So, it was Saturday, August 1, when we first discovered the kittens. We left them on the balcony, hoping their mommy would come back. That didn’t happen.
Day 1 of Kitten Parenting: August 3
On Monday, I brought them in. I got the wire cage, put a towel in to keep them warm, and a small box so they could huddle together. I tried to feed them soft food, but they didn’t know what to do with it.
On the way home, Oneal bought feeding bottles and Nan lactose-free milk, and we tried to feed them. But they didn’t know what to do with the bottle. We tried putting milk in our palms, but they didn’t know enough to lick it off.
But we noticed that they would nibble at my fingers with their little mouths. When I pushed my little finger into a kitten’s mouth, she started nibbling, and I could feel her little tongue scraping against my fingernail. So I kept my finger in the kitten’s mouth, and Oneal dripped some milk down my finger so she could suck it. It worked for that first night, but wow my finger hurt.
Kitten teeth are razor-sharp, and tiny tiny tiny! At first it’s fine, while they suck the milk off my finger. But later on they get really excited, and they start gnawing and really clamping down. The most painful part is when they start biting with the teeth on the sides of their mouths, the way people do when they’re really digging into a piece of meat. Ouch!
Eventually it seemed like the kittens were full. The vet blogs we read said it’s better to underfeed rather than overfeed the kittens, so we put away the milk and put them back in the cage. We were pretty sure they would take to the bottle soon enough.
Day 2 of Kitten Parenting: August 4
Okay, so they didn’t even look at the soft food. The bottle didn’t work. So we tried something new: soft food with milk!
We put a bit of soft food in my hand, and soaked it with milk. The kittens seemed to recognize the smell of the milk, and they craned their necks, frantically looking for the source. Eventually they would find the food with the milk. After sticking their noses in it a few times, they learned to open their mouths and lick the food off my hand.
We fed them one by one, each kitten frantically sniffing my entire hand before finding the food. Because they had no sense of direction, undeveloped eyesight and undeveloped muscle control, they ended up pushing the food around my palm before managing to get it in their mouths. We would have to nudge the food closer to their mouths so they could eat.
It was certainly much better than having them bite and suck my finger! The kittens nibbled and licked my palm, which tickled. Their claws dug into my hand, which hurt, but at least they were eating!
Day 3: August 5
We tried the bottles again. The vet blogs said it would take a few tries before they learned to find the nipple and suck. We
squeezed some milk out of the bottles and into their mouths. Finally, it worked!
I think it was Blondie who learned first, then Furriosa, followed by Samwise. They didn’t drink a lot at first. We prepared a little less than 30cc of milk for each kitten, but they didn’t finish it. We could tell when they were full because they would release the bottle and look around, and their stomachs would be a little bloated.
We decided to keep them at 30cc for a few days, to observe their appetite.
For the rest of the week, that’s what we did. We would feed them twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. During the day they slept.
Eventually we brought them up for about 40cc a day. I would make the milk and pour it nto the bottles, and we would feed them until they were full. Whatever was left, we put in the fridge and heated up for the evening feeding. Soon their appetites increased, and I had to mix their milk twice a day!
Of course, once they were feeding regularly, we had to teach them how to–how do I say it?–let it out. I’m going to save that for another entry, haha.