Can you feed baby kittens evaporated milk

Orphaned Kitten Care | PetMD

By D.L. Smith-Reed, DVM

Feeding a newborn orphaned kitten is a challenge but can be fun and rewarding. Here are some guidelines to follow when assisting orphaned kittens.

If you are sure the mother cat is unable to care for them, congratulations…you have a new and challenging responsibility!

We first need to determine how old they are before we try to start feeding them. Kittens’ eyes generally open between days 7 through 14. If the eyes are still closed, the kittens are quite young and you have a lot of work ahead of you. Fortunately, it is very rewarding work to see these little kitties grow and thrive.

Have your veterinarian check them over as soon as possible to determine their health status and age. Any noticeable health problems such as skin lesions, crusty eyelids, or presence of dehydration can be addressed by your veterinarian and appropriate treatment started.

It's unfortunate and sad that not all kittens and puppies receive the nurturing and security of a mother.

Home Care

If you are committed to helping the newborn kittens and become their surrogate mother, then you will need to provide a safe, warm home for them. You can use a box or small crate with plenty of dry, clean bedding. Make sure you change the bedding frequently so it doesn’t get too soiled.

Place the new "den" in a warm, quiet place free from drafts, but be careful not to overheat them either. Don’t put them next to a heating or air conditioning vent. Heating pads under a box can be helpful. The kittens should be in an environment that approaches 92 degrees; monitor the air temperature around the kittens frequently.

Once they become 2 weeks old, they will be better equipped to generate their own body heat and their surrounding air temperature becomes less critical.


For very young kittens, you will need to acquire kitten milk replacer and some feeding devices. Many veterinarians will use an ordinary eye dropper or a small syringe as a means of dispensing the milk replacer to the kitten.

Most pet stores or veterinary clinics have nursing bottles, too, but be alert to the fact that some kittens cannot suck the contents through the small nipple. You may need to actually squeeze the milk out for the kitten while having the nipple in the kitty's mouth. Warm it up a little, too, under the hot water faucet.

If it is after hours at your local animal hospital, your short-term solution will be to mix an egg yolk with a can of evaporated milk (make sure it is not the sweetened condensed milk). This is only a temporary "solution" and should only be used for a couple of feedings.

At the first few feedings, the kittens will probably only consume a few cc’s worth of milk. (There are 5 cc's in a teaspoon.) You will need to feed every couple of hours at first and gradually build up time between feedings as they begin to eat more at each meal. Start by offering a small amount. If the kitten won’t eat readily from the nipple and bottle, try an eyedropper or syringe and drip a little in the mouth, adding more at the kitten's pace. Make sure that the milk is just above room temperature; try not to microwave it since you can cause hot spots in the milk.

Follow instructions on the milk replacer for mixing and storage. Contact your veterinarian if the kitten does not eat for more than six hours, as hypoglycemia can occur quickly in young kittens who are not getting nutrition. Once they get the hang of it, the kittens should consume the milk replacer greedily. You can stop the feeding when the kitten begins to slow down the consumption or becomes disinterested.

When the orphaned kittens reach about 3 weeks of age, you can start providing watered-down meat-based kitten food for them to nibble on. Mix the wet food with water until it achieves a soupy consistency, and consider warming the mixture before serving. Make sure you keep a fresh supply and not too much at one time. It’s also important to monitor the kittens while they are eating, as they are unsteady and can fall head first into the food. Once they start eating food as it comes from the can, you can leave out dry kibble for them to munch on, too. A kibble with good protein and fat levels is recommended.

Keep in touch with your veterinarian if you notice any health problems or "poor doers.” A "poor doer" is a kitten or puppy that lags behind the other littermates in body size, alertness, or activity level. The earlier any problems are detected and addressed, the better the chance for recovery.



One other thing you will need to do, since mom isn’t there to clean up after the kittens, is to stimulate the kittens to eliminate waste during or after each feeding. You can accomplish this by using a warm, wet paper towel to gently massage the anal and urinary openings. Your kitten should immediately urinate and/or defecate. Afterward, gently pat the area dry to avoid irritation and infection.

As the kittens get older and more mobile and exploratory, you can provide a low-sided cardboard box with a small amount of litter for the kittens to get used to. It is generally instinct for them to scratch in something for their elimination habits. Once they start urinating and passing stool on their own (generally by 3 weeks of age), you will be able to give up that particular job of assisting them.

Health Care

Some things to monitor over the course of the next few weeks are appetite, activity level, and growth. You will need to call the veterinarian if a kitten won’t eat or stops eating. Bathroom habits should be predictable, and you should talk to your veterinarian if urinating or defecating changes, or if the kitten’s attitude or activity level also changes. Other health concerns include upper respiratory infections that create sneezing and eye and nose discharge.

Many times the eyes will get so much discharge, the eyelids will gum up and stick together. Wet a cotton ball with warm water and hold it on the eyes for a few seconds to moisten the discharge. Then, very gently wipe one to two times to remove the softened crust and open up the eyes until you can contact your veterinarian.

A number of different parasites are a concern and can weaken a young kitten. Your veterinarian should treat fleas, mites, lice, and intestinal parasites. Don’t use over-the-counter medications without consulting your veterinarian since very young kittens may not be able to tolerate some of these products.

Many types of problems can be determined at the time of the first visit. Your veterinarian may suggest that you drop off a stool sample at 4 weeks of age to check for intestinal parasites.


By 6 weeks of age, kittens should be well on their way to eating, drinking, and exploring on their own and be quite the entertainment focus. Have your veterinarian check them over, and discuss vaccination recommendations. Depending on the veterinarian, vaccinations will be started between 6 and 8 weeks of age. Also, viral testing will likely be run to rule out feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus.

Oh, and good luck giving them up to new owners. It will be very difficult to let these little orphan kittens go off to their new homes without you.

See Also

Image: Vladimer Shioshvilli / via Flickr

Kitten Milk Replacer Recipe for Orphaned Kittens

Last Updated on October 15, 2022 by ellen

If you’ve ever wondered about a kitten milk replacer recipe, keep reading. Taking care of orphaned kittens means feeding them if the mother cat won’t. 

Posts may be sponsored. This post contains affiliate links, which means I will make a commission at no extra cost to you should you click through and make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Table of Contents

Mother cats do abandon their kittens. Maybe she died. Or, maybe she was a new mother who did not get that maternal instinct. Either way, you have to take care of the kittens until they are old enough for kitten food.

You can use this kitten milk replacer recipe if you find a kitten whose mother has rejected it. Ideally, you will use a real kitten milk replacer from the vet’s office. But, if it’s after hours and you need something to use until you can get to the vet, this kitten milk replacement recipe will work for you. 

You can use this homemade kitten formula with evaporated milk but only until you can visit the vet. You can also look for cat milk and most pet stores. Don’t forget a feeding bottle.

Can you give a kitten milk?

If you’re wondering how to dilute cow milk for kittens, please don’t. Ideally, no you should not give a kitten cow’s milk because it can cause diarrhea. Cow’s milk is intended for baby cows. It does not have the nutrition that a kitten needs to be healthy.

What kind of milk can you give a kitten?

Kittens should have milk from a mother cat if the cat is present. If not, a kitten replacer with vitamins is the next best substitute. If you need something for an emergency, goat’s milk is an option. You can goats milk for kittens in this recipe:

  • One quart goats milk
  • 1 tsp light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon non-fat goats milk yogurt
  • An egg yolk
  • A package of unflavored gelatin (multiply by the number of weeks the kitten is – so 1 pkg for 1 week, 2 pkgs for 2 weeks, etc. )

Simply warm the goat’s milk in a saucepan and add the gelatin. Stir until it is dissolved. Remove it from the heat and add the other ingredients. Refrigerate and use within a week.

What to feed newborn kittens

If you plan on using this milk replacement for kittens for more than a few days until you can get to the vet, it’s very important that you add pediatric kitten vitamins to it. You can add them to the kitten formula before you feed each time. Or you can dispense directly into your kitten’s mouth.

Evaporated milk for kittens

Can cats drink evaporated milk? So, using evaporated milk for kittens really isn’t recommended. If it’s the middle of the night and you have nothing else and cannot get anything until morning, it will work in a pinch. But, it is not something you should use long-term.

So, is evaporated milk ok for cats? Only until you can get to the vet.

Can kittens have calf milk replacer?

This will work until you can get to the vet to get a real kitten milk replacer. Mix 1/2 cup of milk replacer powder with 2 cups of water.

How to make kitten milk at home

You cannot feed it as is. You can mix 1 can of evaporated milk, 1 egg yolk, 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup, and preferably pediatric kitten vitamins. Mix everything together in a large bottle (shake to mix). When it is time to feed, mix half this mixture and half boiling water. Allow it to cool to room temperature. You can test it on your wrist like you do baby formula.

Can puppies drink evaporated milk? They should not any more than cats or kittens should. It’s not nutritionally complete.

What you need to feed this kitten milk replacer recipe

Baby bottles are too large for kittens to use. You will need to have pet nurser bottles that are sized smaller for kittens and puppies. You can probably find them at your local pet store. But, if you plan on fostering an orphaned kitten, you can also get them here.

  • Pet nurser bottles
  • A syringe with mini nipple (for very tiny kittens)
  • Keep this emergency feeding kit on hand just in case.

Can cats have condensed milk?

No, condensed milk often contains sugar. It has too many carbohydrates and is not good for cats or kittens.

Feeding tips

If you’re looking for a DIY kitten bottle, you can try feeding a very young kitten with a syringe. It should at least work until you can get a kitten bottle or special nipple from your vet’s office.

If you have a pregnant cat, it cannot hurt to keep a few emergency kitten feeding supplies on hand just in case. You can get the milk replacer in a powdered formula that will last quite a long time.  So, if you don’t need to use it, you can always donate new, unopened cans to your local vet’s office or the Humane Society. 

Related reading

  • New kitten supplies you need to buy 
  • How to take care of a baby bunny
  • Yogurt dog treat
  • Homemade cat treats with tuna


Ellen is a busy mom of a 24-year-old son and 29-year-old daughter. She owns six blogs and is addicted to social media. She has been running a small pet sitting business in southern Vermont for the past five years. She’s a proud Mommy to a shelter kitty named Scout. If you’d like to work together, email [email protected] to chat.

How and what to feed kittens up to 1 month old

If you have an abandoned newborn cat cub in your house, first of all you need to learn how to feed kittens up to 1 month old. The question of artificial feeding of tiny lumps arises in case of death of the mother, difficult childbirth or the banal absence of maternal instinct in a cat . The troubles of feeding a kitten fall on the shoulders of the new owner, who must take care of a small pet, like a baby.


  • 1 Rules for feeding kittens without a mother
    • 1.1 What will be required for artificial feeding kittens
    • 1.2 Methods of feeding
    • 1.3 Mode of feeding
  • 2 Milk substitutes for newborn kittens 9000
  • 2. 2 Kitten Infant Formula
  • 2.3 Scott & Tailing Kitten Formula
  • 3 Water, vitamins and supplements
  • Rules for feeding kittens without a mother

    The best option for raising and feeding orphaned kittens is a nursing cat.

    If it was not possible to find a nursing cat, then the owner will have to feed the kittens with artificial substitutes for cat's milk, while observing the basic rules for feeding kittens without a mother:

    • feeding equipment must be absolutely sterile;
    • feed the baby in a warm, clean and dry room with a calm atmosphere;
    • formula or cat's milk replacer immediately before feeding should be heated in a water bath to 30-36C, depending on age;
    • store the diluted mixture in the refrigerator for no more than 24 hours;
    • during feeding, the kitten should be in a prone position with the head end raised;
    • it is unacceptable to turn the animal on its back in order to avoid choking;
    • when feeding, it is necessary to control the process of feeding the mixture to prevent swallowing air;
    • the bottle or syringe must be held at a 45 degree angle when feeding;
    • it is necessary to carefully dose the amount of the mixture in order to avoid overeating and the occurrence of gastrointestinal disorders;
    • the kitten should eat a single portion of the mixture in approximately 5 minutes;
    • it is recommended to follow the feeding schedule depending on the age of the baby;
    • in case of malnutrition of a single portion of artificial milk or the development of diarrhea, it is recommended to increase the frequency of feeding;
    • an indicator of satiety is sluggish sucking and falling asleep;
    • after each meal, it is recommended to hold the newborn upright to spit up air, wipe the kitten's muzzle dry and massage the tummy and anus with a wet swab to stimulate intestinal motility;
    • after eating, a well-fed baby should be given time to rest for better digestion and elimination of intestinal volvulus;

    Important! At the end of feeding, the dishes must be washed in running water and sterilized.

    What is required for artificial feeding of kittens

    When it becomes necessary to artificially feed newborns, the most important thing is not to panic and follow all the rules of asepsis and antisepsis to prevent infection of a tiny organism.

    First you need to determine what will be needed to feed newborn kittens. The cub should receive commercial or homemade cat's milk substitutes.

    Important! The main condition for artificial feeding is compliance with the temperature regime and the frequency of feeding, depending on the age of the baby.

    • You can feed your tiny pet from special bottles with nipples designed for artificial feeding of kittens.
    • Alternatives include a regular medical pipette, a syringe without a needle, a baby bottle with the smallest teat, a catheter, or preterm feeding tubes. The main thing is that the nipple or syringe tip can easily fit in the tiny mouth of a fluffy baby.

    Remember! Wide opening teats should not be used, otherwise the mixture will enter the respiratory tract of the newborn.

    Equipment for feeding a kitten must be sterile, for this, bottles, syringes or pipettes are boiled for 10 minutes before and after eating. Sterilized items must be stored dry under a lid.

    Feeding methods

    Feeding methods for newborn kittens differ in tools and feeding utensils, some options can only be used by veterinarians.

    With any method, before feeding the baby, it is necessary to put the baby on his knees or on the table with his stomach down, slightly raising the head of the newborn.

    A good option is to use special cuvettes for this purpose, in which the position of the kitten is as close as possible to natural, as when breastfeeding.

    If the baby cannot take the first sip on his own, you can hold the bowl of milk replacer up to the baby's nose. Having smelled the mixture, a hungry kitten should open its mouth. At this time, it is necessary to drop a milk replacer on the baby's tongue and stroke the forehead or throat towards the esophagus, stimulating the swallowing reflex.

    • Bottle feeding method. Infant or kitten bottles can be used with this method. The pacifier should fit in the baby's tiny mouth and have a small hole. A large gap from which the mixture flows freely is not recommended, as the kitten may choke when sucking. From a gap that is too small, the baby will not be able to draw milk on his own, and may remain hungry. The optimal size is the size of the hole, from which the milk replacer is released when gently pressed. The bottle should be held at a 45 degree angle when feeding.
    • Pipetting. Medical pipette fits perfectly in the small mouth of a newborn kitten. When pressing on the rubber tip, it is necessary to control the process of swallowing the mixture by the kitten.
    • Syringe feeding. When feeding from a syringe, the most important condition is gentle pressure on the piston so that the baby has time to swallow and breathe. With the rapid introduction of large portions of the mixture, the kitten may choke. The tip of the syringe should be pointing up towards the palate of the newborn so that the baby can wrap his tongue around it. The mixture should be dropped very slowly at a 45 degree angle.
    • Tube feeding. In this method, the kitten is fed by introducing the mixture through a tube directly into the esophagus of a tiny pet. For this purpose, tubes for feeding children or urinary catheters for dogs are used.

    Important! Feeding a kitten through a tube can only be trusted by specialists who are skilled in this technique.

    Feeding schedule

    A tiny baby has a small stomach, unable to digest a large amount of food. For newborn kittens, a special feeding regimen is used, in which the frequency of food intake, the volume of the daily portion and the temperature of the mixture are determined by the age and weight of the animal:

    • 1 week. The baby needs to be fed every two hours during the day, the daily volume per kitten of 100 g is 30 ml, the temperature of the mixture should be 38C.
    • 2 weeks. From the second week the baby eats every 4 hours, the daily norm is 38 ml, the food temperature is reduced to 30-32C.
    • 3 weeks. 6 meals a day remain, the daily volume of milk increases to 48 ml, the mixture is heated to 28-30C.
    • 4 weeks. The baby is fed 5-6 times a day, the kitten is able to drink 50-55 ml of milk replacer at room temperature.

    Milk substitutes and formulas for newborn kittens

    You can feed a newborn kitten without a mother with milk replacers or formulas for kittens or infants. The diluted mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a day.

    Industrial cat's milk substitutes

    The most optimal means for artificial feeding of a newborn kitten are industrial cat's milk substitutes, the composition of which is as close as possible to mother's milk:

    • Beaphar Kitty-Milk is a Dutch food that is suitable for feeding kittens from birth to 35 days, consists of milk and whey, enriched with vitamins, minerals and fatty acids.

    • Royal Canin Babycat Milk is a French milk substitute, in addition to milk proteins and whey, containing vegetable oils, vitamins, trace elements, fish oil and flavors.
    • Nutri-Vet Kitten Milk is an American food suitable for feeding kittens from birth, pregnant, lactating and senior cats, enriched with a vitamin-mineral complex and egg yolks.

    Infant formula for kittens

    Commercial milk replacers are quite expensive and not always available on the market, alternatives to them are infant formula that is suitable for feeding kittens. For dilution of feed, it is necessary to take 2 times more boiled water than for infants. Currently, the following types of baby milk food are successfully used for feeding kittens:

    • NAN is an infant formula based on skimmed cow's milk and whey, enriched with a vitamin-mineral complex and bifidobacteria.
    • Nanny is a dry mix made from goat's milk with added vitamins, minerals and prebiotics.
    • Bellakt is a milk mixture containing lutein, a vitamin-mineral complex and prebiotics.

    Infant formula can be purchased from pharmacies and specialist baby food stores.

    Scott and Tailing Kitten Formula

    In addition to commercial artificial milk substitutes, homemade formulas are used to feed newborn kittens. For their basis, whole cow, goat or condensed milk is used.

    The prepared mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for a day, before use, the milk feed must be heated to the desired temperature in a water bath:

    • Scott's mixture. Scott's formula is used to feed very young or malnourished kittens. To prepare it, you need to combine 50 g of milk, eggs and whipped protein, 15 g of yeast, 1 g of sunflower oil, 4 g of glucose and 15 g of powdered milk, heat the mass to 38C.
    • Tailing mix. The mixture also contains whole cow's milk and glucose, indicated for malnourished and weak kittens: mix 25 g of cow's milk, 5 g of powdered milk, 2 g of glucose and 1 g of vitamins, heat to 38C.
    • Condensed milk mixture. To 20 g of water add 100 g of condensed milk without sugar and bone meal on the tip of a knife, mix and heat.

    Artificial feeding of a newborn kitten is a rather troublesome and time-consuming task for an inexperienced owner, but all the owner's worries are more than paid off by sincere love and touching trustfulness of a growing furry friend.

    Water, vitamins and supplements

    When breastfed by its mother, the kitten gets enough liquid, vitamins and microelements. Artificers with a lack of a vitamin-mineral complex can get rickets or acquire pathologies of the musculoskeletal system. When feeding a kitten on cat's milk substitutes or infant formula, the baby receives all the necessary nutrients.

    In order to prevent metabolic disorders, it is advisable to introduce additives into self-prepared mixtures: Tetravit, Nutrilon, bone meal, vetom, vegetable oil and glucose.

    It is not necessary to give the kitten additional water, the baby receives the necessary amount of liquid as part of a formula or a substitute for cat's milk.

    A saucer of water must be placed at the end of the 4th week of life, when the baby begins to be taught to milk porridge.

    Syringe feeding of kittens, orphaned kittens, cat's milk substitute, volume of milk food for a newborn kitten, dose for an orphan kitten, feed temperature of mixture milk, thermal regime for keeping kittens, kitten care, cats, animals

    Be very careful when syringe feeding. It is necessary to practice in advance so that the flow of fluid is smooth and even, otherwise the kitten may choke.

    It is convenient to feed kittens in a container with sufficiently high sides (for example, a container used for cat litter). Many times folded fabric is placed on the bottom and sides. The kitten is placed in such a way that it rests with its hind legs against the bottom of the cuvette, and with its front legs against the side wall. The kitten is carefully held from above by the back with your left hand, while your fingers rest against the bottom of the cuvette, and your elbow lies on the table, and the position of your hand is very stable. The right hand with a pacifier or tweezers also lies on the table, the hand rests on the side of the cuvette. With this method, there is no danger of dropping the kitten or injuring him. Kittens get used to this type of feeding very quickly, in addition, it is convenient for them to “massage” the wall of the cuvette with their front paws, and their position resembles that which they occupy when they suckle their mother cat.

    Cat milk replacers

    Feed kittens in two stages . They begin to suck intensively as soon as the first drops of milk enter their mouth and quickly eat a larger volume. After initial saturation, it is worth doing cat litter (more on this below), and then supplementing. A sign of complete satiety - the kitten begins to suck more and more sluggishly , although the sucking movements continue, and gradually falls asleep. Forcing a kitten to eat is useless.

    Cat's milk has a special composition, its protein content, for example, is about 50%, which is more than 10 times the protein content of cow's milk.

    Recently, cat's milk substitutes from various manufacturers have appeared on the market. If you managed to get a substitute (in any case, you should take care of this even before the birth of the cat - even if everything went well, kittens can be fed with this mixture later, you can give such milk to a nursing cat), then this is the best food for kittens. The use of a cat's milk replacer also practically guarantees that kittens will not have problems with the intestinal microflora in the future.

    Next in terms of acceptability are the formula Malyutka from the dairy kitchen, powdered milk formulas for newborns, condensed milk diluted with boiled water without sugar, goat's milk, cow's milk. In goat's and cow's milk it is necessary to add glucose (grape sugar), or honey.

    Average amount of food a kitten needs:
    Days 1-4 - 30 ml of mixture per day per 100 g of kitten's weight;
    5-13 days - 38 ml of the mixture per day per 100 g of kitten's weight;
    Days 14-24 - 46 ml of mixture per day per 100 g of kitten's weight;
    25-35 days - 53 ml of mixture per day per 160 g of kitten's weight.

    From here it is easy to calculate a single dose. It is helpful to weigh the kittens daily and monitor their growth. In addition, it is worthwhile to preliminarily determine measuring containers for yourself, find out how much it will be - 5, 10, 20 mg of dry formula, etc. , for example, determine the volume of a measuring spoon, which is usually found in a milk formula package.

    Related article Kittens and colostrum

    It is important to monitor the feed temperature . It should change as follows: on the first day, the food temperature should be 38-39°C, during the second week - 30-32°C, during the third week - 28-30°C, during the fourth week - 24-26°C , and of course, it is more dangerous to overheat than not to warm up. In small containers, the food cools quickly, so it is better to keep the formula in a large container at the right temperature (i.e. in a water bath) during feeding.

    Just before feeding, place the dropper on the crook of your elbow or on your forehead. If you do not feel anything, then the temperature is normal.

    The thermal regime of keeping kittens is extremely important . It is convenient to keep kittens in a cardboard box (corrugated cardboard - additional thermal insulation) measuring 40 by 50 cm.

    Learn more