How Long Can Newborn Kittens Survive Without Their Mother?

You may have found a kitten alone and wondered whether you should adopt him or her.

Well, that’s not a bad option; however, you need to realize that chances of the kitten to survive are minimal.

how long can newborn kittens survive without their mother

This because a lack of maternal care can easily lead to the death of the kitten. Also, if the mother cat dies during birth, it is your responsibility to ensure the kittens are in good hands.

You need to take care of them well to ensure they don’t lack the necessities they would have gotten from their mother.

A kitten cannot survive for more than 12hours without the mother’s milk.

That’s why you need to look for an alternative like kitten replacement milk to keep the kitten alive.

The kitten can live long with proper care!

Why Can’t A Newborn Kitten Survive Without Their Mother?

Lack Of Mother’s Milk

A mother cat’s milk contains enough nutrients required by the kitten to grow up well. However, when a kitten is born and doesn’t have a caregiver, it reduces survival.

A newborn kitten can’t last more than a few hours without milk.

They will live for 12hours then perish! However, if you find a kitten that has been abandoned by the mother while three weeks old it can survive for at most 2-3 days without the maternal milk or kitten replacement milk.

It is only until a kitten reaches 6weeks that he/she can survive for long.

What to do?

It is recommended that a cat should nurse on the mother for at least 6 weeks, once that’s over, the kitten can now survive effortlessly.

However, in the case that you find a newly born stray kitten, you may decide to feed the cat with kitten replacement milk. This will help the kitten to survive more because of the nutrients it contains.

However, you will need to provide the cat with enough necessities that will equate to the maternal love they would have gotten from the mother cat.

You need to feed the kitten, bottle-feed formula after every 2-3hours. Do this until the time the kitten can fully eat from a bowl.

With the transition, you can now provide softened cat food. The canned kitten food or dry food soaked in water can be given to the cat 4-5weeks after birth.

However, monitor the kitten to see if it is adjusting well if it does not skip some days without giving the particular food.

Lack Of Certain Nutrients

A kitten is as fragile as a human baby. Just like a mother’s milk contains nutrients required for the growth of a baby, mother cat’s milk also contains important nutrients that help maintain the immune system of the cat.

Thus, when a kitten lacks that they can’t survive for long and even easily fall sick.

What to do?

You need to feed the kitten with the kitten replacement milk and hold the kitten in the right way while feeding it.

Also, ensure to keep the kitten warm and in a good environment. Feed the kitten after every 2-3hours to ensure it stays strong.

Also, as time goes by, visit a veterinary to deworm and vaccinate the kitten before 6weeks are over.

This is because, without a mother, they don’t get the nutrients from maternal milk that is important for their growth.

Lack Of Affection And Care

External interferences can make the kitten or kittens feel unsafe. A mother cat is normally protective of their kittens.

Thus, without a mother, a kitten can feel lonely and have the urge to be taken care of.

This can even lead to the kitten getting stressed out and even dying.

What to do?

In the case that you have found a kitten or the mother has abandoned the kitten or neglecting it, you can start showing it affection in the best way possible.

Also, ensure you don’t leave it alone for long, and you provide food regularly. This will help the kitten to remain strong for longer.

After feeding the kittens, ensure they get enough sleep that is essential for their growth.

Lack Of Training On Survival

Kittens learn from their mother how to live, what to prey on, and so on. Thus, without such kind of training a kitten may feel unfit to live in the world and won’t even know how to defend themselves.

Thus, as a cat owner, you need to master how to maintain her claws and so on to ensure they don’t hurt anyone with them.

What to do?

Do the best research you can to make sure you learn all the tips and tactics. Moreover, to know the best way to train your kitten, you need to consult the vet.

You can also read knowledgeable facts about cats and know how best to make them adapt to the environment.

This will help raise the kitten’s chances of survival.

You also need to consider that a kitten should urinate and defecate after each feeding. If the kitten doesn’t, you need to consult a vet.

You can also do this by stimulating the hind end gently using a warm washcloth. Ensure you do it using a circular motion.

Lack Of Warmth

Suppose a kitten is alone and feels cold. This easily makes him or her be on the verge of death.

Thus, if you find a kitten with no sign of the mother around, you need to take the necessary measures to ensure its survival.

Also, the kitten may have sustained some wounds that can easily increase his or her chances of dying.

However, before concluding that a kitten is alone, check whether where they are staying is clean and if the kitten looks healthy.

It might be that the mother has gone out for a few minutes.

What to do?

Take a box and place plenty of bedding in it; this will help it get as much heat as possible and ensure it stays safe.

You should also monitor to see what age the kitten might be and provide the right food or milk for it. This is because it might be hard for it to know how to feed itself at such a tender age.

Also immediately you find such a kitten, go and see a vet to give you the right advice and to check the health of the kitten.

Also, check the kitten for any kind of injuries or wounds.


Always remember that when you come across a kitten, check whether the mother is nearby. If you see that no one is coming for it, place it in a box with beddings and ensure it is warm.

Chances are the kitten may be hungry, you can provide kitten replacement milk to help make it stronger in the absence of the mother’s milk.

You should then take the kitten to the veterinary to see whether it has any complications or wounds.

When you take it home, keep the kitten away from other larger pets and protect it to prevent it from stress, fear, or anxiety.