What if the Mother Cat Doesn't Produce Milk?

A foster mother may be able to manage your kittens' feeding requirements.
A foster mother may be able to manage your kittens' feeding requirements. (Image: Russell Illig/Photodisc/Getty Images)

If you're in charge of overseeing a mother cat and her litter of tiny kittens, feeding is definitely not an area to gloss over. If your mother cat -- or queen -- happens to not be lactating sufficiently or even at all, don't panic. Either a feline foster mother or commercial kitten milk replacer should do the trick. Mother cats that are ill in any way occasionally are incapable of producing milk properly.

Kitten Milk Replacer

One way to handle this situation is by bottle-feeding with a commercial kitten milk replacer and kitten formula, both of which are usually readily available at pet supplies stores. Commercial kitten formula is designed specifically to replicate the nutritional content of a healthy mother cat's milk -- with all of the right levels of carbohydrates, fats and proteins to ensure a thriving litter of cuties. You can bottle-feed kittens using replacer and formula until the weaning process is over.

Foster Cat Mother

Another solution to the dilemma of a mother cat not producing milk is to seek out a feline foster mommy. The "substitute" cat mom may be able to stand in for the biological parent up until weaning is completely over. If you do not personally know of any healthy lactating female cats, asking around locally can go a long way. Pet rescue organizations and veterinarians may both be able to point you in the right direction. Although not all queens may be willing to nurse the kitties, many indeed might be up for the task.

"Normal" Milk

Never under any circumstances bottle-feed your kittens with anything other than kitten formula. Cow's milk is not a nutritionally sound or appropriate replacement for feline milk, so keep it away. Apart from not offering the wee fluff balls the nutrients they so desperately need to develop into healthy adults, cow's milk can also bring upon tummy-related discomfort in them, such as diarrhea.

Veterinary Help

If a mother cat isn't producing milk, it quite often is a sign of a medical ailment. Because of that, it is crucial to seek veterinary assistance for her as soon as possible. Lack of milk production can be an indication of an ailment known as agalactia. Agalactia is often a result of glandular issues or emotional stress in mother cats. The sooner you take mom to the vet, the sooner you can get her back on track to health.

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