At 4 weeks old the kitten should just be starting the weaning process and moving onto kitten food, which means you’re going to have to get a little messy in the kitchen. 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.
Do not feed cow’s milk, soy, or rice milk. Milk replacement (kitten formula) and nursing kits can be purchased at pet stores. Follow the instructions on the packaging for cleaning and preparing the bottles, nipples, and for the appropriate mixing ratio of the milk replacement. Do not heat the liquid directly, rather place the bottle in a pan of hot water to warm it, and test on your own wrist.
What To Feed 4 Week Old Kitten?
The only milk that is healthy for kittens to drink is either their mother’s, or they will need a kitten milk replacer, which can also be called kmr or kitten milk formula. Kittens lack the proper enzymes to digest the lactose in cow milk, and feeding cow milk to kittens can cause diarrhea and dehydration very quickly in very small kittens. This is why it is important to avoid feeding cow milk to kittens. Because kittens have such sensitive stomachs, it is important to avoid feeding kittens other milks as well, such soy milk, almond milk or any of the other nut milks. Nut milks and soy milk do not provide the appropriate balance of amino acids needed for cats because cats are obligate carnivores and must eat animal products or they will become malnourished. Most kittens need to be nursed by their mother or fed kitten formula from a bottle until 4-5 weeks of age; however, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. Weaning can take place later if a kitten is underweight or ill, and it is important to use your best judgment when weaning .if a kitten starts to lose weight, stops eating or is acting more lethargic than normal during the weaning process, go back to feeding kitten formula for another 3-5 days before trying weaning again. In most cases, you can tell when a kitten is old enough to be weaned when you see baby teeth emerging from the gums. The best way to start is to offer a slurry of canned or dry commercial kitten food that is soaked in kitten formula. Your initial goal is to get the kitten used to the taste of food, and this will probably take some trial and error. Some kittens may do well if you blend some canned food with formula in a blender to make a thinner liquid. Other kittens may be better with a mush that has the consistency of oatmeal—so don’t be afraid to experiment .eventually, you can place the mush in a cat bowl with low sides, and prepare to get messy! Kittens who are learning to eat food are just as messy as toddlers who are learning to feed themselves. Kittens will walk through their food, paw their food and get it everywhere. Over time anywhere from a week to 10 days increase the amount of canned or dry food in the slurry and reduce the amount of kitten formula until the kitten is completely weaned. You can also offer dry food at the same time to let the kitten get used to the texture and flavor, but it is likely that the kitten will get the bulk of his or her calories from the slurry that you are making until the kitten is fully weaned.
When To Feed 4 Week Old Kitten
4 weeks old – feed every 5 to 6 hours day and night . If you do not feed a baby kitten on schedule it can go into hypoglycemic shock and die. You must feed the kitten on time and all throughout the night. When the kitten is about four weeks old, you can begin weaning the kitten with a high-quality kitten canned food mixed with kmr or just born formula. Begin by adding just 1/2 teaspoon into the formula and warm it up. You will need another baby bottle for this and it is important to make a bigger hole in the bottle for the thicker formula to come out. Remember, it must be able to flow slowly out of the bottle if held upside down. Sometimes the formula gets stuck in the nipple so make sure to stir the formula well before putting in the bottle and shake the bottle often.
If the kitten needs more formula, increase the number of feedings rather than the amount at each meal. Too much food causes bloating, gas, regurgitation, and sometimes aspiration into the lungs. Diarrhea can be the result of a change in diet, too much formula, or an intestinal parasite. Green stool indicates an infection. We do not advocate medicating or treating animals for parasites (deworming or giving antibiotics) without a diagnosis and veterinary instruction. If you suspect an intestinal condition, seek veterinary attention. Kittens can become dehydrated or septic very quickly, and the condition can lead to death. Remember to clean their faces and rear ends after each feeding.
Wash your hands before and after handling the formula and feeding the kittens. Do not feed kittens on their backs. Place them on their stomachs and gently lift their chins. Rub the nipple back and forth across the lips and gums until the kitten begins to taste the formula and latches on. Remember to tilt the bottle up so that the kitten is not sucking in air. An eye dropper may be necessary for the first week or two. Every third feeding, offer some water in the bottle to start. Kittens will usually stop suckling when they are full. Do not feed too fast or force the formula. Kittens eating formula need to be burped. This is performed by keeping them on their stomach and either placing them on your lap or on your shoulder and then gently patting their backs.
The label on the container of kitten formula you purchased should indicate the recommended amount to feed a kitten according to body weight. If a kitten cries, she is either cold or hungry. A contented kitten sleeps quietly. You cannot miss a feeding in newborn kittens!
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. 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.