Seeing a litter of newborn kittens makes our hearts melt. They are so adorable at these moments, but also so helpless and delicate.
Unfortunately, some newborn cats might deal with the fading kitten syndrome, which happens when a kitten doesn’t thrive in the period between its birth and the moment when it should wean from its mother.
In many cases, this syndrome is fatal, and all cat parents should immediately seek veterinary assistance upon noticing symptoms of this syndrome in their kittens.
Still, some of you might be able to help a vulnerable little kitten to survive and thrive.
Let’s see how to cure fading kitten syndrome at home.
1. Keep The Kitten Hydrated
Hydration is important for cats in all life stages, just like for humans.
Lack of water can make a cat dehydrated, which is always dangerous, especially with a fading kitten.
You should keep the kitten hydrated and make sure he gets enough water. In these situations, hydration is provided with subcutaneous fluids or by an oro-gastric tube.
2. Keep It Warm, Too
Cats are always seeking warmth, but warmth is actually essential for fading kittens to survive.
Colorado Animal Rescues explains how it’s necessary to wrap the fading kitten in a towel, where only its face should be exposed. Its ears and head should also be covered.
An extra source of heat will probably be necessary, so you should also wrap a heating pad set around the towel.
Make sure your kitten’s body temperature doesn’t get too low, since this can easily become a cause of a fatal outcome.
3. Raise The Kitten’s Blood Sugar
Fading kittens will usually have low blood sugar, so, it will be necessary to raise it as much as possible at home.
You should also Karo or Maple Syrup, and no artificial sweeteners, because they will not work.
A kitten should be given 1 ml of the syrup with a syringe, or you can rub it on its gums and tongue with your finger.
How To Recognize The Fading Kitten Syndrome?
This syndrome is scary for cat parents, but you should all be able to recognize it.
Andrea Münnich  explains how some of the most common clinical signs of fading kitten syndrome at the following:
• Failure to gain weight
• Congenital anomalies
• Reduces muscle tone
• Lying separated from littermates
• Irregular breathing
• Absence of swallowing and sucking reflex
As soon as you notice these symptoms, you need to act and start with the steps previously described as crucial in curing the fading kitten syndrome at home.
What Are The Main Causes Of Fading Kitten Syndrome?
I’m sure many of you have instantly thought of whether there is any possibility to prevent the fading kitten syndrome.
By knowing some of the most common causes of this syndrome – maybe it will be possible for cat parents to avoid this outcome in their pets.
However, things are not so simple. Joni Freshman explains that there are three groups of main causes of fading kitten syndrome – infectious, genetic, and environmental.
Infectious factors – viruses, bacteria, and intestinal parasites – can greatly contribute to fading kitten syndrome.
Since their immune systems are so fragile, newborn kittens are at high risk for infection through the placenta.
Some of the viruses that are considered the most dangerous ones for kittens are Feline herpesvirus and Calicivirus.
Genetics is also very important here. According to petMD, if a mother cat has a different blood type than her kitten, her antibodies may attack the newborn kitten’s red blood cells.
This condition is called Neonatal isoerythrolysis, it leads to anemia, and also – to fading kitten syndrome.
Environmental causes of this syndrome refer to maternal factors, such as neglect. Some mothers will refuse to permit nursing to their kittens, or there might be a lack of sufficient milk production.
Other environmental causes of fading kitten syndrome are hyperthermia, hypothermia, and environmental toxins, such as bedding materials and products cat owners use to clean the whelping box.
I hope you now have a better insight into the issue of how to cure fading kitten syndrome at home.
This is a situation we all hope never to have to deal with, but it’s good to be informed and prepared.
All cat parents should be aware that, in many cases, despite their best efforts, a fading kitten will fail to thrive.
But, you should do your best to keep the little warrior warm, hydrated, and to increase its blood sugar.
I will remind you once again to undertake these steps as soon as you recognize the fading kitten syndrome symptoms.
 Münnich A. Fading kitten syndrome: Factors predisposing to ‘faders’ and treatment options. J Feline Med Surg. 2022 Mar;24(3):243-256. DOI, Retrieved June 23, 2023.