Like human babies, newborn kittens are completely dependent on their mothers. Mama cat should produce enough milk to feed her brood, but her tired body can’t always keep up.
Although a healthy diet can aid in her milk production, you may need to feed her babies yourself in some cases.
So, how to make a cat produce milk?
You can make a cat produce milk by improving her diet, keeping her hydrated, and reducing her stress.
Keep reading this article to know more about the ways to make a cat produce milk.
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How Long Does It Take For A Cat To Start Producing Milk?
A cat will start producing milk around two days before she gives birth.
Lactation is the process by which milk is secreted from the mammary glands to feed kittens.
Every mammal produces its own milk, which contains all of the nutrients required by that species.
Milk contains proteins (caseins and whey protein), fats, calcium, iron, amino acids, minerals, trace elements, and maternal antibodies.
While their immune systems develop, antibodies protect the kittens from disease.
As the kittens grow, their milk changes as well. The first milk is colostrum, which is highly concentrated, nutrient-dense, and brimming with antibodies to protect the newborn kittens.
Milk production begins in the latter two weeks of a cat’s pregnancy, which lasts between 61 and 65 days.
A day or two before the start of labor, pet owners may notice milk flowing from the nipples.
Her nipples will grow in size in the days leading up to the delivery, and around two days before she gives birth, they will produce milk.
By gently pinching the nipples between your thumb and forefinger, you may be able to express some.
Human mothers can tell if their babies are getting enough milk by counting how many wet nappies they produce in a day.
Female cats encourage a kitten to urinate and defecate by licking the genitals, making it difficult for pet owners to track urine output.
A healthy kitten that gets enough milk will gain weight. Weigh all kittens once a day and keep a weight log for each kitten to ensure they are gaining weight. A healthy kitten should gain at least 10 grams per day on average.
Kittens eat and sleep in their early days. A kitten who does not get enough milk will be upset and cry a lot.
Check out to know How To Tell If Kittens Are Getting Enough Milk?
Cats can become pregnant before the age of a year and remain pregnant for about two months.
When they are about to give birth, lactation will begin. Cats typically have eight teats, all of which produce milk.
Cats that are not pregnant, and sometimes even those that have been spayed, can produce milk, which is known as a false or pseudopregnancy.
Hormones in a cat’s body regulate this unnecessary milk production. If your cat is not pregnant but is lactating, do not allow it to nurse on items such as toys or socks, as this will prolong the false pregnancy.
Pregnant cats’ teats will swell about halfway through pregnancy, but they will not start lactating until a few days before giving birth.
During pregnancy, their appetite will increase to help provide the extra nutrition that their bodies require to produce milk.
When they give birth, the kittens will require the first milk produced by the mother cat, known as colostrum.
Colostrum is high in nutrients and antibodies, which help kittens’ developing immune systems.
Adequate nutrition is required for a cat to produce enough milk for all of its kittens.
Cats typically have about five kittens per litter, but if the litter is unusually large, the cat may require supplemental nutrition to help its body produce enough milk for its young, or the kittens may require supplementation if they aren’t getting enough feeding time with so many litter mates.
To accommodate the additional stress of feeding kittens and the energy requirements of lactation, nursing cats should be fed kitten or growth diets high in calories, fat, and calcium. If you are concerned about a mother cat’s nutritional needs, talk to your veterinarian about what you can do.
The mother cat is at its most stressful and demanding point of lactation during weeks three or four of nursing.
The mother cat’s body has been continuously producing milk for about a month, but it is about to slow down.
Because the kittens are weaning off their mother’s milk at this point, less milk will be required.
If your mother cat’s teats remain large, red, and swollen after a week of not nursing, you should consult with your veterinarian. Mastitis is a serious and painful condition that may necessitate medication if left untreated.
You might also like to read How To Fatten Up A Nursing Cat?
What Do I Do If My Cat Not Producing Milk?
If your cat is not producing milk here are some things that you can do: –
1. Proper Diet
The first and most important factor in increasing your cat’s milk production is diet.
A lactating mother must not only consume more calories in order to provide nutrition for growing kittens, but the food she consumes must also be nutrient-dense and rich in essential vitamins and minerals.
During lactation, your cat may eat up to four times her usual amount of food — and may still appear hungry afterward!
Nursing cats should eat specially designed food that contains immune-boosting antioxidants and essential nutrients.
A healthy diet for your precious purring feline is essential for optimal milk production. She may be unable to eat for the duration of her labour and for up to one day afterward.
You should, however, keep food and water on hand for her. Your cat may eat up to four times her normal amount of food while nursing, according to a veterinarian.
Feed her a high-quality kitten diet or specialty food made specifically for nursing cats because she requires more calories to feed her furry offspring.
2. Bottle Feeding
Every two to three hours, the kittens’ nurse. If your cat has a large litter, her body may be unable to keep up with the demand, and you may need to assist her.
Constant crying indicates that the tiny furry felines are hungry and that mama isn’t producing enough milk.
You can get the supplies you need to help your cat feed her young at your local pet store. You’ll need kitten milk replacement formula (KMR), kitten bottles, and 3 mm syringes.
Some kittens prefer to be fed with a syringe rather than a small bottle. If you are uncomfortable, your veterinarian can show you how to feed the kittens.
Motherless neonatal kittens have delicate systems that necessitate the use of a special kitten formula—not just any dairy product in the fridge.
Kitten formula is designed to provide a balanced diet of vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and a caloric pattern similar to that of a mother cat’s milk.
This product is available as a liquid or powder mix, which you can obtain from your local pet supply store, feed store, or online retailer.
Never give a kitten cow’s milk, human baby formula, milk substitutes, or homemade recipes, as these can cause illness and death.
Along with your kitten formula, you should get a kitten bottle and possibly an extra set of rubber nipples for feeding.
If the nipple on your bottle does not come pre-cut, cut a small hole at a diagonal angle, being careful not to make the hole too big or too small.
This is significant because it affects the flow of the formula while the kitten is nursing. Turn the bottle upside down to test the hole for proper flow.
If the hole is the correct size, the formula should drip one drop at a time. If it’s flowing slowly, widen the hole… too quickly, and you’ll have to start over with a new nipple.
Always bottle feed in a natural, belly-down position—the kitten should be lying or seated comfortably with her belly toward the floor.
Feeding a kitten on her back, as a human baby would, can cause the kitten to inhale fluid into her lungs.
Place the kitten in your lap or on a table, holding her head steady with your non-dominant hand, and insert the nipple into her mouth with your dominant hand.
Invert the bottle so that the formula can gradually enter the kitten’s mouth. Ideally, the kitten will form u with her tongue and latch on to the bottle, suckling to drink the formula.
Put your finger on her throat to make sure she’s swallowing as she eats. Never force a bottle into the mouth of a kitten. Allow the kitten to suckle at her own pace instead.
How Can I Get My Mother Cat To Produce More Milk?
Here are some ways you can get your mother cat to produce more milk: –
1. Keep Her Hydrated
Not only will your cat require more calories while feeding growing kittens, but she will also require more liquids.
Cats get the majority of their hydration from their food, so make sure she gets plenty of lean meats and canned wet food in addition to dry kibble.
Make sure she has access to fresh, clean water at all times.
2. Goat’s Milk
While cow’s milk is difficult for cats to digest, goat’s milk is usually well tolerated by most cats because it contains less lactose.
If your cat is particularly sensitive to lactose, try diluting it with equal parts water.
Goat’s milk is high in essential vitamins and nutrients, and it may provide your cat with the nutritional boost she requires to improve milk production.
You might also like to check out regarding can cats drink goat milk
3. Eliminate Her Stress
If your cat is stressed or anxious, her milk production will often suffer as a result. Make certain she is in a calm, quiet environment where she feels safe and away from too many visitors or distractions.
Keep other cats, dogs, and children away from her, particularly in the first few weeks, to help her feel safe, secure, and stress-free.
4. Reglan (Metoclopramide)
Metoclopramide, also known as “Reglan,” is a drug that can be used to help nursing cats. Metoclopramide is a dopamine antagonist, which means it inhibits your cat’s dopamine receptors.
With less dopamine, the milk-producing hormone “prolactin” allows for milk secretion. Of course, always consult your veterinarian before administering any medication to your cat, especially if she is nursing a young kitten.
If you’ve noticed that your cat isn’t producing enough milk and her kittens are still hungry, the problem could be an infection or blockage caused by her kittens’ constant scratching and suckling.
Mastitis is an inflammation of your cat’s breasts, which can cause them to become blocked and unable to produce milk.
This is a painful condition for your cat, and she may stop feeding her kittens entirely to avoid the pain. It is usually limited to one or two nipples, so kittens can continue to feed on the others if the mother allows it.
Gently massaging the blocked duct and applying a warm, wet cloth can usually help, but antibiotics may be required in more serious cases.
We recommend taking your cat to the vet if her breast continues to swell and become blocked.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I start weaning my kittens?
According to the ASPCA, you can begin weaning kittens as early as 3 weeks of age. Pour kitten milk replacement formula into a shallow bowl and teach the kittens to lap it up. Make kitten gruel with their food once they’ve figured out how to drink from the bowl. Combine the milk replacer and dry or wet kitten food until it is soft and moist. You’ll have to feed your fuzzy family several times per day, but they’ll gradually begin to rely on solid food rather than mother’s milk. Kittens should be able to eat solid food by 6 to 7 weeks of age, but if they appear to be struggling, you may want to moisten it for a little longer.
How to take care of a 2-week-old kitten?
Start a deworming program. Consult your veterinarian about deworming your kittens and obtain a deworming program. Keep your eyes peeled. By this time, your kittens’ eyes should be open. If they haven’t opened by day 10, carefully wipe the lids clean and apply a small amount of petroleum jelly. Your veterinarian should examine them if their eyes are still closed after two weeks. Reduce the temperature. The air temperature in the nest box can be reduced to around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
How long is a cat pregnant?
Cat pregnancy usually lasts between 63 and 67 days, but determining how long a cat is pregnant can be difficult. The gestation period of a cat can last anywhere between 61 and 72 days. Your cat (queen) may not show visible signs of pregnancy until she is a few weeks along in her pregnancy. If you suspect your cat is pregnant, take her to the veterinarian to be sure. There are various physical signs that you should be able to see after two or three weeks if you want to know how to determine if a cat is pregnant yourself.
Since kittens acquire all of their nutrition from their mother during the first eight weeks, this is a critical period for them. It’s critical to take action as soon as possible if your cat has ceased nursing or her milk supply has reduced.
While many of the aforementioned solutions may work in certain cases, the condition is sometimes more complex, and we strongly advise taking your cat to the vet for a check-up if the problem persists.
If you have any questions, ask us in the comments section.