How to feed a kitten

Kittens will let you know when it's time to eat. With a little know-how, the correct tools, and nutritional food, kitten mealtime is quite a bit of fun. Here are some tips you can use to promote your kitten's health at home. Find out more about kitten Care and kitten health insurance. Prepare for your new kitten with this kitten care checklist. Find new kitten supplies here.

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Feeding a kitten safely

When feeding a kitten, an eye dropper or a syringe will work in a pinch, but a specifically designed kitten nursing bottle, available from most grocery and pet stores works the best. Most of these kitten bottles include measurement markings to help you monitor how much you are feeding a kitten. This is very important, knowing how much the kitten is eating is critical to kitten care. Nipples designed for these bottles are a bit slimmer and longer than a baby bottle nipple, which makes it much easier for the kitten to nurse.

If you are using a bottle to feed a kitten, the size of the hole in the nipple is critical for success. If the bottle is turned upside down and formula dribbles from the nipple, the hole is too large. Be very careful when using a nipple with too large of a hole as it may cause choking and formula ending up in your kitten's lungs. Test the bottle by turning it upside down and if formula comes out only after considerable squeezing of the bottle, the hole may be too small. When you feed a kitten with the proper size hole in the bottle, formula will drip slowly from the nipple when the bottle is inverted.

The Basic Steps to Feed a Kitten

Step 1. Warm the kitten formula to body temperature. Do this by immersing the bottle in a cup of hot water or by removing the nipple and warming in the microwave for a few seconds (4 to 8 seconds). Shake the bottle well after warming to make sure there are no hot spots in the formula and check the temperature. It should be warm but never hot. Never re-use formula that you have warmed. Discard it and use fresh formula for each feed. Recommended kitten milk replacement.

Step 2. Use a fleece baby blanket to feed a kitten. Cut a hole in a fleece blanket small enough to place the bottle nipple through. If you don't have a small fleece blanket, a towel or t-shirt will work in a pinch. Kittens instinctively knead their paws against the bottle when they nurse, just like they would if they were nursing on their mother. When you use the fleece blanket, you'll avoid having your hand scratched but more importantly, it prevents the kitten from associating your hands with food and biting. This isn't really much of a problem when kittens weigh less than a pound, but it's not so fun dealing with this when they become an adult cat.

Step 3. Gently place the nipple into the kitten's mouth. Tilt the bottle up slightly so the nipple is full of milk. Most kittens automatically begin sucking. If the kitten refuses to take the nipple, place a little dab of Karo syrup on their tongue to stimulate the sucking response. Never squeeze formula into a kitten's mouth as this can cause choking. Feed a kitten until they are comfortably full, not until the stomach is tight and distended. You'll know when a kitten is full because small bubbles of formula will form around his mouth and the kitten will spit the nipple out.

Step 4. Burp that baby! Now you must burp the little kitten, just like a human baby. Hold the kitten on your chest, lap or shoulder and gently rub and pat their back with two fingers until they burp.

Keeping Good Records in Kitten Care

Keep a record of how much your kitten has eaten after every feeding. This will help you work out whether the kitten is drinking enough throughout the day. Your vet will also be glad that you took the time to keep these records, in case something happens down the road and they need to diagnose the kitten. This information also helps you watch for any changes in "normal" behaviour, like if the kitten stops eating or suddenly looses interest in food.

How much kitten milk replacement do you need to feed a kitten?

Birth to 1 week: Feed every 3 hours (8 feedings per day)

From 1 to 3 weeks: Feed every 4 hours (6 feedings per day)

From 3 to 4 weeks: Feed every 5 hours (5 feedings a day)

From 4 to 5 weeks: Feed four to five times a day.

Total Kitten Milk Replacement required per day:

Birth to 1 week: 24cc

1 week: 32cc

2 weeks: 54cc

3 weeks: 80cc

4 weeks: 104cc

5 weeks: 128cc

The information listed above is just a guide, a kitten should drink about 8cc's of formula per ounce of body weight per day. Consult your veterinarian if you need more information

How do I wean a kitten to kitten food?

At about three to four weeks old, kittens will start to nibble at semi-solid food. Some kittens like to continue to bottle-feed for a considerable time: you should allow this, but also encourage them to eat by themselves by leaving small bowls of a wet food/formula mixture. Mix kitten formula with wet food so kittens can begin to lap it up, or put the mixture in a bottle. Very young kittens can eat wet food more easily than dry food and the dry food may be too hard to chew. Also the kibble (bite size of the dry food) may be to big for most kittens. Several brands offer a "kitten kibble" small size that's easier for kittens to eat. You can take dried kitten food and soak it in lukewarm water to make it softer for the kittens to chew. Remember to keep fresh clean water nearby as well. Change the kitten food and water frequently to ensure freshness.

Kittens are generally not to picky when it comes time to eat. If you need to feed a kitten, take your time and prepare the kitten food with patience. Feeding a kitten is not difficult once you get the hang of it. It's not a tough thankless job, as you watch your kittens curl up after a good meal. With a little practise, you have mad skills next time you need to feed a kitten!

Be prepared for kitten care with kitten supplies and our kitten care checklist. It will make your new kitten comfortable and you can rest easier knowing that your are ready to go!

Pet Health Tips

Share the responsibility of caring for your cat with your children. Teach them the right way to live with their new adopted pet.


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