All a 3-week old kitten does is meow occasionally, drink milk, and sleep, and of course, look cute. At this most delicate time of their life, this fragile little animal needs love and care of its mom and lots and lots of milk suckling.
But what if the kitten has been found in a corner of the street, crying helplessly for its mom, and you happened to have passed by its side?
Maybe you decided instantaneously that you will be its parent from now on since it does not have anyone to take care of it in this big wide world. So you wrap it up in your hanky, and come back home, to take care of it.
It might be starving or it might be cold and worn out due to the harsh weather conditions—you will need to know the correct way to take care of it.
The first thing you would need to be concerned about is feeding it. How much does a 3–week old kitten eat, you ask? It is actually an important question, since such a little thing, what could it possibly house in its stomach? Does it only suckle, or should you feed it something solid too?
Answering such questions and more, this article has been written for all new-kitten parents just like yourself! Read along!
How Much Does A 3–Week Old Kitten Eat?
If you have rescued the kitten from a cold or wet place, the first thing, even before feeding, would be to ensure that it is warm. A kitten that is 3-4 weeks old need to be covered in a soft blanket as soon as it has been rescued, or else its survival chances are too thin.
The average temperature of a 3-week old kitten is between 100 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Rub the little paws of the rescued kitten and, while it is sleeping, turn the kitten from side to side every once in a while, just to ensure consistent body movement and temperature generation all throughout the body.
Check the bedding of the kitty regularly for messes, and change the bedding regularly, so that the fragile living thing does not catch a cold.
Once you have assured a comfortable environment for the kitty, now let’s proceed to feeding. An available source of food, that is also not very expensive, for 3- week old kittens is milk. But is cow milk the correct choice?
Nope—under all circumstances, refrain from feeding cow’s milk to newborns because it may cause diarrhea. For such small kittens, a disease like diarrhea could prove to be life-threatening. So what should you feed it then?
Hoskins formula and Kitten Milk Replacement or KMR are two suitable alternatives. Hoskins formula is made with 3 oz of goat’s milk, 3 oz of water, 4 oz of full-fat plain yogurt, mixed with 3 egg yolks, and this formula contains all necessary nutrients much needed by the baby kitten.
Hoskins formula can be stored for 48 hours in the refrigerator, but not more than 2 hours outside of the refrigerator.
KMR formula is readily available in the markets and online and can be made easily by mixing one part KMR milk with 1 part water, or one tablespoon of KMR to 2 tablespoons of water.
If they have been refrigerated, then the bottle with the milk should be dipped in a hot water bowl for some time and microwaved before used for feeding. Both these formulas are quite nutritious and harmless for the fragile kitten.
How to feed a newborn kitten?
Make sure the kitten is warm first before feeding it. Trying to feed a kitty that is chilled or freezing, may lead to serious health issues. After you have warmed the kitty, follow the steps listed below:
Step 1: You would need to cut a hole on the nipple of the bottle before feeding. Cut an X-shaped hole with the help of a sharp pair of scissors, or you can alternatively burn a hole into it with the help of a hot needle.
When you squeeze the bottle, the milk should drop little by little, ensuring a quantity that can easily be ingested by the kitty. Make sure the hole of the bottle is neither too big nor too small, or else the kitty would end ingesting too much of the formula at once, or not at all.
Step 2: The position of the kitten is crucial. Never position the kitty on its back, as it might induce vomiting. Lay the kitty on its stomach while feeding it from the bottle. Imagine the way kittens lay on their stomach when they are suckling from their mom—and following that, position the baby.
Also holding the kitty upright, wrapped in a towel or blanket, might help the feeding process too. At first you might face a lot of trouble getting the nipple inside the baby’s mouth, as the kitty might be scared of the stimulus and might react or not react at all.
Usually, after five minutes of struggle, you should be able to get the baby kitten to cooperate with you.
Step 3: While the baby kitty is trying to suckle, gently stroke back and forth on its head that resembles the licking of the mother during the process of natural nursing.
If the baby still does not respond, you can try smearing some Karo Syrup or corn syrup on its lips. Still, if you get no response, you should consult a vet immediately.
Step 4: How Much Does A 3-Week Old Kitten Eat? Not much obviously. A 3-week old baby kitty usually consumes about 8 milliliters of milk for every ounce of body weight per day.
This is to say that if the kitty is 5 ounces in weight, then it should, keeping in mind that all other factors remain constant, consume about (5 x 8) 40 ml of milk each day. You can weigh the kitten using a weighing machine or postal scales.
You should divide the amount to be fed per day by the number of feedings, to get the amount you should give to the baby per feeding. Say the number of feedings you will make on any day is 8, so (40 divided by 8) 5 ml of milk should be nursed to the baby every feeding.
Check the calibrations on the bottle before filling it up. Some bottles may be marked with cc, others with ml–whichever the case is, remember 1cc equals to 1 ml.
How frequently you should feed Your Kitten?
1 week-old kitten should be fed every 2 to 3 hours, whereas 2-3 week old kittens should be fed every 4 to 6 hours. Follow the feeding procedure or routine described above, that is, 8 ml of milk for every ounce of the kitten’s body weight.
Also remember, that weak or sickly kittens might not be able to ingest the required quantity per feeding, therefore for them, you would need to make separate calculations, that is, lesser quantity per feeding, as a result more rounds of feedings.
Also, this is very important, that you give a break of at least 10 seconds between every suckling, especially when you see the baby is struggling to fit its mouth onto the nipple. Do not force the bottle into the baby’s mouth, and do not force-feed.
If you are feeding more than one kitty, and you are the only person responsible for nursing, then complete feeding one baby first, before moving onto the next.
Do not attempt feeding multiple kitties at the same go. The best option would be if you could ask someone, say a like-minded friend, to help you out with the other kitties.
After the feeding process is complete, just lay the baby kitty down on its side or on its stomach. You can stroke or pat if you wish. The baby kitty will eventually fall asleep on its own after some time.
Q.1) Why can’t I recline a kitty on its back while feeding?
Ans: Never ever do that. Doing so may make it aspirate, which means, the formula might enter their respiratory tract instead of going down the food pipe. This can cause pneumonia and eventual fatality. Just lay them on their stomach or hold them upright while feeding.
Q.2) How can I feed a super–active kitty?
Ans: If you find that the kitten fumbles, fidgets, and cries a lot during feeding, then you can try wrapping the kitty’s body in a soft towel before starting to feed.
Hold the bottle close to its nose so that it will know that yummy stuff are waiting for it, and it will eventually start cooperating with you. Always hold the bottle in a 45-degree angle.
After you have rescued a kitten from the outdoors, what must you do to make it survive? Make sure it is warm first. The average body temperature of a 3-week old is between 100 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can keep the kitty warm by wrapping it inside a soft towel, or use snuggle pads that heat up on their own and keep the baby kitty warm as well. It is only after the kitty is warm that you can start feeding it. How much does a 3–week old kitten eat? Apparently, only about 90-120 ml per day.
Hoskins formula and KMR formula are two nutritious milk items that are suitable to be fed to newborn kittens. Under no circumstance, you should feed the kitties cow’s milk because it will cause diarrhea. Observe the kitty and communicate with it—once it understands you, it will work with you to get things right.