How do I introduce solid foods to young kittens?
At four weeks, kitten should start to be introduced to solid food. They’ll still be nursing, but the mother will begin weaning. Kittens grow very quickly and good nutrition is critical.
A high quality kitten food will help them get through their growth spurts and it will also take a burden off the mother. Kittens have razor-sharp teeth so nursing her babies is probably hurting the mother a lot!
Here are some tips to best introduce them:
• Offer a little solid food, soaked in water or milk replacement formula and mashed up with a fork or spoon, two times a day. You can also soak the food in kitten milk substitute; don’t use cow’s milk, because cats cannot digest it.
• Make sure the food is formulated for kittens, because adult food is very hard for them to digest.
• Canned food is best, because kittens have sensitive teeth. However, don’t leave it out for too long, as it can start to harbor bacteria.
• Don’t overfeed; try to limit to six bites.
• At five weeks, kittens should start to be fed three times a day. Tiny portions are recommended.
• Gradually increase the amount of food, still being mindful to never overfeed.
• The kitten should stay on kitten food for the first year.
• Use low, flat pans to make it easier for her to reach the food without having to climb or stretch. She might make a mess at first, spilling and splashing—or even batting at it with her paws–but she’ll eventually get the hang of it. If need be, just gently clean her up with a damp, warm cloth.
• Offer fresh, clean water at each meal.
• Feed kittens on a schedule so they associate feeding time with potty time, making housebreaking easier.
• Always make your kitten feel warm, secure and safe by holding her. This is especially true for wild cats who have been abandoned and possibly abused by humans.