Kittens are playful and adventurous, so it’s no surprise they’re also prone to chewing.
Many dentists recommend feeding your newly born kitten at 12 weeks. So, why are kittens still nursing at 12 weeks?
Kittens are born blind and deaf, so they need their mother’s milk to survive. Nursing stimulates kittens’ brains and helps develop their brains and immune systems.
Nursing also comforts kittens, as they feel their mother’s heartbeat and breathing. Finally, nursing helps kittens socialize and learn how to interact with other animals, which is crucial for their survival in the wild.
For these reasons, it’s crucial that kittens stay with their moms for at least the first 12 weeks of their lives.
Why Are Kittens Still Nursing At 12 Weeks?
Kittens may continue to nurse at 12 weeks of age if mom is not producing enough milk or if she isn’t spending enough time with her babies.
By this age, most kittens will have formed an attachment to their mother. If mom is unwell or has been euthanized, the kittens won’t want to accept a new mother, so they remain close to the original.
Why Do Kittens Continue to Nurse at 12 Weeks?
Because they lack the ability to leave the room if mom’s unavailable. If they walked outside, they would continue to come in contact with other animals and risk being hurt.
As a consequence, the mother may reject them just to ensure their survival.
If mom’s milk supply suddenly fails, or if the milk is of poor quality, the kittens may stay close to mom until they build up immunity.
If the mother is producing more milk than the kittens need, they may not be ready to leave her. When this happens, the kittens may suckle on a breast for more than an hour a day.
How to Stop Kittens Still Nursing at 12 Weeks
Make a Schedule
With kittens still feeding at 12 weeks, a schedule can help keep them on track.
The joy of having kittens in your house means that they may disrupt your daily routines.
This implies that when you go out for a few hours, you will need to leave food and water for the kitties to eat and drink when they wake up from a nap.
Start Separating the Kittens From Mom
This may seem difficult at first, but it’ll eventually help stop the cats from suckling at night.
In essence, you’ll want to start separating the young felines from their mother by gradually increasing the time they spend without her during the day.
This might even take place over a few days.
After a few days, the kittens may begin visiting mom less frequently. When they do visit her, they may simply sniff at or groom her for a few minutes before returning to the house.
Pay Attention to the Kittens’ Natural Feeding Schedule.
This is critical while weaning them from their mothers’ milk and onto solid food.
Many cat owners are unsure how to tackle this stage of kitten development.
When utilizing any form of milk replacement, it’s important to ensure the kittens get enough food to maintain their health.
This can easily be done if the kittens are free-fed or fed three times a day.
If free-feeding isn’t possible at your home, you’ll need to feed one meal a day. You may feed them roughly every four to five hours. This is particularly helpful in homes with free-roaming cats and kittens who attempt to feed at night.
Use a Small Dish
It’s one thing to begin using a small bowl with the kittens, but they’ll need a larger one as their weaning progresses.
This will prevent them from consuming too much milk at one time. Try using a similar-sized bowl for both solid food and milk.
This will make it easier for the kittens to learn the difference between the two.
The best way to transition the kittens onto solid food is to start with dry food first, and then feed them a small amount of their mother’s milk.
This can help the kitten get used to the new texture of food on their tongue while also giving them a taste for the food they’re being fed.
When it comes to anything like yogurt or cheese, it may take a couple of days for them to get used to it since it’s not as common for them to eat that food.
Essentially, you’ll be using a shallow dish for their meals until they’re weaned off of their mother’s milk completely.
Make Use of a Milk Substitute
The milk substitute will be nutrient-dense, simple to mix up and won’t contain hormones that can harm a nursing mother or her babies.
While this will only be used for a day or two in the beginning stages of weaning, it can prove to be useful when it comes to giving the baby felines some energy during the times they’re used to feeding at night.
Many cat owners expect that things will work well when weaning a kitten off their mother’s milk.
And this can happen at home if the proper techniques are put into place.
If the cat doesn’t accept the milk substitute, this may indicate that she isn’t producing enough milk to meet the kitten’s needs.
In this instance, you’ll need to take the vet’s advice immediately.
Giving the kittens small amounts of milk substitute on a regular basis can also help with transitioning the babies onto the schedule you’ll use once they’ve grown into adults.
You must comprehend the benefits of employing the right techniques when weaning a kitten off the mother’s milk and onto a different diet.
Also Read: Can Kittens Leave Mom At 7 Weeks?
With kittens still feeding at 12 weeks, it’s important to continue providing both their milk and solid foods for them until they reach the age of 16 weeks.
You should begin with a high-quality dry cat food that’s specifically made for growing cats and then gradually work up to other foods as time progresses.
This will assist the kittens shift from eating their mother’s milk and transitioning to a solid diet on their own.
This transition is beneficial since it helps them to become stronger and healthy as they grow older and begin to explore their surroundings outside of the house.
They will also learn how to fend for themselves without relying on mom for all of their meals.
This is perfect since you never know when you’re going to have to deal with a new litter of kittens that will need proper care.