When bottle-feeding it is always best to warm milk to a kittens body temperature (about 100 degrees F, 37.8 degrees C).
To heat the bottle it can either be placed in the microwave or placed in a cup filled with hot water. Whichever method is used after heating the formula the bottle should always be shaken and the temperature tested by placing a drop on the inside of your wrist.
Keep all unused formula refrigerated and all equipment scrupulously clean to avoid introducing infection.
Powdered formula can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 months once opened in the refrigerator, or up to six months in the freezer. Once formula is mixed with water it can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 days. If you are using canned formula once it is opened it is good for only three days.
You will need to make a hole in the tip of the bottle. This can be done by cutting the very tip off with scissors or making two perpendicular cuts about a 1/8” from top. The formula should drip slowly from the nipple when the full bottle is inverted.
To feed the kitten place a towel on a counter top or over your lap, then place the kitten on the counter top with all four feet on the counter, or on your lap facing away from you.
For very young kittens you will need to support their head by holding it up under the chin.
Some older kittens prefer to nurse standing on their hind legs while holding the bottle.
Gently open a kittens’ mouth with one finger and place the tip of the nipple on his tongue.
Slightly squeeze the bottle to get them started and then remove the pressure, this may help to get them started.
Do not force the kitten to nurse, or allow him to nurse too fast.
Never place a kitten on his or her back for feeding or squirt liquid rapidly into the mouth. These methods can cause aspiration of fluid into the lungs.
Always watch a kitten as you are feeding for any signs of distress.
A kitten’s ears will twitch when he is nursing vigorously.
Try stimulating your kitten if he won’t eat but acts hungry, as he/she may be constipated.
If he won’t eat fill a syringe from the formula in the bottle and insert a small amount of formula into his/her mouth so they get the taste of the milk then try again with the bottle.
If they still refuse to take the bottle you may have to syringe feed them until they will take the bottle.
Be sure to tilt the bottle up slightly to prevent the kitten from inhaling too much air.
If aspiration occurs place kittens’ mouth and nose in your mouth and suck very lightly, if you suck too strongly you could collapse their lung, so be careful.
After each feeding, the kitten should be burped. Hold him or her against your shoulder and gently massage his back or pat it lightly.