Kittens under the age of four or five weeks require their mother’s milk to survive. If you come across young kittens who have been abandoned or whose mother is unable to care for them, you must care for them.
So, what to feed newborn kittens in an emergency?
You can feed newborn kittens with homemade formula. While a kitten can’t survive solely on a homemade formula, you may use it in a pinch until you’re able to buy a kitten milk replacement (KMR).
Keep reading this article to know more about what to feed newborn kittens in an emergency.
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What Do You Feed Baby Kittens In Emergency?
You can feed baby kittens with baby formula in an emergency.
Since a kitten is reliant on its mother for food and warmth, it cannot survive on its own.
If you come across a kitten that has been abandoned or separated from the litter, you can give it homemade formula.
While a kitten cannot survive solely on homemade formula, it can be used as a temporary solution until you can purchase a kitten milk replacement (KMR).
You can combine evaporated milk and an egg yolk to make a quick and easy formula.
Use a combination of goat milk, yogurt, and gelatin to make something more nutritious.
To keep the kitten healthy, prepare the emergency food and administer it to it via a bottle or syringe.
1. Simple Replacement Formula
- 8 fluid ounces (240 ml) of evaporated milk
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of corn syrup
For a simple recipe, combine evaporated milk, egg yolk, and corn syrup. In a large mixing bowl, beat 1 egg yolk with a wire whisk until it reaches a runny consistency.
Continue mixing the formula with 8 fluid ounces (240 ml) of evaporated milk and 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of light corn syrup in the basin. Stir the ingredients together until they are completely blended.
Sweetened condensed milk is not recommended since it is too sweet for the kittens.
2. Goat Milk Formula
- 1 US quart (0.95 L) of whole goat’s milk
- 1 teaspoon (4.9 ml) of corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of plain yogurt
- 1 egg yolk
- 4 ounces (110 g) of unflavored gelatin
To make a healthier alternative, combine goat milk, yogurt, egg yolk, gelatin, and corn syrup. In a saucepan, pour 1 US quart (0.95 L) whole goat’s milk and cook over medium-low heat.
Add 4 ounces (110 g) unflavored gelatin powder to the milk and whisk it constantly until it dissolves.
Remove the pan from the heat and whisk together 1 egg yolk, 1 teaspoon corn syrup (4.9 mL), and 1 tablespoon (15 mL) plain yogurt.
Use 8–12 ounces (230–340 g) of gelatin instead, if the kitten is 2 or 3 weeks old.
If feasible, use goat’s milk yogurt to boost the nutritional value.
Cow’s milk or powdered baby formula isn’t good for kittens since they lack the nutrients they need to thrive.
You would also like to check Can Cats Drink Goat Milk? Is It Recommended?
Things To Consider While Making Home-Made Formula
If the kitten is constipated, add a drop of vegetable oil to the formula. Constipation in kittens can be detrimental to their health if they are over- or under-fed.
1 drop of vegetable oil should be added to the formula and thoroughly mixed in. Continue to add vegetable oil to the mix until the kitten is no longer constipated.
Use no more than one drop of vegetable oil per day because it can cause diarrhea in the kitten, which can lead to dehydration.
Keep the formula refrigerated in an airtight jar. Fill a jar or bottle halfway with the mixture and carefully close it.
To ensure that you don’t forget when you produced the formula, write the date and time on the container. Refrigerate the formula until you’re ready to feed the kitten.
- The simple formula keeps for up to 24 hours.
- Formula made with goat’s milk can last up to 1 week in the fridge.
- Never leave formula at room temperature after mixing it.
You must check out Homemade Kitten Milk Replacer: 4 Recipes
As soon as feasible, switch to a store-bought milk substitute. Because a homemade emergency formula does not provide all of a kitten’s nutritional needs, it should only be used for 1–2 days.
As soon as you’re able, go to a local pet store or veterinary office and look for a kitten milk substitute.
You can either buy a liquid alternative or a powdered milk replacement that you mix with water.
If you need advice on which milk substitutes to use, contact your local veterinary office.
Also check out what to feed a baby kitten if you don't have formula
How Do You Feed A Newborn Kitten Without A Mother?
Here is how you can feed a newborn kitten without a mother: –
1. Feeding the kitten every 2–3 hours is a good idea.
A young kitten will need to eat 8 times each day, so keep track of when you feed it.
Check on the kitten every few hours to see whether you can give it the formula.
Listen to the kitten to see if it makes any noises or whines since it could be hungry.
While you’re sleeping, keep the kitten in the same room with you so you can hear it if it starts whining.
Check on it again 2 hours later if it isn’t producing any noise.
Daily Feeding Amounts for Kittens
- 1 week old: 2 tablespoons (30 ml)
- 2 weeks old: 4 tablespoons (59 ml)
- 3 weeks old: 4 tablespoons (59 ml)
- 4 weeks old: 7 tablespoons (100 ml)
2. If the kitten is cold, wrap it in a blanket before feeding it. Examine the kitten’s mouth with your finger to discover if it is cold.
If this happens, wrap the kitten in a blanket and keep it near to your body to keep it warm. Slowly touch the kitten’s body with your hands for about 20 minutes, or until the kitten’s mouth and paw bottoms are warm.
Feeding a kitten when it’s cold isn’t a good idea because it won’t be able to absorb the formula properly. Since your armpit is one of the warmest places on your body, keep the cat near it.
3. Warm a bottle of formula in hot water until it reaches about 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius).
Fill a glass or mug halfway with your sink’s warmest water. Submerge the bottom of the kitten nursing bottle in the glass with the emergency formula.
Allow the formula to warm up in the water for about 5 minutes. Check the temperature of the formula with a thermometer to ensure it is at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius).
Nursing bottles for kittens can be purchased from a veterinarian or a pet store. Instead of a bottle, you can use a feeding syringe.
The formula should not be heated in the microwave since it can heat unevenly. If you don’t have a thermometer, feel the temperature with a drop of formula on the back of your hand.
It’s the right temperature for the kitten if you can comfortably hold it in your hand for 20 seconds. Allow 5 minutes for it to cool before examining it again if it feels too hot.
You might also like to read about how to bottle feed a kitten that won't eat
4. While feeding the kitten, hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle. If you don’t keep the kitten on its tummy while feeding it, the formula will get into its lungs.
Place the kitten’s mouth against the end of the nipple to encourage it to drink. To avoid too much gas, keep the bottle tilted up to decrease the amount of air the cat swallows.
Continue to feed the kitten until bubbles develop around its lips. If the kitten refuses to drink from the bottle, make a wider hole in the nipple with scissors or use a syringe instead. If the kitten’s mouth won’t open for the bottle, put your finger in it.
5. Burp the kitten by massaging its back. Place a towel under the kitten’s back and gently rub it up and down.
As you massage the kitten, use light pressure to encourage it to cough up any formula it has swallowed.
Stop rubbing the kitten’s back once it spits up on the cloth. If rubbing the kitten doesn’t work, try patting its back.
6. Stimulate the kitten’s genital area to encourage it to eliminate after eating. Gently rub the kitten’s genital area with a baby wipe while holding it above a litter box or piece of paper towel.
Lightly press down on the kitten until he or she urinates or eliminates in the litter. If the kitten does not go to the bathroom, it may develop constipation, which can be dangerous.
Kittens do not have the ability to excrete on their own, so be sure to stimulate them after each feeding to avoid any issues.
Take the kitten to the vet if the stool is loose or runny for more than 24 hours, as it could indicate an underlying issue.
You might also like to read how long can a kitten go without eating?
How Do I Replace Milk For Kittens?
You can replace milk for kittens by making homemade kitten formula.
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.
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 kitten may die from a lack of nutrients and attention unless it is manually fed by a human.
These homemade formulations provide them with the nutrition they need to survive their early years and develop correctly throughout time.
There are a variety of homemade kitten formula recipes available, but if you can use a kitten milk replacement from a pet store, that is great.
If you don’t have access to store-bought milk replacement, locate a recipe that you have all of the ingredients for 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).
Check out regarding how to tell if kittens are getting enough milk
Frequently Asked Questions
For how long should I use homemade kitten formula?
Since most emergency formulas aren’t nutritionally balanced for kittens, you should only offer emergency formula to your kittens for as long as it takes you to receive any kitten milk replacement formula — hopefully no longer than 24 hours. To make a quick and easy emergency formula with ordinary cupboard goods, combine 1 ounce each of condensed milk, water, and plain yogurt with an egg yolk. Warm the formula in the microwave for one minute, then let it cool until a drop or two on the inside of your wrist feels comfortable; don’t serve the formula too hot, as it could burn your infant.
How long can a newborn kitten go without eating?
Ideally, a newborn kitten should be fed every two hours during the day and night. Their tummies are small, so they’d be suckling from their mother frequently. Water will fill their stomachs, but it may cause their blood sugar to plummet, thus kitten milk should be fed exclusively to a newborn.
How to take care of a newborn kitten without a mother?
A mother cat (or queen) will not only feed her kittens, but she will also keep them warm and encourage them to pass urine and feces by licking under their tails after each feeding. You can check with a local shelter to see if they have any nursing queens who will occasionally accept a foster kitten. If not, as the foster carer for a newborn kitten, you will be responsible for keeping the kitten warm, fed, and toileted. They will require kitten milk replacer every two hours, day and night, until they are four to five days old and can take slightly larger feeds less frequently. You will also need to toilet them after feeding by gently rubbing under their tail with moist cotton wool (mimicking the mother’s licking) until they pass urine and feces.
Speak with your vet about a suitable cat milk replacement.
With high levels of protein and fat in cat milk, feeding other types of available milk (cow, sheep, goat, or non-dairy milk) can cause diarrhea and will not provide the kitten with the correct balance of nutrients for healthy growth and development.
Kittens must be fed kitten milk exclusively for the first 3-4 weeks of life before being weaned onto solid kitten food.
If you have any questions, ask us in the comments sections.