Buying the best milk replacers for kittens happens when after the kittens are born, the cat’s mum is not able to feed them independently with breast milk. Under normal circumstances, this is not a problem, as they are cared for and fed by their mothers. Their mother’s milk gives them all the nutrition they need for the first month of their lives. But there may be challenges that make a mother cat’s milk unavailable, like:
- The mother cat may not survive the birth.
- The mother cat can abandon her kittens.
- The number of kittens may be too big for the mother to handle on her own.
- The mother may reject one or more kittens because they are too small or weak.
- The mother may be ill and/or have postnatal problems.
- The mother cat can be killed by a car or an animal outside if it is allowed to leave (or run away) from the house. Raising kittens without a mother cat requires a lot of patience and attention. Any surrogate mother is a much better solution than raising kittens by a human, so if u have this possibility, this option will be preferred first of all.
Caring for a kitten is not at all difficult, as we said, just needs patience and attention. Only a few rules must be followed so as not to do more harm than good. We are referring to the kittens of a few days, to whom they have not yet given their eyes. In the first phase, they need a safe, warm bed (because they can’t adjust their body temperature on their own) and food.
A kitten milk substitute and a nice and cozy shelter will help solve this problem. In this article, we will tell you about the characteristics of cat’s milk, about choosing a high-quality substitute, as well as about its dosage, and its use. And as a reminder, if possible, kittens should nurse from their mother for the first two days of their lives to receive nutrient-rich colostrum. Mother’s colostrum helps strengthen the immune system and contains growth factors to stimulate protein synthesis, fat utilization, and cell growth. Further down you will find the list of 10 best milk replacers for kittens.
Giving this milk replacer for kittens formula to your growing newborn up to six weeks kitten provides a complete diet and supplies the milk proteins and taurine that kittens need along with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to support healthy growth and development. It is easy to mix, highly palatable, and an easy-to-digest source of nutrients for kittens and senior cats, but please read all the directions for mixing and feeding. As transnational food replacer is recommended PetAg KMR 2nd Step, for kittens 4-8 weeks old.
Crude protein – 40%, Crude fat – 28%, Crude fiber – 0.6%, Moisture – 5%
- A caloric pattern similar to mother’s milk
- Ideal for post-surgery and convalescence
- Reach in protein, fat, and carbohydrates
- No need to use a blender
- Some kittens might prefer KMR Liquid Replacer for kittens.
Providing the best milk replacers for kittens is very important, and this is why Hartz has one of the best products on the market. An optimal balance of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, emulates the mother’s milk and it’s precisely formulated, featuring calcium for strong bones, taurine for heart and eye development, linoleic acid to support healthy skin and coat, lysine for respiratory health. There is also a liquid formula that you can buy here Hartz Liquid Kitten Milk. Using this milk with the Hartz Nursing Bottle is recommended, which is sold separately.
Crude protein – 30%, Crude fat – 40%, Crude fiber – 0.8%, Moisture – 5%
- Very good price
- Supplement for pregnant and nursing cats
- Just mix with room temperature water
- Kittens put weight on fast
- Preserved with BHA and
PetLac is on of the best milk replacer for kittens by reviews. Nursing, weaning kittens, or older cats will enjoy this recommended food source as a supplement that contains FOS (fructooligosaccharides), to improve the absorption of minerals, and decrease serum cholesterol, triacylglycerols, and phospholipids. As a recommendation, smaller and weaker kittens may need increased feeding frequency and when they become older, the frequency may be decreased and the amount per feeding increased.
Crude protein – 33%, Crude Fat – 18%, Crude fiber – 0.5%, Moisture – 5%
You can find on the market this Petlac milk, designed for other animals also.
- Easy to Administer
- Supplies vitamins, minerals, and amino acids
- Excellent care solution
- Made in USA, top-quality product
- Contains soy- not the best protein for kittens.
Made with the latest advances in formulation and technology in the USA, with premium ingredients you can trust, Nutri-Vet supplement carries the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) quality seal and this is why it is one of the best milk replacers for kittens out there. Natural recipe, complete with probiotics, for supporting a healthy gut, digestion, growth, and development. Provides balanced, essential nutrition for kittens from birth to weaning. Nutri-Vet’s Opti-Gut is a blend of ingredients that helps regulate the digestive system, building blocks for healthy muscles, skin, and other body tissue. This is why we added this product to the best milk replacers for kittens list.
Crude Protein – 30%, Crude Fat – 40%, Fiber – 0.5%, Moisture – 5%
- Made by vets
- Full meal replacement for newborn
- Excellent growth rates and weight gain
- Highly recommended
- Some kittens don’t like it.
Serving this milk replacer to your kittens, which is naturally high in calcium to promote healthy teeth and bones, gives a real good nutrition boost. Lactose can upset their sensitive stomachs, and that’s why milk is 98% lactose-reduced. The pack contains (8) Boxes Of (3) 6.75-Oz, specially formulated for even the most sensitive stomachs. Currently, this item can be shipped only within the U.S.
Crude Protein – min. 3.4%, Crude Fat – min. 2.2%, Fiber – 0.4%, Moisture – 88%
- Enriched with essential nutrients
- No artificial flavors
- Intended for intermittent feeding only
- Contain corn syrup and dextrose so be careful with diabetic cats.
Trying to find the best milk replacer for kittens can get you to this option from GNC when you search for accurate labeling and manufacturing for consumer safety. The milk is a powder formula, approved by NASC ( National Animal Supplement Council ), and proudly made in the US, with safe, secure, and high-quality products. Protein formula with necessary quantities of protein, fat, and fiber, has added vitamins and minerals for strong bones and healthy teeth.
Crude Protein – 42%, Crude Fat – 25%, Fiber – 0%, Moisture – 5%
- Strong bone development
- Supports healthy teeth
- Immune support
- Fron natural milk protein
- Some reviewers complained about the expiring date.
Containing a homogenous formula, Babycat milk replacer for kittens dissolves almost instantly and totally, with no sediment. Kittens don’t secrete enough amylase to digest starch and this milk is particularly suitable for the kitten’s digestive system. The addition of fructooligosaccharides (FOS) helps maintain a healthy balance of digestive flora and the DHA, which is naturally present in maternal milk, helps develop cognitive function.
Crude Protein – 31%, Crude Fat – 37%, Fiber – 3%, Moisture – 4.5%
- Complete milk replacer
- Supports healthy teeth
- For steady, harmonious growth
- High energy and protein levels
- Some kittens might not like the taste.
Being recognized for a clean ingredient list – with this, we say no preservatives, artificial colors, or flavors – and having as the primary ingredient Grade A goat milk, Tailspring was born from Meyenberg, America’s #1 goat milk seller, known since 1934 for consistency and quality. It can also be used as a meal flavor enhancer, meal topper, or treat, providing a delicious taste for the adult cat also.
Crude Protein – min. 8.5%, Crude Fat – min. 5%, Fiber – max. 0.1%, Moisture – max. 81%
- Closely match mother’s milk
- Goat milk #1 ingredient
- The cleanest label on the market
- Easy to digest
- Some kittens might have stomach problems.
Breeders Edge being one of Amazon’s expensive options was added to the best milk replacements for kittens review, we have all the reasons to check what is so special about this milk. First, we can start with IgY and Bio-Mos, which are antibody ingredients for intestinal immunity, detecting and neutralizing potentially harmful bacterias. They support the healthy development of a kitten’s immune system by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria and stimulating their natural defenses against diseases. Second, the micronized Psyllisium and the mix of amino acids create strong support for heart, eye, and brain development.
Crude Protein – min. 32%, Crude Fat – min. 44%, Fiber – max. 0.2%, Moisture – max. 5%
- Best ingredients
- Keep moms healthy so they can focus on raising happy kittens
- Reduces GI irritation
- Helps with tissue growth, repair, and maintenance
- Sandy texture.
Mentioning the best milk replacers for kittens, from the beginning this formula is flavorless, which can help those who avoid goat milk, but still can use it in this alternative. Contains digestive enzymes and immunoglobulins to help break down essential nutrients and ease digestion and help establish a healthy immune system. Also has small fat globules, a high concentration of small and medium-chain fatty acids, and a loose curd formation, which allows it to be digested more quickly and with less effort.
Crude Protein – min. 24%, Crude Fat – min. 24%, Fiber – max. 0.5%, Moisture – max. 5%
- A great addition to the daily diets of aging, convalescing, and underweight pets
- Delivers Essential Nutrients
- Includes Vitamins, Minerals, and Probiotics
- Highly palatable
- Nothing to worry about.
Best milk replacers for kittens come into help when, as we said, for different reasons, if the kittens don’t have access to a mother’s milk so they can get colostrum milk or to an adoptive mother who can feed them, then they need our help to survive their first days. Because they are so small, very young kittens can’t eat solid food because they don’t have the ability, so they need very specific nutrition.
Mentioning colostrum, it’s passed through the mother’s milk within the first 72 hours. It can only be absorbed by the kitten during the first 4 days of life and kittens should be fed within two hours of birth. It is essential, that kittens receive colostrum, otherwise, important antibodies that help build immunity will not be transmitted to the kitten. If a kitten does not get this from their mom they are susceptible to illness and disease.
Now, if we speak about milk replacers it is an artificial milk food formula that we can buy from any veterinary office or clinic liquid or powder, and yet it is not as effective as breast milk, but it covers the nutritional needs of kittens or cats. On the other side, many people believe in the myth that natural cow or goat milk is good for kittens, but the reality is quite different. Although milk tastes good, it is not the healthiest drink for them. In the vast majority of kittens, milk can harm them.
For example, the composition of cow’s milk is not the same as that of the mother, so it cannot provide your kitten with all the nutrients it needs. Cow’s milk is much poorer in protein, fat, and lactose, and can often cause bloating and/or diarrhea, which is an additional reason why it is not especially recommended for kittens.
NOTE: In case your kitten has diarrhea and the poo smells strange!
The foul odor of feces may be due to the fermentation of cow’s milk. If you fed the kitten with a pipette or syringe and you’re wondering if the kitten has milk in the lungs, then lung milk is excluded. This could only have happened if the milk had been inhaled, which would lead to “ab ingestis” pneumonia, a disease that is incompatible with life.
The Latin phrase “Ab Ingestis” ( translated as “from ingested materials”) is used in the medical field to indicate the involuntary inhalation of food material – solid or liquid – from the digestive tract – not only from the mouth but also from the esophagus or stomach.
It is best to give her a special milk replacer for kittens (eg Baby Milk from Royal Canin). Its composition is especially intended for very small kittens as it is designed according to a formula as close as possible to breast milk.
The recommended amount differs depending on the kitten’s age, as follows:
- 1st week- 2-4 ml of 7 x / day
- 2nd week- 5-10 ml of 6x / day
- 3rd week- 10-15 ml of 5x / day
- 4th week- 10-15 ml of 5x / day. All this time kitten should gain weight. If even after you change the milk, the kitten does not gain weight, it is best to go to a veterinary office.
To be able to eat quietly the kitten needs the mother’s warmth. TIPS in case the mom is missing for reasons that we mentioned at the beginning of the article:
It is not enough to just use a banal box as a shelter for such small kittens, veterinarians say. It must be arranged precisely to try to replace the absence of the mother. Thus, in a fluffy blanket, wrap a bottle in which put hot water and put in the basket. Instinctively, the kittens will approach the heat zone they need so much. A tip also recommended by the veterinarian is to place a mechanical watch next to the hot water bottle, one that ticks and somehow mimics the heartbeat. We can cover the clock with the same blanket we covered the bottle with. The box does not need to be placed next to another heat source, but we need to ensure that the bottled water stays at a temperature of about 40 degrees. If this is not possible, try to help him feel good and safe when you feed him.
Goat Milk Replacer For Kittens
Now, goat’s milk is not recommended as it is far too low in protein and fat. Goat milk contains more medium-chain fatty acids than cow milk. The calcium & phosphorus content of cow and goat milk is significantly lower than that of kittens milk replacer which can risk deficiency and proper skeletal development. Lactose amounts are higher in cow and goat milk than in milk replacer. That’s why this can cause diarrhea and dehydration leading to further complications.
Like humans, kittens/cats can be lactose intolerant and are not supposed to be the best milk replacers for kittens. To digest lactose (milk sugar), the feline must produce enough lactase (the enzyme needed to break down lactose into glucose and galactose). If this enzyme is produced, then it is likely that the kitten/cat will tolerate a portion of milk and dairy products without any problems.
If the body does not produce enough lactase, then the ingested lactose will not break down into the two compounds and will not be able to be digested and absorbed. When this happens, the kitten/cat is lactose intolerant.
As they grow, lactase will produce less and less. Less lactase means less ability to digest lactose. Ultimately, the result will be lactose intolerance. When a kitten/cat is lactose intolerant and consumes milk, undigested lactose will pass through the intestinal tract and ferment in the colon and produce volatile fatty acids. Lack of digestion will lead to an upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Lactose intolerance is the main reason why milk and many dairy products are on the list of foods that can be consumed but may present a moderate risk.
Usage features of milk replacers for kittens
The sequence of preparation of all cat milk substitutes is almost the same. The detailed instructions are already printed on the package on milk replacers for kittens and are usually quite detailed and understandable. We take into consideration only some of the characteristics of the use of such mixtures:
- First of all, it is not worth buying a lot of substitutes. It is usually not suitable for long-term storage, and the use of the expired product is dangerous because pathogenic bacteria form in powder milk during long-term storage;
- Your hands and utensils, in which you will prepare the mixture, must be sterile. Especially this recommendation applies to newborns because, in the first days after birth, their immunity has not yet been fully formed, and the body is very vulnerable to viruses and bacteria;
- The mixture must be cooked exactly as much as newborns will eat at some point. The remaining cooked substitute cannot be stored in the refrigerator;
- You need to be clear about how much your kitten needs to eat. Instructions usually contain tables that tell you which part is right for your kitten. However, it is sometimes necessary to adjust the mixture dose individually, as both lack of feeding and overloading are harmful. It is necessary to monitor the feces of the kitten. If the kitten ate too much, the poo is slightly thin and yellow. If the kitten is okay with the poo, and after feeding it does not look slow and restless, then it means it’s full and the size to serve the best milk replacer for kittens is correct.
- Cat gestation period 63 to 65 days
- Kitten birth weight 75 to 100 grams
- Temperature 1.-3. day: 37.0 to 38.2 ° C; from day 4 to 39.2 ° C increasing
- Eyes opening after 10-14 days
- The hearing canal opens after 14 days
- Teeth piercing of calf’s teeth: after 2 to 3 weeks
- Complete kitten teeth: after 8 weeks
- Tooth change: after 4.5 to 6 weeks
In case of doubt, the temperature of the kittens should be checked with rectal measurements. Ideal ambient temperature: Week 1: 30° C, Week 2: 28° C, Week 3: 26° C, from week 4: room temperature. Prepare a high-edged nest for the kitten from which it will not fall, for example, a box with a lid or towels; even diapers can be used. Beware of fluffy towels: in the first few weeks, kittens cannot withdraw their claws and may be stuck in them.
Regular intake of fluids and nutrients is essential, as the kittens can dehydrate quickly or they may become hypoglycemic. All of the following recommendations are only average values the application in each particular case depends on different factors. Therefore, in an area with a dry climate, a higher fluid intake is required than in a high humid climate The ideal humidity is between 55 – 60%.
Breast milk substitutes
No milk substitute can optimally replace colostrum (also known as milk from the first days, the first milk, etc.). Colostrum is the first milk produced by the mammary glands. Thus, in the first 3.5 to 4 weeks of life, the administration of replacement milk for cats is essential. Powdered milk for kittens is a suitable alternative. If such replacement milk is not available, dog milk can also be used. Having in view that depending on the product, these essential amino acid substitutes may be missing (eg taurine), this option should only be used as an emergency solution for some days until the cat milk substitute is available.
The milk replacers for kittens are mostly in powder form, which must be mixed as directed by dosing, with previously boiled water. It is necessary to follow the instructions because milk too thick causes constipation. It is recommended that the milk be passed through or mixed in the mixer. Care must be taken not to form lumps, otherwise, the milk must be sieved. The kitten should be fed with milk prepared in this way, at a temperature of approx. 37 ° C. When the kitten is hungry, it should be fed. When they are hungry, the kitten will cry, howl, and look for their mom’s breast.
Dosing and feeding interval with best milk replacer:
- Daily dose: In the first 3 weeks of life 15ml of breast milk substitutes per 100 grams, of body weight, then 20ml per 100 grams of body weight. The amount of food can be easily checked if the kitten is weighed before and after feeding(1ml = 1g).
- Feeding interval: In the first 2 weeks about once every two hours, then once every three hour or four hours. Please note that the bottle feeding interval is also valid at night! When food from the plate or solid food is introduced into the kitten’s diet (regularly from week 4), no need to bottle feed over the night.
- Feeding amounts and intervals may vary depending on the quality of the milk.
If the kittens are weak, they need to be cared for intensively and fed every hour. When their condition becomes stable, it is enough to feed them once every two hours, even in the first weeks of life. If they do not drink enough during three meals or if they lose weight, it is recommended that the kittens be fed with a probe. This must be done by a veterinarian and often saves kitten’s lives; otherwise, there is a risk of hypoglycemia and dehydration.
Note: If the kittens have previously received breast milk, it takes a lot of patience to convince them to drink the new milk replacer for kittens. In this case, it can help if you mix a little glucose. If kittens are weak, it is recommended first, to give them a few drops of solution glucose concentrate (approx. 20%). Kittens should not swallow glucose because of this it’s absorbed directly through the oral mucosa. After a few minutes, the blood sugar level is slightly raised and the kittens will eat better. But beware: This procedure should not be repeated too often because the sugar is saturated and the kittens will drink less.
After about 3.5 to 4 weeks, food will be provided for the kittens in the shape of porridge or mousse. Depending on the amount of food the kitten eats, the amount of milk can be reduced. When kittens eat alone from the plate, substituted milk may be offered in bowls until in the 8th week of life. From this moment, the kittens should pass completely to cat food, and replacement milk should no longer be given.
Starting with the first day, in addition to milk, a portion of vitamin paste can be administered, the size of a pea, which can be licked by the kitten.
Nursing bottles and alternatives
As nursing bottles can be used bottles with rubber teats. Most of the time, these bottles are not suitable because it is difficult to pierce a rubber opening. The opening should not be too large, as there is a risk that kittens drown. Ideally, you should buy a bottle with an appropriate teat opening. When the nipple becomes porous, it must be changed immediately, as kittens can bite rubber into pieces and cause intestinal blockage.
Alternatively, the milk may be given dropwise using a pipette or syringe disposable (no needle!). The syringes should have a smooth slide to ensure a low dosage. Keep in mind that not all kittens have a sucking reflex. Therefore, a 2ml syringe, which slides easily it’s ideal for feeding because this way the amount of food can be optimally dosed and administered to kittens.
Ideally, take a warm blanket, put it on your lap, and put the kitten on it. Before starting feeding, caress the kitten, it will help him relax. By no means the kitten should not be put on the back, even if you find such pictures on the internet. In this position, the risk of drowning is very high. The best position is sitting or standing or right on the belly.
Pay attention to the kitten’s sucking reflex, adapt to it, and administer the milk at the appropriate speed. The upper body as well as the kitten’s head should be held slightly raised even a few minutes after drinking the milk.
During the first 20 days of life, the kitten’s abdominal and anal area should be massaged afterwards each meal with a wet, warm handkerchief, with light pressure, to stimulate digestion and urination. The mother cat often cleans the kittens for hours, thus stimulating them in continuously. Most orphaned kittens do not survive the first weeks of life just because they weren’t massaged at all or enough.
Weight of kitten
Body weight should increase by 10% daily. In the case of weakened kittens, the weight remains the same at the beginning or increases only slightly. That should change but pretty quickly. If the weight remains constant or decreases, it is an alarm signal and an immediate visit to the veterinarian is recommended. In all cases, it is recommended that kittens should be weighed two or three times a day.
There is no difference in weight according to sex in the first weeks of life. Weight loss will be tolerable if it does not exceed ten percent per day.
Ideally, a digital scale will be used, which shows every gram of the kitten. To make it easier, you can put the kitten in a basket (e.g. bread basket). A weight log, date, and time will be kept for control.
Especially in the case of weak animals you need to be careful how you feed them. At first, give them some juice WHO (recipe follows), then small portions of the substitute breast milk. When your belly is full, you have to stop feeding immediately.
Juice-WHO (Homemade Electrolyte Drink)
- 1 liter of water
- 1/2 liter of apple juice
- 4 teaspoons of honey
- 2/3 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
All this is boiled and then cooled.
A home-made best milk replacers for kittens formulas should not be used for more than 24h and only if you have no other options!
Milk Replacer For Kittens Formula # 1
- 1 liter of whole goat’s milk
- 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon plain skim yogurt (preferably goat’s milk)
- 1 egg yolk
Unflavored gelatin is as follows:
- Newborn up to 1 week – 1 packet of gelatin
- The second week – 1-1/2 to 2 packs of gelatin
- Week 3 – 2-1/2 to 3 packets of gelatin
- Week 4 – 4 packets of gelatin
Put the goat’s milk in a saucepan and add the appropriate amount of gelatin depending on the kitten’s age. Heat the mixture only until the gelatin dissolves and then remove it from the heat. Mix the rest of the ingredients and refrigerate. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Milk Replacer For Kittens Formula # 2
- 240 ml of homogenized whole milk
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon plain oil
- 1 drop of liquid pediatric vitamins (optional)
Mix well and store in the refrigerator.
Milk Replacer For Kittens Formula # 3
- 1 part boiled water to 5 parts powder milk
- 1/2 teaspoon bone powder to 500 ml of liquid
- Mix well and store in the refrigerator.
Milk Replacer For Kittens Formula # 4
- 1 can of powder milk
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup
- 1 drop of liquid human pediatric vitamins (optional)
Mix the milk, egg yolk, and syrup well and store in a tightly closed jar in the refrigerator. At the time of feeding, mix half of the estimated amount of feed with an equal amount of boiling water. Once a day, mix a drop of liquid baby vitamins in the formula portion of each kitten.
Is cow’s milk good for kittens?
Newborn kittens should be fed with a commercial milk substitute, which is specially formulated for kittens. You should never feed a kitten cow’s milk or infant formula.
Why is my cat rejecting one of her kittens?
The mother cat may detect or suspect a health problem in one or more kittens and may refuse to breastfeed that individual. She can take the sick kitten out of the nest in an instinctive attempt to protect the other kittens. The problem may be an obvious congenital disability or a major or more subtle disease. This is why it is good that cat owners can choose the best milk replacers for kittens.
Is Homemade kitten formula safe?
You can feed the kitten by making homemade formula in an emergency, but it’s not safe to give it a homemade formula for more than a few days.
Is rice milk good for kittens?
As kittens are obligate carnivores rice milk is not something they can easily digest. On top of that most rice milk has sugar added which is super dangerous for cats and you should never let them drink it. A milk treat that would be safe to give, would be goat’s milk because it’s more easily digestible than cow’s milk.
Raising kittens by humans means dedication. The best milk replacers for kittens will be able qualitatively replace breastfeeding for newborns and they will grow up healthy. Needs time, knowledge, and love to save a kitten. However, if you follow all the instructions and recommendations, the risk of failure can be reduced. Unfortunately, in reality, it’s high, because the man cannot make up for the lack of mother and milk maternal. The biggest risks are digestive problems, dehydration, hypothermia or overheating, hunger or drowning. We wish you well and success!
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