Bottle feeding kittens baby formula
Bottle Feeding — Kitten Lady
When a kitten is without a mother, it's up to us to lend a hand. Bottle feeding is an essential skill for any kitten rescuer, and Kitten Lady makes it easy to learn with this step-by-step tutorial. Anyone can learn to bottle feed, but there are some tips you'll want to have in order to do so safely. Let's get started!
1.Get a Bottle and Nipple
You can purchase a bottle at any pet supply store or feed store, or online. Be aware that the nipple that comes on the bottle is not cut; you will need to cut a hole in it yourself. The hole should be big enough that if you hold it upside down, formula can slowly drop out of it -- but not so big that it flows out freely. Pictured here are Kitten Lady's preferred nipples for kittens, available by PetAg, Pet Nurser, and Miracle Nipple.
2.Assess the Kitten
Before you feed a kitten, always make sure you've assessed her to make sure it is safe to feed. If a kitten is overheated or too cold, it is not safe to feed until you have gently stabilized their temperature. If a kitten is not able to swallow, it is not safe to feed. If a kitten has a cleft palate, it may be riskier to feed. Be sure that you've assessed the kitten's temperature and body condition before feeding.
Ensure that the kitten is able to swallow by placing a drop of formula on their tongue and feeling the throat with one finger. If the kitten appears stable and is swallowing, proceed.
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3.Prepare Your Bottle
You're going to need to purchase kitten formula -- you cannot feed kittens the milk that is in your fridge. Never feed a kitten cow's milk or other dairy products, dairy alternatives, or human baby formula, as this can be dangerous or even fatal to the kitten. Instead, purchase a kitten formula from a pet supply store, feed store, or online. Once opened, keep the formula refrigerated. Prepare the formula according to the manufacturer's instructions, making sure that it is fresh, clump free, and comfortably warm.
4.Feed the Kitten
Lay the kitten in a natural, belly-down position -- never, ever on her back. Hold the kitten's head stable with your non-dominant hand. Gently slide the nipple into the kitten's mouth and invert the bottle to start the flow of formula. The kitten should roll her tongue into a U-shape and begin to swallow. Follow the feeding chart for a guideline of amount and frequency.
Be very careful not to squeeze formula into the kitten's mouth as this can cause aspiration. If you are feeding a very young kitten and having a difficult time controlling the flow, consider syringe feeding.
If the kitten latches, that's great, but it's okay if it takes a while for her to get the hang of things! Bottle feeding is an art form that improves with time, so be patient and don't give up. If the kitten is having difficulty, try these tips:
Follow this guideline to determine the proper amount and frequency of feeding. Remember that every kitten is different, and this is a guideline--not a rule book!
Be sure you're holding the head and body stable to guide her. Kittens don't necessarily understand what you're trying to do, so it's up to you to hold them steady and show them.
Take a look at your bottle and nipple, and make sure there are no issues such as a nipple that is cut too big or too small, or clumps in the formula that may be causing a blockage.
Wrap the kitten in a small baby blanket if need be to help her feel focused and swaddled; just make sure she is still in a proper belly-down position.
Rubbing the face with a cloth or toothbrush can simulate a mother's tongue and help them feel prepared to eat.
5.Complete the Routine
After feeding, always ensure that you're cleaning the face by wiping away any formula with a warm, wet cloth or baby wipe. Formula left behind can cause the kitten to get a crusty face or moist dermatitis that causes the fur to fall out, so keep her clean.
Once the kitten is cleaned up, make sure she has been stimulated to pee and poop, and is placed back in her warm, safe spot.
In this video, I share helpful tips for feeding bottle baby kittens who are having a hard time latching.
In this video, I share two methods for bottle feeding: the standard hold and the overhand hold.
Check Out More Content From Kitten Lady
Bottle Feeding Kittens | Best Friends Animal Society
This resource provides instructions for caring for bottle-feeding kittens (“bottle babies”) – very young kittens who have been abandoned or orphaned. It includes information on feeding, weaning, medical care, developmental milestones and more.
Table of Contents
1.) Warmth and bedding
4.) Weight and hydration
5.) Elimination and litter box training
6. ) A clean kitten is a happy kitten
7.) Medical care
8.) Kittens’ developmental milestones
9.) Loving care
Warmth and bedding
For their safety, bottle babies should be kept in a cat carrier when you are not feeding or caring for them. The kittens must be kept warm. Use a heating pad designed and approved for pets (such as a K&H or Snugglesafe pet bed warmer), wrapped in two or three layers of towels. The top layer of bedding can also be a soft fleece blanket instead of a towel. Make sure the carrier is large enough for the kittens to have an area to move away from the heating pad if they are too warm. Kittens will need the heating pad until they are 3 to 4 weeks old.
Cover the carrier with a towel or blanket and keep it in a warm, draft-free room, securely away from other pets. Check the bedding several times a day for messes. Bedding should be changed at least once a day, more often if the kittens soil the bedding.
A kitten’s ideal body temperature is 100 to 102 degrees. A kitten who feels cold and is unresponsive should be warmed immediately. Never attempt to feed a cold kitten. Place the kitten on an approved heating pad safely wrapped in two or three layers of towels. Turn the kitten side to side every 5 minutes. To stimulate blood flow, you may, ever so gently, massage the kitten with hand-rubbing. If the kitten does not respond within 20 to 30 minutes, contact your medical staff immediately.
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Do not feed cow’s milk to kittens, as it does not have the proper nutrition for them. Cow’s milk will also cause diarrhea, a possibly life-threatening condition for young kittens. Only feed your kittens an approved kitten formula. Kitten Milk Replacement (KMR) formula is ideal. The instructions for mixing KMR are below.
KMR powdered formulaUse 1 part formula to 2 parts water. A part is whatever you are using to measure with. For example, if you’re using a tablespoon for measuring, this would mean 1 tablespoon of powdered KMR and 2 tablespoons of water.
Formula that has been in the refrigerator must be warmed to 98-102 degrees Fahrenheit before feeding. Heat a mug of water and place the bottle in the mug of heated water. Never heat the bottle in the microwave. Before feeding the kittens, always test the temperature of the formula by placing a few drops on your inner wrist to be sure it is not too hot. Always wash your hands well with soap and water before and after feeding the kittens. Bottles and nipples should be cleaned thoroughly before each use.
When bottle nipples are brand new, you may need to cut a hole in the top. Cut an X in the tip of the nipple using small, sharp scissors. Or you can burn a hole in the nipple using a large needle. Heat the needle with a match, then poke it through the nipple tip. It may take a few attempts to make the hole the correct size. Once the hole is made, test it by placing the nipple on a bottle of formula and turning the bottle upside down. The formula should drip slowly out of the hole. If the hole is too big, the kittens will ingest too much formula too fast; if it is too small, they will have to work harder to eat and won’t eat as much as they should.
To prevent the possibility of spreading viruses between the kittens and other pets in your house, keep a “kitten gown” (a robe, sweatshirt, etc.) in the kittens’ room to wear during feeding and handling of the kittens. You may also wear gloves if you wish, and remember to always wash your hands well before and after feeding your bottle babies.
Because kittens under 4 weeks old aren’t able to pee or poop on their own, you’ll need to help the kittens do that by stimulating them before or after each feeding, or both. Using something soft and absorbent, like tissues or toilet paper, rub each kitten’s genital area in a circular motion. (For more details, see the section on elimination below. ) Keep records of their eliminations in case an issue arises. After a kitten has eliminated, weigh him or her before feeding. You should also keep records of the kittens’ weights before and after each feeding.
After recording the kitten’s elimination and weight, it’s time to feed. Never feed a kitten on his back. The kitten should be on his stomach in a position similar to how he would lay next to his mother to nurse. You may try holding the kitten upright swaddled in a warm towel or have the kitten lay on a towel in your lap. Experiment with what position works best for you and the kitten.
Turn the bottle upside down and allow a drop of formula to come out. Place the bottle nipple in the kitten’s mouth and gently move it back and forth, holding the bottle at a 45-degree angle to keep air from getting into the kitten’s stomach. This movement should encourage the kitten to start eating. If at first you don’t succeed, wait a few minutes and try again. Usually the kitten will latch on and begin to suckle. If the bottle appears to be collapsing, gently remove the nipple from the kitten’s mouth and let more air return to the bottle.
Allow the kitten to suckle at his own pace. If a kitten refuses to suckle, try stroking the kitten’s back or gently rubbing her on her forehead. This stroking is similar to momma cat’s cleaning and it may stimulate the kitten to nurse. If this doesn’t work, try rubbing some Karo Syrup on the kitten’s lips. If the kitten still doesn’t want to nurse, contact your medical staff immediately.
Do not attempt to feed a kitten who is chilled because it can have serious health consequences. Try warming the kitten as described above. If you are unable to warm the kitten, contact your medical staff immediately.
A kitten should eat about 8 milliliters (mls) of formula per ounce of body weight per day. The chart below provides guidance on when and how much to feed kittens.Courtesy of the Kitten Lady
Nursing bottles are marked with measurements, so this is another way to know how much you’re feeding the kittens. Please note that some bottles use ml for measurement, some use cubic centimeters (cc). They are the same: 1 cc = 1 ml.
Using a kitchen or small postal scale, weigh the kittens daily to calculate the amount of formula they need. Keep a log listing daily weights and amount of formula consumed at each feeding.
If you are feeding multiple kittens, feed the first kitten until he stops nursing, then begin feeding the next kitten, and so on. Once you have fed all the kittens, feed the first kitten again and repeat with all the kittens. Usually one to three nursing turns will suffice. When a kitten stops nursing, he/she has had enough. A well-fed kitten’s belly should be round, but not hard and distended. Smaller or weaker kittens may eat less per feeding and will need to be fed more often.
Kittens need to be burped, just like human babies. Lay the kitten on his stomach, on your shoulder or in your lap, and very gently pat his back until you hear a little burp. You may need to burp a couple times per feeding.
Young kittens may suckle on each other. If you notice a kitten doing that, you should separate the kittens because this can lead to many medical issues.
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Weaning may begin around 4 weeks of age. Start by offering the kittens formula on a spoon. Once they are lapping off the spoon, try putting some formula in a saucer. As they master lapping up the formula out of the saucer, you can gradually add a small amount of canned food to the formula in the saucer, making a gruel. Increase the amount of canned food slowly, adding more food and less formula. Some kittens catch on right away, others may take a few days. To be sure the kittens are getting enough food, you may need to continue bottle feeding them a few times a day, until they are eating well on their own. Be sure to feed them what they need to be full, but don’t overfeed them.
Never force a kitten to wean. Some kittens continue to enjoy their bottle past 4 weeks. This is fine as long as you keep a close eye on them and ensure that they’re not chewing on the nipple. Now that they have teeth, they could ingest part of the nipple.
Monitor the kittens’ stools to make sure they are tolerating and digesting the gruel mix well. If the kittens have loose stools, reduce the amount of canned food and increase the formula until their systems have adjusted. As the kittens adjust to the gruel mix and you are adding more canned food to their diet, you can also add more water to the formula mix. If you are using KMR formula, add an extra measure of water when preparing the formula. Instead of 1 part formula to 2 parts water, mix 1 part formula to 3 or 4 parts water.
As the kittens eat more food and less formula, you will need to have a bowl of fresh water available to them at all times to keep them well hydrated. At this time, you may also add dry food to their diet. Add some of the watered-down formula mix to the dry food to entice the kittens to eat it. Gradually reduce the formula and let them eat the food dry. Again, keep watch on the kittens’ stools to make sure they are tolerating the food well. If diarrhea or constipation persists with the change in diet, contact your medical staff. (Spoiler alert: There’s always some diarrhea when kittens wean.)
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Weight and hydration
Weigh your kittens before and after each feeding using a kitchen or postal scale. Kittens should gain about ½ ounce every day or 3 to 4 ounces per week. By 8 weeks, most kittens weigh about 2 pounds. Enter their daily weights in the logbook. If the kittens are not gaining weight or are losing weight, contact your medical staff right away.
A well-fed kitten should be properly hydrated. To test a kitten’s hydration, pull up on the skin at the scruff of the neck. The skin should bounce back easily. If it doesn’t bounce back, or goes back down slowly, the kitten may be dehydrated. If the kitten appears dehydrated, contact your medical staff.
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Elimination and litter box training
As mentioned above, young kittens cannot eliminate on their own. A momma cat will clean her kittens, stimulating them to urinate and have a bowel movement. As their human caregiver, you now have the honor of performing this duty. Before and/or after each feeding, use a tissue or soft cloth to gently rub and clean the kitten’s lower belly, genital and anal area. The kitten should begin eliminating within a minute.
Kittens should urinate after each feeding and have a bowel movement one to four times a day. Do not continue to rub the kitten for more than a minute or so, since this could irritate her delicate skin. Gently wash the kitten after she is done eliminating using a clean, damp, soft cloth. Record the kittens’ elimination type and frequency in the logbook.
When they are between 3 and 4 weeks of age, kittens can be introduced to the litter box. Use a small cardboard box or plastic litter box with just enough clay litter to cover the bottom. Don’t use clumping litter. Adding a used tissue from when you helped them urinate to the box will help them get the idea of what to do next. Put the kittens in the box, allowing them to get the feel for the litter. Natural instinct will generally prevail and the kittens will begin investigating, scratching, and, within a few days, using the box.
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A clean kitten is a happy kitten
After feeding, clean any formula, urine, feces or other messes off the kitten using a clean, soft, warm, damp cloth. This action simulates how the momma cat would clean the kittens. If more cleaning is required, you may use a wetter washcloth dipped in warm water to loosen up caked-on messes in the kitten’s fur. Do not use soap or pet shampoo directly on the kitten. If you must use a shampoo to clean the kitten, add one or two drops of shampoo to a cup of warm water, then use the cloth dipped in this mixture to clean the kitten. Rinse the cleaned area with another cloth dipped in clear, warm water. Gently dry the kitten with a soft towel or hair dryer set on low and not held too closely. Do not allow the kitten to become chilled. Once the kitten is clean and dry, place her back in the carrier on the covered heating pad, which should be covered in clean layers of bedding.
Kittens’ ears should be clean and dirt-free. If the ears are dirty, gently clean the area with a Q-tip; you may need to dampen it in warm water. Do not use ear-cleaning solution because it could be harmful to the kitten. Only clean the outer area of the inside ear, just the part that you can see; do not push the Q-tip down into the ear. If the ears are extremely dirty or you see signs of ear mites (specks that look like coffee grounds), contact your medical staff about treatment options.
Kittens may have some discharge in or around their eyes. To cleanse the area, gently wipe around the eye with a warm, damp, soft cloth. If the discharge continues, is cloudy, or the eyes are gooped shut, clean the eyes as directed above, then contact your medical staff for treatment options.
All kitten bedding should be washed separately from other household laundry using detergent and ¾ cup of bleach per load. To clean carriers and litter boxes used for the kittens, use a mixture of ¼ cup of bleach per gallon of water. You may add a tablespoon of laundry soap to the wash water. Do not use any cleaning agents that contain ammonia or are not approved to mix with bleach, since it could cause hazardous fumes. Be sure the carrier and/or litter boxes are completely dry and free of bleach fumes before putting them back with the kittens.
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A veterinarian should be consulted for kittens showing any of the following symptoms.
Do not medicate kittens without consulting a vet first.
- Straining to urinate, or not urinating
- Upper respiratory symptoms: goopy/watery eyes, runny nose, constant sneezing, coughing, wheezing or labored breathing
- Not eating
- Change in attitude or behavior
- Hair loss
- Anything you are worried or concerned about
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Kittens’ developmental milestones
Kittens weigh about 2 to 4 ounces at birth. They are blind, deaf and totally dependent on the mother cat for survival. Some developmental milestones:
- At 7 to 10 days, their eyes start to open. Kittens’ eyes are fully open by 20 days. Their eyes stay blue until they are 6 to 7 weeks old.
- They will begin to play with each other at 3 to 4 weeks.
- By 3 to 4 weeks, solid food can be introduced, their first juvenile teeth are cut, and litter box training begins.
- At 6 weeks, kittens are well-coordinated, running and climbing and full of mischief.
- Kittens are ready for their first vaccinations at 4 weeks and spay/neuter surgery at 6 weeks.
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Physical and emotional contact with you is extremely important for the growing, developing kitten. Early cuddling and gentle petting of kittens helps them to bond well with humans, allowing them to grow up feeling safe and secure with their human family. Playing with the kittens with a variety of toys will stimulate their minds and help them develop good motor skills.
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How to feed a kitten | Pick a Friend Foundation
1. Gather the necessary supplies. To feed a newborn kitten, you will need some kind of specially designed device. If possible, use a bottle with a kitty teat set, such as Hartz. This bottle itself is small and made of transparent plastic with markings for more accurate measurement of liquids. The nipple is made of special rubber and has an appropriate comfortable shape to fit in the kitten's mouth. This allows him to suckle the bottle as if he were suckling his mother.
If you don't have a dedicated feeding device, then another alternative is a syringe that can be used to dribble milk into the kitten's mouth. However, the kitten does not have the ability to suck on a syringe, so try to find a suitable replacement as soon as possible.
2. Sterilize the equipment. It is critical to maintain sterile equipment. A simple wash is not enough for this. Consider using a steam sterilizer (like for baby bottles) or immerse the equipment in a bowl of cold sterilizing liquid, such as Chicco.
Cold sterilization fluid can usually be found in pharmacies in the children's section. Follow the instructions on the packaging. If you decide to use such a liquid when sterilizing your kitten's feeding equipment, do not forget to rinse everything with boiled water afterwards so that there are no residues of the sterilizing agent on the inventory.
3. Prepare and heat the mixture. If you are using liquid formula, open the jar and measure out the required amount of mixture according to the instructions. When using a powder mixture, follow the instructions on the packaging regarding the required number of scoops per volume of water. Always follow the directions exactly, as a mixture that is too strong can lead to stomach upset, while a formula that is too dilute will not provide the kitten with the required amount of nutrients.
Always prepare a fresh batch of formula for every feeding. The mixture does not contain preservatives, and the immune system of a newborn kitten is still weak, so getting bacteria from the environment into the milk can be a disaster for his health.
Do not microwave; because of this, too hot and too cold areas can form in the mixture. Instead, simply place the mixture in a container and place it in hot water to heat up.
Make sure the milk is at the right temperature – neither too hot nor too cold. Ideally, the mixture should be at body temperature, so when you apply a couple of drops of it to the back of your hand, their temperature should seem to be about the temperature of your skin. If you use too hot mixture, you can burn the kitten's mouth.
4. Check your kitten's body temperature. When you are ready to feed your kitten, make sure it is warm. To some extent, a kitten's ability to digest food depends on its body temperature. If the kitten is cool, his digestion will slow down, and the mixture will linger in the stomach and ferment. Newborn kittens usually cling closely to their mother and therefore remain quite warm. For the first three weeks of their life, a temperature of about 35.6-37.8 degrees will be considered ideal.
Try to keep the kitten at this temperature by placing a heating pad under a well-insulated kitten nest. If you don't have a heating pad, use a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel to prevent the kitten from coming into direct contact with the hot water and getting burned. Refresh the hot water as needed to keep the kitten warm.
5. Feed the kitten. Sit in a comfortable chair with a folded towel on your lap. Place the kitten in the same way as it would be fed by its mother: lay it on its stomach with its paws down and with its head slightly raised. The first time you try to feed the kitten, squeeze a drop of the mixture onto the tip of the nipple or syringe. Bring it very close to the kitten's mouth. The kitten has a rather acute sense of smell and, most likely, having smelled milk, he will try to kiss the nipple or syringe.
When using the pacifier at this stage, you should help the kitten a little by inserting it into its open mouth. Natural instincts should take over and the kitten should start suckling.
When using the syringe, gently press the plunger to release a drop of milk into the kitten's mouth. Let the kitten swallow between drops. Never fill your mouth with milk completely, as the kitten can inhale the milk, it will enter the lungs and develop pneumonia, which is usually fatal for kittens. Just take your time and go slowly.
The position of the kitten is very important. Never feed it upside down like a human baby and make sure the kitten is lying on its stomach during feeding. Make sure that his head is not up, as this can lead to inhalation of the mixture into the lungs, which is very dangerous and can lead to the death of the kitten.
6. Feed your kitten the correct amount of formula. Kitten formulas are usually accompanied by instructions on how much and how often to feed. Follow these instructions. The following are only generalized indications of the volume and frequency of feeding mixtures of kittens in the first weeks of their life.
At the age of 1-3 days, give 2.5 ml of cat's milk replacer every two hours.
At the age of 4-7 days, give 5 ml of the mixture and organize 10-12 feedings per day.
At the age of 6-10 days, give 5-7.5 ml of the mixture and organize 10 feedings per day.
At the age of 11-14 days, give 10-12.5 mixtures and feed the kittens every three hours.
At the age of 15-21 days, give 10 ml of the mixture 8 times a day. At the age of over 21 days, give 7.5-25 ml 3-4 times a day simultaneously with the introduction of solid food.
7. Pay attention to important signs while feeding your kitten.
When learning and practicing formula feeding a kitten, remember that improper feeding can lead to breathing problems. Make sure that milk does not flow out of his nose during feeding, and his stomach does not swell.
In terms of feeding volumes, if your kitten is greedy enough to continue sucking on the pacifier even after exceeding the recommended dose, examine his belly. If it swells up and becomes tight, stop feeding. This is a sign of a full stomach, it's just that the kitten hasn't realized it yet. Don't overfeed him.
If your kitten eats less than the recommended amount, don't panic. This may be his personality. If you're worried about your kitten being malnourished, instead of trying to force more formula into him at the risk of choking his lungs, stop, let the kitten rest, and try feeding the kitten again in about an hour.
8. Remain calm. It is very important not to lose patience and remain calm when you feed the kitten so that he is also calm. In addition, allow the kitten to eat as long as he needs to avoid overeating or digestive problems.
Stimulate burping by placing the kitten's back against your body and stroking its belly. When a cat cares for kittens, she licks them and thereby stimulates urination and defecation. Don't be surprised by any of the possible results - these are good signs!
9. Clean the kitten's bottom. The mother cat usually licks the kittens' bottoms and genitals immediately after feedings to stimulate urination and defecation. She also eats their excrement, which is a natural way to keep the nest clean, as a dirty nest can attract predators. In the absence of the mother, you need to intervene in this process. Take a damp cotton swab and wipe the kitten's anal area, imitating licking movements. As soon as the kitten goes to the toilet, wipe off the excrement with a cotton swab. Finish the procedure with an additional wipe of the kitten's buttocks with a clean cotton swab, and you will be free until the next feeding.
This is an important step in the successful feeding of a kitten. If the mother's stimulation of urination and defecation is not imitated, the kitten will not empty its bladder and bowels normally, which can cause it to become seriously ill.
10. Return the kitten to its warm nest or box to rest. Continue to follow a regular daily feeding schedule for the coming weeks until weaning and proper transition to solid foods. Additionally, consult your veterinarian regarding a suitable diet at the time of weaning.
Introduce solid foods in the form of soft canned food and solid kibble when the kitten is about four weeks old. Some kittens prefer to bottle feed for up to eight weeks, so the progress of the transition to solid food should be monitored by a professional veterinarian.
How and what to feed kittens up to 1 month old
If you have an abandoned newborn cat cub in your house, first of all you need to learn how to feed kittens up to 1 month old. The issue of artificial feeding of tiny lumps arises in case of death of the mother, difficult childbirth or the banal lack of maternal instinct in a cat
Rules for Feeding Motherless Kittens
If it was not possible to find a nursing cat, then the owner will have to feed the kittens with artificial substitutes for cat's milk, while observing the basic rules for feeding kittens without a mother:
- feeding equipment must be absolutely sterile;
- feed the baby in a warm, clean and dry room with a calm atmosphere;
- formula or cat's milk replacer immediately before feeding should be heated in a water bath to 30-36C, depending on age;
- store the diluted mixture in the refrigerator for no more than 24 hours;
- during feeding, the kitten should be in a prone position with the head end raised;
- turning the animal on its back is unacceptable to avoid choking;
- when feeding, it is necessary to control the process of feeding the mixture to prevent swallowing air;
- the bottle or syringe must be held at a 45 degree angle when feeding;
- it is necessary to carefully dose the amount of the mixture in order to avoid overeating and the occurrence of gastrointestinal disorders;
- the kitten should eat a single portion of the mixture in approximately 5 minutes;
- it is recommended to follow the feeding schedule depending on the age of the baby;
- in case of malnutrition of a single portion of artificial milk or the development of diarrhea, it is recommended to increase the frequency of feeding;
- an indicator of satiety is sluggish sucking and falling asleep;
- after each meal, it is recommended to hold the newborn upright to spit up air, wipe the kitten's muzzle dry and massage the tummy and anus with a wet swab to stimulate intestinal motility;
- after eating, a well-fed baby should be given time to rest for better digestion and elimination of intestinal volvulus;
Important! At the end of feeding, the dishes must be washed in running water and sterilized.
What is required for artificial feeding of kittens
When it becomes necessary to artificially feed newborns, the most important thing is not to panic and follow all the rules of asepsis and antisepsis to prevent infection of a tiny organism.
The first step is to determine what will be needed to feed newborn kittens. The cub should receive commercial or homemade cat's milk substitutes.
Important! The main condition for artificial feeding is compliance with the temperature regime and the frequency of feeding, depending on the age of the baby.
- You can feed your tiny pet from special bottles with nipples designed for artificial feeding of kittens.
- Alternatives include a regular medical pipette, a syringe without a needle, a baby bottle with the smallest teat, a catheter, or preterm feeding tubes. The main thing is that the nipple or syringe tip can easily fit in the tiny mouth of a fluffy baby.
Remember! Wide opening teats should not be used, otherwise the mixture will enter the respiratory tract of the newborn.
Equipment for feeding a kitten must be sterile, for this, bottles, syringes or pipettes are boiled for 10 minutes before and after eating. Sterilized items must be stored dry under a lid.
Feeding methods for newborn kittens differ in feeding tools and utensils, some options can only be used by veterinarians.
With any method, before feeding, the baby should be placed belly down on your lap or on the table, slightly raising the head of the newborn.
A good option is to use special cuvettes for this purpose, in which the position of the kitten is as close to natural as possible, as when breastfeeding.
If the baby cannot take the first sip on his own, you can hold the bowl of milk replacer up to the baby's nose. Having smelled the mixture, a hungry kitten should open its mouth. At this time, it is necessary to drop a milk replacer on the baby's tongue and stroke the forehead or throat towards the esophagus, stimulating the swallowing reflex.
- Bottle feeding method. Infant or kitten bottles can be used with this method. The pacifier should fit in the baby's tiny mouth and have a small hole. A large gap from which the mixture flows freely is not recommended, as the kitten may choke when sucking. From a gap that is too small, the baby will not be able to draw milk on his own, and may remain hungry. The optimal size is the size of the hole, from which the milk replacer is released when gently pressed. The bottle should be held at a 45 degree angle when feeding.
- Pipette feeding. Medical pipette fits perfectly in the small mouth of a newborn kitten. When pressing on the rubber tip, it is necessary to control the process of swallowing the mixture by the kitten.
- Syringe feeding. When feeding from a syringe, the most important condition is gentle pressure on the piston so that the baby has time to swallow and breathe. With the rapid introduction of large portions of the mixture, the kitten may choke. The tip of the syringe should be pointing up towards the palate of the newborn so that the baby can wrap his tongue around it. The mixture should be dropped very slowly at a 45 degree angle.
- Tube feeding. In this method, the kitten is fed by introducing the mixture through a tube directly into the esophagus of a tiny pet. For this purpose, tubes for feeding children or urinary catheters for dogs are used.
Important! Feeding a kitten through a tube can only be trusted by specialists who are skilled in this technique.
A tiny baby has a small stomach, unable to digest a large amount of food. For newborn kittens, a special feeding regimen is used, in which the frequency of food intake, the volume of the daily portion and the temperature of the mixture are determined by the age and weight of the animal:
- 1 week. The baby needs to be fed every two hours during the day, the daily volume per kitten of 100 g is 30 ml, the temperature of the mixture should be 38C.
- 2 weeks. From the second week the baby eats every 4 hours, the daily norm is 38 ml, the food temperature is reduced to 30-32C.
- 3 weeks. 6 meals a day remain, the daily volume of milk increases to 48 ml, the mixture is heated to 28-30C.
- 4 weeks. The baby is fed 5-6 times a day, the kitten is able to drink 50-55 ml of milk replacer at room temperature.
Milk substitutes and formulas for newborn kittens
You can feed a newborn kitten without a mother with milk replacers or formulas for kittens or infants. The diluted mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a day.
Industrial cat's milk substitutes
The most optimal means for artificial feeding of a newborn kitten are commercial cat's milk substitutes, the composition of which is as close as possible to mother's milk:
- Beaphar Kitty-Milk is a Dutch food that is suitable for feeding kittens from birth to 35 days, consists of milk and whey, enriched with vitamins, minerals and fatty acids.
- Royal Canin Babycat Milk is a French milk substitute, in addition to milk proteins and whey, containing vegetable oils, vitamins, trace elements, fish oil and flavors.
- Nutri-Vet Kitten Milk is an American food suitable for feeding kittens from birth, pregnant, lactating and senior cats, enriched with a vitamin-mineral complex and egg yolks.
Infant formula for kittens
Commercial milk replacers are quite expensive and not always available on the market, alternatives to them are infant formula that is suitable for feeding kittens. For dilution of feed, it is necessary to take 2 times more boiled water than for infants. Currently, the following types of baby milk food are successfully used for feeding kittens:
- NAN is an infant formula based on skimmed cow's milk and whey, enriched with a vitamin-mineral complex and bifidobacteria.
- Nanny is a dry mix made from goat's milk with added vitamins, minerals and prebiotics.
- Bellakt is a milk formula containing lutein, a vitamin-mineral complex and prebiotics.
Infant formula can be purchased from pharmacies and specialist baby food stores.
Scott and Tailing Kitten Formula
In addition to commercial artificial milk substitutes, homemade formulas are used to feed newborn kittens. For their basis, whole cow, goat or condensed milk is used.
The prepared mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, before use, milk feed must be heated to the desired temperature in a water bath:
- Scott's mixture. Scott's formula is used to feed very young or malnourished kittens. To prepare it, you need to combine 50 g of milk, eggs and whipped protein, 15 g of yeast, 1 g of sunflower oil, 4 g of glucose and 15 g of powdered milk, heat the mass to 38C.
- Tailing mix. The mixture also contains whole cow's milk and glucose, indicated for malnourished and weak kittens: mix 25 g of cow's milk, 5 g of powdered milk, 2 g of glucose and 1 g of vitamins, heat to 38C.
- Condensed milk mixture. To 20 g of water add 100 g of condensed milk without sugar and bone meal on the tip of a knife, mix and heat.
Artificial feeding of a newborn kitten is a rather troublesome and time-consuming task for an inexperienced owner, but all the owner's worries are more than paid off by sincere love and touching trustfulness of a growing furry friend.
Water, vitamins and supplements
When fed by its own mother, a kitten with breast milk receives a sufficient amount of liquid, vitamins and trace elements.