Hand Feeding Kittens?

This forum is for cat lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your cat.

Little Ma Ma

Spoiled rotten? - No, I'm spoiled- sweet!
Purred: Mon Aug 8, '05 5:48pm PST 
From Little Ma Ma's Mom:

Okay, here's what happened; Snip apparently contracted a disease and passed away. She left behind five three-week-old kittens. Two of them went to my sisters and are being nursed by her cat, who has kittens about their age. The other three are being hand fed. One of them is nursing from a kitten bottle very well, another will kind of nurse from it, but I have to either force feed the third or put her milk suppliment in a pan to drink. She dosen't drink it very well- she kind of puts her face into it and licks it off more than she licking it from the pan. Has anyone hand fed kittens before? How often should I feed them at just over three weeks old? Is there anything else I can do for the one who dosen't drink well from a bottle? Any other info would be great too!

Landon- Dakota

Purred: Mon Aug 8, '05 7:06pm PST 
Hmm...I'd say contact a vet for any advice if it's your first time hand-feeding until you get the swing of things! I'm sure someone out there would love to help you out.

Little Ma Ma

Spoiled rotten? - No, I'm spoiled- sweet!
Purred: Mon Aug 8, '05 7:16pm PST 
Yeah, I'll ask about it when I go to volunteer at the animal shelter tomorrow, I was just wondering if anyone here had any advice from personal experience.

Jeepers- 1999-2010

Opt to Adopt!
Purred: Mon Aug 8, '05 7:56pm PST 
A disease? Do you know what kind of disease? Is this colony being controlled in any way- are cats being altered, vaccinated, and tested for FIV/FIP/Feluek?

Little Ma Ma

Spoiled rotten? - No, I'm spoiled- sweet!
Purred: Mon Aug 8, '05 8:17pm PST 
A disease is my best guess. I found her like that with her kittens; it could have been anything. I don't have the money to get them all fixed and vaccinated, however, I am working on getting in touch with SNAP (Spay and Neuter Action Program) to see if they can help any. She seemed fine the day before, so I'm not sure what happened to her.

Jeepers- 1999-2010

Opt to Adopt!
Purred: Tue Aug 9, '05 2:13pm PST 
Wow, you certainly have a big problem on your hands! (I don't envy you!).
Testing won't be a concern for the wilds, but kittens need to be tested before going to pet homes.

As for spay/neuter, best of luck getting in touch with a good TNR program! If that doesn't work out, you might want to try the following.

Here, you can buy vouchers for low cost spay and neuters. They have lots of participating vets. http://www.fcdf.org/nspay.php3

The following have low cost spay/neuter clinics
Feral Cat Coalition
Fairhope AL
For feral and stray cats.

Baldwin County Humane Society
Baldwin County AL
For pets.
(Note- your cats don't seem too feral to be considered unruly pets, don't count this out)

Humane Society of Etowah County
1700 Chestnut Street
Gadsden, AL 35901

Humane Society of Shelby County
Columbiana, AL

I know you won't be able to do them all at once, but the best thing to do is start with the most fertile females. Are there one or two that always have huge litters? Get them done first. Are there any that look pregnant now? Get them in to be spayed ASAP!

Best of luck, I'd hate to see this situation get even worse.


hottest- hairstylist in- town
Purred: Tue Aug 9, '05 4:35pm PST 
Siren and Mynxx's mama here, 1st of all what you are doing is very honorable. Kittens that young typically need to be fed anywhere from every 2-4 hours. So if you are doing this by yourself be prepared for a total and utter lack of sleep. I would recommend that if the mother cat's body is still around take it to the Humane Society/ASPCA and see if they would be willing to do a necrospy(an autospy for an animal) because that could tell you what was wrong and what might have killed her without having to take all the kittens and incurring a lot of expense. You never know she could have been poisoned or even a lot older than people may have believed. Three hand fed kittens is a lot of work you might consider the humane society they have a lot of volunteers that would be willing to help out. In regards to the kitten that won't nurse you might try using an eye dropper to force feed it and keep trying with the bottle cause more than likely it is not getting enough from the pan of milk.


I'm a bunny ...- Bunny! Bunny!- Bunny!
Purred: Wed Aug 10, '05 6:25am PST 
Every four hours is about right ... make sure if you are having to "force feed" the kittens that you are being careful not to get any milk into their lungs. Don't hold them upright like you do a baby, hold then on their bellies. Also make sure you burp them afterwards.

If they are starting to chew on the bottles, you can try mixing some baby rice cereal in with the milk. Its a good transition to cat food -- just firm it up little by little until they get used to it.

It is a lot of work, but I'm sure you will do very well. Best of luck to you and your kittens!!!

Little Ma Ma

Spoiled rotten? - No, I'm spoiled- sweet!
Purred: Wed Aug 10, '05 3:24pm PST 
Thanks for the advice everyone! Here's an update:

All three of them are nursing great. They fight over the bottle sometimes, but I keep them seperated during feeding times to make sure everyone gets fed. I gave them a flea bath last night (the male, named Simba, was covered with icky fleas!) and they did fine. Simba even seemed to enjoy it smile I keep them in a box with plenty of towels in it by my head at night, and they wake me up when they're hungry since I'm a light sleeper. They're of good weight- actually they're looking a little pudgy sicne they started nursing good. This is a very neat experience for me, especially since they seem to look at me as their mother now. They are approximately 27 days old, and are cutting their front teeth nicely, so I will try them on some turkey baby food soon, as was reccomended by some folks at the animal shelter who have hand raised kittens before.

And if SNAP is not able to help me with the other cats, I can purchase a spay/neuter certificate and a vaccinations certificate from the shelter for a sum of 55 dollars per cat. I may have just enough to get two of the most fertile cats fixed- probably Bengal and Squint. I'll be getting a job later this month when I turn 16, so I'll gradually be able to get all of them fixed.

Thanks for all of your info and advice!

Jeepers- 1999-2010

Opt to Adopt!
Purred: Wed Aug 10, '05 7:49pm PST 
I am so glad that you are working on getting the cats fixed- yeah! Things will be so much easier for you and the cats when there are no more babies. You might want to go ahead and do as much as you can with your money while waiting for SNAP.

Will the shelter you work with alter and place tame kittens for you?