It can be difficult to care for a kitten when she is still young. The kitten should be at 4 weeks of age and ready to start the weaning process. Once she’s done, you can move on to kitten food.

Milk Replacement

Although it may seem natural to give cow’s dairy milk to a kitten, this is a bad idea. Cow’s milk is not the right nutrition for baby kittens and can cause digestive upset.

Specially designed milk replacement formulas for orphaned babies are available. Some are appropriate for kittens and puppies while others are designed for young, playful felines. Your kitten will continue to use this formula up until 4 weeks of age. There are many places to buy kitten milk substitute formula, including pet supply shops and big-box retailers.


A momma cat encourages a kitten to stop sucking and begin eating other foods as soon as he is three weeks old. Your little guy should start eating primarily a mixture of gruel and other foods at 4 weeks. Mix kitten replacement formula and a high-quality dry or wet kitten food with warm water to make the gruel. It should be the consistency of oatmeal. Dry food should be softened thoroughly before you serve it. You might need to allow it to sit in the milk substitute and water for a while.

Place a small amount of the gruel on your finger, and then hold it close to your kitten’s mouth. Your kitten will follow your example. Slowly move your finger toward the saucer of gruel. Your kitten should be eager to begin eating the entree. In the following weeks, thicken the gruel so that your baby can eat plain kitten food.

Calories and Timing

At 4 weeks old, kittens should eat every 6-8 hours. Your kitten might not be able to eat the gruel immediately. You may need to provide milk replacement to ensure she is getting enough calories.

A kitten requires approximately 8 calories per ounce. Most milk replacement formula contains 1 calorie per milliliter.

Other Care

Your kitten should be playing more and becoming the playful, frisky cat that he was meant to be. You might have to assist him with some things, as he’s still a newborn.

Mama cats help their kittens clean up throughout the day. To encourage elimination, your little guy should be able to poop independently by now. However, it is a good idea to wipe down his lower abdomen and rear with a damp, warm cotton ball. Use a soft, slightly damp cloth to wash him. Play to get him to be socialized and ready for cathood.

Before changing the diet, medication, and/or physical activity of your pet, always consult your veterinarian. This information does not replace a veterinarian’s opinion.

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