Nursing a Kitten

Hand Raising & Bottle Feeding Orphaned Kittens
November 30, 2014 – 10:00 am

Pit bull acts like mom to Pit bull acts like mom to newborn kitten after nursing her on the

Motherly love is a very strong bond in domestic cats. So it is quite rare for a well kept momma cat to abandon its offspring.

But feral homeless cats have very tough lives. They struggle on the border of starvation, live in un-naturally dense groups and suffer from diseases that pampered house cats never face.

Often, their first litter arrives when they are little more than kittens themselves. It is quite common for inexperience and the stresses of pregnancy to exhaust them to the point where they become ill and abandon their kittens.

Another reason readers get to this page is when they are faced with a cat’s litters contain one or more star crossed runts that can not survive unless you hand raise them yourself.

How Old Do You Think This Kitten Is?

Kittens 1-14 days old haven't opened their eyes yet. (never attempt to open a kitten's eyes manually) Their ears are also folded over and closed.

Kittens 2-3 weeks old have their eyes open and they are able to move around shakily. By the time kittens are 3 weeks old, their ears have become erect and they can walk about well.

What Supplies Will I Need?

You will need to have a warm, snuggly nest box for the baby or babies. Since the infants will soil their container, I usually look around for a small cardboard box that I can readily replace when I need to, to keep the baby in – a shoe box works well.

You will need a heating pad unless you live in the tropics. I usually pick up the heavy-duty model from WalMart. Then I go to their aquarium section and purchase an aquarium thermometer. In the same section you will find pet nursing bottles and, if you are lucky, cans of PetAg's KMR.

(You can also purchase more economical KMR powder on line, at veterinary offices and pet stores. Just be sure it isn't lumpy or rancid-smelling when you open it. )

Pick up a small food scale so you can keep track of the kitten(s) growth and a notebook to record it in. Buy a few boxes of white, unscented Klenex-type tissues and a few roles of paper towels.

If the kitten is weak you may need to tube feed it. If so, pick up a 3-milliliter syringe and an 18Guage butterfly infusion tube from a veterinary hospital or human medical supply center for tube feeding and ask an experienced kitten rehaber to show you how it is done. Never attempt to tube feed an infant kitten (or anything else) until you have been taught how. You can watch a video on the subject on You-tube, but there is no substitute for one-on-one instruction. (This is just one of many on You-tube)

The Nest box

Mother cats always seek out small confined spaces in which to place their kittens. Your nest box does not need to be elaborate. It needs to be just big enough for the kitten(s) to turn around but not much bigger. Line it with crumpled Kleenex tissue.

Interesting facts
Oscar (born 2005) is a therapy cat living in the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Rhode Island, United States. He came to public attention in July 2007 when he was featured in an article by David Dosa, a geriatrician and assistant professor at Brown University, in the New England Journal of Medicine. According to Dosa, Oscar...
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Pet Ag Products Pet-Ag Nursing Kit 2oz Bottle (Carded)
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  • Designed for hand-feeding puppies, kittens and other newborn small animals
  • Specially-designed nipple duplicates milking action of mother s nipple
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Four Paws Four Paws Pet Nursing Bottle Kit, 4 oz
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  • Four Paws health and wellness products focus on overall pet well-being
  • Feeds baby animals like puppies and kittens
  • Feeds small animals like hamsters and gerbils
  • Available in 3-kit packages
9 month old Boston Terrier nursing
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Uslada nurses 9-month-old Zabava at Leningrad Zoo, in
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Just Born BioSpot Active Care Just Born Nursing Bottles 2 oz
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  • Hand feeding kit for puppies and kittens
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SPROSit SPROSit Design-Nursing Kit Puppy Kitten Bunny Racoon Bottle Nipple 2 oz Cleaning Brush
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Manhattan Toy Manhattan Toy Nursing Nina Cat Nurturing Soft Toy
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  • Ultra-soft fabric with embroidered features
  • The 3 kittens attach to Nursing Nina with embedded magnets
  • Small magnets are securely enclosed, yet strong for long lasting, cause and effect play
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Popular Q&A
Can a dog nurse a kitten?

Yes, there are several stories available, where a stray dog has nursed kittens. It is possible.

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