Fading Kitten Syndrome

The Complete Guide To Fading Kitten Syndrome:

Fading kitten syndrome : According to recent research, approximately 8.5% of kittens die before weaning, and FKS or Fading kitten syndrome is one of the main reasons for death. Although the impact of the fading kitten syndrome is relatively more in the stray kittens when compared to the ones that specialized breeders nurture. 

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What is Fading Kitten Syndrome:

Fading kitten syndrome or neonatal death is used to define the end of a kitten at the time of the birth before kitten weaning. FKS or Fading kitten syndrome can occur soon after birth as a kitten might turn unresponsive and unhealthy despite being healthy at the time of the delivery. There are various reasons which can cause fading kitten syndrome, but two of the most common reasons include,

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  1. Hypoglycemia ( Low blood sugar)
  2. Hypothermia ( Being cold).

Now, you have witnessed the newly born kittens fighting for life in your home, and everyone is panicking because nobody knows what to do. If you are looking for FKS on the internet, then you have landed at the right place, as we will clarify all your doubts associated with Fading Kitten Syndrome today.  

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Common Symptoms of Fading Kitten Syndrome: 

sick cat

There are various indications which your kitten might indicate; hence you will have to identify them quickly when a newly-born kitten is fighting for life. We have combined some of the most common signs which newly born lethargic kittens might indicate. Call your vet immediately if you suspect any of the symptoms in the kittens mentioned below. 

Low Birth Weight:

The tiniest kittens of the litter have low weight and are not active. If you suspect a lethargic kitten in the litter, provide them additional care to make them up and run. Low birth weight is one of the most common signs of fading kitten syndrome in cats. Kittens not gaining weight are more prone to FKS. 

Inability To Nurse Efficiently:

All the healthy kittens in the litter will start feeding on breast milk as soon as they come to life. Fading kittens are not strong enough to grab the nipples of their mother and hence end up losing one of the most critical stages of their life. Healthy kittens feed on colostrum which carries all the necessary antibodies, and not consuming the passive antibodies can lead to neonatal death, which is also called FKS. You will have to bottle feed the kitten, which cannot nurse properly; that is one of the best ways to prevent fading kitten syndrome in kittens. 

Desertion From The Litter:

All the mother cats abandon weak kittens to protect the healthier kittens in the litter, which is a basic instinct in the cat kingdom. If you suspect their mother ignores a weak kitten you must rise to the occasion and provide them the necessary supportive care for the next few days to prevent the risk of Fading kitten syndrome. 

Low Body Temperature:

Newly born kittens cannot regulate their body temperature, leading to a significant downfall in body temperature. Therefore, deserted kittens get away from their mother, which increases the risk of hypothermia, leading to lower body temperature, which can be fatal if not treated immediately. If you see the kitten’s mouth and gums turn bluish, then provide sufficient warmth to bring them back to average body temperature.


Numerous bacterial and viral infections are eagerly waiting to affect the newly born litter. You will have to ensure that you keep the infected kitten away from the healthy kittens to reduce the pathogen’s spread within the litter. It is also a vital responsibility of a breeder to spay all the kittens and neuter stray cats in the region. 

isoerythrolysis :

The rarest condition which can lead to neonatal death in kittens is neonatal isoerythrolysis. The problem occurs when the mother cat and the kitten cat have different blood types, blocking the absorption of the necessary antibodies and ultimately causing death. 


Flea bites can be deadly for newly born kittens as they can inject various harmful parasites inside the kitten’s body. You must provide a flea and tick-free space to your cat for giving birth. All the kittens in the litter are prone to protozoan infections, ticks, and tapeworms that can cause immediate bite. 

Best Treatment For Neonatal Death or Fading Kitten Syndrome:

cat treatment

Increasing Blood Sugar:

As mentioned above, low blood sugar can be one of the main reasons for fading kitten syndrome or neonatal death in cats. To prevent death, you will have to constantly rub light Karo corn syrup on the gums to increase the blood sugar level in the dying kitten. You can also use a pancake mix if you don’t have sweetened corn syrup at home. It is essential to repeat the procedure every 3 minutes to save the life of the kitten. You will see an improvement if low blood sugar is the cause of the problem.

Providing Heat:

If you suspect a stray kitten away from the litter, wrap the kitten in a warm towel and provide an additional heat source to prevent FKS. When doing so, ensure that the heat source doesn’t touch the kitten directly to avoid skin injuries and burns. Don’t wrap your head because it can lead to a lack of oxygen and death. You can either heat uncooked rice or you can add water in a common heat bag.  

Call Local Veterinarian:

If you find the kitten in a dying condition, the best you can do to save a life is by taking the kitten to your local vet. They have the right tools and provide fluids through the blood to bring the kitten back to life. 


FKS or Fading Kitten Syndrome becomes fatal without human assistance hence ensuring that you provide equal attention and care to all the kittens in the litter. Also, clean your home to keep fleas and ticks away. 


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