A kitten only needs to feed on their mother’s milk until they are 6-8 weeks old. At that age, they can begin eating wet and dry food meant for kittens until they are a year old.
The problem comes when their mother isn’t around. That can happen if she has abandoned the kittens, rejected one of them, or died after giving birth to them. Whether you have found a litter of kittens without a mother or they were born at your home, you have a problem to solve. How do you feed the newborn kittens?
The best solution to this problem is to get mother cat replacement formula from a pet store or online. However, newborn kittens grow rapidly, and they need to eat every 2 to 4 hours during the day. What happens if you can’t get the formula in time for them to eat?
If you find yourself in this position, you will need to make your own kitten formula until you can buy a replacement. Here are four kitten formula recipes that you can use to keep your kitten satisfied and healthy until then.
These recipes come from “The Cornell Book of Cats,” developed by the Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine.
Homemade Kitten Formulas
1. Milk & Eggs Kitten Formula
Milk & Eggs Homemade Kitten Formula
- 2 egg yolks
- 8 ounces homogenized whole milk
- 1 teaspoon salad oil
- 1 drop liquid pediatric vitamins optional
- Mix all of this in a container that can seal.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
2. Kitten Formula with Gelatin
Amounts Vary by Age; Follow This Guide
- Newborn to 1 week old: 1 package of gelatin
- 2 week old: 1.5 to 2 packages of gelatin
- 3 week old: 2.5 to 3 packages of gelatin
- 4 week old: 4 packages of gelatin
This formula will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week as long as you keep it in the proper container.
3. Milk & Bone meal Kitten Formula
4. Kitten Formula with Egg Yolk, Evaporated Milk & Corn Syrup
How to Bottle-Feed a Newborn Kitten
When it comes to bottle-feeding a newborn kitten, we have a few tips and tricks. For one, start by using a special baby bottle made for tiny babies. You can also find bottles with tiny nipples that will suit a kitten’s mouth. The smaller size will make it easier for them to handle.
In the cases when you can’t find a baby bottle with a small enough nipple, you can also use an oral syringe without the needle. You can find these at store pharmacies.
Feeding the kitten involves heating the formula, whether it’s homemade or store-bought. It should be just warm. Put a couple of drops on your wrist first to ensure that it only feels a little warm, not too warm and not hot.
Do not use a microwave to do this. The best way is to put the formula in the bottle or syringe and then set it inside a bowl filled with hot water.
Once your kitten’s formula passes the wrist test, you can feed your kitten. To do this properly, place the kitten into a natural feeding position. They should be on their belly in a comfortable position on a table or the floor.
A kitten should eat about 8 milliliters of formula per ounce of their body weight during a day. Keep track of this to make sure they are getting enough calories and nutrients to grow steadily.
If you notice that they are constipated, add a small drop of vegetable oil into the formula once a day. Once the problem is resolved, stop doing so.
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As your kitten ages from 6 to 8 weeks old, they will have developed substantially. If you need help figuring out how old your kitten is, take them to your vet. It is recommended to do this anyway if you find kittens without their mother.
- How to Tell if My Cat Still Has Kittens Inside: 10 Vet-Reviewed Signs
- My Cat Keeps Walking Away From Her Kittens, Is It Normal? Vet-Approved Facts
Featured Image Credit: Gosha Georgiev, shutterstock
- Homemade Kitten Formulas
- Milk & Eggs Homemade Kitten Formula
- How to Bottle-Feed a Newborn Kitten