When it come to pets all of us struggle with their health care at one point and another and if you are a cat person weaning is one of the most important aspect of petting a kitten or a cat that eventually brings your kittens. Your job is a little easier if you are dealing with a cat starting to wean it’s kitten but if you adopted a kitten you have no choice but to start right away.
At PetsOne.pk we believe that the secret ingredient to being a good pet owner is learning the best practices which brings us to the best practices for weaning a kitten and of course the best time and practices for weaning kittens.
What Is Weaning A Kitten?
Weaning is the transitional process where you help a kitten start using solid food instead of mother’s milk or a milk replacer. If you own a cat she will take care of the kitten herself with some support from you but if you are handling a single kitten the task lies solely with you.
Before You Begin Weaning A Kitten:
Weaning is a natural process due for every kitten but there are things you should know that come before the weaning process. Every kitten should be fed on the first milk; “colostrum”. It is vital for every kitten to have their first mother milk within 24 hours of birth that provides essential immunity boost to kittens. It is advised to seek another cat who may take in the newly born for initial feeding.
In case another cat is not available to take the kitten bottle or syringe can be used to start feeding the kitten however intensive care must be taken to ensure health and safety. You will be feeding every few hours throughout the day so, gear up!
Best Time For Weaning:
Ideally, if you are dealing with a family i.e cat and her kittens, you should be ready for it within four weeks. A kitten should be on weaning at age 4 weeks and should be off mother’s milk by age 8 – 10 weeks. So the best time for weaning a kitten is right after it hits the fourth week after birth however there are a few other things you should consider regardless the presence of its mother.
On the other hand if you are handling a new kitten without her mother wait till your kitten comes of age it has to do with both their mental and physical maturity. Kittens should not be subjected to the weaning process until they have opened their eyes. Another important point on the check list is focus and steadfastness. If your kitten has opened its eyes but is not focused enough or is not steady enough on the feet you should not start with solid food.
If you adopt the best time and practices for weaning a kitten the process takes about 6-8 weeks however depending on the kitten’s health and the methods you adopt it may take up to ten weeks in some instances.
Best Practices For Weaning A Kitten
1- Don’t Rush:
Rushing into weaning can be hazardous so be patient with the kitten when you start weaning. A couple of hours solitary time – remember it’s not a solitary confinement just keep the kitten away from family – or if it’s a lone kitten things are already working for you. You now have to work on switching the diet.
2- Introduce Kitten To The World And Food!
Weaning a kitten is not just about switching its diet from milk to solid food. It’s also about beginning a social life so when start working with the kitten create an environment for them. You can use card board and hard rubber items in the designated kitten area and the food would be just another item in their new home. It also helps the transition from liquid to solid food. Wet the food with a milk replacer and make sure that your food supplement is providing necessary nutrition to your kitten. You can also give wet food to your kitten. Carry on the same routine for about two weeks before taking the next step.
3- Be A Part Of Your Kitten’s World
Pets quickly grow a bond with their owners and your kitten is no different, they recognize you as a mother figure so it would be a good idea to introduce them to their food. Use your finger to help them discover the wet food and the container when you introduce them to the world. Let them taste the food off your hand or your finger and then guide them through to the food section.
4- Taking The Next Step
Patience is the key and among the best practices for weaning a kitten, throughout the process, so every step is a gradual one on the weaning ladder. By the end of second week start diluting your milk replacer with water and slightly increase the kitten food proportion in the mix. This would allow them to transit to a different digestion level at the same time increase their familiarity with the solid food.
5- Your Kitten Is Almost Weaned
You have reduced your milk replacer with water and increased your solid food proportions so by the end of week seven your kitten should be served with almost solid food a little pasty with more water and some milk replacer just to help them transit through to the next step.
6- Final Step In Weaning Your Kitten
Entering the last week use moist food, enough to help your kitten swallow the food properly but almost solid. Through out week eight, decrease your water proportion in the food so that by the end of week eight your kitten is eating solid food.
Viola! Your kitten is now weaned. 🙂