It’s not easy to look after a bottle-fed kitten. Whether you signed up at your local shelter to adopt abandoned kittens, or you found a kitty outside, and her mother didn’t come back for her, you may want to give this new kitten extra attention.
Its good to see that you show extra care no matter the situation, because the kitten greatly requires it at this stage of its growth.
If this is your first time and you are in doubt about kitten bottle-feeding procedures, you can follow these tips.
Choose the Right Kitten Formula
It would be best to feed your kitten the right mix of vitamins, probiotics, and a caloric pattern that mimics the content of the milk of a Mumma cat. This comes as a combination of liquid or powder that can be picked up from the closest pet supply shop, or online retailer.
Important note: Never feed cow milk, human baby food, milk substitutes, or at-home recipes to a kitten, as these can cause disease and worse, death.
Choose the Right Bottle
Your kitten needs the right bottle and even an additional set of rubber nipples for feeding along with the kitten formula. Cut a small hole in the nipple at a diagonal angle if the nipple on your bottle is not pre-cut, making sure that the hole is not too big or too small.
If it runs too slowly, you’ll have to widen the opening. Too fast? You may have to try again with a fresh nipple.
Prepare Your Kitten’s Bottle Properly
When using powdered milk, mix it according to the instructions. If a liquid formula is used, steam it slowly by putting the bottle in a cup of hot water for 30 to 60 seconds and shaking the bottle to simmer the contents gently and evenly.
Feed Your Kitten in a Safe Position
The kitten should be comfortably lying or sitting with its belly to the floor in a familiar, belly-down pose. Never feed a kitten like a human baby on her back, as this will result in the kitten inhaling fluid into the lungs.
Sit and put the kitten in your lap or on a table, with your hand holding the head steady. Ideally, with its tongue and latch to the bottle, the kitten would make a u-shape, suckling to drink the formula. Never squeeze a bottle violently into the mouth of a cat. Let the kitten suck at its own pace instead.
Always Feed with the Right Amount and Frequency
Young Kittens Need Daily Feeding
You may use this kitten feeding guide.
- For 0-1 weeks old – 50-150 grams, every 2 hrs
- For 1-2 weeks old – 150-250 grams, every 2-3 hrs
- For 2-3 weeks old – 250-350 grams, every 3-4 hours
- For 3-4 weeks old – 350-450 grams, every 4-5 hrs
- For 4-5 weeks old – 450-550 grams, every 5-6 hrs
- For 5-8 weeks old – 550-850 grams, every 6 hrs (you can now offer ample wet food at this age)
Important Note: This is simply a guide. Some kittens may differ in weight and growth, so use your best judgment or talk with a veterinarian.
Pay Attention to the Kitten’s Weight
For weighing kittens, a small digital food scale is ideal, as it can show their weight in grams and give you an accurate measurement. A kitten needs to obtain at least 10 grams a day. Seek urgent veterinary assistance if the kitten is not gaining weight or if she is losing weight.
Care After Bottle-Feeding
Wipe the kitten’s face after feeding, so that no formula sticks to her fur. Rub the vagina of the kitten with a soft tissue gently to encourage her to urinate and defecate.
Please do this after each meal, keeping in mind to wipe up afterward so that she remains clean and relaxed. If the kitten is fed, stimulated, and washed, it’s time for the kitten to return to her warm, safe space before the next feeding.
Of course, giving care goes beyond bottle feeding. As your kitten’s new cat-mom, it’s also your role to encourage your kitten to go to the litter box when old enough, keep warm and clean, and you are already half-way in providing your kitten with a safe, loving home.