How to feed a kitten :
Newborn kittens acquire antibodies from their mothers through colostrum in the first hours of their birth, and kittens are fed with their mother’s milk, which provides them with nutrients to increase their weight in the first weeks of their life, and then the weaning phase of kittens from Mother’s milk begins at the age of about a month, as solid food begins to be partially introduced into the diet of cats, and they are able to drink water at that age.
Below is an explanation of how to feed a kitten:
Necessary tools for feeding a small kitten :
The following points should be considered when using a feeding bottle for a kitten:
- You need a feeding and pipettes specially designed for cats that make the little one suckle exactly as if he was suckling from his mother, and as in baby feeding there is a regulator under the pipette that controls the amount of liquid coming out of the feeding and adjusts it at an average rate, it is possible to use a syringe (syringe) as an alternative, but it does not replace feeding, which is ideal and easier to handle.
- The sterilization of the baby’s tools must be taken into account to maintain its integrity; wash each piece separately, preferably sterilized with Steam or boiling water.
Preparing milk for a kitten :
If the milk is liquid, the package is opened and the feeding is filled with the appropriate amount according to the table below, but if it is dry, you should read the instructions on the box about the proportions of mixing with water; because the low concentration of milk harms the health of the little one, and reduces the proportion of food and minerals he takes from the meal, while the high concentration harms his intestines.
It is important to follow the following steps to maintain the health of the baby during feeding :
- The little one should be kept warm during feeding; the cold makes the milk stay in his stomach for longer hours, and the cat’s house can be insulated and put a warm bag under it or a can of hot water to keep it warm, but it should be wrapped with a towel so as not to burn the little one’s skin, and replaced when needed to keep the little one warm.
- A suitable chair is placed with a towel wrapped around the knee of the person who is going to breastfeed, then the baby is carried and placed in a position suitable for feeding as if he were going to breastfeed from his mother; where his head is straight, his feet are down, and his stomach is lying down, and when trying to breastfeed the cat for the first time, a drop of milk is pulled from the tip of the syringe or pipette and is brought closer to the baby’s mouth; his sense of smell is strong and he will try to reach the source of the smell of milk and put his mouth there.
- When dealing with lactation, you should try to push it – but gently and without effort – into the baby’s mouth, and then his instinct will help him to continue feeding, but if you use a syringe, you can gently press it to lower the milk into the baby’s mouth and suck it, and do not put a large amount of milk in his mouth, because it is possible that he suffocates with it, he cannot control the lactation process, and he must be fed very quietly and slowly.
- The position of the little one is very important, he should not be permanently placed on his back during feeding, he should be placed on top of something comfortable, and his head should not be raised during feeding so that nothing of the milk leaks into his lungs, causing infections to him.
- You should not provide more food than needed, and it is possible to monitor how full his stomach is by pressing on the abdomen; if the stomach protrudes and looks hard, you should immediately stop feeding him even if the little one is still asking for food, and if the little one eats less than he needs, it does not matter, you should stop when he wants and try to feed him again after he rests.
- It is necessary to keep calm when breastfeeding the baby; so that he feels comfortable and takes his need, especially when breastfeeding for the first time.
- The cat must be made to burp to get out the air in his stomach, by holding and making his back in the palm of the hands of the one who is breastfeeding her, while massaging his stomach with the other hand to get out the air in his stomach, and sometimes feces come out, and this is an excellent sign of his health.
- After each meal, the mother cat usually licks her baby’s body, especially the anal and genital area to stimulate her to urinate and excrete, so that these waste products do not remain inside the little one’s body and harm him, and humans can use a cotton ball to wipe the kitten’s body to get an approximate effect, and this step is very important to end the feeding process, otherwise, the cat faces many diseases from the accumulation of waste inside it.
- This process continues until the cat is able to feed itself.
- The little one can be weaned from feeding as soon as he reaches the age of four weeks, and by starting to offer him solid food, and this can be known by observing the little one; if he bites the feeding straw, this is considered a positive signal, and if the little one does not show a desire to eat solid food when he is presented, milk can be added in a small amount to him; to encourage him and to make his food softer, and it is preferable to leave the food in front of the little one to have fun biting it whenever he wants while starting to gradually reduce milk meals in exchange for solid food.
- At the age of seven weeks, the little one becomes able to completely rely on himself for food.
Things to consider when breastfeeding a small kitten :
It is important to pay attention to the following things:
The milk should be fresh and fresh for each meal and free of preservatives; because the immunity of newborn cats is not strong, any contamination in the milk causes the little one to develop diseases.
You should not use a microwave or heating over a direct fire to make milk, a hot water bath can be used instead.
The milk should be moderately warm with a body temperature between 38 -37 degrees Celsius, and it can be checked by placing drops of it on the back of the hand, if it is neither cold nor hot, it is appropriate, because the cold bothers the little one and the hot burns his mouth.
Ways to care for a newborn cat :
Search for a surrogate mother :
- The first attempt that can be made to take care of a small cat is to find another mother working to take care of it, and this is the best that can be done if it is available, and it is possible to review the reserves or places of raising and caring for cats to find a mother who takes care of the little one because Mother’s milk remains the best for the little ones and the most capable of feeding her and raising her immunity.
- And because cats are the most capable of raising their young, you should pay attention and be very careful that some cats are hostile to any young strangers to them; the new mother may refuse to breastfeed the little one and may try to harm him, so you should carefully monitor them when putting them together, until they get along or until the mother rejects the little one, and then you can look for another alternative.
- The best way to merge a cat with the Young of another cat is to isolate the mother from her young, and then put the strange cat between them, with the little ones sticking together so that the smell of the other little ones is transmitted to the strange cat, and after an hour, for example, when the mother returns, she will not feel a strange smell, and so she accepts the new little one, breastfeeds him with her little ones and cares for him.
Offer milk to the little one :
If the mother refuses the little one and it is not available to get another mother, someone must take over this task, by choosing suitable milk and offering it to the little one, and what suits cats is only cat milk, and cow’s milk cannot be used for this purpose, it harms the health of the little one.
Cow’s milk for a kitten is likely to cause diarrhea, dehydration, nutritional deficiencies, and long-term health problems due to its weak structure caused by malnutrition, and because of the extreme nutritional poverty in cow’s milk relative to what kittens need, in practice, the kitten will remain hungry and feel a lack of food until he dies.
An alternative to cat milk can be purchased at pet food stores, or via the internet, and cat milk may be available in several commercial forms, including liquid and dry. Instructions explaining the proper use of these products are available on the box, including the correct dosage amount, and the mixing ratio with water.
Warning: milk cartons coated with cardboard and printed on them (suitable for cats) are not useful for nursing cats; because they are prepared from cow’s milk after removing lactose sugar from it, they can be given to big cats without harming their health, but they will remain poor in food for a small cat.
One-time temporary solution :
When it is not possible to get milk, the best solution (within these conditions) is to boil water, add a spoonful of ground glucose sugar to it and offer it to the little one directly, especially if he is hungry, and this meal is served only once without relying on it in the long term, and it is only intended to save more time to find a source of cat milk.
Rice water can also be used because it is rich in nutrients, and its the ability to supply the little one with energy, and offering water to the little one is better than leaving him to suffer from dehydration and lack of food, and better than providing cow’s milk with bad side effects, but it will leave the cat to develop hunger in the long run.