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Keeping Foster Kittens Warm

Did you know that kittens under the age of 4 weeks are unable to regulate their own body temperature? When fostering kittens without a momma cat, it is important to help them stay warm!

What temperature should young kittens be kept at?

Below you can see basic guidelines. I have found the most important thing is to provide a warm area and a place for them to move away from the warmth if desired.

Age of Kitten

Nest Temperature

0-1 weeks

85-90 F

2-3 weeks

79-84 F

4 weeks

73.5-79 F

Nest Temperature is the temperature immediately surrounding the area where the kittens are kept.

Although the chart only goes through 4 weeks of age, I proved a heating pad all the way through the foster journey, as many kittens love to snuggle up on something warm.

My favorite heating source for foster kittens

I was introduced to this specific heating pad by my shelter vet, who let me have it when I was fostering some very young kittens for the first time. At first, I didn't understand why it was so great, but I quickly learned and have relied on it ever since!

This heating pad is unique because it has an "always-on" setting that is the perfect temp, not too hot and not too cool.

I place this heating pad under a soft blanket and cover the cords so the kittens can't get to them.


My second favorite heating source for foster kittens is the SnuggleSafe. This is a round microwaveable disk that stays warm for hours after heating. It comes with a fleece cover, although you can easily slip it under a blanket.

The reason this isn't my first choice is because it is expensive to purchase initially, and it has to be rewarmed (unlike the heating pad).

I do have one and this is what I place in crates when I need to transport kittens who need warmth.

Pretend Momma Kitty

Another item I now add for young kittens is a Calmeroos stuffed kitty. It does come with a heating element, but since I have the heating pad we don't use that part. I place the stuffed momma kitty near the heating pad area for the snuggle option. The Calmeroos kitty has a heartbeat feature and kittens love it.

How I use our heating sources for kittens

When kittens are young, they are kept in a smaller space. I place our heating pad under a soft blanket and make sure the kittens can easily be on or off of the heat source.

My favorite soft blankets are shown below, click on the images to see them on Amazon.

When kittens are older and don't *need* the heat, I usually choose one of their fluffy beds to heat. I place the heating pad under a blanket, on top of the kitty bed. This way if they want a warm spot, they can snuggle up there! I also have other spots all over the kitten room that aren't heated, so they can choose.

In the photo below, the heating pad is under the blanket they are laying on. The blanket and heating pad are on top of a fluffy cat bed. The cord is tucked away behind the bed and behind the clear panels so they can't get to it.

All of my heating recommendations

Click on each image to see it on Amazon, below is every product I shared about in this post!


Looking for more foster kitten supply ideas? Check out our post featuring all of our favorites here!

Thanks for using our affiliate links in the post, that helps support the kittens! See more ways to help here, see all of the kittens we have fostered here!

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