During the first few weeks of their lives, eating and sleeping are pretty much all that newborn kittens do.
It is of critical importance to keep kittens close to their mothers at this point, not only for feeding purposes but to keep them warm as well. A mother cat’s milk has all the nutrients and vitamins a newborn kitten feeding needs in order to develop into a healthy cat. Nursing may continue for as long as up to eight weeks.
There may be instances when the mother rejects a few of her kittens, and you have to feed them on your own. In this case, a few materials are required. First of all, you need to purchase syringes, bottles, and kitten milk replacement formula, which is readily available in any big pet store. After the syringe has been sterilized and the milk has been warmed a tiny bit, you are ready to offer this to the kitten. Take note to test the warm milk to make sure it isn’t too hot, and do not leave the formula sitting around for a long time. Offer this to the kitten as soon as it is prepared.
It is best to use syringes for very young kittens, for the nipples of feeding bottles may be too big for the newborn kittens. You are now ready to feed the kitten. Simply elevate the kitten’s head while letting its stomach rest, just like how it would look when nursing from a cat’s nipples. Gently insert the nipple into the kitten’s mouth, and apply slight pressure to the bottle, just enough for a few drops to spill out. The kitten will then usually start sucking on its own.
It is important to remember not to overfeed the kitten, but simply let it drink at its own pace. It is safer to give the kitten less than what it wants, than more than it actually needs. Overfeeding a kitten may lead to bloating and diarrhea.
It is a good idea to gently rub the kitten’s tummy after every feeding, to encourage burping and the passing of gas.
A newborn kitten should be nursed around every two hours. To know approximately how much to feed the kitten, it is a good idea to weigh your kitten simply by putting him/her on a small weighing scale. Newborn kittens generally consume two tablespoons of milk for every four ounces, or 113 grams, of their body weight.
When the kitten reaches 3-4 weeks of age, you can begin replacing bottle feedings by offering them the formula in a shallow bowl. Moist food can now be introduced as well, such as cat food mixed with the kitten formula. This is done in order to familiarize the kitten with the diet plan it will be following in its adult life. By the sixth or seventh week, kittens will now be able to eat dry food.