Hand feeding the kittens may be necessary if the mother becomes ill or dies. This also can happen that the mother will feel uncomfortable when the kittens will suck her nipples. If a kitten is too weak to nurse, or if the litter is unusually large, than hand feeding kittens is must because first 24hrs are critical. Borden’s KMR is a very good commercial milk substitute. Feeding kittens with hands is really very responsible job. Cow’s milk does not contain the level of protein, calcium, phosphorus, or calories kittens need, but in an emergency, you can use one cup of homogenized milk mixed with two egg yolks, one-half teaspoon corn syrup, and a pinch of salt. The kittens should be fed six times a day at four-hour intervals. One teaspoon per day for each ounce of body weight is each kitten’s daily ration. Divide this into six equal feedings kittens with hands.
First, warm the formula to body temperature (100°F). Feed the kittens using doll-sized baby bottle with a nipple or a Pet-Nip, which is sold in pet stores or by your doctor. Never use an eye dropper for feeding the kittens. The kitten may aspirate the milk into the lungs and get pneumonia. The formula should drip out slowly when the bottle is inverted; a heated needle can enlarge the hole in the nipple, if necessary. Place the kitten on its stomach, open its mouth with your finger, and position the nipple on top of the tongue. As an extra treat, place a towel within reach so the kitten can knead. The kitten will suck vigorously and be very happy. At the end of a feeding, its abdomen should be enlarged, not bloated.
The hand feeding kitten should be burped and stimulated to urinate and defecate after each feeding. Burp the kitten as you would a human baby. Hold it against your shoulder and gently pat its back. A warm, moist cotton ball washed against the anal, genital, and abdominal areas will simulate the mother’s tongue (which normally would do this) to initiate urination and defecation. The bowel movements should he yellow and formed.
How to feed the kittens with hands? If the kittens are orphaned, the environmental temperature must compensate for the mother’s absence. The kitten box should be kept at 85°F to 90°F for the first week, 80°F for the second week, 75°F for the third and fourth weeks, and 70°F there-after. A heating pad on “low” draped over one side of the box and covering a few winches of the bottom will suffice. This way the kitten can choose to be near the heat source, or it too warm, it can crawl away to the cooler side. The heating pad should be covered with a sheet or towel to avoid burns. Whatever external heat source is used, be sure it doesn’t burn or overheat the kittens.
If you find that the kittens’ skin is getting irritated from sucking on each other, separate them for a week. Feed kittens separately and try to take care of them as much as you can. When there mother is very ill or she is no more at that time just keep in mind that you have to take care of them for at least 3-4 weeks. Hand feeding kittens need a lots of attention.