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Intro to semi solid food

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I am hand raising my little orphaned kitten. Is 3 weeks a good age to start mixing solid food into her KMR?

I am planning on weaning her when she is about 4 weeks old. She can already lick formula off my fingers when the milk accidentally drips. Also, she seems to be able to sniff damp spots on the paper towel and will lick the spot a few times too!
post #2 of 11
I would not mix in solid foods till at least 4 weeks old. If the kitten is fine with KMR now, you can wait another week.

If kittens are nursing from mom, I don't even introduce solid food till 5-6 weeks old, but orphans are a little sooner cause of the circumstance.
post #3 of 11
I introduce softened foods at 3weeks but I don't expect them to eat much of it and I continue to offer the same amount of formula for another week so long as they eat it. Usually they will slowly eat more of the solid food and less of the formula on their own. By 3 weeks I've nearly always had them drinking out of a small bowl instead of a bottle anyway so I just offer a second bowl with softened food next to the first and they investigate on their own as they are ready. Usually they aren't completely off formula and drinking plain water or eating catfood without formula until 6weeks. I let the kittens decide. I put it out there and they determine what they are ready to eat. The only thing I really force on them is that after they are eating the solid food mixed with formula pretty well I will start to dilute their bowl of formula so that they are eventually drinking plain water. That also encourages them to eat more solid food since drinking doesn't get rid of their hunger as well but I don't start diluting it until after they've decided to eat other things besides formula.
post #4 of 11
I have raised several orphaned kittens and I always introduced solid food at about 3 weeks but... in very small amounts at the beginning.

Even if you plan on weaning her in one week, I would already put a little KMR in a saucer for her to "practice" licking even if it's just for fun...
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I just blended a few EVO Kitten food with KMR and fed Lucy Belle. She absolutely loves it. I am thrilled. She doesn't seems to be picky about food at all. The mixture is creamy with a milk shake consistency and I just enlarged the nipple hole so Lucy Belle can drink from her bottle.

After finished eating, the most amazing thing happened! She licked her little mouth clean and then used her little paws to do the same thing. Haha .. she's such a sweetheart.

I've read about problems arising from weaning too early and I wouldn't want to subject her to those. So I am thinking that 4 weeks is the best.

Sham/ Studio224, is it too early to allow her to lap her food at this age? I am just afraid of doing it too fast although I can be pretty sure that she is able to.

She can't seems to be able to go bathroom on her own yet without stimulation, and I was hoping to introduce her to the litter box as well when she turns 4 weeks old.

If she is able to go on her own, will she pee/poo in her box? How do I know when to stop stimulating her?
post #6 of 11
Young kittens will make a lot of mistakes when it comes to eliminating in the pan. I'd start with a shallow cake pan (inch high) and as they grow, get a larger pan. Even with that, my kittens still would make mistakes and go outside the pan.

Keep the kitten/pan/food in a room with a cleanable surface (not carpet) till older.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
Young kittens will make a lot of mistakes when it comes to eliminating in the pan. I'd start with a shallow cake pan (inch high) and as they grow, get a larger pan. Even with that, my kittens still would make mistakes and go outside the pan.

Keep the kitten/pan/food in a room with a cleanable surface (not carpet) till older.
Thanks for the heads up! I will most likely place the litter box in the bathroom for now. Just a little worried that Lucy is still unable to go on her own even though she'd already turned 3 weeks.
post #8 of 11
They can drink from a dish at 3weeks. While it's not a big deal with one it's much easier than using bottles when you've got 5-6 at a time and they do have to learn to drink liquids from a bowl eventually anyway. Watch them so they don't breathe in too much because they'll dunk their noses a few times before they get it but they do that when they are first introduced to a dish at any age. My current one continued to occasionally dunk her nose in the water dish until 10weeks. It requires a little practice for some. Breathing in too much liquid will lead to respiratory issues though so if they aren't getting it feed them from a bottle for awhile until they aren't as hungry and overeager then let them try the dish again. They should be a bit more cautious and not try to suck it all down at once if they aren't really that hungry.

I've started with paper plates as litter trays before for small kittens. They do make a mess out of it as they get the hang of scratching around but it's very easy for them to step onto for the first few days. After stimulating her set her on the litter, scratch her front feet around, and then push her rearend down a little into a squat. They usually pick it up after a couple times of that and start using the litterbox as soon as they can go by themselves but they'll make lots of mistakes like going next to the litterbox or hanging their bottom off the edge for awhile. You can pick up rolls of painters plastic pretty cheap to lay down if you don't have an area without carpet. Also best to keep towels, dirty clothes, and anything wet or with a strong smell up off the floors until she's definitely got the hang of the litterbox. You don't want to encourage her into a bad habit early.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
I tried starting off with a shallow dish with KMR and what Lucy did was funny. She sniffed the bowl and went around it a couple of times and eventually wandered off. I brought her back next to the dish and encourage her to lick the dish. She dunked her little face in and got herself all wet! Even her eyes!

I got scared and immediately pulled her away and wiped away the mess. I guess she still haven't figure out how to do it. Hmmm...I'll try again tomorrow morning and hopefully after a few times, she'll get the hang of it.

Helped her poo and placed her onto a small litter box. She didn't like it at all and screamed. Oh well, more patience on my side and I'll have to teach her little by little.

But she really liked the semi solid milk mixture. I am glad. She licked her mouth repeatedly after feeding and I guess that's a good sign. I am so proud of my little one and looking at how far she has gotten now got me all misty eyed.
post #10 of 11
You might need a shallower dish for now. They do make a mess out of themselves when they first start eating moistened food and drinking from bowls. They'll walk through the wet food and even jump in the water bowl if it's large enough which the main one that sits in the diningroom is (I don't let little kittens loose with it full) and I had to dry off a wet kitten last week. She finally learned yesterday to test the large bowl with her foot like Carmel does to see how deep it is before drinking and definitely before jumping in.

Gently. Forcing them to stay on the litter will cause issues later. Kittens that don't have to go also dislike having to sit still so if all you manage is to set her down and scratch her feet a little before she leaps out and runs off to play then that's all you get that attempt. Try again later. Don't pen her or hold her in the litter if she's not happy about it right then. Try it when she's less wiggly or is more likely to have to go.
post #11 of 11
At 3 weeks some kitten are not ready to poop on their own. What I do, is just after feeding, I put the little one in a small pan with litter, encourage them to scarct with their paws, wait a little and see what happen. If nothing happens (usually, when it happens, it's very quick, so if past 3 minutes your kitten has wandered off the pan, it will not work), I pick him up and I stimulate him as usual. Then... I pick a bit of the poop... and put it in the litter pan so the next time he will associate poop with pan.

Some kittens understand it quickly, other may be slower. Don't worry, eventually they all understand. If he poops and pee on his own 3 days in a row, usually it will mean the he has understood and your are free from that task!!!

When they eat their moist food at first, they will make a mess of it, they may end covered in food. Don't worry!! Just clean them afterwards.

If you have time check this video of one litter that I raised by hand, at the end of the video, 2 of the kittens are eating wet food, one is on top of the other , paws in food etc... They were so comic. Afterwards I just cleaned them...

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