Bottle Feeding Newborn Kittens

Newborn kittens and abandoned kittens are incredibly delicate creatures. They are also very resilient and can appear to be at deaths door one day and incredibly healthy the next and vice versa. Bottle feeding kittens is not difficult but it does take patience.

Kitten formula is available at major discount stores and pet stores as are appropriate bottles. Kitten formula can be expensive but is best for the most delicate newborn kittens. Older kittens will do fine on homemade formula. Here is a simple recipe.

1 can evaporated milk
1 C water
1 whole egg
1 packet unflavored gelatin
1/2 teaspoon infant vitamins

Heat the water to boiling, dissolve the gelatin, slowly add the milk and egg that have been whisked together, let cool and add vitamins, store up to 72 hours in the refrigerator. Feed tiny amounts at first. Canned food should be introduced gradually at four weeks. Warm the formula so it feels comfortable on your wrist before feeding, this is very important.

No matter if you use purchased or homemade formula the feeding time schedule should be every two hours the first couple of weeks, then gradually go to every four hours by the fourth week. If possible let the kittens sleep where you can hear them meowing they will let you know what their feeding time schedule should be.

Some kittens are difficult to bottle feed, just have patience and try to make sure they get a bit of formula. The first week kittens should be taking in 24cc of formula a day, this amount increases to 54cc by 2 weeks, at 3 weeks they should be taking in 80cc, and at 4 weeks they should be taking in 104cc.

Premature kittens are another challenge. If a kitten appears especially small or wrinkled it is probably premature. Premature kittens can be successfully raised but it is more difficult than regular newborn kittens. Premature kitten’s formula needs to be diluted with another 1/4 of the amount of liquid called for, it is best to use the purchased formula for premature kittens. The feeding time schedule should be every hour or two. If the kitten will not eat, a special nipple that is elongated will have to be used. This takes a bit of knowledge to use and you should ask your vet how to use it properly.

Kittens may need to be stimulated to start proper urination and bowel movements. Normally this task is done by the mother cat, but in her absence this will need to be done by you. A light rubbing with a cotton ball or sterile pad in the bladder / rectal area is usually all it takes to get things started.