Bottle Feeding Kittens

Tiny kitten, big responsibility. Unfortunately, many kittens get separated from their mothers. When this happens, bottle feeding is a necessity. Here are some tips on how to bottle feed a kitten like a pro!

I visited the pet store with my roommate where we saw a cute litter of kittens. I noticed that the kittens were unusually small for their age. I was told that the mother cat had been run over by a car, and that the kittens had to be bottle fed.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time I have heard a story like that. With the amount of foster homes for animals rising, it may be helpful to learn some quick tips on how to bottle feed kittens. With a little bit of practice, you will become a natural!

  1. Gather supplies. You will need: commercial milk replacer, nursing bottles and nipples and a soft towel. You can find the milk replacer and nursing materials at your local pet store.
  2. Sterilize the bottle and nipple in boiling water for about 5 minutes. Let it cool before using.
  3. Fill the bottle with the desired amount of commercial milk replacer. For tips on how much to feed the kitten, consult your veterinarian. (Tip: this process may be faster if you sterilize, or wash, and fill several bottles at a time. Place the extra ones in the refrigerator. When you are ready to use one, follow the next step.)
  4. Warm the formula by placing it in a bowl of hot water. The milk should be about body temperature when it is fed to the animal.
  5. Test the nipple and bottle to make sure that the milk is flowing out appropriately.
  6. Sit in a chair with the towel on your lap. Place the kitten face down on your lap as well. It is important to make sure that the animal is warm before feeding it. If it is cold, the digestive system will not work correctly. Without raising the cat’s head, place the nipple in its mouth. The kitten should begin nursing immediately, and it will stop when it is full.

This process should be repeated until the kitten is ready to eat solid food on its own. This is typically around 6-7 weeks. However, it could take longer. For other questions regarding this process, talk to your veterinarian or the animal shelter.

Did you ever have to bottle feed a kitten? Share the story with us in the comment section below!

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