No, please don’t try to bottle-feed your kitten holding it or it’s bottle straight up and down, you’ll drown your kitten in formula.
If it’s a new-newborn to about a week old, you want to wrap the kitten loosely in a warm washcloth for feeding time, do not under any circumstances wrap any part of the kittens head. It should be able to move it’s head freely without tossing it and risking injury, and it should be able to move it’s feet. Kittens naturally knead when they’re suckling, to stimulate the mothers milk production, they may also bat at fingers as they would littermates to fend off being pushed away from the nipple.
If your kitten is 5 weeks to about 3 months old, making a kitten-burrito is completely optional, and not actually recommended. They tend to start fighting the burrito at about 3 weeks old and it’s better to just let them be comfortable. Don’t even try a kitten-burrito at or past 3 months, it just makes them bristle and refuse to eat.
DO NOT TRY TO BOTTLE-FEED YOUR KITTEN COW’S MILK.
They sell formula specifically designed for kittens and puppies, use it. Also, do not ever mix those up, it’s bad for your kitten to have puppy formula or your puppy to have kitten milk. They each have different needs that change the way the formula is made. The formula also comes in liquid form, but when I bought that it didn’t smell right to me and after the first time trying it my kittens got sick and refused to eat it. Which, I don’t really blame them, it smelled bad and made them sick. The only reason I even tried it on them a second time was because my mum had went out and bought more of it and didn’t believe it made them sick so she tried to force-feed it to them herself and got puked on.
The formula usually comes in a round container, very similar to a powdered Kool-Aid container. Now, the formula should be room temperature, not stored in the fridge because it’ll get too cold for them and make their little insides seize up, and not heated on the stove or in the microwave where it’ll get boiled and burn their little mouths and tummys all up. It should always be freshly mixed at every feeding. Do not try to cut corners and save time by pre-mixing it. It goes bad very quickly. You should only use the bottles designed for kittens, they’re usually shelved next to or near the formula. If you can’t find it or don’t see it on the shelf, please ask an employee where they are kept or if they have any[more] in the back. Both formula and bottles can be found fairly cheap at your WalMart and Meijer type stores. No need to run across town to Petsmart if you don’t have to. You will have to cut a hole in the nipple tip. With a sharp, clean knife you should cut a small X in the tip, making sure it goes all the way through but isn’t overly large. Making the hole too small means your kitten won’t be able to suckle properly, and making the hole too big just means your kitten gets a formula bath and then needs a actual bath. And new bottle. Always thoroughly wash your new bottles before using them for feeding and after every feeding.
You may have to coax them into suckling at first, because the bottle nipple is more rigid than a mother cat’s, so they may be reluctant to latch, but once your kitten realizes it’s getting food it should latch on properly. You don’t want to feed them more than 2oz at a time when they’re a newborn, because they will eat continuously until their belly ruptures. You can always make more if they’re still hungry. As they get bigger you can increase the amount you feed them at each feeding. Increase slowly, a half-ounce at a time, and you should never have to feed your kitten more than 6oz in a single feeding. Once they start eating that much, you should be weaning them off the bottle and starting them on solid foods. Personally, I recommend mixing solid dry food with formula so it gets soft but not mushy to start them out.
Now, proper feeding positions. When you’ve got your kitten properly wrapped, hold your kitten-burrito in one hand, with it’s head supported by your fingers and it’s wee burrito body supported in your palm and along your wrist [depending on it’s length, some kittens are teeny some are large]. Cradle it close to your body so it can feel your body heat, with your arm against your last rib and the kitten held against your belly so when you look down at it it’s in the center of your body. Don’t hold your hand flat and rigid, cup the kitten so it can’t wiggle or roll out of your hand, just don’t squeeze it. As for the angle you need to hold the kitten…well. See the video above, I’m better at explaining it verbally than through text because visuals are a wonderful thing indeed. Also, don’t hold your fingers as stiffly as I did in the video. I was trying to make a stuffed dog do things it was never designed to do. gently cupping position with your hand, like you’re holding an apple or a newborn babies head.
Now, another really important thing. Kittens need to be fed often when being bottle-fed. This means setting alarms or timers and not ignoring them. Every 2 hours. You’re not getting any solid nights rest while you’re on Kitten Duty. Reset your alarm/timer when you finish feeding the kitten, not when you start. If your kitten is sleeping soundly when it’s time for a feeding, I generally recommend skipping that feeding and letting them sleep. If they’re a baby-baby, disturb their sleep and feed them. They’re probably hungry, but like humans, newborns just sleep a lot. If, however, they seem disinterested in eating, don’t forced them, they’ll just be sick all over you. Unless, of course, a veterinarian instructs you otherwise, then follow their instructions not mine. I’m just some twit with a webcam and wifi in comparison to a qualified professional. I just happen to have quite a bit of experience bottle-feeding kittens.