How to feed baby kittens without a bottle
Syringe Feeding — Kitten Lady
Bottle feeding is the standard method for feeding orphaned kittens, but if you're having difficulty feeding a kitten under 2 weeks old, you may want to consider switching from a bottle to a syringe. Before you get started, learn about the benefits and risks of syringe feeding!
A syringe can be greatly beneficial for kittens 0-2 weeks of age. Syringes make it easier to measure in small increments, so you can feel confident that the kitten has eaten a full meal. However, it does come with some risks, as very young kittens don't have a gag reflex and can easily aspirate if fed too quickly. Here's what you need to know if you're going to syringe feed a kitten:
1. Pick the Right Supplies
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For small babies, I recommend a 3cc oral syringe (with no needle, of course!) You can find these online for less than ten cents a piece. In a pinch, ask your local veterinarian or animal shelter for a few 3cc syringes; they will definitely have some on hand.
Ideally, you will use the 3cc syringe in combination with a Miracle Nipple. The Miracle Nipple is a very helpful tool that fits on a bottle or on a syringe. The nipple comes in both small and large sizes, and is perfect for helping tiny kittens get a good latch. If no Miracle Nipple is available, it may be challenging to get a kitten to latch, and you may want to opt for a standard bottle.
You will also need to purchase kitten formula. Do not attempt to feed a kitten cow's milk or other dairy products, dairy alternatives, or human baby formula, as this can be dangerous or fatal for the kitten. Kitten formula can be purchased at most pet supply stores, or can be found in rural areas at feed stores. You can also buy it online by visiting the links on my supplies page.
Tip: Be sure to pick up at least a dozen syringes, as you don't want to use them over and over again, even if you're sanitizing them. Used syringes can operate less smoothly, making it harder and more dangerous to feed the kitten.
A neonatal kitten with a 1cc syringe
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.
3. Feed the Kitten
Prepare the formula according to the manufacturer's instructions, making sure that it is fresh, clump free, and comfortably warm. Pull the formula into the syringe. Lay the kitten in a natural, belly-down position -- never, ever on her back. Gently slide the syringe into the kitten's mouth and slowly drip formula onto the tongue. The kitten should begin to swallow. Very slowly continue to drip formula into the mouth. If the kitten latches on and is suckling, that's great! Just make sure that she isn't eating too quickly; help the kitten keep a slow and steady flow.
Tip: Exercise extreme caution while syringe feeding--feed as slowly as possible to avoid aspiration.
Use this chart as a guideline for feeding. Remember that every kitten is different, and this is only a guideline--not a rule book!
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. nine0005
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. nine0005
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. nine0005
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. nine0008
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. nine0005
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. nine0005
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. nine0008
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. nine0005
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. nine0008
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. nine0008
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. nine0005
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. nine0005
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. nine0005
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 to feed a kitten yourself? | Murkosha
So, you found yourself in a very unexpected situation for yourself - you became a foster parent for a nursing kitten (or even several kittens). How did it happen? Most likely, you accidentally found a box with abandoned tiny creatures in the entrance, park or somewhere else, and being an adequate person, you could not pass by and brought the kids to your home. Another scenario - you picked up a well-fed-looking cat, which unexpectedly turned out to be pregnant, gave birth to kittens and abandoned them (very irresponsibly). In general, you realized that at least in the next few weeks you will have to take responsibility for the survival of babies. nine0005
In the shelter "Murkosha" newborn kittens without a mother are not uncommon. And we are ready to share our experience.
So, first of all, don't panic! Yes, feeding kittens is a responsible and not the easiest thing (you already understand this if you have children). However, if you carefully follow all the recommendations of this article, you can successfully raise babies to a more or less independent age, and then remember the days of “motherhood” with pride and tenderness all your life. But where to start?..
Cat food up to 2 months
What to feed?
So, the most important and difficult thing is nutrition. From the first day of life up to several weeks, kittens should be fed EXCLUSIVELY with a special cat's milk replacer, which can be purchased at pet stores.
Tips for making your own mix can be found on the Internet, but we strongly discourage you from using these recipes. Young kittens have very sensitive digestion and improper nutrition can lead to their death. It is also categorically not recommended to feed kittens up to 2 months with cow or goat milk - it is too fatty and will cause diarrhea in babies. nine0005
How to mix?
The packaging of cat's milk replacer always contains detailed instructions for preparing the mixture.
Mixture temperature should be around 35-36 degrees. If you don't have a thermometer handy, just put the mixture on your wrist: it should be warm, but not hot.
Never give kittens formula that has stood for more than two hours. Always prepare formula just before feeding.
You can feed a kitten from a special bottle for newborn kittens (they are sold in pet stores). You can also feed babies with a pipette or a small syringe without a needle. It will be best if you have a full arsenal at hand.
Remember to sterilize all feeding equipment. Take an ordinary saucepan, fill it halfway with water, bring the water to a boil, remove the saucepan from the heat, put all the inventory into the water and cover the saucepan with a lid for 5-15 minutes. To protect babies from germs as much as possible, perform this procedure every day (preferably before each feeding). nine0005
Wash hands with soap and water before each feeding.
From about 4 weeks old, the kitten can lap from the bowl on its own.
How to hold a kitten while feeding?
The kitten should lie horizontally on its tummy with its head slightly raised. If the kitten does not start eating on its own, stroke it on the back or forehead. If you are syringe feeding your baby, be careful that the baby does not choke.
How often should a kitten be fed? nine0004
A nursing kitten, like a baby, needs to be fed very often:
- up to 2 weeks - every 2-3 hours
- 3-4 weeks - every 3-4 hours
- from 4 weeks - every 6 hours
Please note that kittens should be fed at these intervals at night too! In no case do not leave babies without nightly feedings, because in this case they will weaken and begin to lose weight. Of course, it is not easy to follow a strict feeding regimen, especially when you have to get up at least 2-3 times at night, but after all, kittens have no one but you, and it is only in your power to keep them alive. nine0005
How much should a kitten eat?
It all depends on the size and age of the baby (nourishment per day):
- 1 week - 30 ml per 100 g of kitten weight
- 2 weeks - 35 ml per 100 g of kitten weight
- 3 weeks - 40 ml per 100 g of kitten weight
- 4 weeks and older: 48-53 ml per 100 g of kitten weight
If the kitten is full, he can turn away from the nipple and sleep peacefully, and if the kitten is still hungry, he will look for the nipple and squeak. Employees of the shelter "Murkosha" recommend determining the satiety of a kitten primarily by its behavior (by the way, a complete refusal of food is a serious reason for concern and contacting a veterinarian). nine0005
What should be done immediately after feeding?
After feeding, lay the kitten on its back and gently massage the tummy for a few minutes so that the baby can burp.
At what age can a kitten feed on its own?
A kitten older than one month can already lap the mixture on its own, it no longer needs a pacifier. Also, from this age, you can gradually introduce meat baby food in the form of canned food (sold in ordinary supermarkets): for example, "Agusha" or "Tyoma". At first, alternate meat and liquid food, gradually the kitten will get used to solid food. By 7-8 weeks, the kitten can already eat special food for kittens (sold in regular supermarkets and pet stores). nine0005
Read about proper nutrition for grown-up kittens and cats here: "Proper nutrition for cats"
How to potty train a kitten?
Very young kittens cannot go to the toilet on their own, so they need your help. After eating, massage the lower part of the tummy to the baby: make gentle circular motions in a clockwise direction. Also soak a cotton pad in warm water and massage the kitten's bottom so that he can go to the toilet. nine0005
How to wash a kitten?
Washing the kitten is another function of the mother cat that you need to take over. Naturally, babies still do not know how to lick themselves, so their hygiene must be monitored: moisten a cotton pad in boiled warm water and gently wash the kitten after eating, as well as after using the toilet. Be sure to “wash” the entire baby about once a day.
Read about the hygiene of a grown kitten here: "Do I need to wash my cat?" nine0004
How to arrange a place to sleep and play?
Naturally, the kittens need to prepare a separate place so that they do not crawl around the house and endanger themselves. Find a large box or buy a plastic terrarium from a pet store, put a heating pad or a bottle of warm water on one side, cover the entire area of the box with blankets or terry towels - a thick layer. Lay out a layer of diapers on top - this is what you will change (washing or throwing away) every day. Be sure to maintain a high temperature in the room where the kittens are, and do not neglect heating pads. At the place where newborn kittens stay, the air temperature should be at least 30 degrees, from about the second week it can be gradually reduced to the usual room temperature. Make sure that the kitten in the playpen is always warm, dry and clean. nine0005
From about 4 weeks old kittens become very active. Be careful if the walls of the box are not too high, the kids can try to get out of it.
And finally, perhaps the most obvious one. Try to pay attention to babies not only during feeding. Hold them in your arms, stroke them, spend more time with them - especially if there is only one kitten. After all, you are a mother! Like human children, kittens need warmth and affection, and they are so lacking when there is no mother cat around. Gradually, the kittens will grow up and it will be possible to play with them - again, this is especially important if the kitten is alone. nine0005
Be careful with your foster children, watch their behavior. If you notice that the kids are behaving strangely, become lethargic, eat poorly, lose weight, and so on, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Learn more about signs of an unhealthy cat: "Signs of an unhealthy cat"
So, is that all?
In general, yes. As you already understood, the task before you is not an easy one; over the next few weeks, you need to mobilize all your forces, temporarily change your priorities, and also show maximum responsibility and care. And while this all sounds a little scary, don't be afraid. The joy that you will feel when looking at healthy babies who have grown up will be worth the effort. And kittens will be grateful to you all their lives. Employees of the "Murkosha" shelter have raised more than one or two generations of babies and are completely convinced that everyone can take care of babies.