YES most definately!
I am assuming that she will otherwise take on her motherly duties without a problem.
Feeding is probably the trickiest thing you will encounter caring for kittens. First, make sure they have a proper formula. You can find kitten nursing kits (containing bottles, nipples, a brush for cleaning, and directions!) and kitten formula
at your local pet store. Don't simply feed the kittens regular milk, purchase kitten milk at the pet store, regular milk doesn't have the nutrients that a kitten needs, and kittens solely fed on
regular milk will starve due to lack of nutrients.
Before feeding, make sure to properly sterilize the bottle and nipple and warm the formula. If the nipple doesn't already have a hole in it, cut a
small hole in the top, and make sure this hole isn't too large (you can always make it bigger later) or the formula will flow out too fast and the kittens will choke. Similar to what you would do for a baby, you can either warm the formula in the microwave for a few seconds or place the
bottle in warm water. Either way, the formula should be body temperature (99 - 101 degrees).
Once the formula is ready, you can get the kitten in position for feeding. There are two positions you can take. One is to wrap the kitten in a
towel and hold him or her like a baby. If the kittens are older, or if they aren't comfortable with being confined, you can use a second method.
This is to let the kitten be on his or her stomach (the kitten may lie down or stand up- whichever he or she prefers) similar to how the kitten would feed from the mother. In this position, the kitten will 'knead' your leg, blanket or whatever is under his or her front paws. This is instinctual behavior for kittens--they do this as they nurse from the mother to pump more milk out of the nipple. In either case, make sure
to hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle to minimize air and gas in the kitten's stomach. (if the kitten does get formula in his/her lungs and
starts choking, simply hold the kitten upside down until the choking subsides).
Most kittens will instinctively take the nipple and start feeding; however,if the kitten doesn't seem to want to eat, here are a few things you can
try (if you have tried all of these and the kitten still seems uninterested in eating he/she probably is ill and should be taken to the vet ASAP):
Switch nipples (there are two types - long and short). Your kitten may just be fussy.
Rub the kitten on the forehead or rub/stroke his/her back. Mother cats will groom kittens to get them to eat and this simulates the mother's grooming.
Place a little Karo Syrup on the kittens lips to stimulate their hunger.
So how much do you feed? A kitten should be getting about 8-9 cc's of formula for each ounce that they weigh per day. You may want to keep
a journal each day of how much the kitten has eaten and the kittens' weights. So a kitten who is 5 ounces should be eating 40-45 cc's per day. Kittens should weigh about 3-4 oz. at birth and should gain 3-5 oz. a week after that. You should weigh each kitten daily (you can use a kitchen scale). If the kittens are underweight, are losing weight, or are not gaining weight appropriately then you should contact your vet
ASAP. When the kitten is full, you will notice that his mouth will 'bubble' with a little formula that he or she is too full to eat and his/her
belly will be very full. After the kitten is done eating, just like a baby, you can burp him! To burp, simply hold the kitten against your shoulder
and gently burp him or her. You can also hold the kitten so his or her back is against your chest and gently cuddle the kitten under your neck
while rubbing the tummy.
So how often do you feed? (note that these are approximate times--let your kittens and their hunger be the ultimate determinant of how often to
Under 1 week of age: every 3-4 hours
2 weeks old: every 4-6 hours
3 weeks old to weaning (around 5th or 6th week): every 6-8 hours
After each feeding please do not forget to stimulate them so they have regular bowl movements and pee.
When will the kitten wean? Kittens usually wean around the 4th week of age. Usually the mother will start to wean the kittens when they start to
bite her nipples (this is painful for her and thus instinctually she starts to show them how to eat regular food). If you notice the kitten biting at the nipple, it is safe to start weaning. You can start off by placing some formula in a spoon or on your finger and seeing if the kitten can lick it. If he or she can, then start putting formula in a bowl and getting the kitten to eat that way. You may need to have the kitten lick your finger and
then lead the kitten with your finger to the bowl. Once the kitten is comfortable with bowl eating you can start mixing the formula with baby food or kitten food. The food at this point should be soft and slightly liquidy and easy for the kitten to lap up. As the kitten gets more and
more comfortable with eating from a bowl, you can start mixing less and less formula in with the food until the kittens are eating regular food!
Make sure that the kittens are getting enough nutrition and are still gaining weight. If the kittens are not getting enough food from the bowl,
you may need to continue bottle feeding until the kitten gets the hang of it. Some kittens take weeks to wean, while others get the hang of it in a few days. What is important is that the kitten gets enough food, so be patient if you have a late bloomer.
One last thing to consider is dehydration. ittens can get dehydrated very easily. The best way to tell is to do the pinch test. Grab a bit of
the skin and pull it upwards. If the skin rebounds instantaneously then the kitten is fine, however, if the skin takes a second or two to fall back into its normal place he or she is probably dehydrated. Depending on how dehydrated your kitten is, he or she may need to receive subcutaneous fluids from your vet.