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Discussion Starter #1
Any advice?

I've got a kitten that was abandoned by it's mother...It's maybe 2 days old, very young.

It seems to want to suckle and nurse...I'll cuddle it on my chest and it'll start suckling on my finger or on my shirt. But it's not taking to the bottle. It's just awkward because you have to hold the bottle up, but the natural way for a kitten to nurse is more with it's nose down. Plus I'm sure that the nipple of the bottle just isn't like mom's :(

Anybody have any advice on starting a kitten on the bottle? I've been trying to feed it with a syringe instead, but I'm paranoid about it aspirating.
 

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Can the kitten nurse at all from it, or is she just not figuring it out? Do you have a dropper? You could do a drop at time on the tongue until the kitten took to an artificial feeder and then transition to a bottle. Or make a little bigger hole in the nipple.

I have never had good luck starting a newborn on a bottle that was "made for" pets--it [like a Esbilac bottle] is the most basic design and not natural enough IMHO. They need to make some better ones!

The last puppy I bottle fed, we started on a syringe, a 1ml syringe and basically did a drop or two at a time until it was comfortable eating from it and then moved to a bottle....
 

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I think I've heard it recommended to syringe feed from the side of the mouth to prevent choking.

I can send you the link to a cat forum I go on. Chock full of info. Plenty of people who've bottle fed kittens.
 

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You may have to tube feed one that young, you'll need a vets help for that.

You might try soaking a folded up papertowel in the formula and letting the kitten suck on the corner.
That, and/or syringe feeding (put the syringe in the corner of it's mouth, making a bit of a pocket. Like giving liquid meds to dogs) for awhile until the kitten is bigger and stronger.
I wish I had more advice, but I've never bottle fed a kitten. If it was a puppy or a goat though, I'd be more help!:p
 
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Call a local vet first thing tomorrow, bless ya for helping the poor dear! The vet can give you detailed feeding schedules and help. Also try a forum called Catster, lotsa good cat people and advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Oh wow, didn't expect so many responses!

Thanks for the input. I used to bottle feed the kittens at the shelter all the time when I volunteered there, but that was like, 6 years ago :rolleyes: It's just been a while, and somebody else already convinced the ones there that the artificial nipple isn't so bad.

Crock, she may be getting SOME, but its hard to tell. She kinda gums the nipple a bit, but not a lot of real suckling. With the syringe, she doesn't suckle it, but she does swallow what I put in.

I WISH I could tube feed lol. I'm used to tube feeding baby birds and sick birds of prey since that's actually my job. But when it comes to mammals, the separation between esophagus and trachea is not as distinct. Tube feeding would make me feel much better about how much food actually gets down.

I'll try the syringe in the side of the mouth. I found somebody who may be able to take it in. Hopefully she calls me back soon!
 

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Do you have help feeding her during the night? Do they have to nurse every couple of hours? Is she warm enough? I really hope others are pitching in to help.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ok so update: I got the kitten to somebody who is experienced with raising them.

But the bad news is that the kitten died this morning :(

I told her about the club feet, but she said that the kitten had several other deformities...It's mouth was deformed and so was it's skull. I thought there was something odd about the jaw, but it's been so long since I've handled young kittens that I wasn't for sure. That might explain why it had such difficulty in eating. She figures that it probably had some internal issues too that we couldn't see.

My boyfriend also found the last surviving kitten that was still with the mom dead in his yard. So the entire litter succumbed from being unhealthy. The feral cat population is highly inbred, so I guess it shouldn't be a surprise. Still sad though, especially when this one had a chance at being a loved pet.

The lady who took the kitten works with a trap-neuter-release program and she offered to trap in my boyfriend's neighborhood to get the cats fixed and vaccinated, so we might do that. Being honest, I almost wish we could just have them euthanized. There's just so many and they poop everywhere, and they've died in the backyard before from being hit by a car, upper respiratory infections and who knows what other diseases and infections. If I ever moved into that house, I feel like the health of my pet cats and dogs would be compromised.
 

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That's sad news that the kitten was deformed and so sick. I think capturing them and having them checked out and then a decision made is a really humane act.
 

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With mine, I went and got a bottle (for animals) that had different nipples, and I just played around with what seemed to work best. (This is going to sound so weird.. Maybe) But what I would do is sit the kitten on my chest, and hold the bottle basically in between my own boobs! lol That was its more in the natural position. Even though I know the baby wasn't going to eat anywhere NEAR a full bottle, I would fill it all the way up, that way I was sure the nipple would be filled and have pressure in it. I poked a nail into the nipple hole to make it bigger almost so it was dripped out. That way the kitten could lick at it, and then suckle if it got comfortable enough to do so. It was messy, and I wasted a lot of formula but it worked. After a few weeks, I started mixing the formula with wet kitten food, on my fingers, then a bowl. And so on and so forth. =) Good luck.
 

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AND OMG! I feel so awful cause I didn't read the kitten update until AFTER I posted mine.. =(

Can't save them all. But bravo for trying. A lot of people wouldn't have.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
No worries, that kitten had a lot of issues. It's sad, but at least she's out of her misery.

I actually just rehomed another kitten I was fostering. Found him dumped on the side of a highway in an ag area. Luckily he was closer to 3 weeks old, so I didn't have any trouble. He never did take to a bottle, but ate easily from a 20mL syringe, and transitioned to canned food quickly. He's happy in his new home with a 4 year old girl who just adores him :)
 
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