How To Wean a Bottle Fed Kitten

Bottled feeding kitten

Here are some pointers on how to make the transition as stress-free as possible for both you and your kitten:

  1. Once your cat is four weeks old (see # 9), start by making a paste with the formula and a quality, brand-name soft food like Science Diet Feline Growth canned food. You can also offer meat-based baby foods if you wish.
  2. Once you have your paste, put it into a saucer or a shallow bowl.
  3. Use your finger to feed the kitten from the saucer or shallow bowl so she gets the idea of eating solid food and of getting food from the saucer or bowl. After you've offered the paste to your kitten with your finger, offer her the soft food from the saucer. Be prepared for the kitten to play in it and make a mess. A towel beneath the bowl or saucer may be a great idea.
  4. Continue to offer some formula in a bottle, at your regular feeding times, but gradually decrease the bottle feeding amount and increase the amount of food offered. Give your kitten the soft food first, and then a little bit of the bottle after he seems done eating, or if all he's done is play in the food. You can also offer your kitten formula in a saucer, if he will accept it in this form.
  5. After your kitten has successfully made the transition to eating food out of a saucer or a bowl, start decreasing the amount of formula you put into the soft food, until you're not mixing formula with the soft food anymore.
  6. By the end of ten to fourteen days, your kitten should be weaned fully off the bottle and eating the food exclusively without any element of kitten formula.
  7. Offer your kitten a saucer of water around the same time you start weaning your kitten off the formula. Yes, kittens will be fascinated by the water and will likely play in it (once again, a towel beneath the saucer may help). But they will get the idea of drinking from the saucer or shallow bowl quickly.
  8. Be sure you research how to care for an orphaned kitten. One great book is Hand Raising the Orphaned Kitten, by M.L. Papurt, DVM.
  9. Make sure your kitten is four weeks old before beginning to wean her. If you don't know the age of your kitten, ask your vet for help. But here are some pointers so you can make an educated guess.
    • At about ten days old, your kitten's eyes should be open.
    • At about three and a half weeks, your kitten's ears should stand straight up.
    • Kittens are unstable on their feet until about four weeks old.
    • Kittens that are running and playing are about five to six weeks old.

 

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