How to Mix Formula for and Bottle Feed a Newborn Kitten

by johnsmith

How to Mix Formula for and Bottle Feed a Newborn Kitten

How to Mix Formula for and Bottle Feed a Newborn Kitten – Newborn kittens are typically fed and cared for by their mothers, but sometimes certain situations require manual feeding by humans. Homemade kitten milk replacer, or formula, is necessary for kittens that cannot suck, or when there is no lactating mother cat available for the kitten.

Kitten supplement formula, also known as “kitty glop” or “cat milk substitute,” is often used with orphaned kittens, but can also be used with hungry newborn kittens.

There are several reasons why a mother cat’s milk may not be available, including the mother cat’s death during birth or from external factors, the mother cat’s rejection of one or more kittens or inability to handle a large litter on her own, or the mother cat’s sickness and/or postnatal complications. If the kitten is not manually fed by a human, it may die from a lack of nutrients and care. These homemade formulas provide the necessary nourishment for newborn kittens to survive and properly develop.

How Do You Make Your Own Kitten Formula?

Several recipes for homemade kitten formula exist, but it is ideal to purchase kitten milk replacement from a pet store if possible. If store-bought milk replacement is not an option, find a recipe that includes all the necessary ingredients until you can obtain some milk replacement formula. Please note that homemade kitten replacement formula should not be used beyond 24 hours if it is not refrigerated.

The following formulas are from The Cornell Book of Cats by the Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine:

Kitten Replacement Formula #1

  • 1 quart whole goat’s milk
  • 1 tsp light Karo syrup
  • 1 tbsp nonfat plain yogurt (preferably made with goat’s milk)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Unflavored gelatin
    • Newborn to 1 week – 1 package gelatin
    • 2nd week – 1 1/2 to 2 packages gelatin
    • 3rd week – 2 1/2 to 3 packages gelatin
    • 4th week – 4 packages gelatin

Put the goat’s milk in a saucepan and add the proper amount of gelatin based on the kitten’s age. Heat the mixture just until the gelatin is dissolved and then remove it from the heat. Mix in the remaining ingredients and refrigerate. It will keep up to one week in the refrigerator.

Kitten Replacement Formula #2

  • 8 oz homogenized whole milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp salad oil
  • 1 drop liquid pediatric vitamins (optional)

Mix the ingredients well and keep them refrigerated.

Kitten Replacement Formula #3

  • 1 part boiled water to 5 parts evaporated milk
  • 1/2 tsp bone meal per 16 oz fluid

Mix the ingredients well and keep them refrigerated.

Kitten Replacement Formula #4

  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1 drop liquid human pediatric vitamins (optional)

Mix the milk, egg yolk, and corn syrup well and store them in a tightly sealed jar in the refrigerator. At feeding time, mix half of the estimated feeding amount with an equal amount of boiling water. Once a day, mix one drop of the human infant liquid vitamins in each kitten’s formula portion.

How Do You Feed a Newborn Kitten?

If you need to bottle feed a kitten, you’ll need to use special baby bottles with tiny nipples designed for kittens. You can purchase these bottles online or in pet stores. These bottles typically hold small amounts of formula, making them easy to handle while holding a small kitten. If you can’t find a tiny baby bottle, you can try using a syringe without the needle, especially if the kitten won’t take the bottle readily. Oral syringes can usually be purchased from pharmacies and used for this purpose.

Warm up your homemade or store-bought formula and test a few drops on your wrist before feeding the kitten. It should feel slightly warm or cool, but not too warm or hot. It is not recommended to use a microwave. Most people put the formula in the bottle or syringe and then place the bottle or syringe into a bowl of hot water to heat it up.

Once the formula passes the skin temperature test, feed the kitten, keeping it in a natural feeding position on its belly and offering warm formula every three to four hours until it begins to wean to solid food. Kittens should eat about 8 mL of formula per ounce of body weight per day. This means that a 4-ounce kitten should eat about 32 mL of formula in total within a day. You can give 8 mL of formula every 4 hours.

If constipation occurs, add one drop of vegetable oil to each kitten’s formula, but no more than once daily, until the problem is resolved.


  • Kitten formula must not be left at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Kitten formula can last up to two days if refrigerated.
  • Prices for kitten formula can range from about $20 to $40; therefore, it is important to shop around and compare prices.

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