Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How to Keep Kittens Warm: 8 Vet-Approved Methods

Visnja Radosavljevic

By Visnja Radosavljevic

woman holding kittens

Vet approved

Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Kittens are adorable, and it’s a true privilege for people to be able to care for such innocent creatures in their earliest stages of life. That said, caring for kittens can also be challenging because they require special care to develop properly, especially when it comes to keeping them warm.

Whether you’re a first-time kitten owner or an experienced feline breeder, you’ll need to ensure that your kittens get the comfort and warmth necessary for their well-being.

But how can you keep them warm? In this guide, we provide you with a few of the best and easiest methods for keeping kittens warm, along with explanations of why it’s so important!

The 8 Easy Methods to Keep Kittens Warm

1. Create a Shelter and Bundle Up the Kittens

The kittens need to have a shelter that will be their main comfort zone until they grow more, and such a shelter is a great place to keep your new furry friends warm.

Ideally, the shelter should be placed indoors and be large enough to fit all your kittens together. Bundling up the kittens will help them warm up quicker and maintain their body temperature for longer periods.

While a shelter will keep the kittens warm most of the time, it may not be enough to keep the kittens warm 24/7. In many cases, you’ll need to combine this with other methods.

kittens in wool carpet
Image Credit: Tom Pingel, Shutterstock

2. Use Blankets

Adding blankets can be an excellent, affordable, and quick method to keep kittens warm. While blankets don’t have internal heating power, they can still function as insulation and keep your kittens warm and cozy when they’re in their “nest.” You can also create a few separate insulated areas with blankets so your kittens can warm up even if they roam around the house.

Make sure to regularly wash the blankets and keep them fresh.

3. Buy an Electric Heating Pad

Consider investing in an electric heating pad that you can place under the shelter. It can provide consistent heat for longer periods. Be sure to look for a pad with removable fabric that can easily be washed. Also, make sure it won’t turn off automatically; look for one that you can adjust according to your needs.

Keep in mind that some electric heating pads can be strong, which is why you should check the heating ability before buying one.

In most cases, after you put the pad underneath the kittens’ shelter, you can adjust it to either low or medium heat. Cover the electric heating pad with some type of microfleece material, and ensure that the kittens have both a cold and a warm zone inside of the shelter so they can move away from the heat if necessary.

electric heating pad
Image Credit: Olga Popova, Shutterstock

4. Get an Incubator

Incubators are great for kittens that are less than 4 weeks old because they can provide the kittens with a consistent source of even temperature. They come in various shapes and sizes, have several options for temperature and humidity settings, and provide a constant oxygen flow in a contained space for your little furry friends.

Although efficient, incubators can be expensive, large, and bulky, so they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. Most of the time, incubators work best for breeders and other people who breed kittens. People who don’t have kittens often can go for cheaper and simpler methods for keeping kittens warm.

5. Get Microwavable Heating Pads

Most microwavable heating pads are easy to sanitize and can retain heat for up to 6 hours. They also don’t rely on an outlet; you just need to microwave them, which is why they can be great heating options when taking kittens on the go.

If using microwavable heating pads, you should be cautious and always ensure that the pads are not too hot. Otherwise, your kittens could be at risk of overheating or even being seriously burned.

microwavable heating pad
Image Credit: v74, Shutterstock

6. Use Single-Use Hand Warmers

Single-use hand warmers are ideal when you’re looking for a quick and affordable solution to keep your kittens warm. These can typically stay warm for up to 8 hours and are great for tricky or emergency situations. However, they shouldn’t be your regular solution for providing warmth to kittens. Instead, single-use hand warmers can do the trick in situations when you’re traveling short distances with the kittens or picking up rescue kittens.

When using these warmers, you should ensure that they’re warm enough and replace them if they start getting cold. Also, cover the hand warmers with a blanket to prevent the kittens from chewing or biting them or contacting them directly. Ingestion of the substances inside single-use hand warmers would be dangerous.

7. Use Warm Towels

If you’re looking for an easy and fast way to get your kittens to warm up, you can use something you likely already have at home: towels. Wrapping kittens in warm towels can be a great way to help them warm up. Simply place a towel in the dryer, allow it to heat up, and take it out after a couple of minutes while checking its temperature to make sure it’s not too hot.

If the towel is at the appropriate temperature, gently wrap a kitten inside it. As the temperature of the towel drops, which usually occurs after a couple of hours, you should repeat the process and wrap the kittens in new towels.

This method is not as efficient as some other methods, as warm towels can’t hold heat for a long time. However, the warm towel technique can be great for emergencies or periods when you need a quick solution for keeping kittens warm.

kitten wrap with towel
Image Credit: iVangelos, Shutterstock

8. Use Rice

In emergency situations, you can use rice to help your kittens stay warm. The great thing about this method of keeping kittens warm is that most people already have rice at home, meaning the whole project will be simple and affordable.

Here’s a list of steps to follow to make rice heaters for your kittens:

  • Take dry, unflavored rice.
  • Pour it inside a clean, dry sock.
  • Tie a knot around the sock’s ankle area.
  • Place the sock inside a microwave to heat it up.

You can repeat the process until you have enough warm socks for your kittens. Note that the socks can overheat, so always check the temperature before placing them near your furry friends.

Keep in mind that this is a temporary solution, and it’s not appropriate for keeping kittens warm for the long term.

Why Is It Important to Keep Kittens Warm?

During their early stages of life, kittens can’t self-regulate their body temperature until they’re at least 3 weeks old. These little animals must rely on external heat sources and the warmth of their surroundings, which is why they need our help. Otherwise, they can get chills quite easily, which could become life threatening.

Here are other reasons besides temperature regulation that demonstrate why keeping kittens warm is so important:

  • Development of the immune system — A warm environment can help kittens and promote the proper development of their immune system.
  • Growth — Warmth supports proper growth in kittens and ensures that their bodies reach all the necessary milestones.
  • Comfort and well-being — Kittens feel discomfort when cold, so providing warmth means you’re providing comfort to the kittens and contributing to their overall well-being.

Without sufficient warmth, kittens can easily experience hypothermia, which could cause several other health problems and lead to death.


Keeping kittens warm until they’re at least 3 weeks old is crucial for their survival and proper development, as these tiny creatures don’t have the ability to regulate their body temperature.

Fortunately, there are multiple ways that you can help kittens and keep them warm until they’re able to do it on their own. We hope that this article has helped you get inspiration for various methods to keep your kittens warm.

Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database