how to bottle feed newborn kittens


What You Need To Know When Feeding Newborn Kittens

Welcome to the world of tiny meows and fluffy paws! Kittens sometimes cannot be with their mothers. If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve welcomed a newborn kitten into your life and are now wondering how to give them the best start possible. These delicate creatures require special attention and care to thrive. In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about bottle feeding newborn kittens. We’ll talk about how to bottle-feed newborn kittens, what you need to bottle-feed them, and how often to do it. Get ready to become a surrogate parent to some of the most adorable creatures on the planet!

How soon should a mama cat begin to nurse her kittens after birth?

The new mama cat begins to nurse her kittens about an hour after birth. During the first few days, she produces colostrum – the first milk, full of vitamins, minerals, proteins, immunoglobulins, and maternal antibodies.


Colostrum protects little fur babies from many diseases and builds their immunity.

How to improve your cat’s milk production:

The best food for newborn kittens is the mother’s milk. It provides everything little bundles of joy need to thrive. If mama cat doesn’t produce enough milk, babies are at risk. You can improve your cat’s milk production in 3 easy steps:

  • Food is very important. During lactation, cats need more calories and more nutrient-dense food, to produce enough milk for their babies. That’s why they must be free-fed kitten food. 
  • Ensure that she has access to plenty of fresh water. The key to improving cat lactation is hydration.
  • Decrease stress. Place the new mama with the little ones away from children and other pets in a quiet place. The litter box, water bowl, and food bowl should be near the nesting box.

Why a mom cat can’t nurse her kittens?

Sometimes a cat mama can’t breastfeed her babies. There are several reasons why a mom cat can’t nurse her kittens:

  • Mom cat is sick. It’s possible for the new mama to stop breastfeeding if she gets sick. Weakness, lethargy, and loss of appetite are signs of health problems.
  • There is a sick or deformed kitten in the litter. If mom cat suspects one or more kittens have a health issue, she instinctively places them outside the nest. This is to protect other babies.
  • The kitten litter is too large. Cat mama sometimes cannot feed all the fur balls at the same time because the litter is too large.
  • The new cat mama is too young or malnutritioned. Cats get pregnant at four months. Mama cats who are young or malnourished may not have enough energy to produce milk for their babies.

What you need to bottle feed newborn kittens

When the mother cat can’t nurse her babies or you’ve found an orphaned newborn kitten you need to step in and bottle feed the little ones. 

Most pet stores or online retailers have these items to bottle feed newborn kittens:

  • Kitten Milk Replacer – Baby kittens need kitten milk replacer because it mimics mama’s milk. It comes in powdered or liquid form and contains all the necessary vitamins and minerals, ensuring proper kitten growth. Kittens under 4 weeks should not eat solid foods, whether dry or canned. Don’t feed the kittens cow’s milk, milk alternatives from your fridge, or human baby formula. They don’t provide the right nutrition and can cause diarrhea, which can be life-threatening for young kittens.
  • Newborn kittens bottle and nipple / syringe or eyedropper, if the kitten is younger – If the nipple comes uncut, you must make a small hole in the nipple. It is important for the hole to be the right size, to ensure the proper formula flow. You can test the hole by turning the bottle upside down. If the hole is the right size, the formula should slowly drop out of it.

How often do you need to feed newborn kittens?

Newborn kittens must be fed round-the-clock, day and night.

0 – 1 weekEvery 2 hours
1 – 2 weeksEvery 2 – 3 hours
2 – 3 weeksEvery 3 – 4 hours
3 – 4 weeks Every 4 – 5 hours
Kitten Feeding Schedule

How to bottle feed newborn kitten the right way – 9 tips for success

  • Firstly, sterilize the bottles and nipples by boiling them for 5 minutes and letting them air dry on a clean towel.
  • Check the kitten’s body temperature. Don’t feed the kitten if it is cold or too warm.
  • Prepare the formula clump-free, according to the manufacturer’s instructions on the package 
  • Make sure the formula’s temperature is right by dripping a few drops into your wrist. It must be comfortably warm.
  • Place the kitten in a natural belly-down position. Never feed a kitten when it lies on its back, like a human baby. It may cause him to inhale fluid in his lungs.
  • Feed the kitten slowly
  • Burp the kitten. Just like human babies, kittens need to burp after every meal too. You can do this by holding one hand under its tummy and gently patting its upper back. Another way is to hold the kitten against you, with its tummy resting on your shoulder, and gently pat its back until you feel it burp.
  • Clean up and stimulate elimination. Whenever your kitten’s done feeding, make sure its face is clean with a damp washcloth or baby wipes. Also, you must stimulate elimination by massaging its genital area with a damp washcloth.
  • When the kitten is fed, cleaned up, and stimulated it is time to be placed back in its resting box, to take a nap. But before doing this, make sure that its fur is dry.
photo: pexels-ryszard-zaleski-7001816

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, feeding newborn kittens can be challenging yet rewarding. From selecting the right formula to establishing a feeding routine, there are several factors to consider. By following the tips and guidelines outlined in this article, you can ensure that these tiny felines receive the best start in life. So go ahead and embrace this incredible journey of nurturing and watch these adorable little bundles of fur flourish under your care!

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