Whether your kitten has its mother or not, it will be necessary to wean it so that it becomes independent and grows harmoniously. If nature usually does things right, the apartment cat is going to need a human boost for a smooth weaning.
What is weaning in the kitten? How can the teacher help at this essential stage of development? What are the precautions to take to avoid making mistakes and enjoying a kitten in great shape?
What is kitten weaning?
Weaning designates, in all mammals, including our friends the cats, the moment during which the mother stops breastfeeding her young so that he can eat alone. By extension, we use the word weaning in humans as in kittens, as soon as we go from a milk diet (natural / maternal or industrial / artificial) to a diversified diet.
Weaning therefore marks the first separation of the baby cat from its mother, but also the transition between liquid food and solid food. It is important to respect the different phases of weaning for the cat’s balance, both in terms of his health and his psychological development.
Thus, there are three essential phases for weaning the kitten:
- From 3 or 4 weeks: weaning begins with a transition phase, when the first baby teeth of the cat appear
- From 7 or 8 weeks: weaning is over and the kitten no longer needs the cat or the human who raised it to be independent
- At the age of 12 weeks: the kitten is weaned, but it continues to live with its mother and siblings in order to assimilate all of the feline social codes
This is why, even if a kitten is adoptable at 2 months after weaning, it is advisable to wait until 3 months before the change of owner.
How to wean your kitten at home?
If the kitten is breastfed by its mother
If your kitten is lucky enough to have her mother, she will naturally take care of pushing him away gently or firmly depending on her character, but she will do her job following her maternal instinct.
On your side, you will be there to give it a boost in three phases:
- From 3 or 4 weeks, as soon as the mother shows her annoyance during breastfeeding, you will provide your kitten with a bowl of water and a bowl of solid food in the form of mash so that it is easy to eat with the first teeth
- From 5 or 6 weeks, start to introduce your future diet, it can of course be wet food, but also kibble that you will moisten in a little water the first times
- After 7 or 8 weeks, your kitten is completely weaned and your cat will refuse to feed her, so she will go without difficulty thanks to the previous transitional phases to a completely solid diet.
Either way, make sure your cat has fresh water available, even if kittens aren’t heavy drinkers. A fountain can be particularly attractive to kittens, in addition to being a lot of fun for them.
If the kitten is bottle-mothered by a human
If your kitten is not lucky enough to have its mother, either because you found it alone in the wild, or because the mother is recovering or died, the weaning will be done a little differently, by following three phases:
- From the birth of the kitten to its 3 or 4 weeks, you will have to give the bottle to your kitten using exclusively a special kitten milk bought in pharmacies or from your veterinarian, during the first 10 days, remember to stimulate your kitten’s anogenital area after each feed
- From 3 or 4 weeks: start to space the bottles and introduce solid food, either in the form of wet food (mash, jelly) or with kibbles mixed with formula milk
- From 4 or 5 weeks: your kitten must be able to feed himself without a bottle, you will continue the previous mixture for 1 week by removing the bottles, then you can switch to his final solid food
Be reassured, the formula leaflet will give you all the instructions to follow to carry out its weaning gently and that nothing is missing.
The mistakes not to make to wean a cat
By following all of the tips listed in this article, your kitten’s weaning will go smoothly. However, he may have digestive problems, especially if he is bottle-fed. Not enough to panic though, but you have to watch it. Thus, we advise you to weigh him regularly and to note his weight in a notebook in order to check that he is growing without his health being in danger.
Finally, even if your cat will be fully weaned between its 5 and 8 weeks depending on its character, the behavior of its mother or the feeding with artificial milk, it is imperative not to give it for adoption before its 8 weeks. .
Finally, we cannot say it enough, cow’s milk is toxic to cats. Whether it is to supplant maternal food or to please her, ban the milk drunk by humans and also forget the kitten milk sold in supermarkets, too sweet for its stomach and useless for its growth.