How to Wean a Bottle Fed Kitten
A common problem with new kitten owners is knowing when to start the weaning process,
First off, a kitten needs milk during the first four to five weeks of age so it’s usually not a good idea to start before week four.
It is important to be patient! Remember, your kitten is still a baby and has a very delicate stomach. Also, always use high quality cat food during this important stage of your kitten’s life.
Week four is the average time to start weaning but some kittens might take longer so looking for some signs will help you in knowing when to wean a kitten.
They will generally signal an interest in solid foods by biting the bottle nipple or showing an interest in licking milk or formula from a finger.
To start weaning, try feeding some formula or milk from a spoon or in a small bowl or flat dish.
The next step is to begin adding some high quality canned kitten food with the milk (or water) and making a soft paste out of it.
Don’t use a dry food yet unless it is thoroughly moistened as a kitten can’t chew dry food until they are 8 weeks old. It is a good idea though to make some dry food available as some kittens like to crunch on the smaller pieces.
Use a bowl that is easy to access and putting a little of the food on the kitten’s mouth might help stimulate their appetite as they will have a natural tendency to look it off. Avoid blocking the nose with food or formula so your kitten can breathe easily and not panic.
You should continue to bottle feed during this process to make sure the kitten is getting enough to eat and slowly reduce the feedings as the kitten eats more solid food.
Around the eight week mark you can start to make the transition to dry food if you wish by slowly introducing dry food with the canned and reducing the amount of canned food you use until you only use dry.
Weight gain can be slow and some diarrhea is common but if it is excessive it can be a serious life-threatening problem and you should take the kitten to your vet immediately.
Continual weight gain is the goal and a good rule of thumb is around four ounces a week.