Emergency recipe for baby animal milk

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kitten with bottle
Make sure you have the right formula for the type of baby animal you're feeding
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An emergency formula can save an orphaned kitten or other animal

Mother's milk is best for all kinds of animals, but sometimes mom is not around, is ill or has rejected a baby. There are commercial milk replacements available for most kinds of animals, but they are often expensive and may be hard to find. 

If you find yourself acting as a surrogate mom for an orphaned animal, here are some recommended substitutes that should keep your furry baby thriving. 

A work of caution…not all babies have the same needs, so be sure to choose the right recipe for baby animal milk. What works for a puppy won't work for a bunny or foal!

Feeding an orphaned kitten

A newborn kitten will need to be bottle or syringe fed every 2-4 hours around the clock. They have a high need for protein, and some trace nutrients like taurine. Cow milk is low in this essential nutrient, so it is not an adequate substitute on its own. While cat milk is exceptionally high in taurine, eggs are also a good source, so be sure to include those and/or full fat mayonnaise in your kitten formula.  

Here are a few kitten milk recipes, known in the fancy as "glop."

Kitten milk recipe #1

  • 1 lg. can evaporated milk, preferably goat, but cow milk will do (full fat)
  • 2 tbsp. plain yogurt (full fat)
  • 2 tbsp. mayonnaise (real, not reduce calorie or low fat)
  • 1 tbs. Karo Syrup (light)
  • 1 pkg. Knox gelatin
  • 1 egg yolk (beaten)
  • 1 cup of liquid unflavored Pedialyte

Mix milk, yogurt, mayonnaise and syrup together well. Bring 1 cup water to boil and mix in Knox gelatin; set aside. Mix egg yolk with small amount of milk mixture and beat well. Add gelatin and water to milk mixture and beat well. Add in egg yolk mixture and beat well. Pour into a freezer safe bowl or similar type of bowl with a cover and set in refrigerator.

This pudding will last for up to two weeks covered in refrigerator. Always warm the pudding to room temperature (milk form) before feeding.

Kitten milk recipe # 2 (Debbie Arsich's Bell Book and Bengal Glop)   

  • Pedialyte: 10-12 ounces
  • Goat's Milk: 12 ounce can
  • Knox gelatin: 1 package
  • Mayonnaise (the real stuff): 2 Tablespoons
  • Full fat plain Live Culture Yogurt: 2 Tablespoons (available at Whole Foods and other stores)
  • Karo Syrup: 1 teaspoon
  • Baby Meat (I use Beechnut turkey or veal): 2 jars

Boil the Pedialyte, add gelatin and dissolve. Add other ingredients; stir till well mixed. The mayonnaise will clump and rise to the top, so this will be lumpy.

Debbie says, "This recipe was given to me by my sister-in-law Denise Gross in Kentucky and it has been around for quite awhile. Many breeders are very grateful to the unknown originator of this recipe as it has proven invaluable to us time and time again! This recipe makes a lot of formula, so I freeze it in pint containers. Then I can defrost in the  microwave, use it for 2 or 3 feedings, then throw away the rest. I also found that if a kitten is real lethargic and unwilling to eat, you can mix a little syrup with Pedialyte and give it that to start with. It perks them up, then give the formula. The syrup and electrolytes will give them a boost, but not stay with them long. The yogurt is a real treat for the other cats. They really love it. I think the company is 'Mountain High' or something like that, and they only seem to sell it in the bigger containers. You could freeze it too, but you don't want to freeze it again as glop."

"It only takes a few minutes to cook, but lock the cats up when you start to cook this. Otherwise they will be all over you! It is very easy to transfer the kittens to eating on their own with this recipe, as they are used to the taste. I just start adding kitten food to it and showing them how to lap it up. Then decrease the glop a little at a time. It usually takes just about a week to completely wean the kittens, using this glop recipe."

These two and other kitten milk recipes can be found at Cat and Kitten Care Basics

Feeding orphaned puppies

From the land down under, here are a few recipes for feeding an orphaned puppy. Unlike kittens, puppies can thrive on a simpler formula.  Newborn pups will need to be fed every 3-4 hours around the clock to start.  

Recipe Number 1

  • 1 8 oz. carton of full fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 can of evaporated milk (full fat) 6 oz boiled then cooled water
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise
This keeps well in the refrigerator and the pups thrive on it. Put a drop of Pet Nutri Drops or other puppy or baby vitamins (iron free) in before the feeding or on their tongues before the feeding.

(From Successful Dog Breeding and Canine Midwifery by Walkowitcz-Wilcox)

Recipe Number 2

•    10 oz. evaporated milk (whole fat) or goat's milk
•    3 oz. sterilized water (baby water or boiled water) - delete if using goat's milk
•    1 egg yolk (raw)
•    2 Tablespoons regular mayonnaise
•    1 cup whole fat yogurt

Place all ingredients in a blender and mix (or use a wire whisk) till well blended. Use all formula within 7 days. Warm formula to puppy body temperature before feeding (dogs are 101 degrees). Always discard formula leftover at a feeding. If using a bottle, you may need to enlarge the hole slightly.

Recipe Number 3

•    1  regular size can of Evaporated Milk (cows)
•    1  equal size can of Water
•    1  8 ounce container regular Plain Yogurt ( 6 oz container also OK)
•    1  strained jar baby food meat, first choice is Veal, second is Chicken, third is Lamb. Must have NO Additives (other ingredients and/or spices) and can only be prepared with Meat Broth as the fluid (in the USA I recommend a brand called Beechnut)
•    ½ teaspoon honey - can be reduced or omitted if stools too loose.

Blend all ingredients. Can be refrigerated up to three days. Can be gently heated in microwave. Will flow through baby bottle nipples (I use Preemie crosscut nipples as they are the softest, most flexible).

According Gloria Seifman, the author of the last recipe, this formula is also excellent as a supplement for nursing dams, especially if they have a large litter.
Feeding orphaned baby bunnies

We once had a baby bunny fall into our cellar window well, and tried to hand raise it. It did not do well. If only I had had this formula from then.

Bunny formula recipe

•    1 cup whole milk
•    1 egg yolk,
•    1 tsp. of SULFURED molasses (NEVER use HONEY)
•    A couple drops of liquid baby vitamins

Use a Q-tip to feed them, adding addition formula to the Q-Tip with an eyedropper. The Q-tip dispenses the milk in a seeping sort of pattern much more like the nipple of the doe normally would. Allow them to dr

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