Care and Feeding of Kitten orphans

Homemade Formula Recipe

1 can evaporated milk

1 egg (or just the yolk)

2 Tbl light corn syrup

1/8 tsp vegetable oil (or less- if diarrhea, decrease or discontinue altogether)

dash of nutmeg (optional- use in cases of diarrhea only)

1/2 tsp liquid vitamins (optional)

Combine and store in the refrigerator.  To feed, don’t waste money on a special kitten bottle- a child’s medicine dropper that holds 2 tsp and a steady hand that will deliver it slowly (or drop by drop) will work just fine.  

Very young kitten (before eyes opened) or sick kitten will drink 2 tsp or less

If the kitten doesn’t know how to drink or is so hungry that they won’t be still, swaddle them (wrap them like a newborn baby) in a wash cloth or soft cloth and hold them like a baby too.  This will keep their paws down and will keep them a bit cleaner while they learn the ropes of being fed by hand.  It will also give you a bit more control over the dropper.  As they grow, gradual change their feeding position to no swaddling and more upright. 

Here are some general “care tips” written in no particular order:

  • If milk or bubbles come out their nose, you are feeding them way to fast and they could drown.  Slow down and maybe rub their throat to encourage the “swallow reflex”.
  • Kittens do not know how to go the bathroom and they will die if you don’t help them.  Similute their mother “washing them” by wiping the “potty area” with an absorbant paper towel until you notice some dribbles.  Do this after every feeding.
  • Kittens may not poop right away but will learn how by doing the same “simulation”.  Be careful- it may come out all the sudden.  If they pass gas, they will be pooping very soon.
  • I crying kitten is either cold or hungry.  They need to be warmer than humans at first.  They need to be fed often (every couple hours at first).
  • To keep a kitten warm- when you are home, where a hoodie with a center pocket and carry them around in there- or something that keeps them close to your body. I’ve also been known to carry one in my bathrobe pocket!  If you can’t do that, get an empty juice bottle (1-2 qt size) and keep it filled with hot water.  Wrap it in a towel, and lay the kitten next to it.  Replace with hot water as needed.
  • Kittens need interaction and stimulation, just like human babies.  I got into the habit of giving a rub-down every morning after the feeding.  A stimulating massage of sorts.  Now that she is 5 months old, she won’t stop following me around until she gets her morning massage!  Talk to them, teach them “no” early, give them routine, etc.
  • Only bathe a kitten if absolutely necessary.  Our orphan made a total mess of herself at every feeding so for the first few weeks she got a bath every day.  She gradually learned to clean herself.  We bathed her in the bathroom sink with warm water, and Basic H ( an organic and safe household cleaner from the Shaklee corporation).  You could also use LOC (similar product from Amway) or Dawn dish detergent.  Don’t use pet shampoos when they are little.

If you have other tips, please add them in the comment section!


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