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How to bottle feed a newborn kitten

The life of a newborn kitten depends on ample nutrition. Due to different nuances of the mother cat behavior (illness, injury), a kitten can be alienated. It’s a serious threat to a new life. So you must take on the role of a parent and make sure your kitten gets all the vitamins and minerals necessary for the growing body.

And the bottle feeding is a must-do thing in such a case. However, not everyone knows how to feed fluffies properly. Here’s a detailed guide on how to nourish your baby cat.

Step1: Things you’ll need

1. Kitten bottles and needles

Make sure that these products are developed and designed by veterinarians.

2. Kitten formulas

There are many recipes on how to prepare a kitten formula at home, however, it is better to consult your vet first. You should take into account that homemade food should be used within 24 hours. There are also a lot of ready-made formulas for kitten food replacers on Chewy and Petco.

3. Kitchen scale

Bottle-feeding requires accurate measurements, that’s why the kitchen scale is a must-have thing for all the cat owners who nourish their kittens. 

4. Dropper

5. Soft towels

Step2: Get the bottle ready

The average amount of feedings for a newborn fluffy is from 9 to 12 a day. 

During the first 2 weeks of life, you’ll have to feed your kitten every 2 hours in the daytime and every 4 hours in the nighttime. Then you’ll need to reduce the number of meals constantly. Develop the schedule with your doctor.

If your kitten happened to be a nursling then you’ll need to feed him/her from a dropper first. Use the bottle only after your kitten gets used to the dropper..

Step3: Get the formula ready

Safety is what your kitten needs during the first weeks of his/her life.

So make sure that the bottle, needle, dropper and all other things necessary are sterilized properly. 

Boil the bottle and needles in the boiling water for 5-6 minutes approximately. Put them on a clean towel and let them dry for a couple of minutes more.

Make a small hole in the tip of the nipple. That’s how you will be able to control the amount of food. 

Get a large towel and a bowl of warm water ready.

It is important to warm the formula before giving it to your kitten. Make sure it’s not too cold or hot. Test it with your fingertip. Body temperature is the most appropriate.

Now it is time to fill the bottle with the formula prepared. Put the bottle with the formula into the bowl. 

Step4: Feed your kitten

Never feed your kitten when you are standing. It is dangerous. Sit in the chair, put the towel on your lap. Now carefully take the kitten and place him/her face down on your lap.

If the fluffy is too small, you can wrap it in the towel to make sure your kitten won’t be freezing during the feeding time.

Don’t raise the kitten’s head. Simply put the nipple in his/her mouth. The kitten must intuitively start absorbing the formula. Continue the feeding until your kitten stops eating. Don’t worry, their instincts let them know when they have enough food.

Step5: Make the kitten burp

The scheme is the same as for human babies. Every kitten needs to be burped after bottle feeding. Here’s how you can do it. Put one hand under the kitten’s belly and softly tip the upper back part. It must be done gently because there is a danger that your kitten will start to vomit. 

Your kitten may refuse to burp – it’s absolutely normal. Just omit this step. However, you can also consult your vet. Make this process once again under the care of your doctor. If nothing changes, you can be sure that it’s just a matter of time and your cat’s body.

Step6: Say “sweet dreams” to your kitten

Now we move on to the most important part after the bottle feeding process. It is natural for every kitten to fall asleep after he/she eats because the organism of your fluffy needs a lot of energy to digest the formula.

Make sure there are no disturbing sounds in the room your cat is sleeping in. Place the kitten in a warm bed, make sure it is comfortable and cosy. Say “good night” to your fluffy and let it sleep for at least some hours.

Sometimes kittens refuse to sleep after eating. Well, just play with your pet after that, and you’ll reach the goal.


What ingredients can be used in a kitten’s formula?

There is a list of products for a homemade formula every owner can use. 

Here are just a few of them:

  • goat’s milk
  • light Karo/corn syrup
  • nonfat plain yogurt
  • egg yolk
  • unflavored gelatin
  • homogenized whole milk
  • salad oil
  • liquid pediatric vitamins

How long to bottle feed a kitten?

It is also important to wean your kitten in time. You need to start mixing the formula with dry food starting from the fourth week. First, mix dry food with water and add formula to make a slush. That’s how you can be sure that your kitten will eat this food. If you don’t mix it with the formula, your fluffy may refuse to eat it.

During the fifth week, your kitten must start to snack the dry food. The kibble must be slightly moistened with water for better digestion.

By week seven, the kitten weaning process must be finished. The formula you give can be fully replaced by kibble.

How to feed kitten milk without a bottle?

You can use a sponge or terry cloth when feeding your kitten with milk. Just dip it in a warm kitten formula and let your fluffy lick it. That’s how your cat’s mouth won’t be damaged. It’s a very safe and useful way to feed your cat. 

You can also use an eyedropper, a straw, a syringe or any other stuff that is narrow enough and can dispense food very slowly. The portion of food going through a syringe can be much smaller, and it’s good for small kittens or preemies, especially during the first week of the feeding process.

How many times a day should you bottle feed a kitten?

There is an established scheme of bottle feeding.

Newborn kittens (up to 1 week old) must be fed every 2 hours (in the daytime) and every 4 hours (in nighttime). When they are 2 weeks old you can give them food every 4-6 hours. Starting from the third week your kitten must get food every 6 hours.

You must stick to the simple rule: use 8 ml of formula per ounce of your kitten’s weight. That’s how you can determine the exact amount of food your cat needs to eat.

Don’t forget to mix the formula you give with dry food starting from the fourth week. 


At first, bottle feeding may seem very difficult, but that’s just a matter of time and habit. Don’t be afraid to start. Make sure you prepare all the stuff needed for the feeding process. If you are still afraid, consult your vet. You can be supervised by your doctor at the very beginning.

Stick to all the rules described in the article, and this process will become easy and even pleasant. You’ll watch how your fluffy is growing fast and soon you’ll transit to commercial food for kittens.

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