A grey kitten eats kibbles.


How to Wean Kittens the Right Way

As cute and cuddly as newborn kittens are, they are growing up and it’s time to start the weaning process. This process can sometimes be tricky and requires care to ensure the kittens get the proper nutrition they need to grow into healthy and happy adult cats. In this article, we cover everything you need to know about weaning kittens, from when to start the process, how to wean kittens, how to offer food during the first few days of weaning to what food kittens should eat once weaning is completed.

What is weaning?

Weaning is a gradual process to introduce kittens to food other than their mother’s milk. But weaning isn’t only a change in their menu. Also, it’s a big step for the little furballs to become more independent.

At what age should kittens be weaned?

The weaning begins usually when the kittens are about four weeks old. At this age, they become more mobile and may become interested in mom’s food. Also, some of them may have their first teeth.

Weaning must be completed when the small fur balls are 6-8 weeks old. They should eat kitten food, following the instructions from the manufacturer. However, every kitty is different. Some kitties can nurse up to 12 weeks old. Nursing at this age doesn’t provide nutrition but it can comfort the little ones. And this is perfectly normal. In fact, kittens weaned too early are more likely to develop aggression and inappropriate behavior later in life.

When can kittens drink water?

Newborn kittens don’t need water. They get all they need, including water, from breastmilk or kitten milk replacer. But when the weaning process begins, you should offer them fresh water in a clean, shallow saucer.

How do wean kittens?

A good rule of thumb is not to rush.


It is a new skill for little bundles of joy and they will need time to learn it. It can be stressful for mama cat and kittens if it is done too early. Also, it may cause digestive upset in kittens if done suddenly.

So, be patient and consistent.

How to offer the food in the first days of the weaning:

The following five tips will help you offer food to kittens in the first few days of weaning, encourage them to eat solids, and make the transition easier.

  • Start with a small amount. Start with a teaspoon or two and increase as they become more comfortable eating solids. Also, you can smear food around their mouth and let them lick it.
  • Offer easy-to-eat food in semi-liquid form. You can mix wet food or kibbles with kitten milk replacer or warm water, to create a soupy texture that kittens can easily eat. 
  • Provide small portions of food several times a day and clean up any uneaten food to prevent spoilage.
  • As the kittens get used to the new taste, offer the food in shallow dishes.
  • Monitor the progress. Keep an eye on your kitties’ progress during weaning. If they are not eating or struggling with food, contact your vet. 

In the beginning, kittens eat small amounts of food. To ensure kittens get enough calories, let them breastfeed from mom or supplement with formula. After a few weeks, they will gradually consume more kitten food and less milk from their mother or formula.

What food should kittens eat? 

When the kittens are fully weaned, provide them with balanced wet or dry food formulated especially for them. Kitten formulas have more calories, proteins, and calcium than the little fluffballs need to grow properly. It is a good idea to give them a mix of dry and wet food while their teeth develop. 

This is the right moment to provide kittens with various food textures. By introducing different textures of food, you will help your kittens develop their jaw muscles and coordination. This can also prevent dental problems later in life. Feeding your kittens a variety of textures can prevent picky eating habits. If kittens eat only one type of texture they may become overly reliant on that food and refuse to try anything else.

Different types of food offer different nutrients and benefits. By offering various textures you can ensure that your kittens receive all the essential vitamins and minerals they need to grow up into healthy adult cats.

Final Thoughts

Weaning is an important stage in a kitten’s life. This is a gradual process that shouldn’t be rushed. Kittens shouldn’t be separated from their mothers until they are fully weaned and can eat solid foods on their own. Proper care and attention during weaning can smooth the transition for you and the little furballs.

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