Weaning kittens from formula, or mother’s milk, to solid food will need be done if you have a pregnant cat or have found baby kittens, perhaps abandoned, then you will need to learn the process of . This is generally done as a gradual process. You do not want to force them to eat just solids from the start.
This should be started when the kittens are around four weeks old. The process will usually last about four weeks from there. The kittens should be fully weaned by eight weeks to ten weeks of age. If you do not know how old it is, or if they are developing slowly, a good guideline is to wait until their eyes are open, they can focus, and they are very steady on their feet.
If the mother is around, then you will want her to be involved in weaning. Naturally, she will take over, as this is her job. If the mother is not around, then they will be dependent on you to wean them.
The first step you will have to take is getting them used to drinking from a bowl. If you have been using formula, then pour this into the bowl, if not, go out and buy milk replacement, or kitten formula. DO NOT USE COW’S MILK. Cow’s milk will cause indigestion in the kittens and will not provide them with the nutrients that they need.
Encourage the kitten to drink from the bowl, especially if they begin mewing like they are hungry. If you have the mother cat, she will help by dragging the kittens near the bowl. To get the kitten to drink from the bowl, dip your finger into the formula and let the kitten sniff it. Lead the kitten to the bowl. DO not place the kitten’s head into the bowl. Simply let her smell it for herself.
After the kitten has learned to lap the formula from the bowl, you will want to begin mixing in a little bit of wet food. Heat it up just a bit so it is slightly warmer than room temperature. Alternatively, you can mash up a high quality dry kitten food and mix this with the milk instead. You can use your blender if you like. Gradually use less formula and more solid food until the kitten is eating solid food on her own. During this process you can still supplement the kitten’s feeding with a bottle, or she may still go for her mother’s milk, this is fine.
The kitten may try to play in or walk into the food bowl. This is fine! Let them do it. They will lick the food off of themselves, realize it is food, and eat it. You will have to dry her off quickly after she has eaten to prevent pneumonia. However, you do have to be careful. If you remove her too quickly from the food, she may think she is in trouble.
As you can see, it is not very difficult to wean kittens, though you do need to be patient!