How to cut a nipple for a kitten bottle

So you’re caring for a bottle-fed kitten. Maybe you’ve signed up to foster orphans for your local shelter, or you’ve found a baby outside and the mother has not returned for her. No matter the case, you’ll want to exercise caution and follow these six tips for safely bottle feeding kittens.

Choose the Right Kitten Formula and Bottle

Motherless neonatal kittens have sensitive systems that require a special kitten formula—not just any dairy product you have in the fridge. Kitten formula is formulated to provide a proper balance of vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and a caloric pattern that mimics the content of a mother cat’s milk. This product comes as a liquid or powder mix, which you can pick up at the nearest pet supply store, feed store, or online retailer. Never feed a kitten cow’s milk, human baby formula, milk alternatives, or at-home recipes, as these can cause illness and death.

While picking up your kitten formula, you will also want to pick up a kitten bottle and perhaps an extra set of rubber nipples for feeding. If the nipple on your bottle does not come pre-cut, cut a small hole in the nipple on a diagonal angle, being mindful that the hole is not too big or too small. This is important because it will determine the flow of the formula while the kitten is nursing. To ensure proper flow, test the hole by turning the bottle upside down. The formula should slowly drip one drop at a time if the hole is the correct size. If it flowing too slowly, enlarge the hole… too quickly and you’ll have to try again with a new nipple.

Prepare Your Kitten’s Bottle Properly

Preparing the bottle properly will take the fuss out of feeding and give the kitten just what she needs. Make the formula so that it is fresh, clump-free, and comfortably warm. If using a powder formula, mix powder thoroughly with warm water according to the instructions until it is completely smooth (a smoothie shaker may come in handy for this) to avoid clumps that can clog up the bottle. If using a liquid formula, gently warm it by placing the bottle in a cup with hot water for 30 to 60 seconds, and shaking the bottle to gently and evenly warm the contents.

Before feeding, test the temperature on the inside of your wrist and ensure that it is comfortably warm. Refrigerate unused powder and mix a new batch at each feeding to keep everything fresh.

Feed Kittens Using a Safe Posture

Always bottle feed in a natural, belly-down posture—the kitten should be comfortably lying or seated with her belly toward the floor. Never feed a kitten on her back, like a human baby would eat, as this can cause the kitten to inhale fluid into the lungs.

Sit the kitten in your lap or on a table, holding the head steady with your non-dominant hand, and introduce the nipple to her mouth with your dominant hand. Invert the bottle so that the formula can slowly flow into the kitten’s mouth. Ideally, the kitten will make a u-shape with her tongue and latch to the bottle, suckling to drink the formula. Place a finger on her throat to ensure that she is swallowing as she eats. Never forcefully squeeze a bottle into a kitten’s mouth. Instead, let the kitten suckle at her own pace.

Feed Your Kitten the Right Amount, With the Right Frequency

Young kittens require frequent feeding, so be prepared to care for them around-the-clock until they are 5 to 6 weeks of age and weaning onto wet food. For the first few weeks of life, this will mean waking up in the middle of the night to feed. Small amounts of food every few hours will keep the kitten hydrated and provide the nutrients and fat needed for rapid development and weight gain.

Use the following chart as a kitten feeding guide:

To ensure the survival of a newborn kitten, ample nutrition must be provided. Sometimes, however, the mother cat grows ill and cannot nurse her young or she alienates a kitten from the litter due to an injury or disability. In these situations, you will need to step in and take on the role of the mother cat. This often requires bottle feeding a newborn kitten until the kitten is strong enough to eat regular cat food.

Preparing to Bottle Feed Your Kitten

Depending on its size and condition, your newborn kitten will need approximately nine to 12 daily feedings. For the first two weeks of life, you will need to count on feeding the kitten every two hours during the day and every four hours overnight.  

In order to bottle feed the kitten, you will need to gather a few supplies. Regular human baby bottles will likely be too big, but most pet stores have newborn kitten bottles and nipples, as well as a commercial formula specifically designed for kittens. If your kitten is a preemie, you will need to dropper-feed it until it’s strong enough to suck on the bottle. Make sure to check with your veterinarian if this is the case.

What You Need

  • Newborn kitten bottles and nipples
  • Dropper (if needed)
  • Kitten formula
  • Soft towels and washcloths
  • Kitchen scale

Prepare the Formula

Just as with human babies, it’s important that you feed your kitten with sterilized bottles and warm the formula before offering it to the kitten. Taking a few minutes to prepare everything properly will make each meal go a little smoother.

  1. Sterilize the baby bottles and nipples in a boiling water bath for about five minutes. Allow them to drain on a clean towel before using.
  2. If you are using a new nipple, you will need to make a small hole in the tip. Make sure to keep the opening small so the formula does not come out too fast. You can use a pair of cuticle scissors to cut the tip off the nipple. When held upside down, the formula should drip out.
  3. Place a large towel, a washcloth, and a bowl of warm water on a table next to a comfortable chair.
  4. Mix and fill one bottle with kitten formula according to the directions on the package.
  5. Warm the formula by placing the bottle in the bowl of hot water.
  6. Test the temperature by dripping a few drops on your forearm. If it burns, it’s too hot; body temperature is just right.  

Bottle Feed the Kitten

Sit in the chair with a towel folded in your lap. Place the kitten face down on your lap. You can wrap it in the towel to make sure the kitten stays warm while it eats.  

Without raising the kitten’s head, place the nipple in its mouth. The kitten should instinctively start sucking right away. Continue to feed the kitten until it pulls away.

Burp the Kitten

Much like human babies, kittens need to be burped after nursing.   The best way to accomplish this is to hold one hand under the kitten’s abdomen and gently pat its upper back. But do so gently—you don’t want the kitten to vomit. If it doesn’t burp right away, don’t worry, just move onto the next step.

Stimulate Elimination

The mother cat stimulates her kittens’ elimination by licking their anuses and genital area with her rough tongue. You can imitate this process by placing a warm, damp washcloth in the same general region, wiping softly.   Be careful not to wipe too vigorously as this can cause irritation to the sensitive skin in that area. It may take a couple of feedings to see results, so don’t despair. Urination may take even longer.

Let the Kitten Sleep

After nursing, your kitten will most likely fall asleep. Place it in a warm cat bed and let the kitten sleep undisturbed.

When a kitten is without a mother, it’s up to us to lend a hand. Keeping kittens warm, bottle feeding, assisting with grooming, and stimulating urination and defecation are all essential skills for any kitten rescuer. Learn the basics with this step-by-step tutorial.

Keep the kitten warm

Since they cannot regulate and control their own body temperature very well, we must help maintain the kitten’s body warmth for them. Use a warm rice sock or heating pad on low setting, with a blanket or towel between the kitten and the heat source. Kittens should also have access to an area away from the heat source so they can move away if they get too warm.

Get a bottle/syringe and nipple*

Be aware that the nipple that comes on the bottle may not have a hole cut into it. (*Miracle Nipples are often well liked by kittens and can easily be attached to either a syringe or bottle.)

Assess the kitten

Before you feed a kitten, always make sure you’ve assessed her to make sure it is safe to feed. If a kitten is overheated or too cold, it is not safe to feed until they have gently stabilized their temperature. Ensure that the kitten is able to swallow by placing a drop of formula on her tongue and feeling the throat with one finger. If the kitten appears stable, proceed.

Prepare the kitten formula

Until kittens are about 3 weeks old, they will need to be bottle fed kitten formula. This formula is specially formulated to provide complete nutrition to kittens. Kittens should not be fed cow’s milk or other dairy products as these can be dangerous or even fatal to the kitten. Prepare the formula according to the label instructions, making sure that it is fresh, clump free, and comfortably warm.

Feed the kitten

Lay the kitten in a natural, bell-down position—never, ever on her back. Hold the kitten’s head stable with your non-dominant hand. Gently slide the nipple into the kitten’s mouth and invert the bottle to start the flow of formula. The kitten should roll her tongue into a U-shape and begin to swallow. Follow the feeding chart for a guideline of amount and frequency.

**Most kittens can start eating a mixture of formula and canned food at 3-4 weeks old.

Be careful not to squeeze formula into the kitten’s mouth as this can cause aspiration. If you are feeding a very young kitten and having a difficult time controlling the flow, consider syringe feeding. If the kitten latches, that’s great, but it’s okay if it takes a while for her to get the hang of things! Bottle feeding is an art form that improves with time, so be patient and don’t give up. If this kitten is having difficulty, try these things;

  • Be sure you’re holding the head and body stable to guide her. Kittens don’t necessarily understand what you’re trying to do, so it’s up to you to hold them steady and show them.
  • Take a look at your bottle and nipple, and make sure there are no issues such as a nipple that is cut too big or too small, or clumps in the formula that may be causing a blockage.
  • Wrap the kitten in a small baby blanket if needed to help her feel focused and swaddled; just make sure she is still in a proper belly-down position.
  • Rubbing the face with a cloth or toothbrush can simulate a mother’s tongue and help a kitten feel prepared to eat.

Clean up afterwards

After feeding, always ensure that you’re cleaning the face by wiping away any formula with a warm, wet cloth or baby wipe. Formula left behind can cause the kitten to get a crusty face or moist dermatitis that causes fur to fall out, so keep her clean.

Stimulate urination and defecation

Kittens under 3 weeks of age are unable to urinate and defecate without being stimulated to do so. If their mother is not available to help with this process, you will be responsible for helping them out. With a damp cotton ball or paper towel, gently rub the kitten along the urogenital area until she urinates and/or defecates. A kitten should urinate before and/or after every feeding, and should defecate at least once daily if stimulated properly.

Since 2018, I’ve bottle fed and cared for over 50 kittens who are too young to eat on their own. Prior to that, I had one 8 year old cat of my own, but wanted many. ❤️ And I felt the need to volunteer in a capacity that aligned with one of my passions – cats!

So I began volunteer rescue work through Feline Rescue, and am now exclusively with Bitty Kitty Brigade in Minneapolis. Our mission is to save orphaned neonatal kittens who are often euthanized at shelters or animal control because they do not have the knowledge, experience, or time to bottle feed kittens. Over the years, I’ve raised orphaned bottle kittens as young as 1 day old, and have cared for them through adoption at 12 weeks. We’ve also adopted one of our fosters, our sweet Tuxedo girl we named Bleu. All that to say, I’ve learned and seen a lot in relation to bottle feeding kittens and am happy to share my experiences with you so you can successfully bottle feed too.

How to Bottle Feed Kittens:

The first thing you want to be sure of when you have kittens in your care is that they are warm, as they cannot regulate their own body temperatures. Keep a small heating pad wrapped a towel in their bed so that they stay warm, and are ready to eat. *Never attempt to feed a cold kitten. If their body temperature is less than 102 degrees F, place the kitten on an approved heating pad safely wrapped in two or three layers of towels. Turn the kitten side to side every 5 minutes. To stimulate blood flow, you may, ever so gently, massage the kitten with hand-rubbing.

  1. Begin by whisking KMR (kitten milk replacement) with water. You’ll use 1 part powdered formula to 2 parts water. Error on the side of a little more water, rather than formula, as you want to be sure they can digest it easily and prevent constipation.
  2. Warm the liquid mixture in the microwave for 10-15 seconds, until just above room temperature. If it’s too cold, the kittens will not want to eat it. And if it’s too hot, it can burn them.
  3. Wash your hands with soap and water before feeding them.
  4. Then fill a syringe (my preference) or bottle with the warm formula. And place a miracle nipple on the end. These nipples are constructed to release the proper flow of formula, so that the bottle babies do not swallow too much at one time, which can happen if you use a regular nipple that you’ve cut a hole in.
  5. Put the kitten on a small blanket, on his tummy similar the position he’d be if feeding on his mama. You can also swaddle them in an upright position if that is easier for you.But never feed a kitten on its back.
  6. Slowly guide the nipple into the kittens mouth, using your hands to stabilize his head, and push a few drops of formula out of your syringe into their mouth so they get a taste of it. Then wiggle the nipple slowly a bit so they are encouraged to latch and start suckling. Gently and slowly depress the syringe to let the milk come out, at an even flow. Do not force milk down their throat, allow them to go at their own pace. You also want to make sure that the kitten is not gasping for the milk, as it can travel into their lungs and cause aspiration pneumonia.

Supplies for Bottle Feeding Kittens

Miracle Nipples: This is the only type of nipple I use because it was developed with small animals in mind, like kittens, puppies, and rabbits. The Miracle Nipple was designed by a wildlife rehabilitator with years of experience feeding orphaned animals, and it’s foolproof. It also alleviates the chance of an animal swallowing the entire nipple and with proper use will prevent aspiration of formula.

Miracle Syringes: I find it to be much easier to control the flow of formula using a Miracle syringe and depressing it slowly as the kittens eat, rather than having to figure out the right pressure for squeezing a bottle. These syringes also don’t stick after a few uses, they continue to glide, making feeding time much easier.

Mini Whisk: It’s very important to dissolve all of the powdered kitten formula into the water, and this is easiest when you have a small whisk. You’ll avoid clogging the nipple with chunky formula.

What to Feed Kittens

Kittens that are 0-5 weeks old will need to eat a powdered kitten milk replacement (not the canned liquid formula, or cow’s milk – neither have the necessary nutrition) that is mixed with water. These powder replacements are very important for kittens because they contain necessary vitamins and minerals that they would have normally received naturally through the mama’s milk, ensuring proper development and growth.

The three brands of kitten milk replacement powder I recommend are:

I prefer KMR by Pet Ag because it contains both prebiotics and probiotics, a source of live naturally-occurring micororganisms. It is formulated to provide a caloric pattern similar to mother’s milk in protein, fat, and carbohydrates. I’ve found that kittens prefer the taste of KMR over the other two brands, and it dissolves easily in water with a mini whisk.

Powdered kitten milk replacement powder must be stored in the refrigerator once the can or bag is opened. It can also be stored in the freezer for up to six months, if you use some of the bag, but not all of it and are unsure of when you will have bottle kittens again.

When Can Kittens Eat Dry Food?

In my experience with bottle feeding kittens, it is best to wait until they are AT LEAST 5 weeks old to start weaning them. If they were with their mama, they would be nursing until even 6-7 weeks, so care should be taken to make sure that they are still getting the nutrition they need from the formula.

To start the weaning process, I make a slurry of wet kitten food mixed with formula, and will start with it in a 20ml syringe so they start to adjust to the taste difference. From that point, once they start trying to bite the nipple over and over, I move the slurry to a small, flat plate and put some of it in the side of their mouth with my finger. Then encourage them to start licking the plate by moving them to it.

Kittens can start eating high quality dry kitten food once they are weaned and around 6-7 weeks old, but I would recommend keeping them on a mostly WET food diet, as it is so important for them to stay hydrated. Cats get 90% of their hydration from the food they eat, so an all dry diet could be very detrimental to their health. Feeding them wet food is also very helpful in getting your cat to sleep through the night, as it dramatically helps to keep them satiated.

Written by Alysa Tarrant

Cats are one of the most popular house companions in the world and it’s estimated that there could be as many as 600 million cats alive today. With that many cats, there are bound to be kittens and sometimes they need a little more human help than usual. If the mother cat is not around and a kitten needs to be fed, what do you do?

Keep reading to learn the answers to all of your bottle-feeding kitten questions.

What kinds of milk can kittens drink?

Cats are lactose intolerant, just like most humans! If a cat drinks milk with lactose in it, like cow’s milk, for example, the lactose won’t pass through their intestines and will cause stomach issues only a few hours later.

The best milk option for a kitten is its mother’s milk but if the mother, or an adopted mother who is still producing milk, isn’t around, it’s recommended that you purchase a mother’s milk substitute. Talking to a veterinarian can help you find the right replacement, but if you’re in a pinch, many pet stores will have a replacement. Just make sure that it’s specifically designed for kittens.

How much milk does a newborn kitten need?

The amount of milk that a newborn kitten needs depends on the kitten’s size and age. The best way to know is to consult with a vet, but you can also consult this chart. Expect to be feeding the kitten at least six to seven times per day, including through the night. The younger a kitten is, the more frequently they will need to be fed, sometimes as often as every two hours. Just like human babies, kittens need lots of love, attention, and feeding to stay healthy.

Can I feed the kitten with a baby bottle?

When you feed a kitten, you should make sure that they are laying on their bellies or sitting up. Unlike human babies which are typically fed while in a reclined position, kittens should be placed as if they were nursing from their mother. If kittens are placed on their backs and held, they might be unable to wriggle away if they are being fed too much or too quickly and risk drowning.

You should purchase a bottle specifically designed for feeding kittens. Human nipples and cat nipples vary widely in size and so a human baby bottle nipple will be much too large for a kitten.

There are plenty of kitten feeding bottles and nipples available for purchase online and at pet stores. Be aware that with some nipples you may need to cut a hole yourself. Make sure that the hole is very small and drips out slowly or you risk the kitten drowning in the formula.

Do kittens stop eating when they’re full?

In general, kittens should stop eating when they’re full. This is one reason it’s very important to feed the kitten on its stomach so that when they do feel full, they can move away.

Kittens should have a full tummy once fed but it shouldn’t be stretched taught. You can gently massage the lower part of their belly to encourage urination and bowel movements. If the kitten is experiencing diarrhea, they’re likely being overfed. Be sure to consult with a vet to make sure the kitten is healthy.

When should I give the kitten water?

All kittens and full-grown cats should have water available to them. Cats don’t typically get enough water in their diets and they don’t always drink water when they should. This can lead to urinary tract infections (UTIs) which cause extreme discomfort for your feline friend.

Many cats prefer moving water, which also keeps it fresh. Consider investing in a small drinking fountain to entice your kitten into drinking more water. It can also double as a fun toy for playful cats.

Because kittens who are without their mother will be bottle-fed, having water in a dish or a fountain is a great way to help the kitten learn how to lap up liquid from a dish. This will be a very useful skill for them to have when they are weaned off of the bottle.

When can you stop bottle feeding kittens?

Be very careful about when you choose to wean.

At about five to six weeks old, a kitten’s teeth will begin to emerge and they can begin to be weaned off of bottle feeding and can be transitioned to wet food. However, if the kitten is still underweight for their age, continue with bottle feeding for a week or so and check in with their weight daily.

When they are ready to transition to wet food, purchase kitten food. This food is specifically created for kittens, containing more calories and packed with nutrients that kittens need.

According to the Kitten Lady, start with a slurry. Mix a small teaspoon of the kitten food with the formula so that the kitten can become acclimated to the new digestion that will take place. You will likely need to supplement with bottle feeding until the kitten can successfully eat the slurry on their own from a dish. Continue adding more and more kitten food until you’ve fully transitioned them away from formula.

Is there anything that kittens should NOT eat?

Here’s a quick list of things to NOT feed your kitten:

There are a lot of DIY recipes out there for kitten formula, but you wouldn’t feed your own baby raw egg blended with cow’s milk and multivitamins so why in the world would you feed that to a furry baby?

Learn more about Juliana’s Animal Sanctuary

Now that you know all about bottle feeding kittens, check out our sponsor an animal page to see how you can help our rescue cats. They need lots of love and are looking for their forever homes.

If you aren’t in the area or you can’t commit to caring for another being at the moment, please check out our volunteer opportunities. We have remote and in-person opportunities. If you volunteer in person you’ll also have the opportunity to take some amazing classes.

Finally, we can always use your donations! They help us pay the vet bills, rescue more animals, and keep the ones already at Juliana’s Animal Sanctuary fed and sheltered.

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 cow’s milk or goat’s 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 manufacturer’s 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.

Kittens should be held in the horizontal position for feeding – this is a natural position for feeding and will reduce the risk of aspiration of formula. Gently insert the nipple into the kitten’s mouth using a prying motion while you apply pressure to the sides of the bottle to release a drop or two of milk. From then on the kitten should suck on its own. Resist the urge to over feed kittens. It is much safer to give them a little less as over feeding can lead to pneumonia when milk is aspirated. It is much safer to feed smaller amounts more frequently than larger amounts less frequently. If milk bubbles out of the kitten’s nose while nursing, stop feeding immediately! Gently hold the kitten upside down to allow the milk to drain. If the lungs sound raspy, take him to the vet. This happens if the milk is flowing from the bottle too quickly. This could be due to a too-large hole in the nipple, overfeeding, or squeezing the bottle during feeding. Check the nipple if it flows faster than a couple of drops at a time, toss it and buy a new one. A too-large opening is a kitten killer.

The most important part of orphan kitten care is frequency of feeding. Newborn kittens have no fat or glycogen stores to use as energy when the milk is digested. Ideally you should feed the newborn kitten every two hours during the first week of life, but never less than every four hours. Yes – even through the night. From 7-14 days the kitten should ideally be fed every three hours but never less than five times a day. From 14-21 days never feed the kitten fewer than four times a day. When the kittens are four weeks old they can be fed every six to twelve hours depending on how much solid food they are eating. But not fewer than 3 times daily.

During the late spring and early summer, animal hospitals, shelters and rescue organizations brace themselves for that legendary time of year – kitten season! Yes, that’s right. There is an actual time of year when an overwhelming number of sweet, baby cats are born into this world.

While the cute factor is high during this time, so is the stress of caring for these kittens, many of whom find themselves at DoveLewis or at a shelter without a mother. And looking after these orphaned, adorable creatures is hard work! Much like caring for newborn humans, newborn kittens need constant attention, feeding and help during the first stage of their life.

Ever wonder what it’s like to act as a surrogate mother for these tiny creatures? Dr. Erika Loftin, DoveLewis relief veterinarian, shares details on the ins and outs of kitten care.

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. It’s 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 don’t 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.

How often do you feed newborn kittens?

Neonatal kittens need to be fed on a regular basis day and night. For the first week of life, they need to be fed about every two to three hours. After that, you can usually stretch it out to every four hours.

These kittens should be bottle-fed using kitten milk replacer (or KMR), which comes in either liquid or powder form. It’s the equivalent to formula that you would use for a bottle-fed baby, except it’s formulated for cats. The formula, bottles and nipples are all available over the counter at most pet supply stores. You don’t need a prescription. The instructions will give you a guideline on how much to feed based on the weight of the cat.

When preparing the bottle, be cautious of milk flow. If you make the hole in the nipple too big, the kitten can actually aspirate, or drown. The bottles come with instructions on how to prep the nipple for milk flow. However, if you are struggling, I would advise you to seek help from your veterinarian. Never cut off the entire tip of the nipple, as this is often what causes cats to aspirate.

What about bathroom time?

Orphaned neonatal kittens need help urinating and defecating. Generally a mother cat would do that with her rough tongue. Without the mother available, use a warm, damp cotton ball or cloth and rub gently over their genitals and anal area. If they are well-hydrated, which is your goal, then you should stimulate them after every feeding and pee should come out. This stimulation usually needs to occur for the first three to four weeks of life. Be sure to clean and dry the area after they’ve done their business.

Do newborn kittens need special bedding?

You can use a simple box with soft blankets to contain the kitten. For warmth, I would suggest using a warm water bottle wrapped in a towel. Simply put it between two blankets that line the entire box. I would discourage people from using a heating pad, because it’s easier for the kitten to overheat that way.

What are some special handling techniques to keep them healthy and safe?

In the first four weeks of their life, minimize the number of people who handle the kitten. During that time, they have not yet built up their immune systems, and they are prone to illnesses and infections. Be sure to wash your hands before and after each time you handle them.

Avoid allowing the kitten to interact with other animals – even other cats. You never know how another animal will treat a small kitten, and neonatal cats are fragile in this stage of life.

If you have more than one kitten from the same litter, you can definitely keep them in the same box. They can help keep each other warm. If they are from different litters, you can still keep them in the same box, unless they are radically different ages or sizes. Also, don’t mix sick and healthy kittens.

When should I take kittens to the veterinarian?

Overall, it’s a good idea to keep in touch with your veterinarian during the first four weeks of the kitten’s life so they can help you monitor their progress and answer any questions that may arise. Your veterinarian will most likely see them once, but they may request more check-ups depending on the progress you report along the way.

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Étant donné que les biberons sont conçus pour être utilisés avec des chats et des chiens de différentes tailles, les tétines qui se fixent au biberon ne sont pas prédécoupées. Pour couper un mamelon pour votre chaton, prenez une paire de ciseaux à cuticules et coupez le haut du mamelon deux fois pour créer une fente en forme de X. Si votre chaton a du mal à s’alimenter au biberon parce qu’il est malade ou qu’il est né prématurément, utilisez une seringue au lieu d’un biberon. Si vous ne parvenez pas à faire boire le lait maternisé à votre chaton, emmenez-le chez un vétérinaire dès que possible pour éviter des complications dangereuses pour la santé de votre chaton.

Avertissement : Assurez-vous que vous obtenez une préparation pour chaton, et non un produit appelé « lait pour chat ». Le lait pour chat est une friandise aromatisée conçue pour les chats adultes, mais il ne contient pas les nutriments dont les chatons en croissance ont besoin. N’utilisez jamais de lait de vache pour nourrir votre chat.


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Thread starter

My girlfriend and I am taking care of a small feral kitten that was handed in after it was found near a highway. The kitten is aprox. 2.5-3 weeks old and it is one hungry fella. Problem is it has no idea how to suck on a bottle and it doesn’t seem to get any better at it. It chews on the bottle instead of sucking and it takes forever to get just a little bit of food into its belly.

We have tried two different milks and bottles but nothing helps the kitten is simply not getting it. We also tried to cut a larger hole in the bottle but the kitten panics if the milk comes out too fast.

Does anyone have any ideas or some advice on what might work?

red top rescue

TCS Member


TCS Member

My suggestion is to find a happy medium. The nipple openings sold in pet stores are never large enough. I end up taking scissors and cutting an “x” into the nipple. But if it is coming too fast and he is panicking, then you just need to keep trying to get the hole right. Also, the size of the nipple itself could be a problem. Nipples for kittens come in various sizes and you want to use the size closest to what a cat’s nipples are. Just use your female intuition on figuring that out. You don’t want to use a nipple a goat would be happy with on a kitten.

Also you need to burp him after he has had a little. Bottle till he stalls a little, then on to your shoulder for a little burp. just slight tapping around his shoulder blades at the bottom of his neck. When he burps..back to the bottle. And let him have as much as he wants.

Be sure the milk isn’t getting stuck in the nipple too, which would prevent the milk coming out.

Are you mixing formula, or getting it straight from a can? If you are mixing the formula with water, you can try varying the amount of powder to speed up/or slow down the formula getting out of the nipple.

It sounds to me if he is doing fine on sucking. it is just the nipple size and the way the formula is coming out is not right for him. Play around till it works.

And, for the fun part, be sure to gently massage his little penis (or vagina, if female

And, chewing on the nipple can also mean he isn’t hungry, or doesn’t like the formula, or simply isn’t getting enough milk when he sucks. Those are all things that can cause the kitten to chew and not suck.

Trust me, his mom wasn’t letting him chew on her nipples! And she taught him correctly, or he wouldn’t be alive today. You just need to figure out what she taught him to do.

Also, I have worked with kittens who just really didn’t “get” a nipple on a bottle. If that is the problem, then gently push the nipple into his mouth, and squirt (by squeezing the bottle), some formula into his mouth. That usually takes just a couple of times until they get what is going on. If you just can’t get it to work. drive to an emergency vet. I would think the chances would be good they would help you without charging you.

Please let us know how it all turns out. Thank you for caring for the little one and being a good heart in a sometimes cold world.