During a litter of kittens’ tender earliest weeks, mama’s milk is all that is necessary for health and survival. So how long do kittens need to have their mother’s milk and what is the perfect time to give them cat’s food?
How long do kittens need their mother’s milk
Time to have mother’s milk
When it’s at all possible, kittens should be exposed to some mother’s milk, especially within the first 12 to 24 hours of life. The first milk, or colostrum, contains antibodies that the kitten can only absorb during this time.
If a queen has an extremely large litter of kittens and cannot produce enough milk, each kitten should still get some of her milk. If she cannot produce any milk due to mastitis or other issues, another nursing mother may accept the kittens if they are close to the size of her own. If no nursing cat is available, you can feed a kitten milk replacement formula with a nursing bottle or syringe. With bottle feeding, you should do it for three or four weeks. Always warm the bottle in a cup of hot water and taste test it yourself to check the temperature and that it hasn’t soured. If you’re using a powder formula. store unmixed powder in the freezer.
Feed slowly but frequently: every two to three hours during the day. At night, don’t worry about it. They’ll wake you up when they’re hungry. If they’re sleeping, let them sleep, and get some sleep yourself.
When to wean kittens
Normally, the kitten weaning process begins at about four weeks of age. Their mother’ll start to try to eat her food, and she’ll push them away from her. But if you’re weaning a kitten that has been orphaned, you can start a little earlier, between three and four weeks. When they start biting and chewing on the bottle, they’re ready. At this point, you can start to introduce kitten food.
A general schedule for kitten weaning:
Weeks 4-5: Give wet or moistened dry food, mixed with formula to form a slush. Supplement with formula if the kitten is not taking to the new food, to make sure it gets enough calories.
Weeks 5-6: The weaning kittens should start to nibble on the kibble, slightly moistened with water.
Weeks 6-7: By now, the kitten weaning process is complete, and they should be eating all solid food by week seven.
When should a Kitten be given cat food
Until a kitten is old enough to be weaned, all that she needs for healthy growth and development is her mother’s milk. After weaning time (between 8 and 10 weeks in age) you can start to give them soft cat food. At this point, you can offer your fluffball dry cat food, although make sure it’s formulated specifically to cater to the nutritional needs of kittens. It’s believed that kittens require significantly more energy than fully grown cats, and kitten food can satisfy. Remember, never give a kitten cow’s milk, as that could lead to stomach distress and diarrhea issues for the poor thing.
A kitten is typically classified as being so until she gets to her first birthday. Continue feeding your growing young cat quality food that is made especially for kittens until she reaches this landmark. When a cat is about 1, she can finally start eating “real” cat food.