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When should the kittens start eating solid food?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Goldy's kittens are 4-1/2 weeks old now. They learned how to get out of their basket a week ago and have easy access to the food dishes. However, they have shown no interest in solid food, either wet or dry. Other than walking through it, that is. I even tried rubbing a little wet food on Lion's lips and all he did was back up and run away. I assume he eventually licked it off.

I don't think it has anything to do with the texture of the food, as compared to mother's milk. They don't seem to have any trouble at all chomping on kitty litter, the rim of the litter box, toes, or clothing.
post #2 of 9
As long as mom's nursing them and they are eating well, I don't even attempt to start canned kitten food till 5-6 weeks old. Most kittens younger then that don't show a lot of interest.

I start them with a plate and maybe 1-2 teaspoons (depending on # of kittens) and mix it with warm water and KMR and make it thick-soupy. Then line the kittens up and either put some on your finger and into their mouth, or gently push the kitten's chin in a bit of food and they lick it off. Some kittens may need a few times of this to get the idea, some may take a few days to start eating. Once they are eating, its no holding them back. But one warning:

FEED THEM ON A WASHABLE SURFACE - NOT CARPET. They will get totally messy and even may wind up having a spot bath of their feet/chin/chest!
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks, GoldenKitty. I hadn't been too concerned since the mother is still nursing them well and they are gaining weight. I was just wondering because when I got Shareena the previous owner said the kittens would be ready to go to new homes at six weeks--eating dry food and completely litterbox trained. I didn't actually pick her up until she was 7-1/2 weeks, which was still far too early, but I didn't know that at the time.

I'll be keeping the kittens until they are at least 10 weeks old. I'm thinking they may learn by example without me having to do anything special. Anyway, I won't start pushing the solid food too much until they get to about six weeks.
post #4 of 9
I don't know what "normal" is, but Eden's babies started eating her dry food on their own at about 5 weeks or so. They're now 7 weeks & still nurse, but also eat dry food.
post #5 of 9
I've had rex kittens eating solid foods at 6-7 weeks but still want to nurse up to 12 weeks old Many kittens if given the chance will eat solid food and nurse (if mom allows it). That's why I don't rush weaning or pushing to eat.

I just feel so sorry about kittens that are given away at 6-8 weeks - seriously they are barely eating solid foods and that's not a sign they are ready to leave home.
post #6 of 9
I just kept Elsa's food and water in the same room where the kittens and she stayed. When they started showing interest in her food, and with 8 kittens, it varied a lot as to when it was, then I started feeding them canned mixed with dry. Don't know if that's exactly how I'd do it again, but I fed them in pie plates, on a towel, because they did get VERY messy. They ate about 3 cans of cat food a DAY!!! That was an expensive rescue, LOL.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
The kittens will be 5 weeks old tomorrow. I figured if I left a dish close to their bed they would start eating when they were ready.

Two of them started nibbling on mom's food earlier today and now they're really chowing down. I suspect the third one is thinking he got lucky and mom has that much more for him now.

I had all my carpet taken out and replaced it with tile about six months ago. It definitely makes clean-up a lot easier.
post #8 of 9
Hi. My kittens are 4 weeks old 2day.. Thanx for all the advice, I was under the impression that the kittens will only start eating solids at 6 weeks. The reason why I started to seek advice is that I've noticed that Mommy cat is not in the box as often and that she is all around me making weird noises (as if to tell me te feed the babies)????
post #9 of 9

They need to see their mother feeding, and you need to use shallow dishes they can explore.  They start eating in their own good time, and the first stages are often swimming in wet food and cleaning themselves - it's messy!  They are not fully weaned for some time.  The other thing that happens as they start eating solid food is the mother stops toileting them, and they need easy access to a litter tray and a limited area to live in so they are never to far from it, or them.


I've no idea why your mother cat is behaving as she is, but she needs as much good-quality food to eat as she wants.  Could she be hungry?

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