How to Wean a Bottle Fed Kitten
Cats… feline, or whatever name you choose to call them belong to class of mammals. And a general characteristic of the animals in this category is that they suckle their young ones with milk from their mammary glands for a period of time. The blue whale is the only exception to this rule. They are mammals but do not suckle their offsprings.
Passionate cat lovers often take very good care of their pets, and so it is not uncommon to see kittens being fed milk from feeding bottles, just like human babies. But everything we know has a terminal date. Thus, the question, that often becomes a problem to most kitten owners is when and how to start the weaning process.
If you don’t know when and how to start the weaning process, at least you should know that it is not a good idea to start before week four, because a kitten needs milk during the first to five weeks of age.
Ideally, four weeks old is the average time to start weaning kitten. However, it is important to remember that these kittens are still babies and have very delicate stomachs. So you need to look out for signs that will help you in knowing when to wean your kitten.
Signs? Yes. They will generally signal an interest in solid foods by biting the tip of their feeding bottles, or showing an interest in licking milk from a finger. This is the time to put the weaning process on track. And to start, try feeding some milk or formula from a spoon or in a small bowl.
After this initial stage you should then proceed to the next by beginning to add some high quality canned kitten food with the milk (or water), and making a soft paste out of it.
A word of caution is necessary here. Don’t use dry food yet, unless it is thoroughly moistened, because a kitten can’t chew dry food until they are about 8 weeks old. But a good idea is to make some dry food available as some kittens like to crunch on the smaller pieces.
The type of bowl used in weaning matters a great deal. So use a bowl that is easy to access. And putting a little of the food in the kitten’s mouth might help stimulate their appetite, as they will have a natural tendency to lick it off.
And, please… avoid blocking the nose of your kitten with food so your kitten can breathe easily and not panic.
Is that all? Surely not.
You should continue to bottle feed during this process to make sure your kitten is getting enough to eat and slowly reduce the feeding as the kitten eats more solid food.
At the end of the eight week, start making the transition to dry food by slowly introducing dry food with the canned, and at the same time reducing the amount of canned food you use until you only use dry food.
Don’t fret if you notice no appreciable increase in your kitten’s weight. Weight gain can be slow and some diarrhea is common during the weaning phase.
However, if it is excessive, then it can be a life-threatening problem, and you should take your kitten to the vet immediately. Barring any hitches, continual weight gain is the goal and objective of the weaning procedure and a good rule of thumb is around 40z a week.
Doing these above tips will surely help you in weaning your bottle fed kitten successfully. Many people don’t follow such tips and so find it hard when weaning.
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