The process of weaning kittens who are drinking their mother’s milk usually starts when they are around four-weeks-old. If you are bottle-feeding your kitten who you have rescued then weaning can begin earlier at around three weeks.
If the mummy cat is around then the kittens will copy her and try to eat from her bowl. But eventually you’ll need to step in to introduce a routine. Read the tips below to help your kitten make the transition…
If you have the mummy cat then the kittens will still want to nurse. It’s best to let them do this but not as often. Ultimately the kittens need to gain independence from their mum, so by reducing the amount of time they nurse it will encourage them to look for food sources elsewhere. If you’re bottle-feeding, do the same thing.
Start off with smearing some wet food on your kittens lips. Leave some on your finger so they can smell and touch it. They will lick their lips and once they get used to it they will seek out the food bowl.
Ensure you are buying age appropriate kitten food. Most supermarkets will have cat food clearly labelled by age. You have the option of wet food and dry food. Start off with wet but you can also give a small handful of dry food. It’s best to dampen the dry food in cat milk so the kibble is easier to chew and swallow. Remember you can’t give cats cow milk, you’ll be able to find specific cat milk in the supermarket.
To make sure all kittens are properly weaned make sure you’re spending time with each kitten one-to-one. Each kitten will have their own personality with some being more inquisitive while others being more shy. By giving the kitten food one-by-one you can make sure they’re not being distracted and actually trying the food.
The weaning process lasts around 2 to 4 weeks, so by the time kittens are 8 to 10-weeks-old they should be fully weaned. Also like humans, kittens can also be fussy with food so it’s best to try different flavours. Patience is key when it comes to weaning so keep trying daily and you will get there.