Adopting a kitten entails much responsibility. So, how can we make sure that a kitten will grow up healthy and happy even without its mother's care? This article will guide you in making a homemade kitten formula.
Newborn cats and those younger than five weeks need their mother's milk to obtain all essential nutrients required for their development(For older cats read more: Tips to take care of 12 week old kitten).
However, how about those orphaned kittens or those that have mothers that are incapable of feeding them?
There’s only one solution to that: a kitten milk replacement that is commercially available in pet stores.
Even without their mother’s milk, these milk formulas are specially formulated to meet all nutritional requirements of young felines.
However, we can't always get our hands on these milk replacement. Pet stores are not convenient stores that are open 24/7.
So, what happens when you run out of milk replacement powder in the middle of the night? And, your furry little kitties are hungry?
It is during these emergencies that a homemade kitten formula can come in handy. Does this mean that it’s okay to give cow’s milk to kittens?
Felines are generally lactose intolerant because they lack the lactase enzyme that can break down lactose.
However, kittens are different. Newborn cats can produce lactase enzyme. So, this means that they can tolerate lactose well.
As they grow up and mature, they eventually lose this ability. At six months of age, they can no longer produce this enzyme, and they become intolerant to lactose.
Considering this fact, we can safely assume that cow’s milk (which has the highest lactose content) is safe for them.
However, if you're anxious about the issue of lactose intolerance, you can use goat's milk instead.
Goat’s milk contains less lactose which makes it easier to digest than cow’s milk.
A homemade kitten formula is a convenient way of providing milk food to your hungry kitties during emergencies.
Furthermore, a homemade kitten formula is an inexpensive alternative to commercial milk products.
It may help you a lot especially if you're on a tight budget.
However, homemade kitten formulas should only be used as a temporary substitute to milk replacement powder.
We don’t recommend using homemade kitten formulas for long-term feeding.
In other words, these homemade kitten formulas should only be given when commercial milk replacement is unavailable at hand.
Homemade Formula for Emergency Feeding
As mentioned earlier, commercial milk replacement formulas are specially formulated to contain all the essential nutrients that a kitten requires.
The proper balance of nutrients and proteins found in these products are necessary to support healthy growth and development.
Namely, these products are created to mimic the nutritional value and the taste of a cat mother's milk.
However, we can't always keep these products in the pantry all the time.
Suppose that all pet stores and grocery stores are closed, preparing homemade kitten formula is the only way to go.
In making homemade kitten formula, you’ll need other ingredients aside from cow’s milk or goat’s milk.
Please don't feed your kittens with pure cow's milk or goat's milk alone because it may upset your kitty's tummies.
In the worse of cases, it may even lead to gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea.
Moreover, growing kittens require more protein in their diet. The protein content in cow’s or goat’s milk may not be sufficient to cover their daily protein requirement.
However, if you add other ingredients that are high in protein, then it might fix the issue of protein deficiency.
For example, egg yolks and gelatin are excellent sources of protein. Adding these ingredients can supplement your furry kitty with enough protein.
If your little furry feline is suffering from constipation, you can also add Karo syrup, which is known to relieve the symptoms.
Moreover, to enhance the nutritional value of your homemade kitten formula, you can add a drop of pediatric vitamins.
As for the taste, we recommend you use yogurt and avoid using artificial additives or flavorings.
Preparing homemade kitten formula may sound challenging, but it's easy and straightforward. Read on to learn our simple recipes for homemade kitten formula.
6 Easy-to-Prepare Homemade Formula for Kittens
Here are six homemade kitten formulas that you can quickly prepare in emergencies:
1. Homemade Kitten Formula #1
2. Homemade Kitten Formula #2
3. Homemade Kitten Formula #3
If your kitten is suffering from constipation, add one drop of vegetable oil into the formula.
4. Homemade Kitten Formula #4
5. Homemade Kitten Formula #5
6. Homemade Kitten Formula #6
Some Alternatives to Nursing Bottle
Finding a kitten nursing bottle in a pinch isn't easy. More especially if the kitten you happen to rescue from the streets is already starving.
If the starving kitten cannot wait any longer, there’s no need to risk your time by going to the grocery store.
There are other household items that you can use as alternatives to nursing bottles.
An eye dropper would do the trick. A syringe without the needle can also do a great job.
Feed the kitten with homemade kitten formula using any of these alternatives. Drop the milk into the kitty’s mouth one drop at a time.
They should consume 1 ml of milk every 2 hours, and it's highly recommended not to exceed this amount.
That would give you enough time to run to the nearest pet store to buy milk replacement formula and appropriate nursing bottles.
Sterilize newly-bought bottles and nipples by washing them thoroughly with water before using.
After using, rewash them with water using a soft-brush to rinse away the residue. Soak the bottle and the nipple in warm water for further sanitation.
How to Feed Kittens
Rescued or orphaned kittens have to survive without a mother, so it's up to us to lend a helping hand.
Make sure to shake the formula well before feeding the kitten to prevent lumps from obstructing the nipples.
With the kitten’s head upright, keep it on its belly and let it suck the bottle nipple. After each feeding, make sure that the kitty burps after.
You can help it burp by holding its body to your chest with its head elevated. Using your fingertips, gently tap its back until it finally burps.
At three weeks of age, you can start training your kitty to lap up milk from a saucer. However, don't expect your pet to get the hang of it from the get-go.
It will take some time before your kitty learns to ditch its milk bottle for a saucer. However, it will eventually get there.
During the first week, feed it around 1 ml of formula milk every 2 hours. Increase the dosage by 0.5 ml each day so by the second week; you should be giving approximately 6 ml.
On its third week, reduce the frequency of feeding and do it once every 4 hours. You can gradually introduce soft kitten food alongside their formula milk.
Formula milk is still essential for kittens three weeks and beyond because they need crucial nutrients required for growth and development.
However, it would be best if you stopped giving formula milk during the seventh week. They should be weaned at eight weeks of age.
What Not to Add Into Homemade Formula for Kittens
Many pet owners can’t help but raised an eyebrow at the idea of using egg yolks in homemade kitten formula. However, is it safe?
There are certain conditions in choosing the type of eggs to use. As much as possible, make sure that you’re using free-range eggs and not the factory-farmed ones.
Factory-farmed eggs came from chickens that are kept in cages and fed with pesticide-contaminated grains.
Moreover, worse, these chickens may also receive antibiotics and hormones. Naturally, these elements can adversely affect the eggs.
On the other hand, free-range eggs came from pasture-raised chickens that are fed with organically-grown grains without antibiotics or hormones.
To ensure the safety of your kitty, only choose free-range eggs. More importantly, avoid giving egg whites as these contain a protein called avidin that interferes with the absorption of vitamins.
As a flavor enhancer, Karo syrup is the best fit for homemade kitten formula as it also helps with constipation.
Avoid using honey as a natural sweetener because it contains botulism pores that release a toxin that can poison cats.
Now you can quickly prepare homemade kitten formula to be used on emergencies where you can't obtain commercial ones.
However, let us remind you again that these should only serve as temporary remedies in the absence of milk replacement powder.
You can just use these alternatives until you can purchase the real deal from a pet store.
How about a human infant formula? Can you use this milk as a substitute?
Human infant formula milk is formulated for a human baby. Kittens are entirely different from humans.
We don't recommend using human infant milk to kittens, not even as a temporary substitute.
There’s a high chance that your kitty might experience upset tummy and diarrhea with a formula intended for human babies.
Follow the simple recipes presented earlier and use these to help ease the hunger of a starving kitten.
Feeding and taking care of an orphaned kitten is indeed a challenging task. However, you'll realize that every effort you've done is all worth it.