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The Next Best Thing To Mother's Milk
 
Sometimes it is necessary to care for a kitten in place of its mother. This may occur if the mother is neglectful, she does not produce enough milk, or the kitten is orphaned.  If you decide to foster the kitten(s) yourself, the appropriate bottles and supplies can be found at your local pet store.
 
Colostrum and Immunity
Kittens are born without immunity to infectious diseases and need at least one meal of their mother's colostrum (the first milk produced after giving birth) in order to provide them with important antibodies. 
 
If this is not possible, the kittens must be kept in a clean environment and avoid other cats, other than littermates. Although there is no perfect substitute for mother's milk, there are several good commercial alternatives for nursing kittens.
 
Formulas
Commercial milk substitutes are available at most pet food stores and veterinary offices. If you are unable to obtain a commercial formula, a few home recipes are also available until you can pick up a commercial brand. 
 
Concerns
When preparing milk alternatives, remember that cow's milk is not balanced for the kitten's dietary needs and isn't good for long term use.

Cute Little Kitten - ImageHomemade Recipe for Short-term Use

One such formula consists of:
  1 cup whole milk
  2 egg yolks
  2 teaspoonfuls of Karo syrup

Another similar recipe is:
  1 egg yolk
  1 teaspoon Karo or maple syrup per pint mixture
  1 teaspoon brewer's yeast or bee pollen per pint mixture
  A vitamin-mineral supplement like Fauve or Vital Nutrition.



 

Feeding Kittens
 
Weaning
Getting your kitten onto solid foods is a gradual change and should follow certain guidelines according to your kitten's age.
 
Formulas
When considering milk replacements for nursing kittens, remember that not all milk are created equal.  Look here for help in choosing the right replacement formula.
 
Care of Orphaned Newborns
Most kittens can be fed with a bottle, although some kittens may need to be nursed with a hypodermic syringe or a simple eye dropper.

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