Author Topic: Bottle feeding kittens... need a little help.  (Read 15074 times)

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Norka

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Bottle feeding kittens... need a little help.
« on: July 10, 2009, 07:56:24 PM »
Long story short this is a favor I'm doing for a friend who has a sick mother and cannot do this herself. Momma kitty stopped nursing the babies, they are a hair over three weeks old. I've bottle fed kittens before and never ever had ones refuse the bottle! Guess all these years I've been damn lucky. Any tips on how to get them to take to the bottle?  :idunno:

I'm honestly stumped, I got the ag kit with all the multi nipples. Got the hole perfect in the small one, but the little buggars are still refusing the formula and the bottle. They've obviously been a couple days without and getting weak. I've got them with a heating pad on one end of the box to bring up their temps, they felt a little cold. I just keep trying to drop by drop the formula into them, but they are refusing so much they mostly wear it by spitting it out. I've always mixed the formula according to directions, add a little karyo to keep constipation at bay, it's the perfect temp, but they still gak at it.

HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Thanks!)

meezermom

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Re: Bottle feeding kittens... need a little help.
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2009, 04:19:31 AM »
Oh boy.........not sure how this works with kittens but I do know that with puppies, if you get them on a bottle right away, they are fine, but if they have been nursing, they will not go to a bottle later. They have to be tube fed!! Did your friend tell you they were taking a bottle? If not, you may need to contact a vet and ask if there is a way to get them to take one. They are too young to lap the formula....You aren't holding them are you? They do need to lay on their tummies to eat. Kittens knead to get milk come down so you might have to look some stuff up on the net to see if there are suggestions......Hope all works out okay....... :hug:

Norka

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Re: Bottle feeding kittens... need a little help.
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2009, 04:40:35 AM »
I've been lucky the three kittens before that I've bottle fed took right to the bottle! These two kittens won't. Mom suddenly stopped nursing them and keeps putting them out of the nest box. When they do get a chance to latch on to a nipple she stands up and walks away. She's being very un-momlike, and she was doing so good until suddenly stopping. Something has upset her and caused her to spurn her kittens compleatly. There honestly could be something wrong with them, but we're giving them a fighting chance.

I'm lucky if I can get much into them, they hate the formula and the bottle. Drop by drop I try and get formula into them to no avail. There has got to be a reason mom suddenly is refusing them. Honestly and frankly they aren't doing too well, and were pretty weak and sickly already when I was given them to try and bottle feed. (Frankly I honestly think it's too late for them, and will be suprised if they make the night.) They are getting food into them, just not to my satisfaction of what a kitten their size should consume. Tonight they are a little more perky and vocal, (but not alot like a kitten should be), so the food is getting to them, but I still have that nagging feeling of "failure to thrive" haunting my thoughts.

They were cold feeling when I got them, I put them on a heating pad with towels and such to bring their core temp up. They stay on the warm side of the box, and go to the cool side to go to the bathroom then right back to the warm side. They won't lap from a bowl, I've tried. They just loathe the formula. Feeding them isn't a problem it's so tempting to treat them like a human but its so important they lay flat, makes it hard to get drop by drop into them. Just wish those little two some luck tonight, hopefully some of the formula I did get into them starts to help tonight. Tube feeding is always a last resort isn't it? Sigh, just might have to happen to give them a chance.

balletcat

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Re: Bottle feeding kittens... need a little help.
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2009, 06:13:03 AM »
The objective is to get food into them.  Even if you have to put a little milk on your finger and let them suck/lick it off.  Eyedroppers are good sometimes - softish plastic ones especially.  Of course, as i'm sure you know, don't eyedropper feed them too fast. 

At 3 weeks, actually, kittens can start on "solid" food (some idiots take kittens away from moms waaaaaaaay too early and the babies have little choice).   So, i am willing to bet a good hunk of Gerber's baby food chicken, turkey .... or ham because the strong smell/taste of ham will be irresistable ..... will hit the spot.  Nice shallow "dishes" like plastic lids ..... evaporated milk in a plastic lid ..... be prepared for the kittens to go marchink through the food and milk and leave charming little footprints everywhere. 

If they won't eat the baby food, smear it on the roof of their mouths, on their lips ..... whatever .....     It is possible they are sick, but i don't think so since they know when and where to poop and sleep .... i think they are just weak. 

Why is it important they lie flat when feeding?  I just read that.  I never heard of that one before.  Don't put them on their back, but you can hold them in a verticle orientation and feed away. 

Good luck - i am praying for them!

Susan

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Re: Bottle feeding kittens... need a little help.
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2009, 10:46:43 AM »
How are your babies doing today?  It does seem strange that she waiting till 3 weeks to do this usually they put them out right away if there is a problem w/ the kittens.  Meez has great ideas which I don't have any others so I will just wish you luck.

meezermom

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Re: Bottle feeding kittens... need a little help.
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2009, 01:22:40 PM »
Actually Ballet, I was going to add that but it was so late and I have poison ivy and am trying to scratch body parts off so am not thinking real clear.......You are right of course! As long as they are not held on their backs or upright, you can and most likely should hold them when trying to feed them. Just as long as it is a vertical, tummy down position....You can use either human meat baby food or kitten food. Can't remember which company it is but there is one that sells a canned food for very young kittens.......it may be Royal Canin. You need to thin it into a mush and can use either evaporated milk or unsalted brother or a bit of both... warm to their body temp or what should be...

Mom may be sick and that is why she rejected them....or were their claws a bit long and sharp? Sometimes that will do it...When Skylar started acting up the first time about her brats, the nails were very sharp and trimming them bought time. As kittens knead more than puppies, it can really hurt.
This isn't going to be easy but I am betting if anyone can do it, you can Norka.......good luck and keep us up to date as you can!

Norka

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Re: Bottle feeding kittens... need a little help.
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2009, 01:34:40 PM »
They are doing a little better, but I still am not pleased 100% yet. I do know somethings take time. Where they are not my cats my hands are a little tied. Not to mention my budget is not there this week. I got an ounce and a half of formula into each of them this morning, though they wore most of it and did spit some out, I still got a good amount into them. That's all I can do this weekend for them is just keep trying every so many hours. Give them a fighting chance.

If I don't see any promise come Monday, I'm going to have a serious talk to her about what we can do. Tube feeding cats I cannot do, I can tube feed birds but I don't have the equipment here. Just something I cannot do without proper guideance, I know my limits and will dare not try. There is a cat protection society in the area, I need to find out where, they might be able to help. There is also a vet a few towns over who might take them in and tube feed them and rehome them. They are quite darling, and calico like in appearance. They'd find homes in a heart beat, kittens always do.

Ballet, feeding them like a human baby they have a greater chance to aspirate the formula. Same with eyedropping food too fast. Getting formula into them is quite the ordeal, yep, I do have to sort of hold them upright a bit. But at least this morning there is promise, sigh, I like promise. Thanks for all the good thoughts for them everyone.

meezermom

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Re: Bottle feeding kittens... need a little help.
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2009, 01:37:07 PM »
Norka, the lady who owns the mom should be paying for everything you are using and need. It is not up to you to have to put out the funds. Try contacting one of the cat rescues and such as they most likely do have people who are experienced in this...They can either guide you or take over for you....

Norka

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Re: Bottle feeding kittens... need a little help.
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2009, 08:35:16 PM »
Norka, the lady who owns the mom should be paying for everything you are using and need. It is not up to you to have to put out the funds. Try contacting one of the cat rescues and such as they most likely do have people who are experienced in this...They can either guide you or take over for you....

True, but she is a dear dear friend of mine going through some horrible rough times. Worse than we are. So I cannot ask anything of her, I did promise I would try, and I did. Sadly though the kittens didn't make it, which is baffling. They took in food last night to the point I felt promise. Woke up a little while later to tend to them again, and they were weak and struggling. They passed right after I got another feeding ready for them. Both at the same time, it was like they waited for me to say it's ok you tried. I'm still scratching my head in bewilderment, they took in food last night, this morning gone. I think it was too late for them, and that something must have been wrong that we couldn't see that the mother cat could. I did try, I wish I could've done more, but the odds were not in their favor at all when I got them. They were weak when I got them, but at least they didn't go on an empty belly. Bitter sweet I find comfort in the fact I tried, yet feel like I failed them being unable to tube feed them or find a vet who could. Sigh, two more little angels bumbling over that bridge in true kitten style.

balletcat

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Re: Bottle feeding kittens... need a little help.
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2009, 10:10:08 PM »
They could have been born with something - distemper passed from mom (she might be a carrier) or something like that. 


« Last Edit: July 13, 2009, 10:33:16 PM by balletcat »

meezermom

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Re: Bottle feeding kittens... need a little help.
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2009, 10:34:26 PM »
I am sorry the kittens didn't make it but I am pretty sure Ballet is right........if the mom rejected them like she did, a good chance they were sick. Cats are worse about that than dogs are. Animals will not waste their time mothering sick babies. Often they will kill the sick ones themselves.........It is sad and painful but at the Bridge they are well and healthy now and will get a chance to come again. You tried and that mattered. Someone grieved over their passing which matters a great deal more than you know........be at peace

Susan

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Re: Bottle feeding kittens... need a little help.
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2009, 03:13:52 AM »
So sorry the kittens didn't make it.  I know your heart hurts but like you said they passed with a full belly & a warm place.

Norka

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Re: Bottle feeding kittens... need a little help.
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2009, 11:11:32 PM »
Thank you all for the good thoughts and wishes for those two little kittens. I'm doing better wrapping my mind around what happened. I think I did get them when it was too late. Next time I will be wiser, and know more about the situation before I offer help. It really put me in a bad spot, I did try with them, and did get food into them, to have them pass on me when they did and how they did really hurt my heart. I feel better today than I did back then when it happened. Something was wrong with them the more I think about it. I think their mom spurned them too long before they got to me, and my friend was unaware of how long mom had stopped nursing them. My friend and I shall have a long chat over tea, she knows I tried. It is time we talk about owning pets who can get pregnant and being unable to afford them. We're very close us two, so it is time for a frank talk between friends. It is time I research some help in the area to get her fur babies spayed. Wish me luck! ;) Again thank you all, those two little angels will help me gather the courage to have that frank talk with my friend.