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How Long Do Kittens Need Milk

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How Long Do Kittens Need to Have Their Mother’s Milk?

We keep dry food as recommended by our vet available at all times to our cat. He greatly prefers the wet food, and most weeks doesnt even touch the dry food. Still, I dont want to have to worry that Im not giving him enough, so I do have a feeder for Bob that always has dry food in it.

I dont think that a little dry food here and there is bad for cats, but I would always want to have raw meat, including organ meats, as the main part of their diet.

How Much To Feed A Kitten

Kittens are growing rapidly at this young age and eat a lot of food compared to adult cats. We want to provide their bodies with everything necessary for growth, but we also want to develop healthy long-term eating habits.

Feeding guidelines are variable by kitten. However, most often, using the feeding directions on the bag or can of food is a good starting place, and then you can adjust as needed for your kitten. Your veterinarian can use metabolic formulas to calculate the number of calories required per day based on your kittens current weight.

We want kittens to come hungry for their meal, but we also dont want them to be feeling so hungry that they devour the entire meal in a few seconds. Often, young kittens may eat ¼ to ½ cup of food at a time.

If your kitten is thin, we may need to increase the caloric requirement per day. If your kitten is gaining too much weight too quickly, we may need to cut back. Your veterinarian will use a tool called a body condition score to assess your kittens weight.

A Clean Kitten Is A Happy Kitten

After feeding, clean any formula, urine, feces or other messes off the kitten using a clean, soft, warm, damp cloth. This action simulates how the momma cat would clean the kittens. If more cleaning is required, you may use a wetter washcloth dipped in warm water to loosen up caked-on messes in the kittens fur. Do not use soap or pet shampoo directly on the kitten. If you must use a shampoo to clean the kitten, add one or two drops of shampoo to a cup of warm water, then use the cloth dipped in this mixture to clean the kitten. Rinse the cleaned area with another cloth dipped in clear, warm water. Gently dry the kitten with a soft towel. Do not allow the kitten to become chilled. Once the kitten is clean and dry, place her back in the carrier on the covered heating pad, which should be covered in clean layers of bedding.

Kittens ears should be clean and dirt-free. If the ears are dirty, gently clean the area with a Q-tip you may need to dampen it in warm water. Do not use ear-cleaning solution because it could be harmful to the kitten. Only clean the outer area of the inside ear, just the part that you can see do not push the Q-tip down into the ear. If the ears are extremely dirty or you see signs of ear mites , contact your medical staff about treatment options.

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What Types Of Milk Can Kittens Drink

Kittens that are younger than 8 weeks of age should be fed a kitten milk replacer such as PetAg Petlac Kitten Powder until they are weaned. During this time, you should not give them a cow or goat milk, or only plant-based milk. There are many kitten milk replacers on the market, so speak to your veterinarian to decide which is best for your kitten.

Your kitten will then begin to eat solid food which should consist of high-quality kitten food. Even once the kitten has been weaned, you should still avoid giving them milk as it is unnecessary for their life stage. Kittens will generally become lactose intolerant after weaning, so all sources of animal milk will cause stomach discomfort and loose stools.

How Much Milk Does A Newborn Kitten Need

How Long Do Kittens Need Milk

The amount of milk that a newborn kitten needs depends on the kittens size and age. The best way to know is to consult with a vet, but you can also consult this chart. Expect to be feeding the kitten at least six to seven times per day, including through the night. The younger a kitten is, the more frequently they will need to be fed, sometimes as often as every two hours. Just like human babies, kittens need lots of love, attention, and feeding to stay healthy.

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Do I Need To Help Care For Newborn Kittens

If the delivery was without incident, the queen, or mother cat, will spend most of her time with her kittens during the first few days after birth. For the first month of life, kittens require very little care from the owner because their mother will feed and care for them.

In fact, in the vast majority of cases, the pet owner should not interfere with the queen’s care. Within a few hours of birth, it is extremely important that kittens receive colostrum, or the first milk, which is rich in antibodies and helps protect the newborns from infection. The kittens need to be kept warm and to nurse frequently you should check them every few hours to make certain that they are warm and well fed. You should also check the mother to make certain that she is producing adequate and normal-appearing milk.

“In the vast majority of cases, the pet owner should not interfere with the queen’s care.”

If the mother does not stay in the box, you should make sure the kittens stay warm. Kittens are not able to control their own body temperature, and rely on the external environment to keep them warm. It may be necessary to provide supplemental heat. During the first four days of life, the newborns’ box should be maintained at 89° to 93°F . The temperature may gradually be decreased to 80°F by the seventh to tenth day and to 75°F by the end of the fourth week. If the litter is large, the temperature need not be as high because they huddle together and their body heat provides additional warmth.

Can You Give Kittens Milk

Yes. Kittens drink their mothers milk, a kitten milk replacer or kitten milk formula for their first four to five weeks.

How long does a kitten need milk? Their mother can begin to wean them off as early as four weeks. Note that other kinds of milk, like cow milk, soy milk, almond milk and goat milk are unsuitable for kittens and may give them diarrhea or cause dehydration.

Typically, kittens are eating solid foods by 8 to 10 weeks old. Although kittens can drink their mothers milk, many cats lose the ability to process it after being weaned.

According to Purina Nutritionist Karina Carbo-Johnson, MS, When cats are weaned, they most likely lose their ability to digest lactose, the main sugar found in milk, due to eating solid foods. However, some cats can digest lactose and other sugars found in milk into adulthood and potentially for life.

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What Types Of Milk Can Cats Drink

If you want to treat your feline friend to some milk, the best option is to buy special cat milk from the pet store or the supermarket. These products usually contain a lot less lactose or are completely lactose-free, so they reduce the likelihood of cats getting sick from drinking milk. However, the fat content is still high, so you should only offer special cat milk as an occasional treat and in small quantity.

Can I Feed The Kitten With A Baby Bottle

Kitten Care : How Long Do Kittens Nurse?

When you feed a kitten, you should make sure that they are laying on their bellies or sitting up. Unlike human babies which are typically fed while in a reclined position, kittens should be placed as if they were nursing from their mother. If kittens are placed on their backs and held, they might be unable to wriggle away if they are being fed too much or too quickly and risk drowning.

You should purchase a bottle specifically designed for feeding kittens. Human nipples and cat nipples vary widely in size and so a human baby bottle nipple will be much too large for a kitten.

There are plenty of kitten feeding bottles and nipples available for purchase online and at pet stores. Be aware that with some nipples you may need to cut a hole yourself. Make sure that the hole is very small and drips out slowly or you risk the kitten drowning in the formula.

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When Should Kittens Be Weaned

Kittens should be weaned at about four weeks of age and the weaning process should complete at around eight weeks of age, but this differs for every kitten and their relationship with their mother. Most kittens will need their mothers milk until they are at least eight weeks old, but some vets say 12 weeks.1

You may be able to tell that your kitten is ready to be weaned if they can stand on their feet while holding up their tail. They may also become more explorative and want to play with their surroundings. If your kitten is still with their mom, they will show that theyre ready to be weaned by trying to get their mothers food, and shell stop them from eating it. In this case, you can let the mother handle the weaning process. But if your kitten is orphaned, then you should aim to start the weaning process around four weeks of age.2

Young Kittens Up To Four Weeks

Newborn kittens will be getting all their nutrition from their mothers milk. However, if you find yourself in the position of needing to hand-rear a kitten then you will need some special kitten formula milk dont be tempted to give them cows milk!

At this age, your kitten will need to be bottle-fed every 2-3 hours. Youll also need to ensure they are toileting by stimulating them with a wet cloth if the mother cat isnt there to do it. If you find an abandoned kitten or if your cat neglects her kittens after giving birth, it would be a good idea to get them checked over by a vet. Raising kittens is hard work, and its best to seek professional advice.

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Caring For Orphaned Kittens


  • Orphaned kittens should be taken to a veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian can give you advice on caring for kittens and might be able to provide you with contact information for animal rescue groups.
  • During the first few weeks of life, kittens need proper nourishment, warmth, socialization, and help with urinating and defecating.
  • Dont give regular cows milk to kittens because it doesnt contain the protein and nutrients that kittens need and it can give them diarrhea.

Orphaned kittens should be taken to a veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian can give you advice on caring for kittens and might be able to provide you with contact information for animal rescue groups. During the first few weeks of life, kittens need proper nourishment, warmth, socialization, and help with urinating and defecating.


Kittens need two to three times as many calories as an adult cat. A mother cats milk provides all of a kittens nutritional needs during the first 4 weeks of life. Newborn kittens may nurse every 1 to 2 hours.

Kittens should be fed while on all four legs or lying upright on their stomachs . If kittens are bottle fed, they must be burped by holding them to your shoulder and gently rubbing their backs. Be careful not to overfeed or underfeed kittens your veterinarian can teach you how to tell when kittens are full. Notify your veterinarian immediately if a kitten refuses to take a bottle, seems weak, or has problems nursing from a bottle.


What To Feed A Kitten

Kitten Feeding Schedule: How Much to Feed Your Growing Kitten

Weaning a kitten is the process of transitioning the kitten from mothers milk to solid food. Its an important part of the kittens development, and needs to be done at the right time and in the right way. Normally the queen, or mother cat, will handle kitten weaning on her own. But when the queen has trouble producing milk, or when a litter of kittens is orphaned, we need to intervene. Here are some tips for smooth and successful kitten weaning.

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How Much Should A Newborn Kitten Weigh

Newborn kittens usually weigh about 3.5 ounces, depending on their breed and the litterâs size. A healthy kitten should gain at least 10 grams per day. If you donât see growth in their body size, this is often a sign of illness.

Itâs essential to track and write down your kittenâs weight and how much they’re eating every day. You can use a gram scale for accuracy in weighing animals this small. If your kitten isnât eating or growing as expected, contact your veterinarian right away.

Why Do Adult Cats Crave Milk

Even if your cat is an adult, they may still crave milk. Like people, cats associate certain flavors and scents with positive memories, so milk is like comfort food for them. Although your cat shouldnt drink milk for a meal, you can satisfy their cravings with foods prepared with milk as an ingredient.

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How Much Should A Weaning Kitten Eat

Every kitten is different, so you should stay in communication with your vet to determine whats the best amount of food for your cat. But as a general rule of thumb, when your kitten is under one week old, they should weigh less than 4 ounces and be fed formula every 2-3 hours. When your kitten is between 7-10 days old, they should weigh 4-6 ounces and be fed formula every 2-3 hours. When your kitten is 10-14 days old, they should weigh 6-8 ounces and be fed formula every 3 hours. And when your cat is 14-21 days old, they should weigh 8-12 ounces and be fed formula every 4 hours.

How To Wean Kittens


To begin weaning a kitten, mix the kitten food with formula so they recognize the taste. Smear the mixture around their mouth with your finger and let them lick it off. Once they get used to the taste, theyll seek it out elsewhere. Then you can introduce them to lapping from a bowl. Monitor them so they dont lap too fast, and never push their face into the bowl, which could cause them to inhale the mixture and develop pneumonia.

Between the fourth and sixth week, gradually transition the weaning kittens to dry food, supplementing with formula if needed. Use canned food or dry kitten food mixed with water at first, add a lot of water, and then reduce the amount of water as the kitten matures.

A general schedule for kitten weaning might be:

  • Weeks 4-5: Give wet or moistened dry food, mixed with formula to form a slush. Supplement with formula if the kitten is not taking to the new food, to make sure it gets enough calories.
  • Weeks 5-6: The weaning kittens should start to nibble on the kibble, slightly moistened with water.
  • Weeks 6-7: By now, the kitten weaning process is complete, and they should be eating all solid food by week seven.

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Signs A Kitten Is Ready For Weaning

Bottle feeding is necessary until the kitten is 4 to 5 weeks old. Once that age is reached, there are several signs to watch for that signal the kitten is ready to begin the weaning process. When you are feeding the kitten its bottle, watch to see if it starts to bite and chew on the feeding nipple as it nurses. Once the kitten is biting on the nipple, place a small amount of formula onto your finger and see if the kitten licks it off. If it does, it is time to begin the weaning process.

Always make sure the kitten is healthy before weaning them off the bottle. Some kittens should continue bottle-feeding if they are not thriving.

I Have Heard Of Milk Fever What Exactly Is It

Eclampsia or milk fever is caused by depletion of calcium circulating in the bloodstream of the queen and is due to heavy milk production. It generally occurs when the kittens are three to five weeks old and most often to mothers of large litters. Early signs include restlessness, panting, and loss of attention towards their kittens. It can progress to tremors, muscle spasms, and collapse. This condition can be fatal in thirty to sixty minutes, so your cat needs to see your veterinarian immediately. Prompt treatment with intravenous calcium will reverse the condition. If the queen develops milk fever, her kittens should be weaned as soon as possible.

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Feeding A Kitten Over 8 Weeks Of Age

Once a kitten has surpassed eight weeks of age, they should be fed twice a day with normal kitten food. Solid food should not be an issue for kittens of this age but they may still try to nurse on occasion. Between eight and ten weeks of age, a kitten should be fully weaned and preparing to leave its mother if you plan to find the kitten a new home. The first vaccinations are typically administered at about eight weeks of age, so when the kittens have a vet visit, you can be sure they have been growing appropriately.

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