Fading Kitten Protocol


  • Low body temperature; the kitten feels cool or cold to the touch
  • Extreme lethargy; not getting up, unable to stand, not responding when touched, can’t hold its head up
  • Gasping for breath; mouth-breathing
  • Meowing, crying out

First – Body Heat

1. Immediately burrito-wrap the kitten leaving only the face—eyes, nose, and mouth—
exposed. Do not take the kitten out of the towel to adjust them or check on them. Every time you take them out you will make them cold again, even if it is only for a second.

2. Wrap a heating pad set on low around the burrito towel (to avoid burns). Secure it around
the towel so it stays in place.

Then – Blood Sugar

1. Put sugar or Karo Syrup in warm water, 50/50. Put some in a syringe and give the kitten one
drop every three minutes. SET YOUR TIMER!

2. If the kitten is not swallowing, rub some Karo or sugar-water on its gums and tongue.

3. Take care not to contaminate anything by double-dipping syringes.

Kittens from the street often develop Upper Respiratory Infections. Feline URI is similar to the common cold in humans. It’s caused by a virus, and stressful environments and situations factor in as well. With supportive care and rest in a quiet, calm place like a loving home, most cases resolve in 7-14 days.

Signs of URI

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose or nasal congestion
  • Red, swollen or runny eyes or squinting
  • Coughing or hard swallowing
  • Sores (ulcers) on the tongue, lips, nose or roof of mouth
  • Fever, lack of appetite, hiding and/or decreased energy

URI Treatment Plan

Just like with humans, viral infections aren’t cured by antibiotics, even though they might be used for bacterial infections. A cat with URI should be separated from other cats in the household and put in a quiet space where he can recover in a low-stress setting. The cat can gradually be introduced to people and other animals in the household once he’s recovered.

In-Home Care for URI

  • A low-stress room is necessary for the cat to rest, acclimate and recover.
  • Make sure the cat is eating (when cats get stuffy noses, they can’t smell their food well) so offer canned food, warmed gently in the microwave to stimulate appetite.
  • Gently clean discharge from nose and eyes with a warm moist cloth at least once daily.
  • Administer any prescribed medications as directed by your veterinarian.

Note: Always wash hands after handling sick cats.

When to Call a Veterinarian

  • Not eating for more than 24 hours
  • Green or yellow discharge from the nose
  • Difficulty breathing, especially panting or breathing through an open mouth
  • Depressed or unresponsive
  • Vomiting or diarrhea that lasts more than 24 hours
  • Little or no improvement after a week of home care