Have you been wondering how to go about weaning kittens off milk and onto solid dry food? There comes a time in every cat’s life where this must happen and it is a natural thing that happens for a few reasons.
The first reason is that the milk they drink can no longer continue to give them the nutrients they need. On top of that they stop producing the right enzyme to break down the milk, and if continued to be drunk, it will only lead to tummy upset and stomach problems.
The second reason is that the older kittens the more it hurts the queen or mother cat. Her teat becomes overwhelmingly sensitive and painful and there will come a time where she will draw the line and prevent her young from feeding. This may be accomplished through hissing a warning to back off.
When should the process of weaning kittens start?
When you start to notice the mother cat acting more distant with her young during feeding time that is a good sign that you need to start weaning the kittens. The other sign is when the kittens start growing teeth. At this stage it’s painful enough for the mother without being nipped too!
Weaning itself prevents minor trauma from the sudden switch to a completely different type of food. Resistant kittens may end up not eating until they are starved and eating is an absolute necessity.
You want to avoid this type of behavior as much as possible and make the transition a smooth one. This will prevent your kittens from becoming ill due to a lack of food and nutrition, which in turn will also lower their immune system and make them more susceptible to viruses that may be hanging around.
How do I ease my kitten onto solid food?
One of the best ways to go about weaning kittens is to buy a milk formula specifically made for kittens and pour it in a cat bowl. When they are hungry you can then put it out for them and get them used to drinking from the bowl instead.
The frequency you will have to do this is quite often, kittens will need feeding about five times a day as their stomachs are not large enough to carry the entire extent of food they need yet in one go.
For the best reference on how many times a day to feed take note of when they go to their mother to be fed.
Once they get into this habit and can happily drink from the bowl then add some solid cat food to the bowl, a bit at a time.
It can be dry or wet cat food, either are fine as long as they have over 30% of protein and are it’s specifically made for kittens to meet all their daily nutritional requirements.
Subtract the same weight of milk as the same weight of solid food you add in. Mix them together a little so that the solid food tastes of milk.
Switching over completely from milk
Over time weaning kittens becomes a breeze, as you add more and more solid food in and less milk, your cat will get used to the taste of the solid food on its own and can make the switch over completely to solids with no trouble.
If you are feeding your kitten dry food, then make the switch from milk to a little bit of water to help them break up and chew the food easier. Because kittens take a while to grow adult teeth, the dry food can be hard to eat for a good few more months. A way round this is to add a little water to make nay dry cat food somewhat moist.
When you’re doing this process be sure to leave a water bowl out so they can gradually get used to drinking water as they are making the switch to solid food. Depending on whether your cat is making the switch to wet or dry food they will need either more or less water.
Related Article: Why do cats hate water so much?
Finally, in the beginning it is not uncommon to see your cat standing in the bowl! This is a normal part of weaning kittens and switching over and they will get the hang of it eventually. Just help them clean off at the end as they may not be entirely self-proficient yet!