How to Syringe Feed A Newborn Kitten Without The Mother
How to Syringe Feed A Newborn Kitten! First Cleanliness. The kittens should not have any illness. Always wash your hands before or after using the kitten and always clean bedding and sheets. If a kitten hasn’t received its mother’s colostrum, which is the watery milk produced within a few weeks of birth, the cat’s body will be at a greater risk because it doesn’t have the antibodies in the colostrum. Keep these kittens separate from others.
If you found a motherless kitten, you’re going to need to know how to bottle feed them But for newborn kittens under 10 days old. Bottle feeding can be a real challenge and you might want to try syringe feeding I’m going to show you how to safely feed a newborn orphan kitten using a syringe.
# Syringe feeding
There are several different strategies for feeding orphan kittens But my preference is to feed the tiniest kittens under 10 days old with a syringe. Boomba is less than a week old and you can tell because his eyes are closed.
His ears are folded and very small, and he still has an umbilical cord So for kittens like these, when their eyes are still closed I prefer to feed them by syringe As they get a little bit older, I prefer to feed them with a bottle.
When you’re using a bottle like this It’s a little harder to measure exactly how much the kittens eating. If they’re tiny because the quantities are so large on the bottle This is more appropriate for a giant kitten. A 3cc oral syringe, there’s no needle on the end of it.
Just a tip that can slip into their mouth. My strong preference is to use a 3cc syringe with a miracle nipple reason that I love this product is that it’s really comfortable for their tiny mouths.
The difference, that this is much more comfortable when they’re a really small neonate And it just pops right on the end of your syringe. The other great thing about this product is that it has a tiny hole at the end of it
So, you know exactly how fast the flow is going to come out versus these nipples that don’t have a hole in them that you have to cut. So, this is a much safer bet for getting a nice slow and steady flow Into a very tiny kitten and for being able to measure it.
The quantities are so much easier to measure, this is only 3cc So this is a good meal for a kitten under a week old So make sure that you keep a feeding chart handy. Keeping a feeding chart is going to help you understand What their weight should be for their age and how much they should be eating.
Of course, it’s going to vary from kitten to kitten, and it’s also going to vary from meal to meal. So, you just want to make sure that they’re at least getting the minimum quantity. That they should be getting for their age For a teeny teeny tiny kitten, that’s going to be only 2 milliliters.
So, not even a full 3 CC syringe As they get closer to a week old it could actually be more like 6 milliliters of feeding. Which would be two of these syringes. Every week kittens are going to need a different quantity at different intervals.
So, before they reach one week old, you’re going to be feeding them every two hours including overnight. As they get older the frequency decreases. So, you’re able to get a little bit more sleep and get a little bit more done in between.
# Pick the right supplies
And they eat more and more each time You’re going to need to purchase a kitten formula such as one of the formulas pictured here You can buy these at a pet supply store, a feed store, or online. They come in powders and liquids, and I personally recommend the powders. Make sure that you do not feed kittens anything that you just have in your fridge.
# Don’t feed them cow’s milk
So, don’t feed them cow’s milk condensed milk almond milk human baby formula I hear all the time people feeding kittens whatever they can find at home Or special recipes they found online. This is so dangerous for them because if it goes through their body And they can’t digest it., It’s going to come out as diarrhea It’s going to manifest in all sorts of horrible ways that can actually kill the kitten.
So, rather than put your kitten at risk by making a home remedy or using something you have in your fridge You really do want to use a kitten formula you also want to be careful not to buy something that says “cat milk”
If something says “cat milk” on it, it is meant as a supplemental treat for an adult cat. That’s not the same thing as the kitten formula. Make sure you pick up something that says “Kitten formula” on it. So, you can get formula and a powder or in a liquid I really prefer the powder because it lasts a really long time, you just pop it in your fridge Or you can even store it in your freezer and it’ll last a really long time. Follow the instructions on the back of it.
For this it’s going to be a ratio of Two parts water to one part powder What I prefer to do is to mix it in a blender bottle.
A blender bottle is a smoothy bottle. That is actually made for people who do like protein shakes and stuff like that I certainly am not one of those people, but I do own a lot of blender bottles It makes it so that you can make a really smooth mix of formula that has no clumps at all.
If it has clumps it’s going to clog the nipple and make it so that it’s very frustrating for them and they can’t get it out. Make sure you’re using really warm water You don’t want it to be too hot and you don’t want it to be too cold. Just something that’s very comfortable to the touch All right.
Make sure it’s nice and tight and then shake it up You’re going to end up with a formula that is nice and warm, it’s made fresh, and clump-free. What you don’t want to do is mix a whole jug of this stuff and say; “Great now I can use it over and over again for the next month” You want to make it fresh at least every one to two feedings. Take your syringe and dip it into your fresh formula and pull up the formula so that is 3cc of warm fresh kitten formula
# Put the kitten in a comfortably warm temperature
Anytime, that I make formula I just test a little drop of it on my wrist to make sure that it’s comfortable for me if it makes you go: “Ah!” Because it’s too cold or too hot, that it’s not the right temperature. When you’re preparing to feed these kittens you want to make sure that their bodies are at the right temperature.
These kittens are living in this little container with a heating Pad. So, they are nice and warm If the kitten is too cold or too hot it can actually be dangerous to feed them. So, if you suspect that a kitten is too cold or too hot You want to gently and slowly get its body to a comfortably warm temperature before you feed them. So, I’ve got 3cc of formula pulled up in a syringe.
# Feed the kittens
And I’m going to gently introduce the miracle nipple into his mouth. Make sure that when you’re feeding kittens, you’re feeding them in the correct posture. One thing that you want to make sure you do, is that you feed them in a position that’s natural to them.
A natural position for a kitten to eat from its mother. Would be with their belly down either laying down or sitting up like this. But with their belly facing the ground. When human babies eat, we often feed them on their backs like this But for a kitten that’s extremely dangerous, so you would never ever want to feed them in that manner.
When a kitten is suckling its tongue is going to kind of form a little taco shape around the nipple. And they’ll be actively engaged in swallowing the formula I can feel that with my finger on his throat, and I can watch him swallowing. So, you want to feed with your dominant hand.
So that you can be very intentional about how slowly you’re compressing the syringe and your non-dominant hand will be holding them in place with the belly down their head up. And you can actually hold their head where you want them, put your finger on their throat. And this is a really safe and comfortable way to feed.
Even if you have to do it one drop at a time that’s better than filling them, too quickly. So, this is a team effort He is swallowing, he’s actively engaged And I’m also helping apply just a little bit of pressure Equal to how quickly he’s swallowing Be very careful when your syringe feeding a kitten. Especially, if they are under a week old.
These little guys are more vulnerable than any kitten you’ll ever meet. Because they don’t have a gag reflex yet. They can’t control their body temperature. So, it’s really important to you to get this right if you’re working with them at this age.
So, you want to go really slowly with these kittens slowly compressing this And I’m doing it at her speed. So, with my fingers on her throat, I can feel that she’s swallowing I can watch to see that she’s suckling I’m an active participant in her eating I’m watching her, I’m feeling for her swallowing. So sometimes you’re going to introduce the nipple to the kitten’s mouth.
And they’re going to have no idea what you’re trying to do. And that’s pretty normal You know, this might be the first time they’ve ever bottle-fed. So, if you want to be patient with them you have got to exercise patience. This is absolutely a labor of love, So one issue I see with people who are new to bottle feeding Is that they’re kind of afraid to really hold the kitten in position.
This kitten is so young he really isn’t even holding his head up yet. What I recommend is putting your hands on either side of their head And really helping direct them where you want them to go So if you’re not able to get these kittens to latch. That’s okay!
The most important thing is that they are swallowing and that you’re doing it really slowly. So, even if you can’t get that nice latch the first time. You still want to get a meal in them as long as they are swallowing. So, put your finger on their throat and then just very slowly drop by drop.
Give them a little bit of formula and see if they’re swallowing it If they’re not swallowing. There’s probably something more severe going on, you’re going to want to get them to a veterinarian. You never want to feed a kitten that cannot swallow. Some kittens might prefer to eat out of the side of their mouth This is not ideal, but if that’s the way you can get some food in them Just make sure that they are actually swallowing it.
And do it super slowly You absolutely cannot go slowly enough while syringe feeding Another thing that can happen is that your kitten can be really squirmy or not sure what to do. So, one thing you can do is barbershop them or burrito them.
Assess the Kittens
To help keep their head really steady when you’re feeding kittens. Kittens will often tell you if they’re done eating. So, you can try to offer them more But you never want to forcefully shove formula into their mouths. So if she starts to turn her head away, as long as she’s had a proper meal I’m okay with stopping So she had two, and a half milliliters.
Which is on the small side for a meal, but for her, she’s a pretty small kitten. So, it’s okay And in two hours she’ll have a chance to eat more If they get a lot of formula on their face. You’re going to want to make sure that you wipe their face down with a baby wipe Kittens can very easily get formula crusted all around their mouth.
And what happens is it’s really uncomfortable for them If it dries it can actually cause their hair to fall out around their face. So, you want to make sure you help keep them nice and clean.
Wiping down their face also helps teach them some of those good grooming behaviors. That they would usually get from their mom licking them. As soon as they are done eating you want to put them immediately back into their warm space. When they’re this young you’re not really playing with them. You’re not letting them run around.
They really should just be sleeping, eating and peeing, and pooping and that’s about it. Good luck and don’t give up! Syringe feeding is an art form and it does take practice. But be patient and you’ll be a pro in no time.