Q&A: Weaning a bottle fed kitten?

Question by : Weaning a bottle fed kitten?
I know that when discussing kittens or puppies people often say that “no good breeder will take them away from the mother until eight weeks old”. Are they suggesting they nurse for that long? On the back of kitten formula is says to begin the weaning process at 6 weeks. Then, when individually searching “Weaning BOTTLE FED Kittens” the suggest is to begin weaning at 4-5 weeks! So, basically, I’m just wondering, to anyone who successfully raised bottle fed kittens, when did you begin weaning?

Best answer:

Answer by Amanda is MARRIED!
No, they are not suggesting that kittens nurse for that long. The mother normally starts weaning the kittens at 4-5 weeks old. The next few weeks they need to be with mom and littermates so they can socialize and so that mom can teach them important things such as how to go in the litterbox..

I never had to bottle feed kittens, but when my cat did have kittens over 5 years ago, we started giving them cat food when they were 4 1/2 weeks old.

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2 Responses to “Q&A: Weaning a bottle fed kitten?”

  1. Purina® Cat Chow® Mentor Dr. Deb Horwitz says:

    If there are no humans around to offer additional food to the cats, a mother cat may not begin to wean her kittens until 6-8 weeks of age when she will offer them prey that she hunts. She may however continue to allow them to nurse for some time as additional supplementation.

    If there are people around, they can begin to offer softened food to the kittens at about 4-6 weeks so that they might be ready to go to new homes at about 8 weeks of age. If the kitten is bottle fed, the same holds true.

  2. dances with cats says:

    Hi, I work in a no kill shelter taking care of cats, I also foster for the shelter. Last year I fostered and reared 31 bottle babies, this year I have reared 24 so far.

    Weaning is an individualized thing. Some kits are ready to START weaning at 3 to 4 weeks and then some will force you to wean them at around 5 weeks. I say force because some kittens will happily take a bottle and formula for as long as you will feed it to them but at 4 to 5 weeks of age, almost all kittens need food and not just formula or they will get sick and malnourished. I have had special cases that because of injuries from being thrown from cars, the kits needed bottle feeding for a lot longer. But they did get kitten food in with their formula and everything was liquefied.

    If the kits are healthy and not having problems with their formula (as in getting diarrhea from it) then you can hold off STARTING to wean until 4 weeks of age. No, mom cats don’t exclusively nurse kits for 8 weeks. at 3 to 4 weeks she is bringing home prechewed meat to them to sniff and so they will learn that it is food, sometimes even regurgitated meat and food, that starts kits on the road to weaning. Between 3 and 4 weeks kits will get about 90 or 100% of meals from nursing, by 4 to 5 weeks it drops to 70 to 80% as the percentage of meat and real food rises. Then by 6 to 8 weeks the nursing drops off sharply as kits will probably only be nursing for nutrition about 20% of the time. Even if they are nursing a lot, they are doing so for comfort and bonding and get most of their nutrition from real food after 8 weeks of age.

    Word to the wise…when starting to wean kits, make sure the food is very mushy and offer the food on a low shallow dish. AND it is easier if you set the kits in the bathtub (NO water in the tub!) with their gruel as kits will be very messy and when they are done wallowing in it you can take the kits out, clean them, put them in their box and then wash the tub out with the shower :o )

    oh and it most places in the USA it is illegal to buy, sell, trade, give away, or otherwise traffic in animals until they are a minimum of 8 weeks old.


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