When to choose tube feeding for neonatal kittens
Tube feeding should be a last resort if neonatal kittens are underweight, struggling to latch or sick and too weak to feed. It should be a temporary feeding tool until the kitten is strong enough to start trying to latch onto a teat.
The reason for this is that we want to encourage natural behaviours like latching on, and tube feeding can be uncomfortable and unpleasant for the kitten. There is also an increased risk for the kitten to aspirate (breath in) the formula if done incorrectly. Tube feeding should only be performed by experienced carers, and those wanting to learn should be taught under appropriate guidance from a vet, vet nurse or experienced foster carer.