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Is My Kitten Sick?

Posted: 08/09/2023 | BY: Jenna Bruce | Categories: Cat , Health problems , Pet care

There’s nothing quite like having a new kitten in your life. These sweet, tiny fur balls are precious and a joy to be around and watch grow. But taking care of kittens is a big responsibility. And it can be nerve wracking because kittens don’t have a robust immune system, and they can be prone to parasites and diseases. If you have noticed some changes in your fur baby and are wondering “Is my kitten sick,” please read this entire article. Kittens are incredibly vulnerable to sickness. What may seem like something minor can turn into something very serious, and even deadly, within a short period of time. 

Is my kitten sick?

Common Health Issues for Kittens

The following are some of the most common health issues that new kittens face: 


Kittens can become easily dehydrated, and this can make it difficult for them to pass stool. Make certain your kitten is getting enough fluids. You may want to add a bit more water to their formula to keep them hydrated. Pay close attention. If your fur baby does not pass stool within a 48 hour period, or if they vomit, get them to the vet immediately. 


It’s not uncommon for a kitten to experience a bit of diarrhea. Changes in diet, stress and overfeeding can easily cause loose stools. But loose stools can also be a sign of a serious issue related to internal parasites, or a bacterial or viral infection. A good rule of thumb with kittens is, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If anything seems not ok, bring them in to see the vet as soon as possible.

Upper Respiratory Infection (URI)

If you’ve rescued an orphaned kitten, understand that they are at high risk for developing an upper respiratory infection. And if not treated in time, URIs can turn into pneumonia quickly in kittens with poor health outcomes.

If you notice your kitten has watery eyes or colored discharge coming from their eyes or mouth, and/or if they are sniffling or sneezing, get them to the vet immediately. Treatment for URIs in kittens should be started as soon as possible.

It’s also important to mention that URIs are incredibly contagious, so if you have other cats or kittens in the home, keep your sick fur baby isolated from the others until they are healthy once again. 

is my kitten sick?

Parasites – Fleas

Another issue that rescued orphaned kittens are prone to is parasites, particularly fleas. If not caught and treated, a couple of fleas can turn into a flea infestation. Collectively, all of these fleas can quickly drain enough blood from your fur baby and potentially cause fatal anemia. In addition, fleas can also give your kitten tapeworm. 

Only use flea treatment that your vet has recommended. Never use a flea treatment that is for dogs or cats that are older or weigh more than your kitten. 

Fading Kitten Syndrome

Within the first several weeks of life, some kittens will, sadly, fall victim to fading kitten syndrome (FKS). One day they seem perfectly healthy and then they quickly start to decline. Causes can be a virus or a genetic defect or even blood incompatibility with the kitten’s mother. 

If the root cause of FKS can be found and treated in time, the kitten may survive and go on to live a healthy life. Sadly, most cases do not have a happy outcome.

Should I Get Pet Insurance for My Kitten?

Most pet parents think they only need pet insurance when their fur baby gets old. But that’s not the case. As you’ve just seen, kittens are very prone to becoming ill. And sometimes, quite ill, requiring hospitalization. Kittens are also prone to accidents that can warrant a trip to the emergency clinic. Enrolling your kitten into a pet insurance plan means having financial help covering the cost of high medical bills. Without insurance, you may be left having to pay thousands of dollars by yourself.

common kitten health issues

What Does Kitten Insurance Cover?

The answer to this question really depends on the insurance provider and policy you choose. Generally speaking, most providers offer an Accident & Illness plan and an Accident-Only plan. 

Accident & Illness plans will cover costs associated with testing, treatment, hospitalization, surgery and medications for both accidents (your kitten is attacked by a dog) and illnesses (your kitten develops a URI).

An Accident-only plan costs less per month because it offers less coverage. Essentially you are only covered for costs associated with accidents but not illnesses.

There are some insurance providers that offer wellness plans as an add-on to your main policy. Wellness plans typically cover the cost of preventative care for things like vaccinations, spaying/neutering and routine checkups.

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  1. “The 5 Most Common Kitten Illnesses”
  2. “Five Common Kitten Illnesses to Watch for”



The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.

The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.

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