Kittens need to be weaned and you can help. You will need a saucer, canned kitten food, a fork, dry kitten food, moist baby wipes and a digital scale that will measure grams and ounces and kitten formula.
Decide when to start your weaning efforts. If you know the kittens’ exact birth date or can estimate it within 2 to 3 days, you should begin at 4 weeks. If you don’t know when the kittens were born, it’s best to check their weight to settle on the right time to start. If the kittens are mixed/random-bred, you should wait until they weigh at least 450 grams. Smaller purebreds like the Cornish Rex or Siamese should be 350 grams or more, while larger purebreds for example Ragdolls or Maine Coons should be at least 500 grams. If you are hand-raising a kitten, you will know it is weaning time when the kitten begins to chew on or bite at the nipple or syringe you are using to feed him/her.
Open up a 3-ounce can of kitten food. If you have 4 kittens, measure out half the can. If you have more or less than 4 kittens, alter the amount in view of that. You are going to waste plenty of food so it's good to start out with a very tiny amount. Dole out small clumps of food around the edge of the saucer so that it will be easier for the kittens to reach.
Taking a single kitten at a time put a small amount of food on the tip of one finger. With your other hand, tenderly open the kitten’s mouth. Daub the food-tipped finger inside the mouth, swabbing the morsel of food from your finger to the roof of the kitten’s mouth. Most kittens will taste and naturally swallow the food and look at you with a mystified expression. If they spit the food out simply wait a day or two before you try again. In such a case, the kittens may merely be too young, or you might want to begin with a mixture of kitten formula and kitten food, using the same technique.
Without delay put another bit of food on your finger and tender the kitten the chance to lick it off. Hold it in front of the kitten’s nose so she/he can smell the food. If you repeat this procedure several times a day, eventually the kitten will lick the food off your finger. Once one kitten does this, the others will follow.
Repeat these steps twice a day. Once a kitten has licked food from your finger, put more food on and guide your finger closer to the dish. You want to persuade the kitten up to the edge of the dish and have little kitty realize that he/she can eat food out of the dish rather than off your finger. This may take several efforts.
You won’t use the whole can of food immediately, so refrigerate unused portions. When using refrigerated canned cat food, it’s imperative to heat it so that the kittens will be able to smell it. Simply put the saucer into the microwave for 5 to 8 seconds to achieve this.
Once you have the kittens eating canned food on a routine basis, you will want to slowly introduce dry food as well. Begin this procedure by soaking a tablespoon or so of dry food in hot water for half an hour, until it is soft enough to squash with a fork. Then combine some of this soaked food in with the canned food to get the kittens used to the taste.
Increase the amount of water soaked dry food to canned cat food each day until you are at a half/half blend. At this stage you can start to mix some plain dry food with the canned food. Work it into the canned food carefully. At the start, the kittens will probably turn down the dry food, but as you continue this progression you will find them crunching on it merrily.
If you plan on feeding both dry and canned food to your kittens and cats, which is what many veterinarians advocate, then do the mix-in process at one feeding each day and feed straight canned food at the other feeding or you can do it at each feeding.
Be alert that as soon as you put a dish of food in with the kittens, they will more than likely walk around in it. While the mother will be happy to lick them clean, you may need to help her out a bit by using the baby wipes.
Do not stick a kitten's nose into a bowl of food, particularly if it's a mix of formula and baby food. They could fortuitously inhale food and develop all sorts of problems as a result.
This is only one ay to wean kittens. Often kittens figure out how to eat on their own. But the earlier you get them eating, the less stress they will be on mom cat... Some mother cats become gaunt with the stress of producing enough milk for their kittens and this can make them more vulnerable to illness.