The main food for new-born cats is breast milk. This will be their main source of nutrients until they can begin to diversify their diet. This is when weaning occurs. A maturation process that differs from animal to animal.
During the first weeks of a kitten’s life, its mother’s milk is the food that provides it with the energy and nutrients it needs to continue developing. As well as the antibodies that will be part of its immune system.
This milk completely covers the kitten’s needs , until it begins to take its first steps as a sign that it is independent and can begin to eat solid food.
What is cat weaning?
Weaning is the process when kittens begin to eat foods other than breast milk, gradually replacing it until they stop having it completely.
It is a progressive process that must not be rushed, the very nature of the kitten and the mother will set the pace until the kitten stops nursing in pursuit of a more varied diet that provides the nutrients it needs to continue growing.
When should kittens be weaned?
The weaning process must never be forced. It is important that you respect the kitten’s lactation period. The kitten and its mother will decide when to stop nursing completely and eat only solid food.
However, there is a specific time when the weaning of kittens usually occurs. When they reach 3 weeks of age, after they open their eyes, are more active and take their first steps, they will be ready to start weaning little by little.
Weaning cats step by step
Weaning should not be done by directly separating kittens from their mother. Babies should spend as much time as possible with their mother and siblings, setting the amount of time spent with their mother themselves.
However, you can help when it is time to wean the cats. Around the third week of the kitten’s life you can begin to offer them solid foods suitable for their age.
From cat food with a special formula, to wet food for growing cats.
To make the food more palatable, try wetting it with warm water. Make a slurry so kittens can eat it and digest it better and put it on a plate with low edges for easy access.
Offer them food 2 to 3 times a day, and don’t forget to include a drinker with fresh, clean water.
When can kittens be separated from their mother?
It is not recommended to separate cats from their mother until they are at least 6 weeks old.
Once weaning is over, young cats also need to learn to socialise by interacting with their mother and siblings. It is the mother who teaches her kittens to wash, to use the litter box, and to behave with other cats through play.
Weaning is a very important time for kittens, so you must do it right and be patient. Sepicat recommends that you consult a specialist if you have any questions, so they can advise you throughout the process of the best course of action.