Introduction to Proper Feeding Techniques and Duration for Kittens Before Providing Milk

Catnip is often kept in households with feline residents. In general, a mother cat takes care of her kittens by providing them with milk and cleaning up after them. If the mother cat fails to care for her kittens or the kittens are too young to survive on their own, a human must take over. The following information discusses the appropriate length of time and method for feeding your kitten.

✨ When do kittens need milk?

Both cats and humans grow and develop through nursing from their mothers. Ideally, newborn kittens should be cared for by their mother, but if the resident cat is unable to do so or the kittens are in need of protection outdoors, human intervention is necessary. This section outlines the specifics on how often and for how long you should feed your kittens milk.

❂ Until approximately one month old

Kittens have a crucial lactation period from about 4 weeks old to about 1 month old.

It is understandable to want to spoil and help a new kitten by feeding it, but it is best to let the mother cat take care of things.

This is because the first milk a mother cat produces for her kittens within the first 72 hours after giving birth is crucial. Kittens can protect themselves from harmful viruses by drinking this first milk from their mother.

If the mother cat has abandoned her kittens and the first milk has not been provided, or if the kitten has not yet consumed the first milk, you can purchase cat milk that contains the same nutrients as the mother’s first milk.

❂ After that, just for implementation

Once a kitten has had a healthy first month, it enters the juvenile stage, which lasts for an additional 30 to 90 days. During this stage, the first baby teeth emerge and the kitten begins to show interest in foods other than breast milk.

When a kitten reaches the juvenile stage, it should be gradually transitioned to formula. Kittens that are bottle-fed should be weaned from milk around 60 days of age, at which point they should be introduced to solid food with the same consistency as an adult cat’s diet.

✨ Let’s review the basics before providing milk

As previously mentioned, kittens up to one month old require milk. Although they only need to be breastfed for a short period, there are still some precautions that should be taken. How many feedings should you give your kitten? How much milk? What type of milk should you provide?

Given the significance of milk in the development of kittens, we will provide a comprehensive overview below.

❂ Number and amount of milk feedings

Kittens need milk for at least the first month of their lives, and the frequency and volume of milk feedings must be adjusted as the kitten grows.

Approximately 1-20 days old

At this stage, the kitten should be given milk every 2-3 hours, which will result in 8-12 feedings per day.

Kittens of this age can only consume a small amount of milk at a time, so regular feedings are necessary.

Kittens are prone to hypoglycemia if their blood sugar drops for more than 8 hours between meals, so nighttime feedings are crucial.

If the kitten is sleeping, it should be allowed to rest.

Typically, a feeding should consist of 5-10 cc of milk. The kitten may be offered as much as it desires.

Approximately 21 days old

Once the kitten reaches around 21 days of age, it will be able to consume more milk at once, so you can decrease the frequency of feedings to 5-6 times a day, every 3-4 hours.

Allow the kitten to drink as much milk as it wants and begin transitioning it to formula once it reaches one month of age.

❂ How to Prepare Kitten Milk

Utilizing a commercial kitten bottle is convenient when making kitten milk as the necessary measurements are already marked on the bottle.

Before using the kitten bottle, make sure it is clean by boiling it.

[The Milk Preparation Process]

1: Boil water and let it cool to a temperature between 50 to 70 degrees Celsius.

2: Fill the kitten bottle with the recommended amount of water, which will vary based on the brand.

3: Use the measuring spoon that came with the powdered milk to add the appropriate amount of milk to the bottle.

4: Thoroughly stir the milk and cool it to around 40 degrees Celsius to ensure the milk dissolves.

It is important to be cautious and not scald the kitten with hot milk or cool the milk too much, which could lower the kitten’s body temperature.

❂ Cow’s Milk is Not Allowed, Always Use Cat Milk

When feeding a kitten, always use kitten milk.

In this case, cow’s milk is not acceptable.

Lactose, a sugar found in cow’s milk, can cause digestive issues in cats as they lack the necessary enzymes to digest lactose. This can result in stomach distress and even diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and death in severe cases.

However, there is no need to worry about digestive problems as cat milk does not contain lactose.

Kittens require a diet rich in protein and fat, and cat milk provides both, as well as the crucial nutrient taurine.

✨ Proper Method of Giving Milk

Now that we know how to prepare kitten milk and the recommended amount to give daily, what else do we need and how do we feed the kitten?

We will ensure the proper “posture and angle when giving milk” as well as double-check the “items needed” list.

❂ What to Prepare

Before feeding a kitten milk, there are two important steps to take:

  • Prepare the bottle
  • Remove any feces
  • Prepare the Bottle

To ensure the safety and health of the kitten, it is crucial to boil and sterilize the bottle as directed in the “How to Make Kitten Milk” instructions.

To help the kitten more easily drink the milk, the tip of the nipple (the part that corresponds to the nipple) can be cut with scissors or clippers, creating a cross-cut.

However, be cautious as cutting too deeply can cause the kitten to choke or inhale the milk into its trachea and lungs.

It is also important to consider the size of the incision. If it is too small, the kitten may struggle to grasp the bottle to drink the milk. On the other hand, if it is too large, too much milk may be released at once. To ensure that each drop of milk is released with each gentle squeeze of the bottle, start with a small incision and gradually make it larger.

After each feeding, inspect the nipple for any damage, as kittens with new milk teeth may try to bite it. If the nipple is broken, replace it with a new one to prevent accidental ingestion.

Once the bottle is prepared, it is time to prepare the milk.

❂ Remove Any Feces

A common issue for kittens is their inability to drink milk due to a bloated stomach caused by accumulated feces.

Additionally, kittens are not able to defecate on their own until about three weeks after birth.

When a mother cat is caring for her kitten, she stimulates bowel movements by licking the anus. If the mother cat is not present, the human caretaker must perform this task.

Gently stimulate the area around the anus with a warm, wet gauze.

Before feeding the kitten any milk, make sure it has gone to the bathroom.

❂ Posture and Angle During Feeding

The next step is to be mindful of your body language and the angle at which you feed the kitten milk.

The first rule of feeding a kitten is to always do so while crouching with your belly facing down.

It is recommended to feed kittens in a supine position, just as with human infants, but it is extremely dangerous to feed a kitten in a prone position as this increases the risk of the milk entering the trachea, among other risks.

Support the kitten’s neck to make it easier for it to suck on the bottle, and tilt the bottle at a 45-degree angle.

Make sure the kitten is not just taking shallow sips from the bottle, as it won’t receive enough milk if it does.

The kitten’s stomach is still small at this age, so fill the bottle to the top with milk before giving it to the kitten to suck on.

The kitten is full once it stops sucking the bottle or appears disinterested in feeding. At this point, pat its back, encourage it to burp, and assist it in using the bathroom.

Take care to prevent the kitten from choking on the milk if it comes out of its nose or if it gags while being fed.

If the kitten’s condition does not improve after discontinuing feeding, take it to a veterinarian.

✨ When a Kitten Refuses to Drink Milk

If a kitten refuses to drink milk, the following steps can be taken:

The temperature of the milk may be too low.

The kitten may need to defecate before nursing.

The kitten may not like the flavor of the milk.

The nursing bottle may have the wrong nipple.

The kitten may be in poor health.

Frequent milk consumption reduces the likelihood of outcomes 1-4, but increases the risk of outcome 5.

A decrease in a kitten’s body temperature is a sign of poor health. If its rectal temperature is less than 35 degrees, take it to a veterinarian immediately.

It was previously noted that hypoglycemia can set in if the kitten goes without milk for more than 8 hours after birth.

If the kitten continues to refuse nursing for an extended period of time, take it to a veterinarian.

✨ Conclusion

In this article, we discussed the importance of kittens drinking milk and provided some basic feeding techniques.

Breastfeeding is essential to the health of newborn kittens. With the right knowledge and preparation, you can effectively handle the situation.

It is understandable for many individuals to feel uncertain and anxious about the initial breastfeeding experience. To ensure the well-being of your kitten, it is recommended to consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns or to schedule an appointment with a vet as soon as possible as a preventative measure.

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