pad on the low setting within the box, covered by a blanket. There should also be ample room in the box for the kittens to move away from the heat. Kittens should not lie directly on top of the heating pad (even when it’s covered with a blanket.) Position your kitten’s box away from cold or drafty areas of your home.
When you have a large litter of kittens you may not need to provide as much heat because the kittens will huddle together and warm each other. Although they will still need an external heat source.
If you have other questions or concerns about your newborn kitten, call a veterinarian for advice. They will be happy to give you information to help your kitten grow!