When it comes to feeding newborn kittens, mother cats usually have no problems getting them to drink their milk. However, it's a different problem when your kitten has been rejected by their mother or orphaned.
In the wild, kittens that have no mothers to care from them often don't last very long. Thankfully, it's possible for kittens to grow big and healthy from various types of kitten milk replacement formulas.
If you have to hand feed your kitten yourself, you may be looking for the right milk that is safe for it to consume.
Why You Shouldn't Give Your Kitten Cow's Milk
While we've been conditioned by cartoons to think kittens love cow's milk, the reality is that it's not really the best for their digestion. In fact, cow's milk can even cause diarrhea, which can be lethal to young kittens.
Thankfully, there are plenty of other options for surrogate cat moms and their kittens.
Although evaporated milk is not ideal, it can be a good temporary solution. If you are looking for a milk replacement while vets are still closed, evaporated milk is relatively accessible and can work in a jiffy.
To make a kitten-safe drink, combine 1 can of evaporated milk, egg yolk, and tbs of light corn syrup. As much as possible, it's better to only use evaporated milk temporarily until you find a more suitable option.
Unlike cow's milk, milk from a goat contains similar nutrients that are safe for your cat. You can combine one quart goats milk, egg yolk, 1 tsp light corn syrup, 1tbs non-fat goats milk yogurt, and unflavored gelatin.
Heat up the goat's milk in a pan and slowly add the gelatin. Once dissolved, add in the other ingredients. When feeding your kitten a goat's milk formula, make sure to refrigerate it to avoid spoilage.
Kitten Milk Replacer
Some vets will have kitten milk replacer readily available in their office. Often, these are special formulated for your kitten to get the right nutrition that matches what they would have received from their mother.
Often, kitten meal replacers come in the form of powder that can last for a long time. Aside from this, vets will also have vitamins that you can use to supplement their kitten milk replacer.
What You Need to Feed Your Kitten
To feed your kitten, you will need to have a syringe for small kittens or a pet nurser bottle for older kittens. Ideally, you should get the special nipple from the vet's office, as to simulate the experience of drinking from their mother's bosom.