Weaning is the stage at which kittens move from whole mother’s milk to more solid foods. It passes gradually, with a slow increase in the amount of solid foods in their daily diet.
If a cat has a large number of kittens or is in poor health, the cat can only partially feed her offspring. As a rule, closer to the second month of kittens' life, the cat stops feeding at all. When kittens try to get to the nipples, she goes away or is positioned so that there is no access to the nipples.
Upon reaching the age of three weeks, kittens begin to show interest in milk in their mother’s bowl. At this age, they can already be given small portions (1/2 - 1 teaspoon) of mother's milk substitute. Later, in a day or two, a small amount of baby food can be mixed with milk food, and another week later, one of the milk feeds per day can be replaced with canned meat or fish.
Despite the fact that the kitten continues to receive breast milk, it must be fed at least 4 times a day. The amount of food, when the kitten reaches 6 weeks of age, should be approximately 3 - 4 teaspoons per meal. At the same time, the amount of meat and fish food should gradually increase so that for 6-8 weeks the kittens (if necessary) could be completely weaned from the mother cat and feed them up to 4-5 times a day with other food. In long-haired cat breeds, development is slower, and, accordingly, the opportunity to take the offspring from the mother appears much later.
As kittens grow older, the consistency of food should change - become more dense and solid. The menu may include: canned cat food, minced beef, fish or poultry. First, the food should contain a significant amount of water, which decreases over time. And even later, there is no need to add water at all. At first, an omelet with oil may also be suitable as a complementary food. In the future, the kitten needs to be accustomed to a variety of foods.
If at some stage of the weaning of the kitten from the mother he has diarrhea or if he refuses to eat, you should contact your veterinarian for help.
The negative consequences of premature separation of the kitten from the mother
Many people think that the sooner the owner replaces the kitten with his mother, the easier it will be to instill all the necessary skills for living together. But this is not so. This "earlier" can play a cruel joke with both the owner and the pet. The thing is that while the kitten is next to his mother, he goes through very important stages of both physical and psychoemotional development.
A baby who is taken away too early from his mother experiences a number of problems:
- In communication with people. The kitten is panicky afraid of its new owner. Subsequently, the pet is either pathologically cowardly or extremely aggressive. Such a neighborhood of joy just will not bring. Few people want to go scratched. This is especially unpleasant when there are children in the house. Cat scratches and bites heal very poorly and often become infected.
- In accustoming to the baby's tray. For a person this is a difficult task. You need to constantly be near, which is not always convenient. But the oversight leads to sad consequences: a kitten can completely ignore the toilet, and then odorous heaps and puddles will appear in the most unexpected and inaccessible places.
- In the development of hunting skills and self-security. Such kids do not know how to get food, catching mice for them is an impossible task. They also cannot hide from the enemy. Meeting with your own kind can lead to a sad outcome, because in the event of a conflict the kitten will not be able to fight back and stand up for itself. In the future, becoming an adult, the cat may even experience problems with procreation. He just does not know how to behave.
Thus, kittens, which were early taken away from their mother, are socially poorly adapted to independent life. A mother cat handles these tasks much better.
All these factors are of general importance for any kitten and are not dependent on the breed.
Duration of natural feeding of newborn kittens with breast milk
Cat's breast milk is an important component in the development of kittens:
- It contains antibodies that strengthen the immunity of babies and protect against infections that can be fatal to newborns.
- Mother's milk contains taurine and calcium for the full development of the skeleton and the basic functions of the animal. A lack of taurine seriously affects the development of the cardiovascular system, vision, reproductive system, and the maintenance of immunity.
Observations of breastfed babies and artificers have proven the undeniable benefits of breast milk.
In the first few days after birth, babies are applied to the mother up to 12 times. Then the number of feeds is reduced:
- in the second week of life until 8,
- by the fourth week - up to 6 times a day.
Accordingly, the interval between feedings increases. The duration of breastfeeding directly depends on the number of kittens. 1-2 kittens can be sucked by the mother for up to 4-6 months, until they finally switch to solid food. But a greater number of kittens eat their mother’s milk for up to two months. Then the process of lactation in the cat comes to naught.
If the kitten is alone, he can suck his mother for up to six months
What should a kitten be able to do by the time they start independent living in a new house
By the time an independent life begins, a kitten must possess a number of skills. He must:
- walk well
- eat solid food on your own,
- know the tray
- observe hygiene.
The kitten gains all these skills thanks to the mother. She is an excellent teacher of her children, and they are wonderful imitators. Skills are formed gradually:
- by the age of a month kittens can walk confidently,
- by one and a half months they already try solid food,
- the tray is firmly mastered by 2 months,
From a month to two, the kitten masters the tray
It turns out that at about the age of 3 months you can already look for a kitten a new home.
What socialization skills are desirable for seamless adaptation to new conditions
Physiological indicators, of course, are of great importance for independent living. In a cat family, during games with brothers and sisters, a kitten strengthens its muscles, learns to control its body, and acquires fighting and defense skills. Mother teaches kittens hunting.
Kitten will also teach mother to hunt
But socialization skills are no less important, because the baby will live with people in the future. The mother also teaches this kitten, the baby repeats after her what she does. A cat that lives with people teaches kittens to communicate with humans, teaches kids to the tray.
When the kittens of my cat grew up a bit and the time came for the first feeding, I fed them separately, since the diet and nutrition consistency was different from what I gave to adult cats (I had three of them). But the time has come to transfer the kids “to the common table”. Usually, when I go out with food, cats are already waiting for me at the door, lining up in a row (you won’t say otherwise), and then they all run together to the place where I give them food. I noticed that the kittens at first at that time went about their business, and in order for them to eat, I had to take each in my arms and carry them to the “common table”. But after a week, this was no longer required. They joined the general row and with a loud meow chased their older relatives (or even ran ahead of everyone).
Kittens who grow up with their mother in a “human” family are not afraid of people, do not run away, having heard the steps of a person, calmly relate to when they are picked up or stroked. In all these moments, they also take an example from their mother.
Once I picked up a kitten from the street. He looked about a month and a half. Where and how much he wandered before this, I do not know. I was able to pick it up just because he was simply exhausted. This baby, after warming up and eating a little, crawled under the bed into an inaccessible corner. It took me almost a month to train him a little. There was no concept of a “tray” in his vocabulary, the maximum that I managed to teach him to walk on a disposable diaper, laid on his favorite place. In general, when he got a little accustomed, he went to live in the yard with the rest of my pets, but he did not join the general “flock”. I found a place in the barn and came only at the time of feeding. Apparently, this was the “child” of a street cat, moreover, early left without a mother, which left an imprint on his behavior and attitude towards people.
When can I take a kitten from a cat
It is possible to take kittens from their mother by two or three months. At this point, the kids are able and know enough. Lactation in the mother comes to an end. There is already not enough milk, and kittens can eat solid food with pleasure and without consequences.
The main points showing that the baby is ready for an independent life is how well he eats himself, goes to the toilet and takes care of himself. If any of these skills is still poorly formed, it is better to leave the kitten with its mother. You will have to wait a short time, even for a week the baby can fix some skill well. But this is better than tormenting yourself later with a kitten who does not understand the rules of behavior in the house.
Breeders involved in breeding thoroughbred cats, give a kitten to a new house no earlier than he turns 3 months old. By this time, as a rule, the baby will undergo the first vaccination and deworming. And the new owner will receive a fully socialized pet.
A friend brought a kitten, brought them, bred them for the first time. Scotsman. 1.5 months. After 20 minutes in the house he began to throw himself to his feet, after half a day on his face. At all in the house, he carefully climbs and throws his face with claws and teeth. By truth and not truth, he will climb over his head and this is scary. Suddenly throws himself up, and it is not possible to sleep.
We took all our cats in 1.5 months. this is the same age when they are cool. he will only learn how to bother himself in the toilet and in general in his life, so that he immediately understands that you are a mother. I listened to you and got used to your rhythm of life
I took mine in 1.5 months. But she ate herself. But there were problems with her stomach, she had to do a tummy massage and wipe her tummy with a wet towel so that she would go to the toilet. Leave the kitten up to 2 months with the cat.
Up to 2 months, the baby’s immune system is formed, behavior is raised by the cat-mother and along with brothers and sisters. Well, if you are a lover: “And we will go the other way”, then please, problems with the tray are provided and other amenities - spoiled furniture and wallpapers. Personal experience - I took the kitten 1 month, 2 weeks I accustomed it to the tray, all angles were about. she accustomed her, and at night she jumped up, rustling in the corner, then the claw-brush, the fresh repair was covered with a copper basin - the kitten flew along the walls like a tornado .. I didn’t recognize what toys and complexes, because I didn’t know what it was. After a year, the cat calmed down, studied. But I had to carry out the repair again .. The second was taken by a thoroughbred from a well-known Moscow nursery at the age of 4 months - some pleasant moments. The following cats at the age of 3 months are intelligent, educated and friendly. Who gives or sells in 1 month is dishonest with potential owners - firstly, it’s very expensive to keep a nursing cat and kittens, the faster the better for the budget, the second - the kitten is not socialized, there is no guarantee that the child is healthy, and the more it will be friendly and affectionate animals.
A kitten aged 1–1.5 months will already be able to survive without a mother, being in the care of a person. But this age is not the best for separation. If you take your pet out of the house, take some time. Let the cat teach him all the intricacies of behavior and communication with humans. It will be better for the physiological and psycho-emotional state of the pet if he begins his independent life at an age closer to 3 months.
How is a kitten born, how does it develop in the first weeks of life?
To understand at what age to wean kittens from a cat, you should follow the path of their maturation in the first weeks of life. The weaning period is due to the physiological development of the young at the moment when separation from the mother does not cause irreparable harm to their psyche and health. Information about the development of kittens in the first weeks of life:
|Development period||Age days||Features|
|Newborn||To 10||Cubs are born completely blind. Their lack of vision is compensated by their excellent sense of smell. Their weight varies from 70 to 120 g. At first, the kids practically do not move. During this period they are helpless. Newborn kittens do not know how to independently go to the toilet, a cat helps them.|
|Lactic||10–21||By the onset of the milky period, cubs already weigh about 400 g. At this age, their eyes open. Despite the fact that they are able to see, vision is still blurry, which is why the crumbs are poorly oriented in space. By the end of 21 days of life, they begin to rest on all 4 legs, their teeth erupt.|
|Lure||21–45||At this point, solid food is introduced into the diet of small pets. At about one month of age, they already have 26 teeth.|
|Socialization||45–90||During this period, kittens almost completely switch to solid food, because they already have all their teeth. They can do a lot and are ready for the first vaccination.|
|The young growth||After 90||At this age, development has already been completed. The grown up kittens have full immunity and a formed character.|
When do kittens start eating on their own?
In the early days of life, kittens feed on colostrum, which is then replaced by milk. Both types of food contain microelements and antibodies that contribute to the formation of colostral immunity (formed by colostrum immunoglobulins of the system of mechanisms of protection and adaptation of young animals in the early neonatal period).
Breastfeeding by a cat of its cubs lasts from 40 to 60 days. It can continue up to six months, however, only the first 1.5–2 months mom provides kittens with basic food. The first complementary foods for small pets are introduced at 3-4 weeks of age. From this moment, the amount of milk gradually decreases in a nursing pet. Independently eat cubs begin at about a month old.
What does mother teach toddlers?
As soon as the kids get a little stronger and learn how to navigate in space, the cat starts learning them. The educational process begins with the simplest things - how to distinguish your own from strangers, interact correctly with those and others, move around, behave in certain situations. Closer to the 5-week age, the mother instills in her cubs the basics of hygiene, accurate eating and washing the face after eating.
As soon as the crumbs are 30 days old, the cat begins to take them out for a walk (if she has such an opportunity) in order to teach them how to climb trees, how to land correctly and hunt. Pets teach their offspring to use the tray by example. Cats do everything so that excommunicated kittens can live a full life.
At what age can kittens be taken from a cat and given to a new home?
Professionals share the latest opinion.1.5–2-month-old crumbs have already opened their eyes, move independently and are perfectly oriented in space, eat adult food, are trained in all cat's wisdom, have a mature character and a stronger psyche.
In order to correctly determine the optimal time for weaning kittens from a cat, you need to focus not on how much time has passed since they were born, but on whether they are able to take care of themselves, whether they have received the basics of parenting, whether their psyche has settled. Other concerns for preparing a small pet for transfer to new owners fall on the shoulders of its owner.
At what age is it better to give the baby to a new family? It is recommended to do this when the kitten is 3 months old. Why should you give out exactly 12-week-old pets? Conscientious, self-respecting breeders who do not just give or sell kittens to get rid of them, but try to attach them in good hands with the possibility of subsequent monitoring of their fate, before distributing them, do all the necessary vaccinations. In addition, they give pets only after they accustom them to the tray and adult food.
It is recommended to take a kitten from trusted breeders, making sure that it has a mature character, a stable psyche, the correct upbringing received from the mother, adequately perceives people. Only in the presence of these qualities will the animal quickly master in a new family. Do not pick up a kitten that is too small, because the view that the younger the cat is, the faster it adapts to new living conditions, is just a myth.
What happens if you give kittens ahead of time?
There are frequent cases when breeders, for various reasons, are in a hurry to give kittens or potential new owners of babies insist on picking them up before the due date. This can not be done, because early weaning of the young from the mother is fraught with the following problems:
- Disruption of the digestive organs. The not yet fully developed enzymatic system of kittens does not allow them to assimilate solid food well. Kittens that were deprived of their mother's milk before term can hardly digest adult food, as a result of which they may begin to have diarrhea and dysbiosis, which, under unfavorable circumstances, can lead to the death of crumbs.
- Weakened immunity. Maternal milk, although it no longer provides the grown-up organism with nutritional components, still protects it from external negative factors. Untimely deprivation of kittens of such protection negatively affects their immune system, as a result of which they become vulnerable to various infections.
- Severe stress. Until 1–1.5 months of age, the emotional connection between a cat and a kitten is still too strong. For rare babies, early separation from their mother does not strike the psyche. Against the background of stress and immature immunity, the likelihood of developing various pathologies increases.
Having taken the kitten too early, the new owners may very soon regret their hasty decision. Taking into the house an animal that did not have time to socialize, through which only they will not have to go! This is unmotivated aggression, and inappropriate behavior, and refusal to make contact with households, and conflicts with other pets living in the house, and an incorrect reaction to dangers, and damage to property. In addition, the new owner of the crumbs too weaned from the mother will have to independently vaccinate and deworm, which will entail unnecessary expenses.
What threatens with late excommunication?
The problems are fraught only too early excommunication of the kitten from the cat. The baby is not in any serious danger to his health and psyche if he is weaned much later than 1.5–2 months. Moreover, it will play into the hands of the new owner. The pet will probably be vaccinated and treated for parasites, accustomed to walk in the tray, without overshooting.
For the owner of the cat, later weaning the kitten from her will also be a plus. All that remains for him is to vaccinate and deworm him, his mother will teach the rest of the crumbs.