Do I need cat milk or kitten milk?
Kitten milk formula is a similar idea to the human baby formula. It contains all of the nutrients they need to help grow and can be made up as and when required as a replacer.
Most kittens will feed on their mother until they reach the weaning stage. This milk gives them everything they need when they need it, so there is no need to intervene and feed them extra. At the weaning stage, once they start eating solid foods, providing them with water is enough for hydration.
If your kitten is an orphan, not feeding for some reason or is so weak that they need extra help, then a formula is a great alternative, but you can still follow the general weaning pattern and gradually bring them off it after four weeks of age.
Adult cats will often get everything they need from ordinary cat food and water. Therefore, milk should just be provided as a treat as opposed to a huge part of their diet.
Because of this, always ensure you are staying on top of their daily intake of nutrients. Just as you would with biscuit treats, ensure you aren’t giving them too much of any one thing, and their diet is balanced and healthy. Adjust meals and treats accordingly, and try to limit the cat to around 200ml per week. Treats should not make up more than 10% of a cat’s daily consumption.
Cat milk can, however, be good if you have noticed they are a bit off their food or are losing weight. As long as you know there is no medical issue, milk could help to give them the nutrients they need.
Base your decision on their age and needs.
Does my cat really need cat milk?
There is nothing to suggest they must have it, no. While it can be good for abandoned or weak kittens who need nutrients to grow, adult cats should get everything they need from food. In terms of hydration, water does the job – whether it is out of a dish or out of a fresh puddle (but always provide them with some from a fountain).
Milk can be a great treat for cats if you want to give them something other than solids for a bit of variation. It can also be good if you have noticed that your cat isn’t eating properly or is losing weight, and you are concerned about them getting enough nutrition. Always talk to a vet to ensure there is no underlying issue, however.
Do I buy cat milk as a bottle or powder?
Adult milk is available in both ready-made bottle form and powder form. The former is easier, although the latter will have a longer shelf life.
Most kitten formula is dried powder, so the protein is available in a digestible form. You have to manually mix it with water according to instructions.
My cat doesn’t like cat milk – what should I do?
It could be a possibility that your cat just isn’t fussed about having the milk. They may not like the idea or taste, or they may be getting enough nutrients elsewhere so they don’t feel the need to top up their intake. Cats have a habit of being fussy about their food depending on what their body is telling them.
Different brands also taste different (according to cats, of course). Your cat may not like one brand if it is slightly watery but love another which is thicker, or has slightly different ingredients. Trial and error may be worth doing, but if you’ve exhausted all options, stick to the treats you know they love.
What is Queen’s milk?
Not milk for the Royal Family as the name suggests – queen’s milk is simply the term used to refer to the milk of a nursing mother, whether it be from a dog, cat or other.
Finding kitten milk which closely resembles this is vital to ensure it is easily digestible and they won’t realise the difference, which could lead to them rejecting one form if they are having both forms.
You may also see milk that is suitable for a ‘lactating queen’, which just means a nursing mother who may need a boost in nutrients for their own health.