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Weaning Kittens - get the inside info on doing it the Proper Way
Article prepared by Alfred
If your female cat has kittens, one of the more troublesome
worries, but a worry that is usually ungrounded, is about
weaning the kittens. Almost always, the female cat or
"Queen" will do that for you. She will start refusing to
allow the kittens to nurse and begin to bring them solid
food or show them where the food is located. (It is a good
idea during this transition time to use wet cat food as it
is easier for the kittens to chew.)
Weaning usually begins around a month after the kittens are
born, around the time that the kittens begin to cut their
first teeth. The female cat will naturally start avoiding
the kittens at times, and the kittens themselves will not
nurse as much as well. Offering solid food to sample is
normal and natural and the kitten will begin to develop a
taste for cat food.
If you have an orphaned kitten, this isn't as easy to
accomplish. You want to start offering other forms of
substance to an orphaned kitten at around three to five
weeks of age, when the kitten weights a pound or more (over
five hundred grams).
At this time you also want to start handling the kittens so
that they become accustomed to humans and to being petted.
This socializes the kittens so that they can be good house
pets in the future.
You should start your kittens on solid food by offering them
wet cat food in a small shallow dish on a washable surface.
Kittens learning to eat real food is a messy process, so be
aware that you will end up with cat food all over the floor
and sometimes the kitten if they try to nurse on it.
Learning to bite and chew food is a normal natural learning
process and just as with human babies, this process can get
messy at times.
You should offer solid food fairly frequently throughout the
day and even sequester the kittens away from the mother for
a few hours each day to help the weaning process along. Not
all mother cats are adept at weaning their kittens and many
will need a little help from you.
The older the kittens get, the longer they can stay away
from the mother. Keep an eye out for any anxious behavior
from the kittens or the queen. You don't want to force this
process; otherwise it could lead to emotional problems in
the kittens and health problems in the female cat.
Once the kittens reach eight to twelve weeks of age they
should be eating regular cat food and no longer nursing. You
should continue to handle the kittens to be sure that they
are properly socialized and continue training them to
properly use the litter box. These are natural instincts
that just need a little help from you to encourage them to
develop properly into good pets.
See our reports on taking care of Abandoned & Orphaned Kittens
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Go here for recommended Vaccination Schedule
Be sure to have your veterinarian test your kitten for feline leukemia
and feline AIDS (tests are most reliable after a kitten is nine weeks old),
and bring a fecal sample to have analyzed for intestinal parasites.
We do Not recommend giving over the counter vermicides!
Follow your veterinarians recommendations.
At eight weeks of age, kittens are mature enough to
adapt to a new home, find their litter box and use it, take care
of their own grooming and start a love affair with their new