Weaning: too early to be worried?

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willowdragon
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Weaning: too early to be worried?

Post by willowdragon » Sat Apr 22, 2017 8:50 am

Hi all,

My kittens are 4 weeks 4 days old. I've been trying to wean them for over a week, I've followed every trick and instruction on the web I could find, from smearing KMR around their lips, presenting in bowls, mixing it with kitten food and smearing that, presenting that in a bowl. They're just not interested. An added problem is whenever I present them with food, mommacat gobbles it down, even after finishing her own food (greedy thing). They haven't shown any interest in momcats food when she eats either, so she's not doing the whole pushing them away from her bowl thing yet. I even tried popping mom in a different room for ten minutes to try and get them interested, all that did was stress everybody out and give us one hell of a headache from the chorus of caterwauls.

Am I worrying too soon? Will time and patience lead to them naturally becoming interested in food other than mum's milk? And do I keep presenting kitten food, even though mom is eating it?

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bobbys girl
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Re: Weaning: too early to be worried?

Post by bobbys girl » Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:06 am

Perhaps I'm not the best person to answer this - my experience of kitten-raising is of abandoned kittens. But if mom is happy to keep feeding them I wouldn't force the matter. In time they may take an interest in their mum's food (and shove HER out of the way :lol: )

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Re: Weaning: too early to be worried?

Post by booktigger » Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:32 am

I wouldn't be worried, they are still young, the only time I have been worried is when they aren't eating by 7 weeks. Mum's often pinch the babies food, when they start showing interest I'd supervise meal times. I find plates easier for tiny kittens than bowls. They generally start nibbling on litter before cat food

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Re: Weaning: too early to be worried?

Post by willowdragon » Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:58 am

I wonder could it be delaying things because their zone is the living room, and mums litter tray and food are in the kitchen? Mum goes to the kitchen but kittens never follow, so they're not seeing her.

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Re: Weaning: too early to be worried?

Post by booktigger » Sat Apr 22, 2017 10:24 am

Possibly - they definitely need things in the same room as them, especially the litter tray, have you bought special kitten ones?

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Re: Weaning: too early to be worried?

Post by Lilith » Sat Apr 22, 2017 10:35 am

Hi there - I used to breed (Siamese) and been there done that. They'll take an interest when they're ready; it's rather like mothers worrying about getting their kids out of nappies I suppose. Those kittens will be adolescent when they leave - have you ever seen a teenager sucking its thumb and wearing a nappy?

I once did know of a kitten beginning to wean at 4 weeks; he was in a feral litter belonging to Emily (avatar cat) who brought them across the street to me. I was feeding her as much as I could but it couldn't make up for past neglect; little Michael would have died I think as her milk was in short supply (she stayed with me after that and fed more regularly so Michael enjoyed his milk as well as his first taste of meat.)

Your kittens will soon be running about and exploring; they'll discover the food dishes (though as Booktigger says, the closer the food/tray the better to their 'base') as well as continuing to snack at the milk bar. As Booktigger says, they may eat some litter first. I always used Fullers' Earth litter and would notice little grey motions in the tray and know it was time.

You will of course end up putting down a big plateful of kitten food so that there's enough for Mama too, but she can use it. The final stage is when she starts shoving them off with a back leg, though not always. I kept two kittens from my first litter, and when the second litter came along, the two big ones thought, 'oh good, the milk bar's open again!' AND (before I stopped them) she let them! :shock: :lol:

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Re: Weaning: too early to be worried?

Post by willowdragon » Sat Apr 22, 2017 10:38 am

booktigger wrote:Possibly - they definitely need things in the same room as them, especially the litter tray, have you bought special kitten ones?
I bought 4x the "kitten starter pack" that [email protected] sell. I've now moved the food and litter trays to the (now very crowded) living room. Sure enough mum has started carrying kittens to the litter tray.
Not that they did anything but eat the litter, but still...progress

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Re: Weaning: too early to be worried?

Post by willowdragon » Sat Apr 22, 2017 10:43 am

Lilith wrote: Your kittens will soon be running about and exploring; they'll discover the food dishes (though as Booktigger says, the closer the food/tray the better to their 'base')
That does make sense. They're definitely running around and exploring, just not as far as the kitchen yet. I've moved the food to the living room (my parents are horrified) and the kittens have now started sniffing around so maybe it is a proximity thing.

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Re: Weaning: too early to be worried?

Post by booktigger » Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:32 am

It's good that moving things closer has caused an immediate improvement.

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Re: Weaning: too early to be worried?

Post by willowdragon » Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:52 pm

I was definitely worrying for nothing. Scarlett is trained to eat her food on her mat, if not her bowl. Today she picked up her chicken wing, took it over the the nest and plonked it right in the middle of the kittens. Gave them all a lick and mewed a lot, then walked off, sat down and watched them.

Think maybe it's weaning time.

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Re: Weaning: too early to be worried?

Post by Lilith » Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:15 pm

Awww! :D

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Re: Weaning: too early to be worried?

Post by booktigger » Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:40 pm

That's good news

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Re: Weaning: too early to be worried?

Post by willowdragon » Mon May 01, 2017 11:11 am

Ok so my kittens will be six weeks tomorrow, and two of them still aren't weaning. They're showing no interest in mum's food, or any other kind of food. I've smeared just about everything with food including my hands, toys (this is how I got two of them to taste food, and now they recognise it in the bowl), kittens faces and paws, even mum's teats. The vet said it will just happen when they're ready in it's own time, but I'm finding so many posts saying they should be weaning by now. I'm really worried and just don't know what else to do!

My other pain is that at the vets suggestion I leave bowls of small amounts of food all over the place, but mum just snuffles them up, and now she's heavily over weight. I spend most of my time chasing her around pushing her away from any bowl that isn't hers (hers is big red and served on a mat, kittens are tiny and white).

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Re: Weaning: too early to be worried?

Post by booktigger » Mon May 01, 2017 11:38 am

The vets are right, it will happen in its own time. How much food are you leaving down? I've never had an overweight nursing mum, they normally get thinner at that age

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Re: Weaning: too early to be worried?

Post by Lilith » Mon May 01, 2017 2:38 pm

Ah. The first-time breeder panic syndrome lol (not!)

Been there done that, got the T shirt. I worried about EVERYTHING! I was a total wreck!

But, honestly, they'll wean when they're ready, as your vet and Booktigger says, oh, and if Mamma is scoffing everything in sight, she'll be producing a lovely lot of rich milk for the lazy little gits - I mean, why work hard to chew strange food when you can just lie there and drink it in?

(Please don't worry about that either.)

Sometimes (as long as Mamma doesn't get there first!) a little raw steak mince starts them off as well - primitive scent of blood. I've seen a tiny kitten go wild over a (domestically reared, free of parasites) rabbit's foot.

They'll get there, I promise you. All the best!

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Re: Weaning: too early to be worried?

Post by willowdragon » Wed May 03, 2017 7:17 pm

Thank you for the reassurance. I am a worrier by nature and they're my fur babies so obviously I'm freaking out over everything. It took me a week to stop catching them every time they fell off something ^^

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Re: Weaning: too early to be worried?

Post by Lilith » Wed May 03, 2017 11:30 pm

Tell me about it .. :shock: :lol:

I too agonised over the first litter, little things climbing everywhere, but was forestalled by their mother. She didn't like them climbing either, but HER remedy was to pick them up ... and drop them on the floor :shock:

They all survived. By a miracle.

You're doing fine :D

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