The most popular page on is “Caring for Kittens from Birth to Eight Weeks,” Chapter 2 of the online Guide to Raising Unweaned & Underage Kittens. The guidebook is part of the shared resource library developed and maintained jointly by veterinarians in the UC Davis KSMP and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Shelter Medicine Program.

First published in 2017, the guidebook was recently reviewed from tip to tail and substantially revised to reflect the most current terminology and practices around caring for unweaned and underage kittens in shelter and foster environments. The new revision received input from shelter veterinarians from UCD and UW, and was updated with the assistance and expertise of Marnie Russ, Neonatal Kitten College Program Administrator, Animal Welfare League of Arlington.

"Kittens! We're all so excited to be the go-to for caring for our youngest, most vulnerable population - who bring us so much joy, and so much stress all at the same time. This guidebook revision brought together the expertise, experience, and research from an array of folks who have helped an innumerable number of kittens. Some of it is new learnings to be shared and some of it is consistent throughout time. It is our hope that this is a trusted source to help everyone doing the work."

Other Guidebooks currently available in the library:

5 Requirements for Kitten Care:

  1. Keep kittens warm.
  2. Provide kittens with adequate hydration and nutrition.
  3. Keep kittens clean.
  4. Provide socialization with people and with foster mates.
  5. Do your best to protect them from infectious disease.
From the Guide to Raising Unweaned & Underage Kittens

cute gray kitten with fluffy white chest