The Simple Guide To Caring About Three Week Old Kittens

how to care for a three week old kitten

Everything You Need to Know About 3 Week Old Kittens

If you have been around my blog then you know that I have recently rescued and fostered an orphaned kitten.

We estimate that we got her around three weeks and had a big awakening throughout the process. I wanted to walk you through the information that I gathered for each of the different weeks of a new kittens life. Today’s topic, three week old kittens.

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I want this to be a complete guide for caring for a kitten week by week. If you find a kitten, you want to try your hardest to keep with them with their mothers. Their mothers will be able to nurse them, keep them warm, and protect them.

Mothers know how to care for their babies so if they can be left with their mothers, they should for at least 8 weeks.

Orphaned Kittens 3 Week Old of Age

If you find a kitten who has no mother nearby, then you have just found an orphaned kitten. You are probably wondering how to care for three week old kittens?!

This kitten now needs you to be their mother. They will need to be fed, kept warm, and protected by you, the human. . We have already talked about caring for a two week old kitten.

So, if you have read that article, that means that you are now caring for three week old kittens. Or, you have just found a kitten are thinking it is about three weeks, though we will mention how to be sure in a little.

Three week old kittens need you to bottle feed them, sometimes help stimulate them to go to the bathroom and make sure they are still gaining weight they need to.

What Does a 3 Week Old Kitten Look Like?

First, let’s talk about how to tell if a kitten is three weeks old. What does a 3 week old kitten look like? Three week old kittens will have their eyes open. Their eye sight will be getting better each day and their hearing.

Three week old kitten’s ear canals continue to develop more and more. They respond better to sounds and can start to understand their name.

Their ears are turning outwards more than at two weeks. Kitten’s baby teeth will start to come in as well around three weeks of age.

One fun fact about kittens is that they will all start out with baby blue eyes! As they get older, their eyes will change into their true colors.

Kittens will also have a little bit of teeth at three weeks and their claws will still not retract. The indication of teeth does not mean they are ready for food yet.

How Much Does a Three Week Old Kitten Weigh?

Their weight at this age should be between 350-450 grams depending on the kitten and should continue to steadily gain weight each day.

If you notice your kitten is not gaining weight for a few days, make sure you are feeding them enough, and speak to your vet about possible other reasons for delayed weight gain.

Three Week Old Kitten Body Temperature

At three weeks, they still require some form of heat source as they cannot create heat on their own. I know some people will place a heating pad under a blanket to help keep the kittens warms, and some will use heat lamps.

I selfishly like the heating pads because when the little kitties aren’t using it, I love to steal it for myself.

The biggest thing with this to call out is that they need a spot to keep warm, but also areas that aren’t directly in the line of heat in case they get too hot. You want the kittens to be comfortable so providing them both heat, and indirect heat is always recommended at this age..

At this age, sometimes a blanket or warm article of clothing can suffice for heat sources but you want to watch the kitten and make sure they don’t get too cold. Multiple kittens can sometimes use each other to keep warm as well.

So watch your kitten, if they seem chilly, add a heat source. If they seem uninterested in the heat source, may start to work towards taking it away.

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Feeding Three Week Old Kittens

Do Kittens Need Bottle Feeding? The short answer is, Yes!

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, this is probably one of the most important things to understand when caring for an orphaned kitten and what a lot of people tend to have issues on.

You will probably have guessed that a newborn kitten will need to be bottle-fed. And you are correct. Kittens need to be bottle-fed until anywhere from 5-8 weeks until their baby teeth come in.

How Much Should 3 Week Old Kittens Eat?

A question I get a lot is ‘How many times a day should a kitten be fed?’

A three-week-old kitten needs to be fed at least 18-20 MLS of formula and water combination every 4-5 hours, but can usually go through the night without having to be fed.

YES! If you have been caring for your kitten since week one or two, then you are fairly sleep deprived. Guess what?! You can sleep a little more through the night. (Unless you are a 8 hour sleeper, then sorry…wakey wakey).

When it comes to choosing formula, you can use any Kitten Milk Replacer that works best for you. I usually recommend KMR Kitten Formula, because it is what I use and what I have had success on in the past. With newborn kittens, I don’t like to try new things until they are really in the clear.

So whatever formula you do choose, I recommend sticking with it as long as your kitten likes it.

>> Get Your Own Kitten Milk Replacement Formula On Amazon Now!

Like in the other weeks, you want to make sure you use kitten formula to replace a mother’s milk. Do not use cow’s milk. You will want to do about an ounce of formula per ounce of body weight.

When feeding a kitten, you want to read the instructions on the formula to determine the proportions of water to formula to get the minimum amount that the kitten needs.

Notice I say the minimum, but I will touch on that more later. But I also recommend giving the kitten the amount they want, not what the bottle says, especially when its more food. The poor babies are trying to grow.

You should never heat up the formula itself. Instead, heat up water, either on the stove or however else you choose to do so. Measure out the hot water and add the corresponding formula amount to the warmed water.

From there, the formula mixture can be placed in a bottle.

When it comes to picking a bottle, you can choose an bottle that suits you and your kitten. I usually recommend getting a bottle that comes with a brush cleaner in the package. It says you SO much time and hassle trying the clean the little bottle out.

Again, you can get a bottle either at a pet store or on Amazon if you do not want to leave your little one alone for too long. It is also important that you test out the heat of the formula mixture before giving it to them.

You don’t want to be giving them a formula mixture that is too hot or too cold. Usually, it is recommended to do a similar test as you would a baby. Testing the heat out on your wrist.

From there you are ready to start bottle feeding.

 

 

Bottle Feeding a 3 Week Old Kitten

Kitten readers, again this will be along the same lines for right now. Hopefully you know how to bottle-feed at this point, but if you just want a refresher, listen in. Everyone else, do you know how to bottle feed a kitten?

This is by far the hardest part of caring for an orphaned kitten. At three weeks they are able to suckle a bottle on their own. In the previous section, I talked about how to prepare the bottle.

One call out that I do want to add is this. I know there are certain amounts they say your kitten needs every few hours. If they are a small underweight orphaned cat, use those guidelines as minimums.

If they are willing to eat more, let them. When I fostered my kitten, we would make double the sizing needed and make sure she ate at least half. Most of the time, she actually ate it all!

She was hungry and needed all those nutrients from the formula. She was so underweight that it took us a while to figure out that she needed to be gaining much faster than she was. Learn that lesson from us, you can’t really over-feed a kitten when they are wanting the bottle.

So if your kitten suckles down that entire bottle, give her more. Don’t make her starve until the next 4-5 hours. Especially if they are underweight and need to gain quickly. Or if they have not been gaining weight as they should.

How To Bottle Feed Three Week Old Kittens

Do you know how to bottle feed a kitten? This is by far the hardest part of caring for an orphaned kitten. At four weeks they are able to suckle a bottle on their own. In the previous section, I talked about how to prepare the bottle.

For a complete and detailed guide to preparing and bottle feeding kittens, visit my post ‘How To Bottle Feed Kittens’ (Original title, I know).

One call out that I do want to add is this. I know there are certain amounts they say your kitten needs every few hours. If they are a small underweight orphaned cat, use those guidelines as minimums.

If they are willing to eat more, let them. When I fostered my kitten, we would make double the sizing needed and make sure she ate at least half.

Most of the time, she actually ate it all! She was hungry and needed all those nutrients from the formula.

She was so underweight that it took us a while to figure out that she needed to be gaining much faster than she was. Learn that lesson from us, you can’t really over-feed a kitten when they are wanting the bottle.

The easiest way to feed a kitten it is to place them on the ground.

Gently, but firmly, hold their heads up with their feet on the ground and let them find the bottle. You will want to either be holding the kittens, or have them safely on the floor during this process.

This will be clunky at first. I know some people will wrap the kittens in a towel to prevent them from trying to rip the bottle from you. Some will have troubles finding the bottle.

Be patient. This first few times feeding them will be the hardest. Once you get into a swing of things in will get better.

You also want to make sure the bottle is tilted upside and upside enough that they can get the liquid inside. When we were feeding Binx, this was one thing I struggled with the most. I had read some people recommend at least a 45 degree angle, but you want to make sure they are suckling, without getting too much milk.

With Binx, I would get the bottle into her mouth but she would get so mad at me. Later, I found out that was because she wasn’t actually even getting the formula until I tipped it nearly upside down.

My biggest piece of advice when it comes to bottle feeding is to just be patient. Understand that they first 5-10 times doing it will be frustrating. You are not alone on this.

When I was first learning this, I remember sitting in my bedroom just crying. It was so out of my comfort zone. And I LOVE animals.

 

>>> You May Like: 7 Helpful Tips for Introducing Your New Kitten to Your Home

what should a kitten be doing at 3 weeks old?

What Should A Kitten Be Doing at 3 Weeks?

Kittens at three weeks old will be will walking, although it will still be a little clumsy at times.

They will not be fast, but kittens start to get into a little rhythm when they walk as they are starting to get the hang of this whole moving thing.

They will still not be able to use the bathroom completely on their own, but you may start to see them having accidents here and there. You could start to introduce a litter box, though they will still probably have the accidents until about 4 weeks.

The litter box should be small enough for them to walk in and out of, but still enough room for them to move around. For Binx, we used the box that the canned cat food comes is.

This was small enough that our other cats didn’t have a desire to use it, but big enough for her to feel like it was her little litter box.

Can 3 Week Old Kittens Use a Litter Box?

Fun fact, cats actually don’t need to be trained to use the litter box. It comes naturally for them.

The biggest thing is getting a litter box that is the right size for them.

For Binx, we used the box that the canned cat food comes is. This was small enough that our other cats didn’t have a desire to use it, but big enough for her to feel like it was her little litter box.

Another IMPORTANT! IMPORTANT! thing you should know about the litter box is that kittens cannot use clumping litter at this point. Kittens are like babies where they want to put nearly everything in their mouth.

If your kitten eats clumping litter, it could cause bowel obstructions and serious harms to your already sensitive kitten. You want to get a non-clumping litter, check out my favorite non-clumping litter.

You can really go with any non-clumping litter.

I have had a lot of success with Yesterday’s News. I also really like the name which was why I tried it in the first place. IT’S THE SIMPLE THINGS GUYS!

You will want to change this out a little more often than clumping litter to keep if clean, but I think your kitten’s health is worth it

As I mentioned before, they could start having accidents.

This does not mean they do not need stimulated anymore. You still want to stimulate your kitten to use the bathroom by at least a half hour after they are done eating.

You will still want to use a warm cloth to stimulate their bottoms to prevent diaper rash. Since this will be the second week you are stimulating you may notice their bottoms being a little more sensitive that the first week.

If for some reason their bottoms do start to get raw, you can you a little bit of diaper rash cream on their bottoms, you just want to watch and make sure they don’t try and lick it off. Honestly, if you have any diaper rash cream, use what you have.

I like Desitin because that is why my mom recommended, and sometimes you just know mother knows best.

Where Should 3 Week Old Kittens Sleep?

Finally, and maybe the most important is you want them to still have a safe space. At this point, they are probably safer to start roaming around on their own, but you want to make sure you have kitten proofed the house.

Loose wires, or things they can chew and eat should be places away from them. They no longer require a major heat source like a heating pad, though you can still provide it if your home is a little chilly.

They won’t be able to jump high quite yet, so height can always be a safe place for things. For Binx, when she was about 3 weeks old, she was starting able to climb out of the bin we used for her not too long ago.

Some nights we kept her in the bin, other nights when she seems rowdy we would just close the bedroom door in case she did get out she didn’t cause too much damage.

We also started locking her in the bathroom at night so she could roam and be safe, and eventually just let her roam the apartment. You could also start training them to use a scratching post to play instead of your furniture. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

We always gave her a little cat bed near my bed that she could sleep in so she felt like part of the family.

I love the little “calming” cat bed. Honestly, I don’t think it actually calms them down. But it is so big and fluffy, all of my cats love them. We have  three of them…so it’s safe to say we like them.

>> Get A Calming Cat Bed Delivered To Your Door (From Amazon)

Can a 3 Week Old Kittens Survive Without Their Mother?

If you find three week old kittens, try your best to find the mother cat.

Kittens this young desperately need their mother to help them get big and strong. However, if no mother is found, that is not a death sentence to your kitty.

Educate yourself, get the supplies you need, and become the kitty mother of the world! Now you know how to take care of three week old kittens!

Remember to have patience throughout this whole process, especially if this is your first time handling orphaned kittens. Everything will come with time and getting frustrated won’t help anyone.

The most important things for them right now are warmth, shelter, and food. If they have that and are starting to gain weight as they should then you doing good!

And that means in a few days you will move onto week four. Are you guys ready for that one?! Next think you know, your kittens will be adult cats. They grown a long way since their umbilical cord days.


 

 

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1 thought on “The Simple Guide To Caring About Three Week Old Kittens”

  1. Hi so I have two babies. They have a mom but she’s just a kitten her self and she acts like she’s not sure what to do. I feed about 12 cats that people have just left after a hurricane. Anyway I brought them in because I’m hoping I can get homes for them. They have teeth and I’m not sure how old they are. I been letting them sleep untill they wake up. Then I feed them. Useing kitty replacement milk. I burp them and wipe there little buts. I’m not sure how much to feed them. One is sucking the bottle but the other one just wants to chew on it. God I need all the help I can get.

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