You’d Think We Could Control Something the Size of Our Fists


The operation begins with gearing up. A thick towel. Gloves normally reserved for the quasi-Olympic sport of Extreme Snowball Fighting. The syringe….
….and the cat milk.
Number Nine (yeah, he doesn’t have a name yet) is too little. I said he was too little! But it was too late, they’d already taken him away from his feral mother for a day by the time I got to him. She might have rejected him by then and I couldn’t say no to the begging faces. But–he’s too little!

Feeding him is an ordeal that takes at least two people. He wants to nurse, but there is no mama to nurse him, only a syringe. And his tiny paws have sharp claws.
He’s too little. Nobody ever listens to me.
Did I not tell Kennedy to stay away from the grassy knoll?
Okay, I wasn’t even born then, but I would have told him that.

Number Nine looks like he’d like a grassy knoll right about now.
Get ‘er down.
Number Nine agrees it was an ordeal.
We all deserve a little Judge Judy down time now.
Yeah, I know, she is scary, isn’t she, Number Nine?
But we love her, just like we love you!
Even if you are too little………… And the Children Who Wanted Him keep going to school and leaving me alone with him and I have to feed him all by myself without all the hazardous materials gear they wear when they pair up to do it. HELP.


  1. Liz says:

    I sympathize on the force feeding thing. I’ve got two sick pets at home, a cat that needs food though a syringe and a rat who needs antibiotics, also through a syringe. Would you believe it’s the cat that’s the easier job?

  2. lisa says:

    I suggest trying a pet bottle rather than a syringe. I took 3 feral kittens away from their mother at about that age and they took to a bottle fairly quickly.

  3. jan 'n' tn says:

    Oh Suzanne, Please get a kitten bottle. It’s sooo much easier, and they do work. Much less traumatic for everyone involved.

  4. Dru says:

    Number Nine is adorable. Can I hold her?

  5. Cousin Sheryl says:

    Just to clarify, poor Number 9’s mother was (ahem) – deceased! Number 9 was squalling under my back deck so loud, I could hear him in the house with the doors shut. So, I went and got him and started the feeding process. The silly kitten was determined to make it. I put him back outside for the night and he walked from my back deck all the way around to the front porch and sat there and cried all night! Even Mark couldn’t stand it! The next day while I was at work, Mark (the big softy) brought him in and fed him. This is where the Princess found him when she stopped by after school. And the rest is history!
    Mark says his name should be “Lucky.” I vote for “Stubborn” or maybe “Plucky.” Or, hou about a good old Appalachian word, “Gunption.”
    This cat will probably be one of the best csts you’ve ever had. (I will even go half on the spaying/neuturing – since the cat came from my place.)
    Keep up the good work! :heart:

  6. Ms E says:

    Try the vet, try the pharmacy, try the feed store – just find yourself a kitten bottle! If all else fails, look at the nursing supplies for premies. Number 9 is starting to look like he’s holding a SERIOUS grudge over this syringe business. Good luck!

  7. Kathleen in Michigan says:

    If you can’t find a bottle, how about a latex glove with a pinprick in the finger for the milk to be sucked through?

  8. Leah says:

    I thought he looked little! I had to feed a whole litter of kittens, I had to use a syringe too because they didnt drink the bottle. I also had to wipe their bottoms every couple hrs so they could eliminate,what a job!Did this for 10days,by then my other cat had a litter so she took care of them! Those kittens thought I was their Moma,ha,ha!

  9. CindyP says:

    What an ordeal!!! Wow! I’ve never had the pleasure, but I’m sure I may never want to ๐Ÿ˜†

    Annabelle is getting so big……I’m sure she just wants her Giant Puppy Protector back………. :woof:

  10. Sarita says:

    We did this with four abandoned kittens 13 years ago. A tiny bottle, available at the feed store or vet, works beautifully. That little sweetie will sit on your lap and drink his fill.

    Sending good thoughts that your furry friend will do well. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. flowerthread says:

    I’m glad this kitten is in your family Suzanne..I know without a doubt it will have a good home an be loved..Connie

  12. Shawn says:

    Suzanne, I also had a kitten who’s mother did not want him, and he was also too little!!! I was able to get a kitten bottle at Wal-Mart and with a little work, the kitten soon caught on and loved his bottle. He was 3 weeks old. Big Max is now a beautiful fat cat!!! I start every day with you, and you always make me smile. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us!!

  13. Sheryl - Runningtrails says:

    Awwww! What a face! He’s is just too cute. I hope you can find a bottle for him or an alternative that works, poor tiny thing! If I were closer, I’d take him. I’d like a male kitten.

  14. Blaze says:


    I think is obvious that you are going to have to just call this one Nine. Thats just to awesome not to happen.

  15. Sheila says:

    He is adorable! I have also bottle feed cats. It isn’t fun until they catch on. We use a dropper instead. I have found that putting them on their tummies istead of their backs works better. And letting them get their paws up there like they would if they were nursing helps. Eventually what mine would to would be standing on their back two feet. Once they catch on you can see their little tongues sucking away. It is so cute!

    Good luck!

  16. shirley says:

    Suzanne, get in your ark and float down to Walmart. They sell kitty nursers.I know you’re building one.It has rained here in WV for 6 days straight. Only 34 more days to go.

    • BuckeyeGirl says:

      Well, I was going to tell you about getting a bottle from a Vets or a feed store, never knew Wally-world had em, but there you go! Everyone beat me to it but that’s a good thing since I’m late logging in today!

      I have been thinking of the little guy as “Niners” since your first pictures of him. He sure sounds determined to survive, I only hope you do too! ๐Ÿ˜†

  17. Mary says:

    :sun: What a cute little baby!!! He may get used to the syringe. We had to drop off a hurt baby bunny the other day at the wild-life rehab, and got to help feed the baby squirrels! One was so little, he had no fur yet, and his eyes were still closed. They all drank formula for mammals, and right out of a syringe. The older ones were obviously used to it, and grabbed the syringe with both paws and could hold it by themselves! It was so cool! They looked like little pros, and seemed to like it!! Number nine will get the hang of it! Have a great day!! :purpleflower:

  18. Nancy says:

    Don’t hold him on his back- he might aspirate the formula!

  19. wildcat says:

    How dare those kids go skipping off to school and leave you home alone with Niner all day? LOL

    He sure is CUTE!

  20. iowacowgirl says:

    Hang in there!! You’ll get past the drowned rat phase soon.

    Kitty bottle will help immensely and don’t forget to rub the butt with tissue or cottonballs for pee and poop or he’ll implode.

  21. Kimberly says:

    We had a little kitten like that once. And we tried a bottle with a nipple and he chewed it right off! Are you having to make him go to the bathroom??? That was fun times too!

  22. Gail says:

    Hand fed kittens do make for very nice cats! Our Morty (and the rest of his litter)was hand fed after his mother was hit by a car
    at the construction site where my ex-husband was working. My son begged to bring one home, and Morty has been with us 8 yrs. now.
    He is the most loveable, smart and handsome cat ever! He gets along with every other animal he’s met. The only thing is he lacks in “cat” ways. Since he grew up with the dogs and had no cat to teach him, he pretty much acts like a dog or human! You are going to have alot of fun with Number Nine!He is SO adorable!

  23. The Retired One says:

    OMG, what an adorable kitten. Your post was hilarious about the moves you have to do to feed him! But it is worth it,no?
    I better not show my daughter your post (or the kitty). She has 2 cats now and tells me she is the 30 yr. old single cat lady that people talk about. ha She would want him immediately!

  24. Alicia says:

    Pet bottle-WalMart.
    Kitten milk-WalMart.

    If there isn’t kitten milk, dilute regular milk with water. Gives them the Run-Run-Rudolphs if you don’t. Another week, maybe sooner depending on how cooperative he is, try Iams kitten food in the purple can.

    He’ll be fine. It’s not easy, but it’s possible. Keep us updated. He’s a cutie pie! 8)

  25. JC says:

    I’ve given you the Kreativ Blogging Award. Go to my blog to see what it’s about and why I gave it to you. ( You probably have gotten one already but I still wanted to let you know why I gave it to you.

    You are doing such a great thing to be helping this kitten. I had a feral kitten who took forever to trust me. I don’t think she really ever did but there was love. Her name was Lilly Ann. Putting that name in the ‘hat’ for number 9 … if she is a he, than Riley would be a good orange boy name.

  26. Melissa says:

    Poor Annabell looks like she’s been squeezed into a sweater that’s too small for her!

  27. Ruth C says:

    Don’t they still make those little bottles with tiny nipples? That’s what we used when we had too-little abandoned kittens…

  28. Claudia W. says:

    Number Nine will be just fine…You will be fine…I have raised three kittens (not all at once) that came to me at three or four days old and we (I say we loosely) fed them all by hand. I got one of those little critter nursing bottles, so they could suck, cause they really need to do that. One of those kittens is now about 11 pounds and thinks I am his mommy, he follows me EVERYWHERE!
    I know it’s a pain now, but the rewards are huge!
    Have fun, good luck.

  29. Katie says:

    Ooof. When I first got my kitten, she had kennel cough, so I had to feed her cough medicine from a syringe, and neither of us enjoyed the experience very much. I had to wrap her up in a blanket like a burrito just to keep her from struggling away from me. We both looked a lot like Nine does by the time we finished!

  30. Fencepost says:

    Poor, cute little fellow.
    But he definitely found the right family to adopt!

  31. LauraP says:

    I’ve raised a lot of orphaned kittens on goat’s milk — usually alternating with cat milk replacer. They just do better if they get a little bit raw goat milk regularly – those natural probiotics give their immature digestive tracts a boost. Kittens also easier to train to a bottle or even to lick milk off your finger and out of a dish when you tempt them with goat milk. (Sweeten with a dab of Karo syrup the first time or two for best results.) The replacer, apparently, tastes so wrong. Another handy trick is to wrap your fingers around the bottle with just the nipple tip exposed so the kitten’s face & paws touch warm skin – not quite the nursing from mama experience, but close enough to count most of the time. If you trim those tiny little claws first, it’ll be easier on you, too.

  32. Val says:

    What a lot of great advice – I work for an Animal Health products company and I agree. Little bottle and make it as close to a mommy experience as possible ๐Ÿ™‚ Love the idea of holding the nipple in the hand so only the tip is showing, and goat milk. Who knew? You should have access to some of that!

    And, I too think he should forever more be called Number 9. I love that name. Please keep us posted on the feeding saga. What a sweet story!

  33. Nancy in Atlanta says:

    Wow! I’ve got nothing to add, but good luck to all of you! Nine can’t fail to be a great cat with your family.

    Annabelle, poor Annabelle – can’t you just put some small trees and bushes on one end of your porch, put down a layer of dirt and plant some grass, so she can have her own “pasture” right there?!! :sheep:

  34. Gini says:

    Awwwhaha! Poor little kitty! He looks so injured in that one photo….and it’s hilarious!

  35. Joanna Wilcox says:

    Be sure to rub his private parts with a warm wash rag after each feeding just like Mama Cat would.

    Are you using a kitten replacer? the Vets office should sell it along with the kitten bottle.

    For several weeks I carried a small kitten to the office with me and back, feeding hijm every couple of hours, until he was weaned.

  36. Jennie says:

    A long time ago, we fed an orphaned kitten milk replacer from a squeeze ketchup bottle (the old fashioned refillable kinds you used to find on restaurant tables). We’ve never been able to switch one to a kitten bottle.

    It’s really annoying to feed them every few hours, but you will have a special close bond with this little guy.

  37. Annette says:

    Number nine is very cute! I’m sure he will fit in nicely with his 8 siblings and they can show him the farm! Still love your blog! just can’t find time to comment as much anymore, recently got a job at the Sheriff’s Office in the next county over! Which cuts into by blog time! I guess i proably can not use that as a viable excuse as to why work is not done! Take Care!

  38. Becky says:

    Aw Number Nine is just too cute! He will be the best cat because the ones that find you are always the best. My little foundling kitty will turn 17 in September.

  39. Terrye says:

    I’ve had a lot of luck bottle feeding kittens (and raccoons,- don’t ask!) with a small baby doll bottle, just open up the end of the nipple a bit, they usually take right to it.
    Good luck! Love your blog!

  40. QuiltOtaku says:

    Wow that little one is teenie! Good luck with the feedings.

  41. Robin C says:

    we got our male cat Emma at 2 weeks old. We used a kitten bottle and he suckled from it. Also let him stay in an upright position not on his back and let him hold onto your hand. It hurts but not too bad. My husband was his mama and he would rest at the top of my hubbys body and suckle on the loose skin of his neck. they really have a strong bond and that was 9 years ago. We used a towel to hold under him for when we got him to pee/poop by gently rubbing the cat privates. That was the only mess. Now Emma didn’t like being cleaned up afterwards and is scared of hair dryers so don’t try to blow dry. Our mistake. But you will love that baby these best!

  42. catslady says:

    It’s amazing how many of us have stories. One of my feral cats had a litter on my porch but she moved them – big mistake. Somehow her and one of her kittens got covered in motor oil (hope it was an accident). She left him for me to take care of. We didn’t know it was a kitten on the back porch because of the unbelievable loud noises it made. I used a babydoll bottle that worked pretty good. Stupid petstore gave me the wrong thing originally but all ended well and he’s my biggest and most dearly loved cat – now 12.

    Unfortunately one of his brothers wasn’t so lucky. He showed up later and was my 7th feral kitten that year and so I named him Lucky Seven and at only 7 months he was hit by a car coming for breakfast (sob). So now I don’t care for the name Lucky but I think Niners is a wonderful name.

  43. catslady says:

    I meant to say the wrong kind of milk.

  44. Judith Richards Shubert says:

    Hi Suzanne! I love your blog and your newsletter. I wanted you to know that I think it deserves to receive the “One Lovely Blog Award”. You can pick it up at my blog, Genealogy Traces!

  45. monica says:

    Love potion # 9 so cute! it looks like our Frick (actually Frisky–Little N. couldn’t say “s” when he was a baby.) Love him up and it should make up for the smallness.

  46. SuzieQ says:

    I bet Coco will be a great surrogate mom when introduced to this little one. One of my female dogs used to sneak and kidnap a kitten from the momma cat when she got the chance…couldn’t nurse it but she really gave lots of love and kitty baths! :snuggle: :snoopy:

  47. Estella says:

    Number Nine is fortunate to have you!

  48. becki says:

    Our human baby was about 7 months when a feral kitten found us. We adopted it and bottle fed him with our daughter. When I made formula for one I made formula for the other. When one cried, they both ate. My husband and the cat share a bond that’s far deeper than other cats we have.

  49. Cathy says:

    Be sure to feed him upright (not like a baby) with his head up. The milk can get in their lungs if you feed him while he’s lying on his back.

    When he gets a little bigger, mix some baby cereal in with the kitten milk. It will fill him up, and he won’t need to eat as often.

    Good luck! He’s adorable!

  50. KentuckyFarmGirl says:

    Awww, poor baby! Looks like you have it under control and he’s getting taken well care of!

  51. tabbimama says:

    Once we moved into a house and the previous owners had taken the mama cat and left a litter of kitties. They were too little too. We tried to take them to an animal shelter and they wouldn’t take them because they were so young. We had to feed the whole litter with eye droppers until they were old enough to eat from a bowl. I was a young girl then and we would just pack the kitties up and take them with us wherever we went. Camping, to friends houses, whatever. They all survived.

  52. shan says:

    you can get a tiny feeding bottle with a nipple from the vet- or i think walmart even sells them. the kitten will drink more from something that has a nipple

  53. norma says:

    The kitten is so sweet. I love all of your animals, and Annabel is so precious.
    Yahoo!!!! I found your book today, I am now the proud owner of a Suzamme Mcminn novel.

  54. norma says:

    I am so excited I spelled your name wrong. Sorry about that. lol

  55. Ms E says:

    Poor Annabelle, please bring her back to the porch! She doesn’t belong in the pasture or goat lot…her home is on the porch.

  56. Jodie says:

    No. Nine needs a name…. how about Big Red?

  57. Eirwen says:

    I know it’s late for commenting, but I just had to add my two cents about feeding upside down, he could easily breathe in that formula and get pneumonia. I’ve bottle fed countless kittens and puppies doing vet & volunteer work, and it’s just so easy for that to happen. I always held the kitten in one hand against my chest, wrapped lightly in a towel, their little booties in my palm, and did the syringe-thing as close to lay-down position as possible. I’ve done the ‘feed once an our even at night’ thing too, they just have their own schedules. Very cute, fluffy, ‘you’ll be lucky to have skin on your hands by the time this is over’ schedules. He’s a beautiful kitten, looks liike a great addition to your other beautiful animals! Great blog btw!

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