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weaning

Weaning can begin at four weeks of age.

food:
Use a high quality, high-protein kitten food. Please, don't be cheap—these are growing kittens and they need the best nutrition available.

Start gradually separating the babies from the mother at four weeks of age; just take her out of the room two hours before you feed the babies. This will stimulate the kittens' appetites and initiate the drying-up process with Momcat's milk (if she has any). Gradually increase the amount of time the mom is separated from the kittens.

how to wean:
At first, put out a saucer of kitten formula mixed with a few pieces of dry kitten food that has been soaked in water and mashed up to form a gruel mixture, no thicker than a milkshake. Do this three times a day, even if the kittens refuse it every time. Put the kittens by the food each time. You will probably need to continue supplemental feeding for some or all of the kittens for a little while longer, because the kittens will probably ignore the food at first.

If they are very stubborn, stick your finger into the goop, then allow the kitten to lick it off. If that doesn't work, gently hold the kitten in place and rub a little bit on their teeth and try to get them to start licking from your finger. They are accustomed to being held in place while being fed so this may help them make the change. (It worked for Winnie.)

Once they are licking kitten goop from your finger, lower your finger until it is in the goop. The kitten will then begin to eat from the saucer. You will be very happy!

Be patient, keep trying—they will eventually catch on. My Winnie refused to eat out of a dish until she was seven weeks old!

There's a product available called Second Step Kitten Weaning Formula, made by KMR (who also makes my favorite kitten formula). It can be used for kittens up to eight weeks of age. I wish I found this product when I was weaning my kittens; I think it would have made life a lot easier.
Directions: mix three parts water to one part
powder for the first few days. The, as kittens grow, decrease the amount of water mixed with powder until it's an oatmeal consistency.

changing to all kitten food:
Gradually add some canned food to the gruel, and some pieces of unsoaked dry food, reducing the amount of kitten formula until you have eliminated it. You can continue to feed the kittens a mixture of canned and dry kitten food until they are six months of age. I used IAMs dry kitten food and IAMs regular canned, mixed together. I fed them all they could consume in twenty minutes, three times a day, until they were six months old. Then I fed them twice a day, all they could eat (within reason, since some kittens become little bottomless pits). Around nine months, I switched to adult cat food, and started bringing their food consumption down to that of adult cats. Some combinations of food brands may cause constipation or diarrhea, if that occurs, you'll have to experiment a bit more.
I have had good luck feeding the above IAMs combination to kittens.