When and how to wean a KITTEN

Weaning is the process of transition from mother’s milk to solid food. Ideally, it should be handled completely by the mother, but now that you are a pet parent, it is your responsibility to wean properly

When to start?
A lot of pet parents are confused about when to start weaning. It should be done when the kittens are around 4 weeks old and be completed by the time they are 8-10 weeks old. Usually, it takes 6-10 weeks to wean a kitten though the process varies from kitten to kitten.
One indication to start weaning the kitten is when they start to nibble or try to chew the feeding bottle. It is recommended that you talk to your vet.

How to wean...
Deal separation slowly: Don’t separate the kitten from the mother before 4 weeks. Also in the initial weaning stages, you could keep the queen cat (mother) around as she would know the best possible way. When the kitten becomes more independent, he would be able to spend more time alone without the mother.
Feeding tips: Start by giving the food (or milk replacers) in a very shallow dish. This way, it would be easy for the kitten to slurp it up. Dip your finger in the milk and let the kitten lick it first. Then slowly guide him to the bowl.
You can give a combination of dry food and canned food. Make sure that you crush the dry food into really small pieces so that it is easy to chew and swallow. Serve the food close to room temperature or lukewarm. It is a great idea to blend all the ingredients and make a smooth paste. This way it would be easier to lick it.
You should feed the kitten slowly but at frequent intervals, every 2–3 hours. At night, if the kitten is sleeping don’t wake him up.
If by chance, he is hungry he’ll wake you up by nudging or whining.

Weaning schedule
Week 4-5: Slightly moistened food, preferably in slush form.
Week 5-6: The kitten will start nibbling on dry kibble.
Week 6-7: Give them solid food.
By the end of 7 weeks, the weaning process will be complete and the kitten will be happily eating solid food.

Tips for an easier weaning process
  • Right age: Start at the right age (mentioned above) and in the right manner for fruitful results.
  • Make it a gradual process: Make sure that the transition is gradual. An abrupt shift from mother’s milk to solid food can have a negative effect.
  • Nutrition balance: Use food (packaged) especially formulated for weaning kittens. This food is made keeping in mind the calorie intake and nutritional needs of kittens.
  • Keep the kitten warm: It is important to keep weaning kittens warm. You could experiment with heating pads or hot water bottles. Just be very careful, never leave the kitten alone. Wrap the hot water bottle in a cloth to avoid direct contact with heat.
  • Patience is the key: Remember that your kitten is learning something new and you must give him time to adapt to this new habit. Don’t get annoyed or too hassled if things don’t work out in the first go.

- By Kritika Manchanda

Did you know?
Your dog actually understands what you say...
Researchers in Hungary scanned the brains of a number of dogs while they were listening to their handlers. They found that these dogs processed words and inflection using the left and right hemispheres of their brain, respectively – just like human beings. The dogs also registered praise only when the words matched the intonation (random words spoken in a positive voice did not register as praise).

Get glowing
Daily brushing: Proper grooming includes daily brushing of the coat, the loose hair of your pet will be removed,
thus reducing the problem of shedding.

Bonding: Try to keep each session short with gentle reassurance, calmness, and petting. Bond with your pet.

Pet care products: A dog’s skin is more sensitive than ours. Remember to use only pet care products.

Trimming with care: Start trimming your dog’s nails as early as possible to help them get accustomed to the routine. Consult your groomer. A nail grinder can be used to trim and smooth your pet’s nails. Be extremely gentle. Give your dog treats as you do each nail; your
dog will actually relax and look forward to having his nails done.

Ear care: When cleaning your dog’s ears put a ear cleaning solution inside and then gently massage the base of the ears. Leave for some time and wipe off the excess with cotton. Never probe inside the ear.

Paw care: Trim paw hair regularly to avoid painful matting – always check the paws for ticks.

Facial wrinkles: Breeds with loose facial skin or wrinkles need special attention. Clean the folds with a damp cotton pad; dry the area.

Blow with care: Be sure to use a dryer with low or no heat. Keep it at a comfortable distance. Ensure your pet is at ease with the noise.

Eye care: Clean their eyes with clean, damp cotton wool using a separate piece for each eye. Ask your vet for specific eye drops.

Tooth brushing: For tooth brushing put some toothpaste on your finger and massage your pet’s teeth and gums. Let him lick the toothpaste. Make sure you’re using dog toothpaste.

Bathing sessions: Bathing your pet too frequently can damage the skin and coat. While bathing, never spray water onto their face directly. For long hair breeds, massage the coat in the direction of hair growth to avoid tangles. After a bath, wrap your pet in a large, absorbent towel. Gently rub him dry. If he has long hair, avoid heavy rubbing. It can tangle the fur; blot instead. If your pooch is too naughty, you can place cotton balls in his ears for bath sessions. Always use a conditioner after bathing, as it will add shine, make his hair soft, and reduce shedding. Do not trim your pet’s whiskers, as they are devices that help the dog feel its way through the world. It is recommended not to feed your pet before the grooming appointment.
— Poorvi Anthony

www.dogsandpupsmagazine.com; www.facebook.com/Dogsandpupsmag

Are you a proud pet parent? Have a cute cat story to share? Maybe your guinea pig is giving you trouble? Whatever is your creature companion, we are here to listen to you. Send your photos, queries and stories to [email protected]

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