It’s a lot of fun to have a litter of kittens, and it’s much more fun to watch those small balls of fluff grow into confident young adults.
However, things don’t always go as planned, and the queen (mother cat) is unable to give the kittens the milk they require.
This could be due to their own illness, insufficient milk production, or rejection of their kittens. It’s possible that it’s because the queen died while giving birth.
So, what is a kitten milk replacer?
Homemade kitten milk replacer is essential for kittens who refuse to suck or when there is no lactating mother cat available. Kitten supplement formula, also known among breeders as “kitty glop” or “cat milk substitute” is commonly used with orphaned kittens but can also be used with hungry newborn kittens.
Keep reading this article to know more about homemade kitten milk replacer.
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What Can I Use Instead Of Kitten Milk Replacer?
You can use homemade kitten milk formula instead of kitten milk replacer.
Finding an orphaned kitten might be frightening, and you’ll want to do everything you can to ensure the cat’s survival.
In an emergency, you can feed the kitten homemade formula, but it’s not safe to give it a homemade formula for more than a few days.
You’ll need to acquire a commercial kitten replacement formula from your clinic or a pet store because the homemade formula isn’t nutritionally balanced.
For the first week, feed your kitten every three hours, then gradually increase the duration between feedings.
For kittens who won’t suck or when there isn’t a lactating mother cat accessible, homemade kitten milk formulas are vital.
Kitten supplement formula, sometimes known as “kitty glop” or “cat milk substitute” among breeders, is commonly used with orphaned kittens, but it can also be used with hungry newborn kittens.
You might like to check out what to feed a baby kitten if you don't have formula
Kittens are normally cared for and fed by their mothers in typical conditions. Their mother’s milk provides them with all of the nutrition they require during the first month of their existence, but problems may emerge that prevent them from accessing their mother’s milk.
- The mother cat may not survive the birthing process.
- A car or an outside animal may kill the mother cat if she is an outdoor or indoor/outdoor cat.
- The mother cat’s entire litter may be abandoned.
- The mother may be unable to handle the litter on her own.
- Since the kittens are too small or weak, the mother may reject one or more of them.
- The mother may be ill or have postnatal problems.
The kitten may die from a lack of nutrients and care unless it is manually fed by a human. These homemade formulas provide the nutrients they require to survive their early days and develop properly over time.
There are several recipes for homemade kitten formula, but if you can get a kitten milk replacement from the pet store, that is ideal.
When store-bought milk replacement is not an option, look for a recipe that uses all of your ingredients until you can get some milk replacement formula.
It is not recommended to use a homemade kitten replacement formula for more than 24 hours (as long as it is out of the refrigerator).
If a kitten can’t get milk from their mother or a surrogate, a commercial milk replacer is the next best thing.
There are many different brands to choose from, and your kittens may prefer one over the other.
However, as long as the milk replacer is created particularly for kittens (rather than dogs or other animals), it should provide them with everything they require.
Homemade kitten formula should only be used in an emergency to keep the kittens fed until commercial formula can be obtained.
There are a few reasons why homemade kitten formula isn’t as good as store-bought:
- On a nutritional level, homemade formula recipes are not as close to real cat milk as commercial formula.
- It can be difficult to find the exact right ingredients, and you can’t just swap them out for something else – foods that appear similar may have very different nutritional profiles.
- Even if you can locate the listed ingredients, their nutritional makeup varies, which means they may contain a different balance of nutrients than those used to create the recipe.
- In a normal kitchen, mixing the ingredients is not as precise as it is in a factory setting.
This means that commercial formula will be much closer to natural kitten milk than homemade formula.
Also check out What To Feed Newborn Kittens In An Emergency?
Kitten Milk Replacer Recipe
Here are some recipes for kitten milk replacer: –
1. Use Commercial Replacement Formula
A veterinarian or a pet store can provide you with kitten replacement formula.
The kitten replacement formula is available as a powder or a liquid.
Powdered formula is preferable to liquid formula for your cat because it is less likely to induce diarrhea.
Request a formula from your veterinarian or check for one at your local pet store.
Water is usually not required when using a liquid recipe.
Keep in mind, however, that when the kitten takes liquid formula, it is more likely to get diarrhea.
Diarrhea can dehydrate your kitten, making it potentially fatal. To make sure the formula isn’t expired, look at the expiration date.
Never feed an expired formula to a kitten because it can make them sick. PetAg KMR Powder and Farnam Pet Products Just Born Highly Digestible Milk Replacer for Kittens are two good brands of kitten formula.
Also, check out Can Cats Drink Spoiled/Expired Milk? How Gross Is That?
Mix a serving of powdered formula with a cup of water. To find out how much powdered formula to use for one meal, read the label.
After that, measure the formula into a clean basin or jar. Stir in the water according to the package directions.
A scoop may be included with your formula to make measuring it easier. Otherwise, a measuring spoon will suffice.
Use unflavored Pedialyte instead of water for the first 24 hours to limit the risk of the kitten getting diarrhea.
To keep the formula from rotting, keep it in the refrigerator. If you don’t keep kitten formula cool, it will spoil.
This can make your kitten very sick, necessitating veterinarian attention. When not in use, store it in the refrigerator.
Smell the formula to see whether it smells like sweet milk to see if it’s spoilt. It’s rotten if it smells rancid, like bad frying oil or old cheese.
2. Make Homemade Formula
Only use a homemade recipe as a last resort. Homemade formulas aren’t always nutritionally balanced, and they can sometimes cause more harm than good.
You can use one of these as a short-term solution if you have a hungry orphaned kitten and can’t buy a commercial kitten milk replacement (KMR) formula soon away.
If possible, contact a veterinarian or visit an emergency veterinary clinic to obtain KMR.
Some veterinarians advocate giving the kitten only water until you can purchase KMR. Homemade formulas can cause diarrhea in kittens, which can lead to dehydration.
A. HOMEMADE FORMULA #1
1-quart whole goat’s milk
1 teaspoon light Karo syrup
1 tablespoon nonfat plain yogurt (goat’s milk preferred)
1 egg yolk
Knox unflavored gelatin:
- Newborn to 1 week — 1 pkg of Knox
- 2nd week — 1 1/2 – 2 pkg of Knox
- 3rd week — 2 1/2 – 3 pkg of Knox
- 4th week — 4 pkg of Knox
In a saucepan, combine goat’s milk and gelatin in the amounts listed above, depending on the age of the kitten.
Just until the gelatin is dissolved, heat the goat’s milk/gelatin mixture. Remove the pan from the heat.
Refrigerate the remaining ingredients after mixing them in. It will last for up to a week. Check the temperature after heating until the formula is practically warm, then test a few drops of milk on your wrist.
It should be slightly warm or even cold, but not excessively heated or scorching. The use of a microwave is not advised. You’re ready to feed kittens once it passes the skin temperature test.
B. HOMEMADE FORMULA #2
8 ounces homogenized whole milk
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon salad oil
1 drop of liquid pediatric vitamins (optional)
Mix well and warm before using. Keep refrigerated.
C. HOMEMADE FORMULA #3
1 part boiled water to 5 parts evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon bone meal per 16 oz fluid
Mix well and warm before using. Keep refrigerated.
D. HOMEMADE FORMULA #4
1 can evaporate milk
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons Karo syrup
1 drop of liquid pediatric vitamins (optional)
Mix all three ingredients thoroughly and store them in a tightly sealed jar in the refrigerator. Mix 1/2 of the estimated feeding amount with an equal amount of boiling water at feeding time.
(Add 1 drop of human infant liquid vitamins to each kitty’s formula once a day.) Before feeding, always check your wrist temperature. The temperature of the boiling water and chilled formula should be close to ideal.
If constipation occurs, add 1 drop of vegetable oil to each kitten’s formula once daily until the problem is resolved.
Is Homemade Kitten Formula Safe?
Yes, homemade kitten formula is safe, but only when it is given in an emergency.
Having a new litter of kittens in your home is a joyous occasion.
However, things can go wrong, and the kittens may be abandoned or rejected by their mother.
Whether you need to care for kittens born by your own cat or come across a litter of orphaned kittens, you may find yourself in need of kitten formula.
The kitten milk substitute recipes listed above are only intended to be used in an emergency.
They do not provide the complete nutrition that kittens require over time.
Commercially available formulas and milk substitutes are specifically designed to provide kittens with the nutritional balance that their developing bodies require.
Powdered kitten milk replacer is preferred over canned liquid formulas, according to The Experts.
Powdered milk replacer can help prevent diarrhea in kittens, so try to start them on it as soon as possible.
Milk replacers are available commercially from a variety of sources, including local pet stores, online retailers, and some larger feed stores.
Your veterinarian may also have these products on hand and can provide you with a supply until you can get to a store or place an order online.
When you’re not actively feeding it, keep prepared formula in the fridge. Consider it similar to cow’s milk. If not refrigerated, it will spoil quickly.
You might also like to read how to bottle feed a kitten that won't eat
Frequently Asked Questions
How to feed a newborn kitten?
You’ll need to use special baby bottles to bottle feed a kitten. You can get tiny baby bottles with tiny nipples from pet stores or online. These bottles typically hold small amounts of formula, making them easy to handle while also accommodating a small kitten. If you can’t find a tiny baby bottle, you can try a syringe without the needle, especially if the kitten is resistant to taking the bottle. Oral syringes are typically available from pharmacies for this purpose.
How frequently should I feed newborn kittens?
Newborn kittens (less than one week old) should be fed every 2-3 hours, including overnight. Otherwise, they will be vulnerable to low blood sugar, which can be fatal in young kittens. They can start having fewer, larger feeds as they get older and stronger, but even older kittens will still need to be fed at least 4-5 times per day. Kittens that are weak or sick should still be fed every 2-3 hours.
How to stimulate kittens after feeding?
After being fed, hand-reared kittens should be encouraged to urinate and defecate. Their mother would normally lick them to stimulate their bladder and bowels. We can simulate this by lying them on their back and gently rubbing their perineum (around their anus and genitals) with a warm water-dipped cloth. After each feed, use gentle stroking or circling motions with a single finger for a few minutes. Urine should be seen almost every feed, and feces should be seen at least 1-2 times per day.
If your kittens develop diarrhea, appear lethargic, or lose their appetites, contact your veterinarian immediately. Diarrhea can quickly dehydrate a kitten, and any illness can spread quickly.
If you’re caring for orphaned kittens, never hesitate to contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns.
If you have any questions, ask us in the comments section.