As in most mammalian species, in the cat it is also important that the baby is fed by the mother until it obtains the necessary nutrients, and has reached specific abilities to survive on its own. Milk also gives you the immunity you need for a healthy life. Now weaning cats: At what age do cats stop breastfeeding?
For the first three days after the kittens are born, the mother breastfeeds with the first milk that it is going to produce, called colostrum. It is extremely important that this milk is received by the puppies, as it provides abundant nutrients and immunoglobulins necessary to prevent various infections.
Subsequently, the mother will continue to produce breast milk which, in the same way, will continue to provide nutrition and immunity. But, in addition, this milk it will also provide hormones and enzymes necessary and important for growth of the puppies. This is why it should be ensured that every kitten is fed by its mother, except in those cases where it is impossible.
What is weaning cats?
Weaning cats refers to the process by which the transition from feeding exclusively breast milk to other foods. This will be very important for the good development of the cat, since its health and behavior will depend on it when it is an adult. For this reason it must be done at the right time and, of course, in the right way.
At what age can a cat be weaned?
At present, there is no scientific theory that indicates exactly at what age cats stop breastfeeding, since the mother herself does it naturally in each case. However, what is certain is that this usually coincides with the third or fourth week after birth.
From the third week the kittens begin to interact with each other and with the environment that surrounds them, including food, so it is the ideal age to start weaning. In the same way, in this period of time your digestive system has important changes in its function. Already for the sixth week of life cats are totally fit to eat solid food.
How to carry out the weaning of cats?
It is not only important to know at what age can a cat be weaned, but in what way to do it. It is important to leave the kittens with the mother until the weaning process is complete, more or less until 12 weeks. Nevertheless, from the third or fourth week on, new foods can be introduced that they will supplant breast milk.
Here are some steps to follow to achieve complete weaning of the cat in a satisfactory way depending on each stage:
- Fourth and fifth week: In this period of time the cat is still breastfeeding, but it can already be offered solid foods suitable for its age. These can be moistened with cat formula to achieve a doughy texture.
- Fifth and sixth week: In these weeks it is possible to start giving feed to the little one. So that it has a better consistency and the change is not so abrupt, it must be moistened with water.
- Sixth and seventh week: The previous method will be continued, but moistening the food less and less. By the eighth week, weaning can be completed and the cat will be in optimal conditions to eat solid food.
What happens if breastfeeding is stopped before the recommended age for weaning cats?
Many times, people do not have the knowledge of the proper weaning age and separate the kittens from the mother early. It has been shown that early weaning can generate behavior problems in adult cats.
Early weaning and consequences for the mother
Weaning cats early can have very negative consequences for the mother, so it is important to know when to wean a cat. If it occurs very early, the mother It can generate mastitis, caused by the accumulation of milk in the breasts. This condition is not serious, but it can be uncomfortable for the cat.
Once twelve weeks have been waited, as explained above, the mother will intuitively know that the cubs can now be independent and survive in the world around them. On the contrary, if we separate her before her babies, the cat may suffer and enter a state of sadness. In cases where there has been a weaning of cats early, it is necessary to thoroughly wash the bed where the utensils and cushions that could harbor the smell of the kittens were.
Importance of feeders
It is essential that each kitten has its feeder and drinker. These have to be small and not very deep so that they can fulfill their function. If this is not the case, the cat may have difficulty eating.
If during the transition process the kitten is not yet ready to eat at the feeders, you can opt for a syringe in which you put the milk replacer and feed it through this instrument until it is more self-sufficient. However, this cannot be done for a long time, as we would be conditioning the cat and its learning would be delayed.
Find everything you need for the care of your kitten in Tíanimal. We have a special section for the little ones, with formula milk, wet food and I also think of the best brands. With these products, you will ensure that it grows and develops optimally.