Cats belong to the category of mammals, a group of vertebrate animals whose fetus develops (naturally) inside the mother’s body, and the young feed on the mother’s milk through the breast from birth. In other words, feeding kittens is essential. But for how long?
The lactation period varies between different species, from days to months or years.
In this article, we are going to talk about feeding a newborn kitten and some basic aspects of nursing care.
If you want to know when cats stop nursing, read on!
Breast feeding kittens
The lactation period is a very important period to ensure the proper development of kittens.
During this period, the cat takes on the responsibility of protecting and caring for her young, as they are completely dependent on her.
Breastmilk has a very special formula and provides all the nutrients that little ones need to eat solid food.
Ingredients of breast milk:
Water: The main component in milk is water, making up more than 80% of its content. This ensures that the body is hydrated, without having to take in extra water. When the digestive system is immature, excessive water intake can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Fats: Breast milk contains fats that are easily digested and absorbed. In addition, they are very useful because they carry many vitamins that are absorbed along with the fat in the intestines and become part of the cat’s body.
Proteins: It is a food rich in proteins and thus helps in the development of internal structures and the growth of the cat’s body mass.
Carbohydrates: Mother’s milk contains sugars which are a very effective source of energy for newborn kittens.
Immunoglobulins: Through milk, the cat transmits antibodies, that is, it transmits protection against certain diseases in the environment to which the young are not immune.
Minerals: Milk is a great source of iron, phosphorous, and calcium, which are mainly essential minerals for the healthy growth of youngsters.
When do cats stop nursing?
For kittens, it is essential that they feed on their mother’s milk when they are newborns, as it is a source of protection for them from diseases and promotes a strong and active immune system.
There is a physiological explanation for cats to stop nursing, which is when their teeth begin to develop and they are able to eat solid food.
So, when do cats stop nursing? The kitten is usually around one and a half to two months old (between 6 to 8 weeks of age). At this time, they will be able to walk, play, and explore some independence. In addition, the mother cat will stop nursing her young because her nipples hurt when they suck, and they will learn to eat other foods and follow the life cycle.
Special care during the cat feeding period
A mother cat needs special care while nursing because the success of her kittens depends on her.
In the following list, we show you some basic things to help a loving mother deal with this period:
The cat should be fed a diet tailored to its condition, as feeding a nursing cat differs from normal feeding.
There are many commercial diets on the market that are designed to meet her nutritional needs while she is nursing.
The cat may lose its appetite and refuse to eat it, but it is important to help it and make the necessary effort because it needs a lot of energy to support its young.
It is important for a veterinarian to observe the process to keep track of the growth of the young and to monitor the cat’s health.
If she is having a problem during childbirth, it is imperative that you go to a specialist to check her up and make sure that everything is fine. In addition, if she hasn’t eaten for more than 24 hours, becomes very weak, and/or has stopped producing milk, she should be seen by a veterinarian so that he can come up with a quick treatment plan.
If our cat cannot produce enough milk for the kittens, we can help her with the help of kitten powder and bottle-feeding them. The duration of feeding will be the same as usual, up to two months, when the little ones stop nursing.
Breastfeeding is a precious and delicate moment. You must keep an eye on and provide all possible comfort to the kittens and their young to ensure that they are all safe.
Mother’s milk will continue to be the best food a newborn kitten can receive, to ensure healthy growth and development, at least until two months, when the kittens stop nursing.