Under 4 Weeks
Kittens cannot be feed until they are warmed, feeding a chilled kitten can be dangerous. Do not feed kittens cows' milk it will cause diarrhea which can lead to dehydration. You will need to purchase KMR which is a milk replacement sold at local pet stores along with a special bottle for feeding. Milk replacement will need to be slightly warmed; test on your wrist to make sure it’s not too hot or too cold. Some people find that the premixed liquid formula is easier to use than the powder form. Depending on the kittens age they will need to be feed every two to four hours and will need 1 to 2 mls at each feeding per cat. If the cat is not gaining weight than you will want to increase the amount the cat is fed and if the cat has diarrhea it may be getting to much so decrease the amount. Remember to treat the feeding utensils just like you would for a human baby. Bacteria can cause gastrointestinal upset and other complications. To prepare the bottle, pierce a hole in the nipple with a pin or make a tiny slit with a razor blade. Make sure the flow is just right by tipping the bottle upside down. Milk should slowly drip out if light pressure is applied. If the milk flows out with little to no pressure added than the hole is too big and will cause the kitten to aspirate fluid into his lungs. This can cause pneumonia or even drowning. If you have to apply a fair amount of pressure to get the milk to drip out than the hole is too small. You can add an extra hole by using the needle and continue until it is just right.
You can also use a dropper or a needless syringe to feed, but remember newborns do not have a well developed gag reflux so go
extremely slow to prevent fluids from entering the lungs. Never feed kittens on their backs always feed them on their bellies without raising the kittens head place the nipple in its mouth. It should start nursing right away but it could take a few tries so be patient. Just like a human baby the kitten will need to be burped in the same manner. Place the kitten over your shoulder and gently pat the kitten on its back.
At 3 weeks some kittens will be able to lap up milk out of a bowl, but they will still require bottle feeding. The weaning process will be messy you can start this by placing formula in a shallow bowl or plastic lid. Once they have started showing interest you can start to add a little canned wet food until it thickens a bit. You can gradually increase until its only canned wet food.
4 Weeks and Older
At 4 weeks of age kittens should be able to eat completely on their own and you can gradually switch them to eating dry food. As messy as your fosters can get the best way to remove food is with a warm damp wash cloth. If you decide to bathe a kitten only use dawn dish soap. Cat and dog shampoos contain chemicals that can cause death or illness to a kitten less than 8 weeks of age. Bathing to often can lead to dry irritated skin and may chill the kitten. Please try to keep them warm and dry.