I like this kitten shower photo which is why I have published it. Purr Partners Feline Rescue on Facebook described the photo: It’s a Kitten Shower…It’s on their FB webpage.
It is terribly cute. They are all wearing little warming suits. They are like Russian newborn babies…
The Russian maternity wards wrap up their newborns tightly. I think it is intended to (1) keep them warm and (2) stop them waving their arms around to prevent injury. Is that right?
For kittens “Chilling is the greatest danger to infant kittens”1. I guess this is why these feline babies are wrapped up like Russian babies. The temperature of the kitten box and surrounding area should be 85-90°F for the first few weeks. It is then reduced gradually over the ensuing weeks ‘until it reaches 70°F (21°C).
The heat that kittens need also comes from mother, siblings and perhaps a heat lamp. As the temperature is important it should be checked constantly. A thermometer on the floor of the kitten box is fine. Humidity should be about 55-65 percent.
The kitten shower photo is great but the importance of temperature control is emphasized in the photo. Neonatal kittens don’t have much subcutaneous fat so they lose heat more quickly. They also don’t have the ability to constrict the tiny blood vessels near the surface of the skin which leads to greater heat loss. A neonatal kitten’s heart rate is raised which means they burn the calories. And kittens have few reserves. These factors mean that a kitten who does not eat will become chilled leading to reduced metabolism. It can be fatal.
Chilled kittens should be warmed slowly. This is to avoid dilating the blood vessels near the surface of the skin which increases heat loss.
The kitten shower photo was taken during the kitten season. Every year we get this: pleas from cat rescues for adopters because of the influx of kittens born to mothers who should have been spayed. This can place an added burden on rescues already under pressure.
Note: 1 Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handboook page 456 3rd edition.