The following comes from my foster mom Karen who is bottle feeding 9 at this time for us. I haven’t seen Surro-Kitty in action and it sounds like it needs to be beta tested on a more extensive basis to get the bugs out.
At any rate, here are Karen’s thoughts on the subject:
This product is going to be a hit with larger rescues who take in a lot of teenie beenies. My four older ones had no interest at all – probably because they have lost the “rooting” stage. The four I have that are a week old show interest and have used it. However…
There are some procedural issues and some design flaws:
It is time consuming to set it up – fill the bottles, heat the bottles, pre-heat the pad. large surface to place it and be able to work with it (it needs a place big enough to set up permanently)
Then afterward: disassembling, cleaning bottles, cleaning fur (problematic), drying fur, etc.
By the time all the clean up is done it is almost time to start setting up for the next 2 to 2-1/2 hour feeding (no sleep allowed)
They put fake legs and tail on it but no head. Just leave the legs and tail off – not needed. It kind of freaks the older cats out when it is just laying on the table with no head.
The velcro on the bottles does not hold if you don’t get it attached just perfect.
The bottle nipples are all cut differently (ok really) but difficult if kittens are used to using the same nipple cut all the time. (a couple of the nipples are not cut)
Turning the Surro-Kitty on its side to feed (to get milk to flow through the nipple is problematic if the nipples leak a bit. Messy. It also has to be propped up to keep it from rolling and disturbing the kittens as they find their way with it.
Constant supervision for the babies to keep them near and at the nipples to feed. (takes at least 20 to 30 minutes to get them fully fed instead of the 10 to 15 by hand.
Is it machine washable? – possibly put a removable/replaceable cover over the base unit to save wear and tear on the complete unit.
Use vacuum bags (like platex baby bottles) for the milk so it can be sucked up at any angle.
Leave off the appendages – not useful and get in the way
Use snaps instead of velcro for the closing. No worries about keeping fur out of velcro, or making sure it is exactly placed (especially when you have screaming kittens)
Offer a selection of types of nipples – long, short, round, pointy, etc
add a feature to keep it from tipping/rolling
That’s pretty much what I have come up with so far. I believe it is going to be a hit once it is thoroughly beta tested and openly marketed. Especially for facilities like PAWS in Sherwood.