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How to save abandoned kittens - solid food and weaning

Updated on September 20, 2007

You have mastered the bottle, now it is time for solid food. The weaning period should start at around 4 to 5 weeks of age, however for some kittens it may take a bit longer to get used to the solids. So do not throw away that bottle just yet, but keep it handy and give it to them even while they are weaning to make sure they are getting enough to eat.

During this period do not be alarmed if they suddenly develop diarrhea, it will take their bodies a while to get used to this new type of food. You can start off by putting some formula in a spoon, if they lap it up you can try with a small, shallow dish. I have tried with the spoon, however one of the kittens went for the dish immediately and before long they were both drinking from the dish without a problem.

It is best to start off mixing kitten's formula with some baby food, again place it in a shallow dish (but do make sure there is no onions inside). If you are using canned kitten food, again place it in a shallow dish mixed with some formula. Dry food may be a bit too much before they are 8 weeks of age, however if you do use it moisten it well. Do monitor them closely during this period, but it is even more important to monitor their stool. Diarrhea is not uncommon but it should subside, in case it does not - consult a vet.

With all the food recalls over the last few months, it goes without saying you should be very carefully what kind of food you will feed to your kittens. Do some research and again consult your vet. When it comes to kitten's weight gain, it should be about 4 ounces every week. If they lose weight or do not gain it, you should go to the vet. Just as a bloated belly is a sign your kitten is not warm enough and is not digesting the food properly, rotund belly is a sign that you are feeding them well.

And do not forget about vaccinations and roundworm medication. Roundworm medication can be given at 2 weeks, but you should repeat the treatment again after 2 weeks. It is ok to give tapeworm medication at 6 weeks of age. For vaccinations you should consult your vet. The first one can be administered at 6 weeks of age and usually it is followed up with another one after 30 days. However that all depends on the type and the brand of vaccination your vet uses. In case you want to vaccinate your kittens against the cat's Leukemia this can be administered at 8 weeks of age.

All of this should get you onto a good start. Keep your kittens warm, clean, well fed and hydrated. Even though it might seem like a daunting task once you get the hang of it, it is keeping your kittens alive is easier then it seems.

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