Pros: Easy to use, various sizes available, liquid or powder, kittens and mother cat both enjoyed
Cons: Slightly pricey, powder needs to be carefully measured, requires refrigeration/disposal after short time
One day, my husband came home with a stray cat. I had always wanted a cat, and we were always planning on adopting a stray, so the timing couldnt have been better! Although the cat was a kitten herself (under a year old), she was pregnant.
Two weeks after bringing her home, the cat went into labor. Unfortunately, she was having difficulty, so we ended up taking her to the animal hospital, where she ended up having a c-section not common in cats at all! One of the kittens was breached, and four out of five survived.
After coming out of surgery, our cat was completely out of it. She was very groggy and extremely distressed at being in an unfamiliar environment, and also wanted nothing to do with her kittens. The surgeon recommended we check back in a few hours to see if she was in any condition to go home. After grabbing a bite to eat and a heating pad, the cat was still groggy, but considering how badly she wanted to get out of her cage, we all agreed she should be taken home.
Unfortunately, she was rejecting her kittens. It seemed to be a combination of grogginess, fear, confusion, and exhaustion. After being trained on kitten care by a vet tech, we headed home with some KMR milk replacer.
KMR Milk Replacer Ingredients
Water, skimmed milk, soy oil, sodium caseinate, calcium caseinate, butter, egg yolk, lecithin, calcium carbonate precipitated, l-arginine, potassium chloride, potassium phosphate monobasic, choline chloride, magnesium sulfate, carrageenan, potassium phosphate dibasic, ascorbic acid, taurine, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, vitamin E supplement, vitamin A supplement, copper sulfate, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, manganese sulfate, thiamine hydrochloride, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, potassium iodide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, potassium citrate.
Our Experience With KMR
Use as a partial or total replacement when mother's milk is inadequate, can also be given to the mother during the last two weeks of gestation or early lactation for an additional nutritional source. Contains L-arginine to prevent cataracts in newborns; powdered form mixes with water.
We stayed up all night the first night the kittens came home. It is recommended that newborn kittens be fed about every two hours. You also need to massage their rears with something like a soft piece of gauze, so that they go to the bathroom (as they do not know how to go on their own). Newborns do not know how to go to the bathroom on their own, and it is the mother cat that generally licks them to teach them.
Like human children, the kittens would cry when they were hungry of course, more often than 2 hour increments. The animal hospital sent us home with some KMR Milk Replacer for Kittens. Originally, we started with a 3/4 oz packet of powder, but the next morning I was able to pick up an 8 fl oz can, which costs about $4.00. The vet also offered I could buy a 12 oz can of powder, but I wasnt sure if the cat had permanently rejected the kittens, so I wanted to stick with the pre-mixed can.
I checked the grocery store, which didnt carry it, but I see that some pet stores do. According to Petcos website, this is the #1 milk replacer. It can also be used for other animals, like hamster, porcupine, badger, and raccoons!
The only complaint that I have about this product, is that it doesnt say anywhere that you shouldnt switch formulas. The vet told me that I shouldnt even switch from the powder to the liquid if I could help it, because it could give the kittens diarrhea. After just a short night of feeding them with the powdered mix, it was ok to switch over, but it would have been nice to know when planning. I probably wouldnt have switched brands, but I wouldnt think switching powder to liquid would make a difference. Considering you should be careful mixing the formula, I'd probably personally stick to the liquid where possible
The powder was easy to mix, and the instructions are clear as to how much powder to mix with water. They provide instructions for small increments, as small as 2 tablespoons of water, which is great. We had a 2oz bottle for feeding the kittens, which was perfect. This way, we didnt waste any the replacer. The powder is pretty easy to mix, and dissolves pretty well.
For the pre-mixed liquid, refrigerate after opening and to discard after 72 hours. The powder, once mixed, has to be discarded after just 24 hours. I guess you are supposed to refrigerate the powder once opened as well. I got an instruction sheet from the animal clinic, that warned us to mix the powder very carefully, and not to make it too concentrated. If anything, you are apparently supposed to dilute it more than make the mixture too strong.
You are supposed to warm KMR to room or body temperature before feeding to the kittens. I assume this is to make it more appealing to the kittens, and because they shouldnt be subjected to a chill. We generally mixed it with warm water, or ran the nurser bottle under hot water, to get the temperature up to room temperature.
The kittens took very well to the KMR milk replacer. They had no problems accepting the milk, and seemed to like it. Sometimes just a taste of the milk replacer on their mouth, without actually getting the nipple of the bottle in their mouth, was sufficient. Two of the kittens werent breathing when they were first born, and were pretty weak, and they had no problems accepting the milk. By the morning, the kittens were visibly larger!
After about a day, our cat finally started accepting the kittens. Little by little, she started to let them nurse off her, so we transitioned them from hand feeding to feeding off the mom. An absolute relief!
The directions also say you can feed a lactating (or pregnant) cat KMR milk replacer (as well as growing kittens, show cats, or convalescing cats). Our cat was a skinny little stray, and Im sure could use any extra nutrition, so we gave some to her after she had her c-section. You can give this to your cat up to two weeks after delivering. I put a little in her food and she seemed to like it. I put a little over 2 teaspoons (2 teaspoons per 5 pounds bodyweight, and our cat was about 8 pounds when we got her).
KMR milk replacer is a great product. It comes in many forms (various sizes of powders and liquid), which makes it very convenient. The kittens took well to the formula, helping them through the first days of life. Considering it was something the animal hospital used and recommended, I was comfortable and satisfied with the performance of this product.
Pet AG (manufacturer): http://www.petag.com/
Their website has a variety of milk replacer products and supplies - a great resource!