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When to start feeding and what???

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Okay the babies are almost 4 weeks old and I know I need to start weening them off of Mom here slowly over the next two weeks. Or this is what I have read. Can you all confirm this for me? That by 6 weeks old they should be weened completely and at 7 weeks it would be a good time to fix momma or wait till 8 weeks and take them all in, kittens for their first round of shots and momma to be fixed? Do I need to get momma first round of shots before she gets fixed or after? I have heard and read conflicting stories on this.

Also what should I start feeding my babies. From what I have read it sounds like starting off with just a teaspoon of wet kitten food for this first week, mixed in some KMR and then slowly add some dry, but make sure it is mushed up. Then by 6 weeks try some dry alone? Is this right. Also what kind of wet kitten food should I use?

From what I have read I want to seperate Mom when they are ready to nurse to help stimulate them to eat the wet...which I know if I don't Mom will eat it all up on them.

Also should I introduce the litter box here at 4 months??? Thank you all for you help as always!!!

post #2 of 10
All I ever did was just leave out the kitten food you are currently feeding mom. When she feels she is ready she will show the babies how to eat. They don't need to be fully weaned until 8+ weeks if they wish. Let nature do its thing. I don't try to mess with anything. They shouldn't leave her until 12ish weeks anyways so what is the rush really? Same with the litterbox, leave a small lower one near the kittens and they will copy mom and use it when they are ready.

For vaccines, they need 2 or 3 rounds of vaccines along with deworming usually. The vaccines should be done 3 or so weeks apart per your vet. Spaying can be done for all of them when they reach 2 lbs or 8 weeks of age. Mom will get one vaccine and then a booster 2-3 weeks later when you take the kittens back in.
post #3 of 10
I always let mom decide on when to wean. IMO if they have a mom that is nursing them, do NOT wean them at 4 weeks. I've had kittens nurse up to 8-10 weeks old, so don't be in a big rush to have them weaned and eating solid foods. Its a lot healthier to let mom do it and psycholocially beneficial for the kittens.

I don't start introducing solid food till 5-6 weeks old and even then its another week before they really like it. Forcing them too soon will only make you frustrated.

I start out with canned kitten food and add KMR and warm water to make it a thick soup. I put a bit on my fingers and put it in their mouths. They hate it at first and will fight you, but after a few days I'll put it on a plate and they start to lap at it. If they walk away, I'll sometimes push their chin in the food and they lick it off then go eat on their own.

Keep the kittens in an area that is cleanable cause they will get messy By the time they are about 7 weeks old they are eating pretty much on their own and will nurse less, but please let mom wean them. She can be spayed when the kittens are about 8 weeks old. The kittens should all stay together with mom/siblings till 10-12 weeks old minimum so they can learn important cat things and not just eating solid food and using the pan.

The litter box should be in the same room at all times - my rex kittens were using it by imitation by 3-4 weeks old.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
The thing is I don't think Mom knows to show them etc... Since the kittens are bigger I have moved them into a boxed in area. Mom can get in and out, but everytime I go in Mom is just laying on the outside of the box. I have yet to catch her in the box nursing them. I actually have to take the kittens out of the box and she will lay there and they go right to her to nurse like they have not had anything to eat all day. That is what worries me. One will wander away from the group once in awhile, she will watch but does not really seem to go after him and say no or anything. So if Mom is not going to do it how do I prepare to do it?

Thank you.
post #5 of 10
Make sure to feed Momma where the babies can see her eating. Kittens learn by observing. I am not sure what your room/situation looks like, but at 4 weeks old, the kittens need a little more room to stretch out and start to run some. If you can devote a room to them, do that so they can start developing their muscles. Place the food and water dishes in there with them so they can watch Momma eat and drink. They will learn from watching her. Also, the litter box ... that should, of course, go into the room as well with a kitten-safe litter (non-clumping) - again, they will learn potty-box behavior from watching Momma.

Do not separate the kittens from the queen ... IMO this is a totally unnecessary and in some cases, cruel method. Kittens will nurse for many reasons; nutrition is an obvious one, but they also nurse for comfort. As others have advised, simply let nature take it's course and keep the kittens with Momma until they are 10 to 12 weeks old. Momma will begin to wean them (by not allowing them to nurse) when she is ready.

ETA: Most vets will not spay a nursing queen until her milk dries up. While there will be some who will point out it is not necessary to wait until then, your individual situation will be dictated by your vet's policies. If he/she doesn't wait until the milk dries up or the kittens are at least 10 to 12 weeks old, find another vet.
post #6 of 10
Listen to Gayef, she knows! And everyone gave great advice.

So, though I have no advice to add, I want to share my experience. My mommy was a bad mommy, too. I think worse than yours! She wanted nothing to do with the kits, and after a while (around 4 weeks), she avoided them like the plague. She would hiss or even swat if they got too close!

But, I kept them together in the same room, so they could watch her (and, I hope, if we left them alone long enough, she would let them get close to her). And sure enough, they started being weaned and using the box around the same time! Our mommy sure made it a fast process. I felt kind of bad for the kids, but I helped what I could, and what else could I do?

Best of luck to you and yours!
post #7 of 10
If they are still alive and doing well and not losing weight then she is obviously feeding them. If they are 4 weeks, they should eat around every 4 hours. She needs breaks too though. If she doesn't go after one that wonders off then she doesn't feel they are in danger and will eventually get it. You could always is a baby gate to enclose them somewhere and so the mom can get in and out.
post #8 of 10
After the first few weeks, my momma cat wasn't constantly with her kitties either, and if she was 'out' of the nest, the only time she came running was when one of them was in obvious distress. So, even though you may not see her nursing them, she may actually be doing so when you're not there to notice. Perhaps, to make her more comfortable, you could put them all in one room; like a bathroom, or spare bedroom, with a baby gat to block off one corner (to keep babies, and small box, food, etc, in).

When my kitties were about 4 weeks old, I moved them into my living room, and created a 'run' for them, that contained a litter pan, toys, and a cozy hiding place\\bed, as well as food. I didn't leave water in there yet, as they were still a bit 'woobly' at that age, and could fall face first in it...and wet kitties could wind up sick kitties! Mom could access them from the top of the cat condo that made up one wall (that was also their sleeping quarters). When they outgrew this place (ie, started climbing over the cat condo) I moved them into the bathroom. Everywhere I put the kitties was purposely for socialization aspects, as well as ease of cleaning. At this point they were eating solid food like little savages, so I started giving them some 'individual eating time' so mom didn't eat all their food before they could get any. They started drinking more water at that point too.

When the kitties were about 7 weeks old, I moved all my cats into the furnace room, which is the largest room in our place...along with easy to clean, due to concrete floors! This way I was able to help them learn that the litterpans (permanent ones) are in there; I kept everyone in there for a good week, then slowly gave them more and more 'turn out time'. Now, all the kitties are pretty well adjusted, and they know where the 'bathrooms' are...which is important...Lol! It's hard to believe my wittle bittie kitties are 10 weeks old...Lol!!!
post #9 of 10
My kitten is 9 1/2 weeks old and still nurses every now and then. not often but alot of times if he is tired he will snuggle up with mom and nurse a bit. he eats solids and drinks water also but I never pushed it. he just watched mom eat and started eating on his own.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all the advice. I did move them the other day back into the bathroom, but instead of being in a box I found our baby gate and that reminded me to use that instead. The kittens can run and I have the food for Mom on the bathroom counter right now and then the litter box in the tub.

Once this group of litter runs out I am going to move it out into the bathroom. Right now there is clumping litter in there. At the same point I will move the food dish down as well. The kittens will be 4 weeks old tomorrow and they are still gainining weight. 3 of them are just over a pound and the other 2 are close to being a pound.

When I changed back to the bathroom mom is happy and laying in there with them again. Mom has been pretty good with them and since this is my first experience with it I am just not sure how it all works...weaning, litter, etc. I just know how small Mom is and I am sure she will like having them start eating solids as the 5 of them soon all together will weigh as much as she is.

On a side one dog is so crazy about the kittens. All I have to mention now is babies and he runs right to the bedroom they are in to go see them. She will just sit there and watch them. All the kittens are getting quite used to her as well. 3 of the 5 will run up to the baby gate when she comes in. I am just smitten by it. It really helps them seeing Mom rub up against the dog too.

Okay pictures to come soon.

Thank you again for the help!!!
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