What Can I Feed Kittens at 4 Weeks Old?

Kittens begin to wean off of their mother’s milk at around 1 month of age. However, it is not until they are almost 2 months old that they fully transition to solid food. So, what should you feed a 1 month old kitten?

Newborn kittens obtain their mother’s antibodies through colostrum during the first hours of life and, later, from their mother’s milk which provides the kittens with the nutrients they need to put on weight in their first weeks of life. If the mother rejects her litter and does not produce milk or one of her cats is weak or sick, they must be fed with milk formulated for baby kittens. This also goes for any abandoned kitten we find, as they will need those special nutrients in order to survive and develop into an adult.

Newborn kittens will need to be fed every 2-3 hours until they are three weeks of age. In addition, we must provide them with warmth at all times, since they are not yet capable of thermoregulation by themselves. Kittens will open their eyes when they are 10 days old and start growing their teeth when they are 20 days old.

How Much Calories Do Kittens Need?

Kittens will need lots of calories to fully develop, these calories will reach 130 kcal per kg daily at 3 weeks of age. From this moment on, the frequency of feedings can be extended up to 4-5 hours. It is important to use formula for cats, although if you do not have it, you can opt for an emergency puppy formula if necessary.

If the formula is in powder form, you should not prepare more than one serving for 48 hours at a time. On the other hand, when preparing a powdered milk marketed for cats it can be divided into portions and kept refrigerated until it is used. Before using it, they should be heated to 35-38 ºC by immersing them in a warm water bath, never in the microwave due to the risk of overheating or uneven heating.

Orphaned kittens should be bottle fed, leaving the syringe for emergencies. To do this, they are placed horizontally, in sternal decubitus with the head elevated to resemble the breastfeeding posture. To motivate your cat to drink their formula we can put a drop of milk from the bottle on our finger and bring it closer to the kitten’s mouth. This will get the kitten to sense the milk and start sucking on the cup to drink the milk. Learn more in our article about how to feed a newborn kitten.

How Much Does a 1 Month Old Cat Eat?

A 1 month old kitten will need at least 130 kcal per kilogram of weight divided into 4-5 daily intakes. A 1 month and a half kitten will need about 225 kcal per kg daily, and once they reach 5 months it will be the maximum of 250 kcal per kg of weight daily.

Normally 1 month old kittens naturally continue to drink milk if they live with their mother, although since their teeth have already started to come out, they will show interest in solid food, especially their mother’s solid food.

Once your cat is 18 months old they will be an adult cat and will then need 70-80 kcal per kilogram of weight. This may vary if your cat needs to gain weight or lose weight, and depending on the type of lifestyle they have. Indoor cats will need less calories than active outdoor cats. Talk to your veterinarian to learn more.

How To Feed a 1 Month Old Kitten

In short, the diet of a 1-month-old cat will consist of:

Formula milk for cats

Start introducing dry cat food or wet cat food

Always provide them with fresh and clean water

They should be fed 4-5 times a day

We do not recommend providing them with food that is always available as it can lead to certain eating and behavioural problems

When they reach seven weeks, they should be exclusively fed dry food or wet food for kittens.

Milk Replacement

It might seem logical to give cow’s milk to a young kitten, but this would be a mistake. Cow’s milk doesn’t have the correct nutrients for baby kittens, and it can cause gastrointestinal upset.

Milk replacement formulas are specifically designed for orphaned baby animals. Some are suitable for kitties and puppies, while others are specifically designed for the nutrition of a young, frisky feline. At 4 weeks old your kitten will still be using this formula in addition to a homemade gruel. You can find kitten milk replacement formula at most grocery stores, pet supply stores and big-box stores.

The Gruel

Starting at 3 weeks old, a young kitten is encouraged by the momma cat to stop suckling and start eating different foods. At 4 weeks old your little guy should be eating primarily a gruel mixture. To make the gruel, mix kitten replacement formula with a high-quality wet or dry kitten food and warm water. Mix it to the consistency of oatmeal. If you use dry food, it should be mostly softened before feeding, so you might need to let it sit in the milk replacement and water for a little bit.

To get the baby to try the gruel, place a little on the tip of your finger and hold your finger to the kitty’s mouth. Slowly move your finger to the saucer of gruel while your kitten follows it. He should be more than eager to start lapping up the entree. Over the next couple of weeks, gradually thicken the gruel until your baby is eating plain kitten food.

Timing And Calories

Newborn kittens need to eat every two to three hours, but at 4 weeks old you can cut this down to every six to eight hours. If your little furbaby doesn’t seem to take to the gruel right away, you might have to still provide milk replacement in addition to make sure she’s getting enough calories.

Your kitten needs approximately 8 calories per ounce of body weight. Most milk replacement formula contains 1 calorie per milliliter.

Other Care

Your little guy should be starting to play more and become the frisky cat he’s meant to be at this age. He’s still a baby, though, so you might need to help him out with a few things to get him on his way.

Momma cats clean their babies throughout the day while also stimulating elimination. Your little guy should be able to poop on his own by now, but just in case, you should wipe his rear and lower abdomen with a warm, damp cotton ball to stimulate elimination. Wash him with a slightly damp, soft cloth all over his body, and play to get him socialized and on his way to cathood.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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