How to Bottle Feed A Kitten
In most cases, a newborn kitten will feed from his mother. However, if the kitten in your care has been orphaned, or for some reason the kitten’s mother cannot produce enough milk to feed him or her, it will be your responsibility to feed the kitten. Here, we will cover the bottle feeding process.
Purchasing and Preparing Equipment for Bottle Feeding
The first step to the bottle feeding process is making sure you have the necessary equipment to get the job done properly. When purchasing a bottle be on the lookout for a 2 ounce bottle, as they are the best for the kitten feeding process. The nipple you attach to the bottle should measure no longer than 5/8 of an inch. Snip the nipple slightly with a pair of scissors to allow for a slow drip while feeding. For the milk, you will want to purchase a ‘milk replacer’ – which is imitative of the kitten’s mother’s natural milk. Do not feed your kitten cow milk, as it can make him ill as well as cause diarrhea and other stomach ailments. A milk replacer, such as ‘Kmr Kitten Milk Replacer’, can be found in most pet stores, and is also available for purchase many places online. You may also use the Hoskins formula, an at home formula, which is made by mixing 3oz goat milk, 3 ounces of water, 4 ounces of full-fat plain yogurt and 3 egg yolks. This homemade formula is good for 48 hours if you keep it in the refrigerator, but if left out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours it must be thrown away. Warm the formula to just above room temperature by placing the bottle in a bowl of hot water for a couple of minutes. If you re-use the equipment for more than one feeding time, be sure to sterilize it each and every time before feeding your kitten. For this you will need to use a steam sterilizer, or a sterilizing solution for bottle feeding found at pet stores.
Weight and Warmth
Be sure to weigh your kitten each time before you begin feeding. You will want to monitor weight gain to be sure your kitten is gaining at a healthy pace. Also be sure to keep your kitten warm while not feeding as the kitten’s body temperature should remain between 100-102 degrees. Use a heating pad in a carrier and keep your kitten warm at all times, and never try to bottle feed a cold kitten. If you notice the kitten is cold, warm him immediately.
Start by sitting down in a chair or couch with a towel on your lap. Hold the kitten paws down, belly resting, much like he or she would be feeding naturally from the mother. Never feed a kitten lying down on their back. Ease the nipple into the kitten’s mouth and allow him or her to feed. Make sure you give the kitten enough time to swallow in between drops. In your kitten’s first week of life, you will need to feed him every 2 ½ hours around the clock. Each week thereafter, your kitten will require less feedings. Don’t forget to burp your kitten so he doesn’t get bloated.
Feeding your kitten by bottle will no doubt produce many happy memories for both you and your kitten. You are creating a lifelong bond that your kitten will thank you for. Do you need someone to stop in and prepare a bottle for your kitten while you are work? We can help with that and we sure do love kittens.