Are you inadvertently treating something as "cute" that's actually deadly for orphaned kittens?
A very short video of someone bottle-feeding three kittens while they lie on their backs on the feeder's lap, swaddled in a blanket, is making the rounds of Facebook right now. It's often being shared by rescue groups and shelters, using its cuteness factor to inspire people to foster orphaned kittens.
We applaud that intent, but the method of bottle-feeding on display in this video is dangerous:
Kittens should never be bottle-fed on their backs, as it makes it extremely easy for them to swallow "the wrong way" and end up with aspiration pneumonia. Although dangerous in healthy adults animals, pneumonia can quickly kill a neonate, particularly an orphan kitten.
This video shows kittens being fed and swaddled as if they were human babies, which is fine in so far as it awakens compassion and may help recruit foster homes. That's outweighed, however, by the sheer number of people who may take on this work without guidance from a veterinarian or experienced bottle-baby foster caregiver, and it may turn into a potentially tragic mistake.
A few organizations chose to add a cautionary note when they shared the video, but those notes are not likely to stick in someone's mind the way the visual will. They're also not attached to the post when someone shares the video to their own Facebook circles.
So if you see this or similar videos or images making the rounds, don't pass them along. A kitten's life may depend on it!
And if you'd like a video that shows the right way to bottle-feed a kitten, we happen to have one for you right here:
Also of interest: