At what age should you give your kitten solid food?

Have you welcomed a new arrival under your roof or your female cat has just had a litter? Congratulations, you are now the proud owner of one or more kittens!

But you are probably asking yourself a lot of questions relating to his well-being, and it is quite normal when you love your pet. Among these is your kitten’s menu, and when you can give her solid food.

Milk diet for up to 6 weeks

Whether the kitten is lucky enough to be with its mother or not, a milk diet is necessary for its good development from its first days of life. This can be given by its mother of course, by a surrogate mother, or failing that by the man, in the event that the kitten has lost its mother for example.

In the latter case, it will be essential to bottle feed the kitten until about 6 weeks old, with specially adapted water-soluble powdered milk, on sale at your veterinarian and in certain pharmacies or drugstores.

If you bottle-feed the kitten, and if you feel that it has enough strength to start feeding on its own, you may in this exceptional situation consider introducing a wet solid diet from 4 weeks old. . In all other cases, it is preferable to let Mother Nature do it and not to influence a change of diet before her 6 weeks, ie a month and a half.

Introduction of wet solid food from 6 weeks

From 6 weeks, the kitten is partially weaned. This means that when it comes to food, he begins to detach himself from his mother and from the milk diet. He spends more and more time outside the nest, playing with his brothers and sisters and discovering his home.

His first baby teeth, namely his fangs (canines), then his incisors and premolars also appear between 4 and 6 weeks. He therefore begins to be able to feed himself, which is good, because mother cat is gradually abandoning him, judging him to be sufficiently autonomous.

You can therefore, from its 6 weeks, introduce a solid food, provided that it is in wet form and easy to chew. This is the time to discover the first crumbled tuna or chicken, or the fresh sachets and other commercial pâtés, if possible special kittens, so that his food is adapted to his needs and his development.

It is only after this period of adaptation, or the kitten will oscillate between the udders of its mother and its bowl, that a dry diet can be introduced. But no need to go too fast, the kitten’s digestive capacities are still limited and its baby teeth still fragile.

Introduction of dry solid food from 12 weeks

From 12 weeks, or about 3 months, the kitten’s milk teeth begin to be gradually replaced by its permanent teeth. In addition, his weaning is fully completed and he is ready to be adopted into his new home.

Indeed, it takes between 2 and a half and 3 months for the cat to be permanently weaned. At this stage, he is normally entirely autonomous, clean, and above all well socialized to have developed little by little with his feline family. This is also why kittens should only be adopted from this age, to ensure their physical and mental balance.

You can then start to introduce dry food with its first kibbles. These will preferably be chosen of premium quality, and it is necessary to carefully read the instructions indicated on the package before purchase. Some are suitable for the kitten, others are not, the age is indicated there, trust the indications of the manufacturer.

To begin with, his first kibbles should be small in size, and slightly wet in a splash of water to make them more digestible, easier to chew, and to ensure that your kitten is well hydrated. As soon as you see that it is doing very well, you can switch to dry food without adding water. A few days are usually sufficient to ensure this smooth transition.

And there you have it, your kitten now eats like a grown-up with solid food. He will be considered “adult” between 6 and 12 months depending on the breed. But one thing remains certain, he will always remain “your kitten” and will spend long and beautiful years purring by your side!