How and When to Wean Your Kitten

So you found this adorable kitten and you realize he has been abandoned by his mommy. You take him home and decide you will raise and love the kitten like your own. But what about feeding him? Is he old enough to eat solids or should he be on formula? This blog will answer these questions and more.

What is weaning?

The process of your kitten making the switch from his mother milk to solids. This is a very important part of your kitten’s development and needs to be done properly at the right time.

Before weaning

The milk from a mother cat contains antibodies that the kitten can only absorb during the first 12-24 hours of his life. So if possible, expose your kitten safely to a nursing mother cat. If this isn’t an option at all, feed your baby cat  formula with a clean  nursing bottle. You should  bottle feeding your baby for at least 3-4 weeks. The bottle should always be warmed and checked to make sure its not too hot. Feed your fur baby every two-three hours. At night your kitten will let you know he’s hungry by “crying” if he’s sleeping let him sleep.

Tip: if using powder formula always freeze the unmixed powder.

When to wean

Typically the process begins around 4 weeks, when they’re with mommy cat they will try to eat their kibble but since you’re the mommy now, you can begin the weaning process a tad earlier like 3 weeks.

Tip: Once your kitten starts to bite or chew on the bottle this means he’s ready for solids.

How to wean

You can’t  throw kibble in a bowl just yet, to properly begin start with mixing the formula with soft kitten food  and let him lick it off your finger. Once he mastered that, place some soft kitten food in a small bowl. Never push their face in the bowl because this cause pneumonia, always monitor while eating.  Once your kitten reaches 4-6 weeks old, transit the kitten to dry food. When feeding dry food add water and then reduce amount as  he matures.

Tip: When purchasing food make sure its approved by the AAFCO Association of American Feed Control Officials.  The AAFCO ensures that your fur baby is eating a healthy and natural balanced diet. To learn more, check out  our Are you buying the best cat food blog.

General weaning schedule

  • 4-5 weeks: Give wet or moisten dry food mixed with formula. Switch back to formula if kitten isn’t going for the solids.
  • 5-6 weeks: Your kitten should be nibbling on slightly moist kibble.
  • 6-7 weeks: Your kitten should be fully weaned and eating solids by the 7th week.

Tips galore

Tip 1 When weaning make sure you’re using kitten food, kitten food is formulated to provide your fur baby with all the nutrients he needs to grow.

Tip 2: if you have the mommy cat, it’s ok for her to eat the kitten food while nursing

Tip 3: Kittens need to be warm. Make a nest out of a small box with towels, adding diapers will make clean up a breeze. Place a heating pad under one side of the box to provide warmth. Leave the other side as a cool zone.

Tip 4: At any point you become confused during the weaning process, contact your vet.