How do I safely "mark" kittens so I can tell them apart?

They are less than a week old. Two of the five look to be twins. They have identical markings and weigh almost exactly the same. I am fostering them and if I seperate any of them before feeding (to tell them apart) they all freak out and none eat! I tried to keep the twins together when one is being fed, but you can imagine how that worked out!

Anyway, I don't want to use that tape they provide-the kind that only sticks to itself-because it literally only sticks to itself and they will suck on it when it falls off.

I don't want to cut a little hair from a conspicuous spot because they aren't old enough to create enough body heat to keep themselves warm and to me, this only compounds that problem.

Their claws are too fine and they are too little for pet safe nail polish.

Kid-safe markers maybe? I can't find any info if these are toxic to pets.

Any suggestions anyone has would be GREAT!

Asked by Maxine on Sep 24th 2008 in Health & Safety
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Best Answer

Henry (1996-2010)

My 2 boys looked identical when they were young, both black with medium hair (Henry's hair got much longer, and Louie got all sleek).

It drove me crazy that I couldn't tell them apart, so for Henry I took 3% hydrogen peroxide like in a grocery store (per vet's OK), and put a little spot on the end of the fur on the back of his neck with a q-tip where he couldn't reach to lick (peroxide will make kitty's tummy upset but it isn't toxic), and then cuddled with him for a while until he had a reddish brown spot on him. I wiped the spot with a wet washcloth and I could tell them apart. If they're a light color, use food coloring to put a spot on their neck.

Be careful with the markers. Some use very toxic solvents, and even the kid-safe markers may make animals sick because they are usually alcohol based.

Good luck with your twins!

Henry (1996-2010) answered on Sep 24th.

Other Answers


Premier Demigod's When Sunny G

Use different color nail polish to paint 1 claw on each kitten. Then you can tell them apart.

Premier Demigod's When Sunny G answered on 9/24/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


I had the same problem with newborn foundlings. I used a felt marker and put a small dot on the tummy of one. I had to renew the dot every few days as it faded. Eventually, in a few weeks, I could pick up subtle differences and no longer had to mark one.

Agnes answered on 9/24/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer

Izadore (Izzie)

The animal rescue organization I volunteered with used paper collars with the kitten's name on it. They were very thin, fit snugly, but would also break if the kitten got hung up on something. You can contact one of your local rescues to see if they know where you could get them.

Izadore (Izzie) answered on 9/25/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


I also had this problem as all most were all white. I used a black sharpie and just did the end of the tails. The shelter helped me sex them at that time so if they have an itty bitty black mark on the tail there a boy! Maye you could use different colors for the twins?

Member 722249 answered on 9/26/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer