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How To Feed A Newborn Kitten

How Do You Make Your Own Kitten Formula

How to Syringe Feed a Newborn Kitten

A variety of recipes for homemade kitten formula exist, but if you can purchase a kitten-milk replacement from the pet store to use, that is ideal. For times when store-bought milk replacement is not an option, find a recipe that you have all the ingredients for until you can get some milk replacement formula. A homemade kitten replacement formula should not be used for more than 24 hours.

The following formulas are from The Cornell Book of Cats by the Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine:

What Should I Track In A Logbook

Maintaining a logbook about the orphaned kittens does not need to be complicated. The reason for the logbook is to simply keep track of how the kittens are doing so you can identify if there are any potential concerns with their development.

Tracking their weights, milestones, and routines are key, so be sure to record details of when their eyes open, when their teeth begin to erupt, their food intake, and stool consistency.

Individual kittens must be identified in some way, so consider colored collars or nail polish on a few front toenails.

My Newborn Kitten Seems Constipated What Can I Do

Contact your vet for advice if your kitten isnt pooing normally constipation is very painful and can be dangerous. Your vet may prescribe medicines to help your kitten poo, or if youve caught it early enough, they may advise replacing their next feed with boiled water . A water meal is fine as a one-off and can help loosen constipation. Constipation in artificially fed kittens is often caused by clumps in formula milk . Clumps tend to develop when formula powder is mixed with water that is too hot, or too cold. Make sure that you follow your milk preparation instructions carefully to prevent problems.

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Feeding A Stray Kitten

Sadly, in the spring and fall, its not uncommon to find a stray kitten in your yard or on the street. Stray kittens will need the same food and mealtimes as home-raised kittens, but you should take it to a veterinarian as soon as possible to better determine the kittens age and to check for parasites that could affect the animals growth.

How To Take Care Of A Newborn Kitten Without A Mother

How to Bottle Feed a Kitten

A mother cat will not only feed her kittens, but she will also keep them warm and encourage them to pass urine and feces by licking under their tails after each feeding. You can check with a local shelter to see if they have any nursing queens who will occasionally accept a foster kitten. If not, as the foster carer for a newborn kitten, you will be responsible for keeping the kitten warm, fed, and toileted. They will require kitten milk replacer every two hours, day and night, until they are four to five days old and can take slightly larger feeds less frequently. You will also need to toilet them after feeding by gently rubbing under their tail with moist cotton wool until they pass urine and feces.

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Setting Alarms For Feeding Times Really Helps

For feeding, I learnt one important piece of adviceto give a kitten cows milk, any other animal milk, or even human baby formula because it causes diarrhoea, which can be fatal.

Your best bet is to purchase something called Kitten Milk Replacer which can come from a few brands in either powder or liquid form.

If you find an orphaned kitten and its cold to the touch, warming it up should be your first course of action to ensure its survival. Feeding it can only be done once its warmed up, since a cold kitten can asphyxiate during feeding due to being unable to swallow.

In their first week of life, kittens need to be fed every 2 hours, and the duration will lengthen as they grow. Oh boy, this one was tough for me. My job at Vulcan Post is a full-time one, after which I really enjoy a good nights sleep.

These feeding times were disruptive to my overall schedule, and waking up several times at ungodly hours of the night was not fun.

But setting frequent alarms kept me on track, and I was driven by the knowledge that this tiny, orphaned kitten was depending on me to keep it alive and growing.

To ensure that I woke up properly throughout the night, I would sleep earlier and set multiple alarms for one feeding.

For example, if I had to feed Pepper at 2AM, I would set an alarm for 2AM, 2:05AM, 2:10AM, and maybe more, so that I could annoy myself into waking up.

What To Feed A Kitten / Raising Newborn Kittens


*NEVER use human milk replacement, puppy milk replacement or cow milk. ALWAYS use a specially formulated kitten milk replacement. Some common brands include KMR, Just Born, Breeders Choicehowever your veterinarian is always available to make recommendations.

**A kitten should drink of formula per ounce of body weight per day .**

Droppers or syringes are acceptable but ideally use a specifically designed nursing bottle available at your local pet store. Nipple hole size is essential. If the bottle is inverted, the formula should drip slowly from the nipple. Use a small pair of scissors to make an x in the nipple or use a large, heated needle to make a hole in the rubber nipple.

Warm formula in the bottle. I typically get a coffee mug with hot tap water and float the bottle with formula in it for about 10 minutes. Test the temp of the milk on your forearm before offering it to your kitten. Temperature of the milk should be about 100F.

Place your kitten on a warm towel on your lap with the kitten on her belly. NEVER tip a kitten on its back during feeding as this can cause aspiration the inhalation of liquid into the lungs. Ease the nipple into the kittens mouth. It is often helpful to have some milk already on the nipple so the kitten tastes it and begins to suckle. If your kitten refuses to feed, first ensure she is adequately warmed. If problem persists, contact your veterinarian.

What to Feed a Kitten / Raising Newborn Kittens


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What Should You Expect When Caring For Newborn Kittens

Caring for orphaned neonatal kittens takes round the clock effort, but it can be done if you are willing to put in the time and dedication. You have to be prepared to get up throughout the night for the feedings. Its very much like caring for a human baby in that regard. However, they grow up much faster, so you are not doing it for months at a time. But it still takes a similar dedication. You definitely have sleepless nights and periods of worry. Are they getting enough to eat? Are they growing the way they are supposed to?

It can also be really sad sometimes, because they dont all make it. Some studies say that the mortality rate for kittens can be up to 40 percent. But you definitely create a real bond caring for them through that period.

Bottle Feeding The Newborn Kitten

How to Safely Bottle Feed a Kitten

Kittens grow at an astounding rate, making proper nutrition vital for healthy growth and development.

Sometimes it becomes necessary to feed your newborn kitten. This can be because of abandonment or loss of the mother, because the mother cannot produce enough milk to feed all of the young or because one of the newborns is not as strong as the others and is not receiving enough nutrition. Feeding a young kitten is best accomplished with a bottle specially designed for newborn animals. The opening in the nipple of the bottle should only allow one drop to fall at a time when the bottle in inverted. Sometimes a slit will work better than a small hole for this purpose.

Use a milk replacer formulated for kittens do not use cows milk or goats milk as the fat, protein, and lactose levels are not correct for a kitten. If you are using liquid milk replacer, it should be ready to serve as is. If you are using powdered milk replacer, it is important to follow the manufacturers instruction for reconstitution. If the formula is too concentrated then the kitten may become constipated and if the formula is too dilute, not only will your kitten not receive the proper amount of nutrients but she could develop diarrhea. Both of these can be life threatening to your kitten. Never heat the formula itself instead, soak a bottle in a mug of hot water. After a minute, test the temperature of the formula on the inside of your wrist. It should feel warm, but not hot.

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When Bottle Feeding Kittens Becomes Necessary

At times, a kittens diet needs to be supplemented with or switched to a milk substitute designed specifically for cats. With especially large litters, you may want to give the smaller or less assertive kittens time alone with the queen so they have easier access to the best food availablemoms milk. Bottle feed the kittens who are growing the fastest at this time so they dont go hungry. Feral kittens under the age of four weeks who no longer have access to a nursing mom will also need to be bottle fed.

Do not feed newborn kittens cow or goat milk or human or dog formula only a milk replacer made specifically for kittens will provide appropriate nutrition. Talk to your veterinarian if you are concerned that a kitten is failing to nurse, grow, or develop as expected.

How To Bottle Feed A Kitten

Once the kitten and formula are ready, set the kitten on his stomach never try to feed a kitten on its back. Hold his head gently with one hand to encourage the kitten to latch onto the nipple. According to Alley Cat Allies, try your best to imitate the position a newborn kitten would use when nursing from its mother. Use your other hand to guide the kittens mouth to the nipple. Never force a kitten onto a nipple. The kittens tongue should form a v-shape to facilitate sucking. By holding the head of the kitten, youll be able to feel if hes swallowing the milk.

If your kitten refuses to suckle, you may want to try gently rubbing his face and head with a terry washcloth or an old toothbrush to simulate the roughness of the mother cats tongue. If the kitten still refuses to latch onto the nipple you can use a syringe to provide nourishment. Offer small drops of formula this way. Never force formula down the kittens throat or you could asphyxiate the animal by filling its lungs with liquid.

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Caring For The Newborn Kittens

Under four weeks of age,kittensare considered newborns. During this time,newborn kittensare just developing motor skills and coordination. You need to know that bottle feedingkittensevery 2-4 hours is necessary. Their environment needs to warm and safe. Regular checks are essential to ensure the kittens arent too hot or cold. They easily become chilled and dehydrated. Newborn kittens need to be stimulated to help them urinate and defecate. Their mother licks them to do this to keep them nice and clean. You will need to imitate this behavior by stimulating the kittens with a warm, wet cloth during each feeding.

Kittens will less than three weeks of age are considered very young. During this period, when a mother cat leaves and has not returned after four hours, you may conclude she has abandoned herkittens. You must get in the picture, and its time to care for these helpless kittens. It means a bottle-feedingthem until they are four weeks or older.

How Much Milk Replacement Should I Be Feeding The Kittens

Important Tips for Feeding Newborn Kittens

When the milk supply is inadequate, supplemental feeding is recommended. Where the kittens have been orphaned or the mother is unable to feed them, they will need total replacement feeding. There are several commercial formulae available which are designed specifically for kittens. Make up milk replacement solution as directed using a level measure, not heaped. They should be made up and used as per instructions, but a reduced volume is needed if the kittens are still gaining some milk from their mother . The amount on the label is usually given as per 24 hours. The quantities should therefore be divided into a number of feeds. Kittens less than 2 weeks of age should be fed every 34 hours, while kittens of 24 weeks of age can usually be fed every 68 hours. The milk should be warmed to 95100 °F before feeding .

Check the warmth of the milk on the back of your hand. It takes just a few seconds to warm milk to blood heat.

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Is The Mother Present

The first question you need to consider when caring for a newborn kitten is whether the mother is present. If she is, then there is less that you will need to do. Most cats know instinctively how to raise their young and will do all the necessary actions at all the right stages in the kittens life. It is your job to simply make sure they are warm, safe and protected.

But if you have found a newborn kitten that doesnt seem to have a mother, you will need to take on all her duties. If this is a stray kitten, do make sure the mother is not coming back before taking the kitten in. If you are not careful, you could separate the mother from her young.

Should Kittens Be Wormed Regularly

Since intestinal parasites are common in kittens, all kittens should be treated with drugs to kill the parasites from about 3 weeks of age. Before each dosing the kittens should be accurately weighed, since if too little wormer is given it may not be effective, and if too much is given it may make the kittens ill. In many kittens the worms cause no clinical signs, while in others they can result in poor body condition, soft or bloody stools, loss of appetite, a potbellied appearance and weight loss. Some worms can be transmitted through the stools of infected cats, while others are carried by fleas. Good hygiene and flea control are therefore essential.

See worming your cat

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Do Newborns Change Skin Color

The color of their skin when they are born may change as they get older. Some skin colors in babies can be normal, while others may be due to certain conditions. When a baby is born, they may have red, purple, yellow, or blue skin. Skin color variations in babies do not usually signify an underlying condition.

How Much Should You Feed Kittens

How to feed newborn kittens

Young kittens should be fed two tablespoons of milk replacer per day if they weigh between 3 to 4 ounces within 24 hours. Avoid overfeeding the kitten as it can cause them to become bloated, gassy, and uncomfortable. A feeding guideline should be on the back of the milk replacement formulas packaging which will give you a general indication of how much the kitten should eat per its body weight. It is recommended to weigh the kitten every three days so that you can determine how much formula to feed them. This will also give you an indication as to how much they are growing so that you can accommodate their feeding requirements.

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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 kittens 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. 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 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.

Neonatal Kittens Dont Need A Lot Of Space But They Need Warmth

A kitten cannot regulate its own body temperature for the first 4 weeks of life, which means it needs a constant heat source in its bed/pen.

This was what the hot water bottle was for, but in a pinch, microwaving some dry rice in a tied up sock works too. Id wrap these in a towel or soft, old shirt so that the kitten doesnt burn itself when cuddling up to them.

Eventually these heat packs will turn cold, so you need to repeat this process several times, which I do each time I feed Pepper every few hours.

In terms of space, neonatal kittens dont need a lot of room yet. So, I kept Pepper in a clean shoebox for the first week, then switched to a slightly larger, transparent storage box.

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