How can I get my cat to stop nursing from its mother?

By Nadine Oraby | 2020 Update

Having a cat at home that has recently given birth to kittens is an amazing experience.

But when the cat starts nursing more than it should, it can become a problem for both the mother and the kittens.

So how can you wean the kittens from mother’s milk to solid food?

It’s simple, the mother produces milk till 12 weeks after the birth of the kittens. You can try to start weaning the kittens from 6 weeks of age. Keep a cat’s milk in a dish and dip the finger in it, let the kittens lick it, and guide them to the dish. Do not force the kittens to have the milk.

Find out more about the weaning process of the kittens and give your confusions a lead by reading below.

What is weaning?

Weaning is the process of getting the kitten to start having solid food or packed milk from mother’s milk. The kitten cannot nurse on their mother’s milk forever and have to stop nursing at a specific age and transfer to solid foods or milk.

The kitten should never be fed cow’s milk as it has high lactose and this can lead to:

  • Upset digestion
  • Diarrhea

There are many different kinds of milk available in pet stores which are known as kitten milk replacement which help in weaning.

Here’s an example of an amazing kitten milk replacement from chewy.

The mother cannot produce a huge amount of milk to feed her kittens forever. So if the mother can’t stop them from having her milk, you have to get the kittens away from her and wean them.

Also, if you want to find out more about weaning your kitten, watch the following video:

How to stop the mother from nursing them

Sometimes, a cat who has given birth is given supplements to produce enough milk for her new born kittens. It’s naturally a mother’s job to push away the kittens after a specific time and let them have solid food and the replacement milk.

After the specific time period if the mother doesn’t stop nursing the kittens, you must stop giving them supplements. Due to this, the mother won’t produce enough milk and push the kittens away for weaning on its own.

What else to feed them?

After a while, when the kittens are used to having their food from the bowl, it’s time to bring changes in their diet. By this time, a combination of canned food should be given along with a kitten milk replacement. This mixture will be mushy and healthy for the kittens to grow properly.

However:

The specific kitten formula for weaning kittens contains the proteins that are required by a growing kitten. So it’s crucial that you serve the combination around 3-4 times a day with the temperature to be controlled at room temperature.

Furthermore, you must look for the developing habits of eating from the bowl in the kittens. Once they are used to it, try increasing the quantity of the canned food and decrease the milk replacement in it. The kitten would like to have these meals along with nursing.

With the passage of time the kittens would get used to the:

  • Taste
  • Scent
  • Texture

of the solid foods and they would be preferring it over their mother’s milk. In addition to this, they must be eating regular, un-moistened food by the age of 8-10 weeks. Not only this, but they should also be provided with a dish of freshwater so they don’t get dehydrated.

The right age for weaning the kittens

The weaning should start around at the age of 4 weeks. When the kittens are 4 weeks of age. they must be transferred to solid food and other supplements other than their mother’s milk. The whole weaning process takes around 4-6 weeks.

Apart from this, weaning is also the time when kittens are developing a sense of social independency from their mother’s care. And if the kittens are socially dependent, they tend to go through the weaning process faster.

Equally important to the age of the weaning is whether your kittens are ready for weaning or not. Signs like open eyes and the ability to walk all mean that your kitten is ready for weaning. Also, even if the kittens are able to walk, they should still have developed the ability to see in order to start weaning.

To look for the right time for your kitten to have food on its own, watch this video:

Stubborn kittens

Amongst all the kittens that were born, there could be a few or sometimes all kittens that are very stubborn and avoid weaning. These are kittens that are so dependent on their mother’s care that they won’t even nap without them.

However, there are ways to convince the uncompromising kittens from the litter as well.

Proper guidance

If you have been trying to get them to have canned food for a while but can’t succeed, how about picking the kitten and putting them near the food? If they still aren’t having it, try to put them in a little isolation without their mother around so they don’t have any other alternative.

Also, trying to put some food on the kitten’s paws because they have to lick their paws when they feel something on them. And they also need to lick their paws for grooming. Through this, they can taste the food and know if they like it and start having the food directly from the bowl.

Gaining lead

It’s true that weaning all the kittens together or getting all of them weaned at the same time is not possible. Every kitten in a litter would take different durations to be weaned like:

  • Less than 3 weeks
  • More than 3 weeks
  • And some would never get weaned

One time or the other, even the kittens who haven’t been weaned will have to shift to solid food. One method of doing this is by giving the already weaned kittens a larger quantity of solid food and less of their mother’s milk.

Watching their siblings having more tasty and solid food as well as growing up more than them would force them to at least try the solid food. Also, increasing the canned food capacity in the combination of both would make it healthier and more attractive to the other kittens.

Related Questions

How long does it take for a mother cat’s milk to dry up?

The milk gradually dries up after a couple of weeks. In the initial stages, the teats are swollen and produce milk. Once the milk stops coming, the swelling will decrease.

Will kittens stop nursing on their own?

The kittens nurse from their mother for one month while getting weaned. During this time, if the kittens prefers the liquid food over the solid food, they will stop nursing on their own.

Do cats get sad when you give away their kittens?

In the beginning, the cat might be upset looking for its kittens around the house. Similarly, the kittens might also face a little hard time themselves. They will seem depressed and won’t eat food.

Will a mother cat abandon her kitten if touched?

A mother cat won’t abandon her kitten if it was touched by a human. Furthermore, the kitten should only be removed from the nest if the mother cat is gone for several hours.

Do kittens miss their siblings?

The kittens forget their siblings if separated at an early age. The separation signs can be seen in the beginning but later they forget them and adopt the new family.

Conclusion

Generally speaking, it is the mother’s job to wean her kittens and the owner’s responsibility to provide them with the best nutrition in their growing stage. It’s also important to let them develop a sense of social independency and be able to perform tasks without their mother’s care.

Weaning is a difficult stage for some cats and at those times, you have to take over the situation and get the kittens weaned. There are multiple ways of stopping the kitten from lactating from their mother mentioned above which you can follow. Good luck weaning!

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