Mother’s closeness and her milk are crucial for kittens in their first few weeks of life.
In the very beginning, they get everything they need from her milk, and they don’t eat or drink on their own.
Furthermore, young kittens possess an underdeveloped system of thermoregulation, making them reliant on the warmth provided by the mother for proper regulation.
If they are cold, the kittens will not be able to digest the milk well, therefore, digestive problems may occur.
The odds of a motherless kitten surviving and thriving are not promising. Nonetheless, in certain situations, we can still offer assistance to help vulnerable kittens manage.
Let’s take a closer look at the newborn kitten survival rate without mother.
What Are The Chances Of Kittens To Survive Without Mother?
Raising a kitten is hard work. No matter how hard you try, very young kittens might not survive. This is a rather delicate task that in many cases only their mothers succeed.
Not only does a mother cat feed the kitten and keeps it warm, but it also defends it from predators and any other potential threats.
The mortality rate for kittens without a mother ranges from 15% to 40%. A newborn kitten will not survive if it doesn’t gain milk for 12 hours.
While this statistic can be daunting, it also means there’s a 60-85% chance that a kitten could survive.
Of course, to achieve this, you will need to know how to take care of a newborn kitten. If you haven’t taken care of a young kitten like this before, this might be a difficult task.
However, there’s no need to panic, as this text will offer some valuable tips to assist you.
How To Help A Newborn Kitten Thrive?
Newborn kittens are very vulnerable and potentially prone to viruses. Not having their mother by their side means they lack the antibodies found in their mother’s milk.
Chances are most kittens won’t remember their mothers, especially if they are separated at a young age, but, the role of the mother is almost irreplaceable at this young age in kittens.
Still, you shouldn’t give up, because there is always something you can do. And what could be more rewarding than helping a newborn, helpless kitten?
1. You Need To Feed It Properly
A newborn kitten needs to be fed often – ideally every 2 to 3 hours. Of course, this also includes night feeding.
To do this, you need to get kitten milk and a bottle. The milk should be lukewarm or warm, but not hot. In the beginning, the kitten may refuse to eat, but it is very important to be persistent.
If the kitten refuses the bottle, you can use a syringe or any other object to put milk in its mouth.
You need to be careful so that the kitten does not suffocate. In order to bottle-feed a tiny kitten, you need to hold it gently and put the bottle in its mouth.
Ensure the kitten is truly suckling, which becomes evident as the milk level in the bottle decreases.
You can see how to do this in the video below.
If the kitten is eating well, it should gain ½ ounce every day in its first two weeks. In their first week, newborn kittens should consume about 15 ml of kitten formula at each feeding according to the Spruce Pets.
The quantity of formula a kitten should consume increases in the subsequent weeks. So, a 2-week-old kitten should eat around 70 ml at each feeding, while a 3-week-old kitten should have around 90 ml of kitten formula.
2. You Should Help It With The Litter Box
Litter training shouldn’t be too challenging with cats – most of them will learn to use the litter box in a couple of days.
However, when it comes to kittens, they might begin using the litter box around the age of 3 weeks. Prior to that, they will rely on your assistance to maintain regular bowel movements.
It is necessary to gently massage the abdomen, as well as the anal and genital region of your kitten every day after feeding, with cotton wool or gauze moistened with warm water.
This will encourage the kitten to pee and move its bowels. You should know that your young kitten may not poop every day at first. However, if you see that he eats regularly, pees, and seems well in general, this should not be worrying.
Young kittens may have a stool every other day at the beginning.
Of course, while massaging your kitten and encouraging normal bowel movements, your hands should always be clean.
3. You Need To Keep It Warm
It is very important for a newborn kitten to be warm. To achieve this, you need to put it in a smaller space, like a cardboard box. Also, the kitten should be wrapped in towels or blankets.
Additionally, it’s essential to introduce a source of gentle warmth, like a hot water bottle or a plastic container filled with warm water, which should be carefully enveloped with cloth. It is also very important to heat the area where your kitten lives with a lamp.
According to the Park Road Veterinary Clinic, low body temperature or hypothermia is one of the leading causes of death in newborn kittens.
Therefore, you always need to make sure your kitten is warm. Your kitten’s place should be around 90 degrees Fahrenheit up until it’s around 3 weeks of age.
When the kitten is around 5 weeks of age, it should be able to regulate its own body temperature.
4. It’s Also Necessary To Vaccinate It
Vaccinations are also crucial for kittens, since they are vulnerable and susceptible to viruses. Any infectious disease can be fatal for young kittens, and vaccinations are there to protect them from these diseases.
You should consult the veterinarian on this. Your kitten should start receiving vaccinations around 6 weeks old. It’s essential to follow the vaccination schedule to make sure your kitten gets all the necessary vaccinations.
The most important vaccinations, according to Ian Tizard  are those directed against feline parvovirus, feline caliciviruses, and feline herpesvirus.
5. Keep Your Kitten Protected
A newborn kitten survival rate without a mother can also be significantly decreased due to a lack of protection.
Mothers keep their kittens safe from predators and any other potential threats in their vicinity. If kittens don’t have this, they won’t be able to defend themselves.
However, you can step in as your kitten’s guardian and take on this role.
You should place the kitten in a quiet room where there will be no other people coming in, or other pets, especially in the first couple of weeks when the kitten is so fragile.
A kitten this young can also become anxious or frightened of things you can’t even see, so, the best would be that you don’t expose it to any loud noises, strangers, or new places at least until it’s around 6 weeks old.
What can we conclude about newborn kitten survival rate without mother?
Having their mother close to them in the first couple of weeks is crucial for newborn kittens to survive and thrive.
Their mothers provide nourishment, warmth, and security. If a newborn kitten doesn’t get its mother milk for more than 12 hours, it will likely die.
Still, you can be a little kitten’s savior here. With giving it proper care and protection, the little vulnerable kitten might survive.
This is a challenging task, and possibly even the biggest one you’ll have to deal with. However, if you feed it properly, keep it warm, and help it with bowel movements, it’s possible to save the little kitten’s life.
And this is probably the best thing we can imagine doing!
 Tizard IR. Feline vaccines. Vaccines for Veterinarians. 2021:167–178.e1. DOI, Retrieved August 03, 2023.