They were so committed to the bottle and like I said the three smaller ones were very bad off, and frankly the vet couldn't believe they made it. Taking the bottle away from them was similar to how I've heard people explain weaning a baby from breastfeeding, who has been solely breast fed. They cried for the bottle and would suck my fingers. Myself and the bottle had absolutely become mom to them and it broke my heart to watch them so upset.
I was afraid to keep them on the bottle too long, age wise, they were definitely beyond the age of weaning and needed to learn to live without it. I knew I was walking a fine line of raising well socialized and nurtured kittens, to kittens who had obviously grown up without a cat mother. I must have succeeded because the reports are that they are doing well and none of them feel the need to suckle on fingers or anything else. I have a cat who is a suckler, when he's unsure, or someone new has visited, or we go out of town, he often is only content afterwards if you let him suck your earlobe. My heart breaks for him and I didn't want the bottle babies to live like that.