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Bottle feeding question

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
The pregnant 6 mo. old stray that I found had her kittens on Saturday and she & all 5 of the babies are doing very well. We didn't think she could have that many because she wasn't very big.

Now that she has had them we can see just how skinny she is, I can't even allow myself to think how skinny she must have been before I found her.

I have been monitoring the kittens weight daily and everything looks good so far. She is doing a great job with them but I'm worried that as they get bigger she may not be able to feed them as much as they need, because she is so tiny. At the suggestion of a woman with a rescue group here she said to try bottle feeding them once in a while to help Mom out. I bought the formula, bottles (poked the holes in the nipples), read up on how to hold them & general info about it and am all ready to give it a try...

My question is how do I get the nipple into the kitens mouth without hurting them? I read you aren't supposed to lift their heads to open the mouth but I don't know how to do it.

Also when would you recommend I start helping her and how many times a day? I want them to be able to get as much from her as they can but how do I know when she needs help?

post #2 of 5
The web site www.kitten-rescue.com is a great resource on kittens. Just click on 'Bottle Feeding Kitten' and you'll find the information you need there.

I would only start supplementing the kitten's feeds if they seem anxious, they seem to be hungry or they're crying excessively. Instead, I would feed the mom-cat both a good quality canned and dry kitten food and also feed her kitten glop, which you'll find the recipe for in the bottle feeding section of that web site. What you're doing there is giving her the most calories and nutrients you can so she can support her kittens. There is also a product you can get called Nutrical, which is a high energy source of nutrition and vitamins.
post #3 of 5
Just to answer your question on how to place the nipple in the kittens mouth, I use the nipple itself to gently separate the lips and then slip it into the mouth. The kittens may refuse at first, as the nipple will feel odd in their mouth and very different to mom-cats nipples. If they are hungry, though, they should begin sucking.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much. That site is wonderful. I just wanted to make sure I didn't do more harm than good.

So far they are all gaining weight at a regular pace. I have one who's quite a bit smaller... must be the runt, she's smaller than the others but is putting on weight at the same rate as the others & I have seen her putting up more of a fight to hold onto the nipple when the others try to move in on her.

I guess unless I see a decline or stall in the weight gain I'll do what you recommened and give the mom, Charity, all she can get. She's doing so very well right now & I'm very impressed at how healthy the kittens are considering how malnourished she was when I found her.

Thanks for your advice. The kitties & I appreciate it.
post #5 of 5
Sounds like you are doing all the right things. Some people when they see the runt not getting enough milk, will pull the runt off the nipple and put it on another one. Kittens scent claim a nipple and it is theirs till they are weaned off of it. If they are nursing on another kitten's nipple, they will quit and find their own by scent.

I just run into a lot of people that are well-meaning when they move a runt, so thought I would let you know, each kitten has their own branded by scent nipple.
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