Feeding Techniques

Feeding Techniques

To feed your kitten, use a dropper, syringe, doll’s bottle or ideally, a specifically designed nursing bottle, available from most grocery and pet stores. If you are using a bottle, 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. Use of this nipple may cause choking and formula ending up in your kitten’s lungs. If the bottle is turned upside down and formula comes out only after considerable squeezing of the bottle, the hole is too small. Use of this nipple will result in your kitten becoming discouraged and refusing to nurse. The hole is the proper size if the bottle is turned upside down and formula drips slowly from the nipple.

The nipples supplied with a nurser bottle or kits are not pierced. To pierce the nipple, wet it thoroughly inside and out with the boiled, cooled water and then heat a small pin or needle in a flame until it glows red. Quickly pierce the top of the nipple and remove the pin. Test the flow of the bottle and repeat the process if the hole is too small. Rinse the nipple thoroughly with more boiled cooled water, making sure to squeeze some water through the hole.

Warm the formula to body temperature – about 100oF. 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. 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.

Place your kitten on it’s tummy on a soft surface such as a blanket or towel and gently place the nipple into his mouth. Tilt the bottle up slightly so the nipple is full of milk. He should automatically begin sucking. If he refuses to take the nipple, place a little dab of Karo syrup on his tongue to stimulate his sucking response. Never squeeze formula into his mouth as this can cause choking. Feed your kitten until he is comfortably full, not until the stomach is tight and distended. When he is full, small bubbles of formula will form around his mouth and he will spit the nipple out. Now you must burp him, just like a human baby. Hold him on your chest, lap or shoulder and gently rub and pat his back with two fingers until he burps.

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