A cat outside just gave birth and disappeared, leaving you to care for the kittens. Since they haven’t yet been weaned, you’ll be giving kittens milk. But what milk should you give them?
If this is your first experience with young kittens you may be tempted to offer them cow’s milk from your fridge… but that isn’t a good choice. Giving a kitten pasteurized cow’s milk isn’t healthy and can cause diarrhea, which can be super dangerous for kittens.
Instead, you’ll want to run to the store and grab some kitten milk replacement (KMR) or commercial kitten formula that’s formulated for kittens and use a bottle with a nipple to feed them. You can find these bottles at the store or online. Be sure to wash thoroughly between feedings. Read the instructions on how much and how often to feed.
Kitten Milk Recipe
If you don’t have a store nearby to access the milk, Dr. Karen Becker says you can mix this in a pinch:
- 3 ounces of condensed milk
- 3 ounces of water
- 4 ounces of plain yogurt (not low-fat)
- 3 to 4 egg yolks (no whites)
You can also use raw goat’s milk, but I would recommend getting the babies on a commercial kitten formula as quickly as possible. Be sure to bring the milk to a warm temperature, as we want to mirror the mother’s milk as much as possible.
You may be giving kittens milk for a few weeks (preferably 5-8 weeks) before weaning them onto a solid diet. At this point, we recommend transitioning them to a fresh, balanced raw diet for kittens. We did this by adding the KMR as a raw food topper. Kittens that are weaned from milk to a fresh food diet tend to have less health issues as they get older.
There are many others tips for caring for young kittens that can be important to follow as well. Bless you for being awesome enough to take care of the helpless.