Table of contents:
- When to start weaning
- What food to give to kittens to wean?
- Amount of food for weaning
- How long does the weaning phase last
2023 Author: Alex Livingston | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 11:39
The weaning the kitten represents the transition from drinking milk to the consumption of solids, which occurs gradually over several weeks. Kittens begin to show interest in the food around them from four weeks of age. During this time they are still frequently breastfed by their mother, however they also begin to eat small amounts of food, which will gradually increase over the weeks.
When to start weaning
Unless necessary, it is important not to rush the start of the weaning process. Your kittens should stay with their mother until they have at least ten weeks old and continue to feed from her. Like newborns, kittens need care and sleep frequently, but over time the mother will begin to discourage frequent care and kittens will seek out alternative food sources (i.e. solids).
At around three to four weeks of age, kittens will still show interest in eating food provided to their mother, but she may also reject them. It is a good idea to let her eat alone and feed the kittens separately.
By 7-8 weeks of life, kittens should be able to eat solid food and drink water without being nursed by their mother anymore.
What food to give to kittens to wean?
When introducing solid food to kittens at the weaning stage, it should be soft and cut into small pieces. Some types of foods you might try include:
- Canned food for kittens as it is softer than that of adults and has a higher caloric intake than kittens need.
- Dry biscuits for kittens / moistened croquettes with water or kitten milk replacer. As the kitten grows, add less water to the cookies to dry them.
- Baby food (be sure to check the ingredients carefully to make sure there is no onion or garlic as both are toxic to cats). It should be noted that the homogenized it is okay to give to kittens as they are introduced to solid foods, however it should not have a firm place in their diet as it is not nutritionally complete.
- For get the kitten accustomed to chewing, you could add the cat milk replacer to the cookies until the porridge consistency is formed.
Amount of food for weaning
When weaning kittens they should be offered frequently small amounts of food in order to have three to four little ones meals a day. Probably 3/4 tablespoons of food per kitten per meal would be ideal, but if the food is consumed quickly and they still seem hungry then add more. If, on the other hand, the nourishment is not consumed at the next meal, give it in less quantity.
As the babies grow and feed less and less from their mother, increase the amount of food. Remove any uneaten foods after 20 minutes. Put the food on a small plate or on a shallow plate. It is common for kittens to go through their food in the first few days, so feed them on a floor that is easily washable (avoid harsh cleaners on floors where kittens are). They are also messy eaters and much of the food will end up around the mouth instead of inside, but the kittens will soon learn to eat.
Kittens should have access to clean and fresh water everytime. Don't give them cow's milk, as the only liquids they should ingest are mother's milk or clean, fresh water.
How long does the weaning phase last
Just because a kitten has been weaned from its mother after 7-8 weeks does not mean he is ready to leave her or siblings as he still has a lot to learn from his family. Puppies that are taken away from their mother too early can often develop behavioral problems such as inadequacy and aggression. Kittens should stay with their mom until they are at least ten weeks old, preferably up to 12 weeks.
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