When Do Kittens Start Eating Food And Drinking Water? Know The Facts

Deepthi Reddy
Mar 07, 2023 By Deepthi Reddy
Originally Published on Oct 22, 2021
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
Cute funny kitten drinking milk at home
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.5 Min

Good nutrition in the right proportion is always vital for your kitten's health and wellbeing.

Determining what to feed your kitten during the weaning process and the right age to wean is really crucial. Read on to learn more tips as we answer related questions that will help your little kitten grow into a healthy and happy adult cat.

A kitten is a baby cat and it usually opens its eyes after 7-10 days of birth. It is primarily dependent on its mother's milk for nutrition until it switches to solid foods.

Kittens quickly develop within two weeks and begin the process of exploring the outside world. To stimulate their growth, they should always consume enough nutritious food and water. Domestic kittens enjoy human companionship and are highly social animals.

If you want a new pet kitten, make sure when you introduce it to your family and surroundings, you give it special care and make it feel comfortable with you as soon as possible. Your kitten should feed on quality foods formulated for it.

The kitten should have a balanced diet from an early life stage. A good diet will lead to significant health and help avoid future problems in your cat.

If you liked reading these facts about kittens, you might also be interested in how often do cats pee and how often do cats poop.

When do indoor cats stop relying solely on their mother's milk?

Its mother's milk is essential for its nourishment and growth, from birth until it's weaned. A few days after the kitten is born, it receives protection against infectious diseases through the milk of its mother, called colostrum, which contains high concentrations of immunoglobulins and transmits antibodies that strengthen its immune system.

By week four, kittens will start eating food and drinking water in addition to the milk of their mother. The switch from mother's milk to solid foods is the weaning process.

If the mother's milk is unavailable, do not feed the newborn kitten with milk from another animal, for example, goat or cow's milk or dog formula. It would be good to use only a kitten milk replacer made especially for kittens to get the appropriate nutrition.

The weaning process starts when kittens are four weeks old, and it ends around 8-10 weeks. Properly weaning your kitten at the right age will make the process easier for you.

Always get advice from your veterinarian before changing your kitten's diet to keep it healthy. Three weeks old kittens usually start eating on their own.

At what age can my kitten drink water?

Weaning a young kitten isn't limited to regularly feeding it wet and dry foods rich in protein. It is also about introducing water to it. Water is essential for keeping your kittens in good health. This age is also suitable for litter box training.

After one month, Kittens become steady on their feet, and exploration of their environment begins. At this time, they will slowly start to eat solid food.

Thus, it is appropriate to introduce water to your little kitty in small, shallow water bowls, convenient for lapping up. Providing your kitten with fresh water will keep it well hydrated. When your kitten has finished eating, make sure it burps.

During the first months, start interacting with your pet kitten and try to put it in contact with water by playing with it in a puddle or with tap water. This will make your kitten want to drink water.

Make sure you dry the little kitty immediately with a warm, fluffy towel and keep it warm. If you notice any issues in the kitten's health during the weaning process, contact your vet and get the kitten examined immediately.

Kitten looking at glass of milk

What do you feed a kitten at four weeks of age?

Newborn kittens get all their nourishment from their mother cat. Kitties should be fed food appropriate for their age. As they have high energy and protein requirements, highly digestible proteins, omega-3, omega-6 fatty acids, and antioxidants for healthy development are the recommended foods for your kitten.

The amount of feed given to your kitties must comply with the weight and the guidance label on your chosen kitten food. However, it is recommended that you consult a veterinarian who will suggest the feeding amount depending on the characteristics of your kitten.

You can start feeding your kitten high-quality canned or dry kitten food, moistened with a bit of kitten milk, or put on a bit of wet food to make it easier for them to chew.

At four weeks, the kittens will be old enough to eat gruel as their primary food. You can easily make homemade gruel by mixing the high-quality kitten food -dried and wet, with warm water or milk. You can give them the gruel two or three times a day. They can also have formula milk three times a day.

Canned food is easy to eat for many kittens, but it does not have the teeth-cleaning capabilities of dry food. Choose a kitten food that is specifically formulated for kittens and is free from corn and ash.

Finally, when the kittens learn to lap up KMR, start with wet kitten food and less formula to make a delicious gruel. Slowly increase the consistency of the mixture and maintain a perfect balance between all the nutrients.

When do outdoor cats start eating kitten food and drinking water?

To protect its life, an outdoor cat will live in a group with other cats. They find shelter, hunt for food, raise their young, and defend themselves from other animals.

Kittens learn to eat, play, interact, and use a litter box by observing their mother cat or another adult cat. Ideally, a weaning kitten should learn from its mother, but orphaned kittens can self-learn if the mom cat is unavailable.

After three to four weeks, it's time for kittens to switch to solid food, so the mom cat will search through garbage or dog food dishes, hunt small game, and reach out to humans for food to survive and wean their young ones.

However, it is best to provide the outdoor kittens with little solid food. You can mix kitten formula with wet food and bottle feed them with a kitten-specific bottle or let the kittens eat food or drink milk on their own from a shallow bowl.

If you are weaning an orphaned kitten, you can start at about three weeks of age and ensure you let them eat by themselves as soon as possible.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for when do kittens start eating food and drinking water then why not take a look at why do dogs cough, or are black diamonds real.

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Written by Deepthi Reddy

Master of Business Administration

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Deepthi ReddyMaster of Business Administration

With an MBA under her belt, Deepthi has discovered her true calling in content writing. Her writing repertoire is diverse, covering travel, movies, pet care, parenting, animals and birds, and more. Her joy of learning and creating has helped her craft well-written and engaging articles. When she isn't writing, Deepthi enjoys exploring new cultures, trying different foods, and spending quality time with her two children aged 7 and 12.

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Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi

Postgraduate Diploma in Management

Sakshi Raturi picture

Sakshi RaturiPostgraduate Diploma in Management

Sakshi has experience in marketing strategy, social media planning, and recruiting industry experts for capstone projects, she has displayed a commitment to enhancing their skills and knowledge. She has won multiple awards, including a Certificate of Appreciation for Creative Writing and a Certificate of Merit for Immaculate Turut, and is always seeking new opportunities to grow and develop.

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