Cats belong to the animal class of mammals, therefore, they are defined as the group of vertebrate animals whose embryo, provided with a placenta, develops (normally) within the mother’s body and the offspring feed on mother’s milk through the breasts, from birth. That is, the cat suckles her kittens. But for how long?
Each species has a different period of suckling, from days to months or years. In the next article we will talk about how long cats breastfeed their young and some basic aspects of care during lactation. If you are interested in knowing when cats stop breastfeeding, read on!
Breastfeeding in cats: breastfeeding kittens
Breastfeeding is a very important period to ensure the correct development of kittens . During this period, the cat is in charge of protecting and caring for her babies, since they totally depend on her. Breast milk has a very special composition and provides all the nutrients that the offspring need until they are able to ingest solid food.
Components of breast milk:
- Water . the fundamental component of milk is water, since it accounts for more than 80%. This ensures that the young are always hydrated, without the need to ingest additional water. When the digestive tract is so premature, the extra water intake could cause vomiting and diarrhea.
- Fats . Breast milk contains fat that is easily digested and absorbed. In addition, they are very beneficial since they are the transport of many vitamins that, together with triglycerides, are assimilated in the intestine and become part of the kitten’s body.
- Proteins . It is a protein food so it helps in the development of internal structures and growth of the body mass of kittens.
- Carbohydrates . Breast milk contains sugars that are a very effective energy supply for newborn kittens.
- Immunoglobulins . Through milk, the cat transmits antibodies, that is, it transmits to the kittens protection against some diseases, present in the environment, against which they are not born immunized.
- Minerals . Milk is a great source of iron, phosphorus and calcium, mainly, necessary for a healthy growth of the young.
When do cats stop breastfeeding?
For kittens it is essential to feed on breast milk when they are newborns, since it is their source of protection against diseases and to be able to consolidate a strong and vigorous immune system. In response to when cats stop breastfeeding, it has a physiological explanation, and it is until they are able to eat solid food and teeth begin to come out.
So, at what age do cats stop breastfeeding? It is usually around a month and a half, two months old (at 6-8 weeks of life) . By this time, they are able to walk, play, and explore with some independence. In addition, nature is wise, the cat will stop feeding them because they hurt her nipples when sucking, and they will learn to eat other foods and continue with the cycle of life.
Special care during breastfeeding
During breastfeeding, the mother cat requires special care, since the success of her kittens depends on her. In the following list we show you some basic things to help the cute mom cope with this period :
She should be fed a diet focused on her condition, as feeding a nursing cat is different. There are many commercial diets on the market designed for your nutritional needs during kitten nursing. It is possible that the cat loses her appetite and refuses to eat, but it is important that you help her and make the effort, since she needs a lot of energy to support the little ones .
2. Veterinary care
It is important that a veterinarian supervises the process , both to monitor the development of the kittens, and to monitor the health of the cat. If you have had a problem during childbirth, it is urgent that you go to a professional to see you and see if everything is okay. Also, if he stops eating for more than 24 hours, is very weak and / or stops producing milk, see your veterinarian so that he can quickly establish a therapeutic plan.
3. Nutritional supplements
If our cat is a first time or, for any other reason, she is not able to produce enough milk for the kittens, we can help ourselves with formulated powdered milk for kittens and feed them with a bottle . Breastfeeding time would be the same as naturally, up to two months, when cats stop breastfeeding.
The lactation or breastfeeding period is a precious moment as well as a delicate one. It must be cared for with care and provide all possible comfort to the cat and her kittens to ensure that everything goes well.
The breast milk will always be the best food you can get the kittens newborns, in order to ensure growth and healthy development until at least two months, when they stop breastfeeding cats.