Why Is My Kitten Shaking and Shivering?

Why Is My Kitten Shaking and Shivering?

Key Takeaways:

  • Kittens shiver for various reasons like cold, fear, excitement, pain, or underlying health issues
  • It's normal for sleeping kittens to twitch a bit due to dream movements
  • Prolonged, violent shivering could be a sign of serious conditions needing vet attention
  • Keeping kittens warm, calm and monitoring their behavior is crucial

You're snuggling with your adorable furball when suddenly, you notice their little body trembling. Uh oh, is something wrong? Don't panic just yet - kittens can shiver for plenty of different reasons, some normal and some requiring a trip to the vet.

Just a Case of the Shivers

Let's start with the simplest explanation first. Much like us humans, kittens will shiver when they get chilly. Their tiny bodies can have trouble regulating temperature properly until a few months old. Simply providing a warm, draft-free napping spot with a heating pad or snuggly blanket may be all it takes to stop that quivering.

Fear or excitement can also trigger those telling trembles in a kitten. New environments, loud noises, or even just anticipating a treat might set off a bit of shaking. As long as it passes quickly and your kitten settles down, no need for concern.

Another harmless cause? Those twitching movements during naptime are likely just your kitten entering the REM sleep cycle and dreaming away. Completely normal and actually a good sign their brain is developing properly.

When the Shivers Are Serious

However, sometimes shivering can point to an underlying medical issue that needs prompt veterinary attention. Persistent, violent trembling that doesn't go away could signal:

  • Pain from an injury or condition like arthritis
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Poisoning or toxin exposure
  • Neurological disorder
  • Infection
  • Organ issue like liver or kidney disease

Along with the shaking, keep an eye out for other symptoms like lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, or changes in behavior or litter box habits. These can help clue you and your vet in to what's going on.

And remember, kittens are pros at hiding signs of illness until it's severe. So if that shivering has you worried, it's always best to get them checked out right away.

Keeping Your Kitten Cozy and Comfy

To keep those shivers at bay while awaiting a vet appointment, provide a warm, quiet, low-stress environment for your kitten. A heated bed or blanket can stave off any chills. And offer liquids frequently to prevent dehydration if vomiting or diarrhea is an issue.

With some straightforward precautions and a watchful eye, you'll be able to tell whether your kitten's shaking is cause for real concern or not. Don't hesitate to consult your vet if the trembling seems abnormal or is accompanied by other worrying signs. Your furry friend is counting on you!


Q: Can newborn kittens shiver too?
A: Yes, it's very common for newborn kittens to shiver and shake, especially if separated from their mom and littermates. Their tiny bodies have a hard time regulating temperature at first. Keeping them in a warmly heated environment with proper bedding is crucial.

Q: Is it bad if my kitten's whole body is twitching?
A: Full-body twitches and tremors are more concerning, as they could potentially indicate a seizure disorder or neurological issue. These types of violent, uncontrolled movements warrant an immediate vet visit.

Q: Can stress and anxiety make a kitten shiver?
A: Definitely - high stress and anxiety are common non-medical reasons for shivering, panting, or trembling in kittens (and adult cats too). Providing a calm, safe space can help relieve those nervous shakes.

Q: How do vets treat shivering kittens?
A: Treatment depends on the underlying cause, but can involve warming methods, fluid therapy, anti-nausea medication, antibiotics, anti-seizure meds, or other supportive care. Getting an accurate diagnosis is key.

Q: Do certain kitten breeds or ages shiver more?
A: While any kitten can shiver, very young kittens under 8 weeks old may be more prone due to their immature temperature regulation systems. But issues like low blood sugar, neurological problems, etc. can affect kittens of any breed or age.


At the end of the day, a bit of shivering here and there isn't necessarily cause for panic in a kitten. But being aware of the potential reasons and watching for other concerning signs is important. By providing warmth, comfort and timely veterinary care when needed, you can rest assured your furry friend will be just fine. Those cute quivers will be back to playful pounces in no time!