How is cat milk made?
In the last stage of gestation, estrogen and prolactin convert glandular cells in the milk strip into alveolar cells that form cat's milk. Estrogen levels drop shortly before birth, prolactin and oxytocin continue to form. The teats swell up. After the birth, the kittens immediately pick up the teats and start to suck. Oxytocin is released by sucking on the teats and milk production lasts for several weeks.
How is cat milk made up?
The composition of the cat's milk depends on the respective lactation phase. In the first few days milk is produced, which contains a high proportion of protein, fat, carbohydrates and antibodies. In the following weeks, the protein and fat content decreases. Cat's milk contains twice as much protein as cow's milk.
Cat's milk contains about 4 grams of lactose per 100 grams of milk. At this time, kittens still have an enzyme, lactase, which enables the breakdown of lactose in the intestinal tract. Over the next few weeks, most cats lose the ability to produce lactase. Therefore, adult cats do not tolerate the lactose contained in most types of milk.
The colostrum is formed after birth. It contains the highest amount of protein, fats, vitamins, minerals and antibodies. In the first 24 hours, the antibodies can be absorbed through the intestinal mucosa and protect the kittens from infectious agents. Thereafter, the antibody content drops sharply within five days.
- Ripe milk
The mature milk contains all the nutrients needed by the kittens, such as water, protein, fat, lactose, minerals and trace elements. The essential amino acids arginine and taurine are contained in large quantities. In the following weeks, the content of protein, fat, lactose, calcium and phosphorus increases. Copper and magnesium are contained in ever smaller quantities.
- milk replacer
If the cat's mother produces too little milk, or if the puppies are neglected by her, it is necessary to provide the kittens with artificial milk via a vial. Raising milk for cats contains four times as much protein and twice as much fat as cow's milk. It optimally covers the nutrient requirements of growing kittens. The rearing milk is available in powder form and is prepared fresh for each meal.
- Cat milk
For adult cats who like to drink milk, liquid cat's milk is available in vials. This milk contains no milk sugar, the fat content is greatly reduced and adapted to the metabolism of adult cats. This milk is suitable for cats from the 16th week of life.
Composition of cat's milk
- Natural cat's milk
Cat's milk contains 5% fat, 8% protein and 7% lactose. Kitten puppies cover about 20% of their energy needs from lactose. The high content of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D promotes the growth of bones and teeth.
- Artificially made cat milk
The industrially produced cat milk consists of oils, fats and dairy products. Sugars, vitamins, taurine and preservatives are added.
How healthy is cat milk?
Cat's milk is a stimulant. The sweet food should be enjoyed only in moderation, so that the cat does not develop an overweight.