Caring for Mom and kittens.. give me the rundown!

I have searched and searched and found SO much info on taking care of orphaned kittens, but luckily, I have the nursing mom, and would love some insight on this!

This is NOT my cat. She was recently dumped/wandered up to a friends barn, and about a week later had 5 kittens. Two didn’t make it, but three are doing great.

Due to the chaos of where she was, I now am caring for the friendly mom and three 17 day old kittens at my house. Mom was upset and moving kittens constantly, and I know she will get pregnant again before they are weaned. So at least they are safe and she is on lockdown birth control until I get her fixed when the babies are weaned. (No mom isn’t staying here, a friend is going to take her, after she is spayed!)

We made a kitten nursery in our climate controlled garage, and mom seems really content now. We have cats and dogs inside, and really want her to feel safe and private. She has left the kittens in the nest box we put together, comes out to play with us, and let’s us mess with the kittens as needed (eye meds for some conjunctivitis and weighing them mostly). We are feeding mom good kitten food, as she also seems pretty young, in addition to needing those calories for nursing.

Mom has been treated with a nursing safe flea treatment and appears flea free. I have been using a flea comb on the kittens and have gotten 1-3 off of them each day. I know it isn’t a lot, but I am paranoid. Is a dawn bath warranted for this few? Any more suggestions for this?

What is typical worming protocol for kittens? I have found such varying answers online. They will be going to the vet at 6 weeks with mom but do I need to be concerned in the meantime?

Any suggestions for socializing? I am lucky mom is a sweetheart, but want to do the best thing for the babies! Two of them have for sure homes. The third may be a keeper… depending on the status of one of our sweet indoor cats that has been dealing with some bad health issues (totally unrelated, but won’t bring a kitten inside if she makes it through… in fairness to older kitty)

I do have a baby monitor on them, as I needed to learn how to use it with our first human baby arriving in October! I wanted to be able to see them without totally disrupting them. Mama cat is giving me good parenting lessons so far :wink:

I would just really love any tips, tricks, advise, constructive criticism, anything! Just trying to do right by these guys :blush:


Mommy is beautiful and her babies are cute!


You have already done so much right! Great job taking care of the mom as well as the babies.

For socializing just cuddle and snuggle and play with those babies. The mom is making it easy since she is friendly. Practice touching their paws (this will come in handy later when they need their claws trimmed) and getting them used to being held and carried.

I would get a box of capstar pills from Amazon or chewy. It’s safe for nursing moms, and the kittens can have it once they are 2 lbs. until then, definitely give them a flea bath. Kitten lady on you tube has a great tutorial. Mama will help keep them warm and dry them off.

I’d inquire about worming with your vet - they can do it when the get their kitten vaccinations. Once the kitties are vaccinated, they should be able the mix fine with your older kitties, but only do do if you think it don’t stress your older cats out.

They are a gorgeous fluffy bunch! Congrats on your pending arrival as well.


Thank you so much!!

I really needed some reassurance. They are just so teeny tiny and I have never had baby anything around, except horses!

The kitten lady has wonderful advice! I will watch her flea bath video and get them done asap!


If you bathe them, use a blow dryer on low to dry them. They are too young to regulate their body temp.

Set up a really low litter box. They will start to use it by about 4 weeks old. You may need to confine their area if it isn’t small-ish. Edit…use NON CLUMPING litter. They will eat it, and clumping litter can plug them up

Otherwise, sounds like things are going great. They are a beautiful family. Thank you for caring for them.

Kitten Lady has the best videos on kitten care


Mommy and her babies are adorable. You can see the sweetness in her face. And the babies markings are quite interesting.

When I had little baby kittens, I got a foil baking pan and filled it with S’wheat step. It’s organic and if they decided to sample it, it won’t hurt them. And the baking pan has low sides and when they outgrow it, it can be tossed. Plus, it’s cheap. The only downside to this litter is it doesn’t hold down the smell very well, so it needs to be cleaned fairly frequently. But again, safe for sampling which all babies do.
Oh and when they use the box make sure you gently pet them on the head three times while they are going. I don’t know why this works but it does and I have never had a problem with any baby I did this with using the box.

Socializing for now is just picking them up and petting and cuddling them and letting them walk around on you. Later they can be played with and get used to toys. Also, along with touching feet like @BatCoach suggested, gently brush them and touch other parts of their bodies like ears, mouths and little backsides so they get used to that too.

Keep posting pics - as you can tell, we love kittens!!!


I have no advice, but what a lovely family!

What a beautiful family. Sounds like you’re doing great.

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Such great advice!! THANK YOU!!

This morning we were totally flea free. I’ll keep doing the comb dipped in dawn/water to check daily, but I think the few remaining are gone. But not letting my guard down!

I have mom with non clumping litter (never used it before, so weird!) and I will get them a pie pan probably this weekend. The largest is starting to walk better and the two smaller ones are tottering around a bit.

I must say, I can see how this gets addicting. I definitely see some foster families in the future!


We fed mama cat kitten food to give her extra energy. Any time you change diets on a nursing mother, go very slow. If she has diarrhea, it’s too much food or too rich. Barn kitties tend to over eat when allowed free choice suddenly. If she is cleaning up her bowl, add more.

Use washable bedding and change it daily. The kittens are wetting it. She will try to keep them clean enough but daily bedding changes really help.

Litter box stripped every day or every other day. I used the cheap clay litter. No clumping, as was mentioned. I also had a little hand broom and dustpan dedicated to mama and babies so I could sweep twice daily when they started tumbling around. They will get very messy very soon. White vinegar is a good, nontoxic cleaner to use and it kills the smell.


Oh, I also wanted to mention that you did a great job with flea control. That is a very lucky mama cat and kittens. She looks like she knows she’s lucky, too. Wait until she finds out that her life is going to get much easier without litter after litter. Lucky mama!


Mama and babies are adorable! Bless you for taking them in. :blush: :heart_eyes_cat:


Great advice so far - nothing to add except WE NEED MORE PHOTOS!


OMG. Too adorable. The orange and white one :heart_eyes_cat::heart_eyes_cat::heart_eyes_cat::heart_eyes_cat::heart_eyes_cat::heart_eyes_cat:


More photos coming at their lunchtime check in/ play date!

The orange one has quickly become my husbands favorite (and the only one not claimed!) so…. Probably will be sticking around :wink:

Like I said, I have never had a litter of anything to take care of and it was a bucket list item… now I am hooked!


If you’re on Facebook, kitten lady has posted today her mama and babies, with links (that’s can’t get to copy) to info on caring for mamas with babies. Timely post


You can give pyrantel for hookworms and roundworms to kittens 2 weeks and older. Can repeat every 2 weeks until about 16 weeks of age. Mom can have it, too. It’s available over the counter.

Frontline Plus for fleas is safe for lactating queens but not the young kittens. Capstar is safe but will not stop the flea cycle like a topical.

Dawn smothers adult fleas but not the eggs so it won’t stop the cycle as well. You can bath kittens in Dawn though until the kittens are old enough for flea treatment. If there are fleas on the kittens, I would bathe them since they can be so prone to anemia from flea bites.

Best of luck.


Oh my aren’t they adorable !!

I have just gone through this for the first time myself.

I kept kitten kibble and water out 24/7. I added 1 wet meal at about 5- 6 weeks and now they come when I call them :grin:

I picked up and handled them multiple times each day. I play with them now.

I used clumping litter and had no problems with them eating it ( had no idea that was a possibility) clay litter is just awful to use so maybe some of the litters made with other materials ( corn stalks etc…) may be a better option.

The momma cat may be able to be spayed before she gets pregnant again . Mine is getting done today and the kittens are just 9 weeks. She was almost completely dry and with her not being contained we didn’t want to wait any later. She lives in my barn hayloft.

No fleas for us and I am happy about that.

Enjoy them it goes by way too fast!


You’re lucky. They almost all eat it at 3-6 weeks old. It can kill them. I have a high litter box for mama with clumping, low with non clumping. Once kittens can get in higher box, I change to all non clump. At about 8 weeks they seem to understand it’s not food.

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Tottering around!