As your mischievous little furball approaches her 4th week, you will need to ease her gently into accepting solid food that suits her growing needs.
The importance of mother’s milk
In the first weeks, kittens are completely dependent on their mother's milk. Ideally, kittens should have mother’s milk at least for the first 12 to 24 hours of life. Just like human babies, the first milk, known as colostrum, contains antibodies that are vital for the well-being of the kitten. If nursing is not possible, you can feed a kitten milk replacement formula with a nursing bottle or syringe. Feed slowly, every 3 hours during the day and let her sleep through the night unless she wakes up hungry.
When to being the weaning process?
Weaning begins at about 4 weeks of age but if the kitten is orphaned you can start a bit earlier between 3-4 weeks. You will observe that your kitten is gnawing and chewing her bottle, which means she is ready for a solid diet.
How to make the switch to solid food?
- Just as you do with human babies, start out by mixing the solid kitten food with familiar and acceptable milk. Keep the composition runny.
- Gently spread the mixture around your kitten’s mouth with your finger and let her lick it.
- Once she accepts the taste, she is ready and you can make the move to a bowl. Ensure she does not lap too fast and do not force her to consume the meal.
- Between the 4th and 6th week, make a gradual transition to dry food supplementing with milk and/or water. Ensure your kitten is well hydrated so offer lots of water.
Important tips to ensure smooth weaning
- When you are weaning a kitten onto solid food, it’s important to use pet food formulated specifically for kittens. Unlike home-cooked food, packaged kitten food has higher levels of calories, protein and calcium that growing kittens need. Click here to know about the Whiskas® Kitten range.
- Until kittens are a year old, give them as much as they want to eat. Unlike puppies, kittens rarely overeat.
- Weaning kittens must be kept warm. Ensure her box/bed is lined with towels and is in a warm place.