A crucial stage in a kitten’s life, weaning is a sign of maternal detachment and the beginning of its independence. This transition takes time and is carried out gradually so that the animal can build a very solid health capital.
When and at what age to start weaning?
The cat feeds on breast milk or formula during the first four weeks of its life. Weaning can therefore begin from that moment (and never before!) It extends over a period of one month. During these first four weeks, the kitty will only sleep and eat. Then, his teeth will gradually appear. This is a sign that tells you that he may gradually switch from exclusively liquid to solid food. But this transition has to happen naturally. Don’t force anything. Like children, the kitten will first observe its mother. He will be more alert and will want to explore his surroundings. He will be interested in his mother’s food, the use of her litter, the games she plays. Hence the importance of making sure that during these periods, the bowls and litter boxes are perfectly clean.
From the 5th week, you will notice that the kittens will grow less quickly. Indeed, they will suck less and less from their mother and will prefer to put their nose in her bowl to taste some kibble. The ideal is that these are tender to facilitate the swallowing as well as the digestion. So remember to moisten them. This period is called vicariance.
In any case, the cat can no longer meet the energy needs of her young with her milk. The latter are growing and need more nutrients to develop properly.
Weaning ends around twelve to thirteen weeks. The mother will naturally reject her kittens on her own.
Tips for feeding your kitten well
Proteins, vitamins, minerals, it is important that the food consumed by kittens is full of energy and that it spontaneously stimulates consumption. Because it is during this period that they discover the taste. And if they don’t like it from the start, they risk developing a growth problem by refusing to feed.
The kibble given to the cat must also be suitable for the kittens. This is why it is advisable to directly choose kitten kibble which has enough nutrients to meet the energy needs of the nursing mother and, moreover, meet the nutritional requirements of the little ones.
To be sure that the kitties are growing correctly, it is advisable to weigh them every week. If there is no increase in weight or if there is a slowing down, it may indicate a pathological disorder or nutritional concern.
The little ones consume between 3 and 5 meals daily. At the same time, fresh water must be continuously available to get them used to drinking as soon as possible. Proper hydration helps reduce the risk of urinary stones.
Finally, watch out for any digestive problems, especially diarrhea caused by poor assimilation of starch in the digestive system.