A 3-week old kitten is a fascinating sight to behold. At such a tender age, they’re a cute bundle of coats, with a unique round potbelly and gangly limbs. At three weeks old, kittens now have the ability to move around.
They will spend much of the time wandering around the environment around them. This is why a 3-week old kitten needs adequate care and attention.
When they are not touring the environment around them, they will either be sleeping or eating. 3-week old kitten development and growth place a lot of caloric burden on them. You need to feed your kitten very well in order for it to keep up with the demands of its developmental stage.
As a result, you need to know how to feed a 3-week old kitten and how much should a 3-week old kitten eat. This is also the stage when kittens start to transition to solid food. Hence, it is crucial that you transit your kitten at this time to a source of food that has enough nutrition to support their continued growth.
When looking for the best kind of food to give a 3-week old kitten, there are certain things you need to take into consideration. Considering these factors will ensure that your kitten has a nice and successful development phase, transiting it into the next phase.
Kittens and Nutrition
When figuring out the best kind of food to give your 3-week old kitten, the first and most important thing you need to do is to have a better understanding of what kittens eat. Cats are considered as obligate Carnivore. This means the meal of a cat must comprise of meat. While dogs are considered omnivores, cats cannot process berries, vegetables, or fruits.
Instead, cats in the wild get their full nutrition from the bodies of their prey. While you can’t settle for such an option or while your cuddly and cute little friend can’t fend for itself, it is crucial that you get the best food for your 3-week old kitten.
A 3-week old kitten needs a diet that is very rich in protein. In addition, the protein needs to be gotten from meals with the highest quality.
You should also try to avoid meals that contain starchy vegetables, such as sweet potato or corn fillers, or berries or fruits. These types of food do not contain the necessary nutrition that your 3-week old kitten needs.
Nutritional Density and 3-week Old Kitten Formula
When a kitten is 3-weeks old, it is at the point of transitioning to solid food. This means you are to start adding increased amounts of kitten food into the diet of your kitten to aid the milk it gets from its mother or an artificial source.
At this point, you might want to ask “how much formula should a 3-week old kitten eat?” While the answer to this question is relative, it is crucial for you to know that kittens must be fed different meal from adult cats.
The food formula of a kitten is in line with a much more rigorous nutritional profile than the normal food for adult cats. The reason is that when kittens are adjusted for body weight, they require about two times the amount of calories that adult cats need.
In order to meet the caloric demand of kittens and provide them with the necessary minerals and vitamins to enhance adequate development, the food of kitten is formulated using more nutrient dense food sources.
The food of a kitten is designed to surpass thresholds put in place by the AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officers). This means foods that are specifically designed for kittens are supposed to meet the adequate development needs of a kitten.
Hence, if you are looking for food for your kitten, you need to opt for one that has been studied and approved by the AAFCO. This is a sign that the food is nutritionally dense to support your kitten through its developmental phase.
3-week Old Kitten Development Phases
When a kitten is three weeks old, there are certain developments that you will begin to observe on the kitten. At this stage, the ear canals of the kitten will be completely open. The sense of hearing is still developing at this point. Nevertheless, a 3-week old kitten may respond to loud sounds. At this age, the ears may also be fully erect.
Kittens usually have blue eyes. The eye of a 3-4 week old kitten may start changing from the normal blue eyes to the adult hue. The sense of smell of the kitten will also be well developed. At this point, they can voluntarily eliminate, as their digestive system is developing.
They will be cleaned by the mother cat until they learn how to groom. At this tender age, some kittens might start purring. The kitten might also start developing baby teeth at this stage. Some 3-4 week old kittens might also start standing.
3-week Old Kitten Care – Temperature
Kittens need to be warm at all time. Cold is not really good for their health at such a tender age. If your kitten is cold, you can slowly warm the kitten by holding him/her against your bare skin. This would enable the kitten to absorb the heat of your body. If you are not indoors, then your ambit can serve as a great incubator. Cold is highly detrimental to a kitten, especially when they are four weeks and below.
It is highly advised that you don’t submerge your kitten in water. You shouldn’t also apply any method that will get your kitten warm too quickly. At this point, kittens are not able to generate their own heat. Wrapping them in a towel or blanket is not even enough. You must try as much as possible to provide heat for the kitten.
It is also not advisable to feed a 3-week old kitten when it’s cold. Before you feed a kitten, make sure the body heat of the kitten is about 90-degrees Fahrenheit or more.
Make a Box for Your Kitten
Put a heating pad in a box that has enough space to contain the heating pad with sufficient space that isn’t covered by the heating pad. The kitten will move towards the heat whenever it is cold and move away whenever it is warm. If they are not provided with enough space to enable them to move away from the heat, they might get dehydrated and die.
Set the operation of the heating pad to low and use a towel to cover it. Don’t allow the kitten to lie on the pad directly. Position the box in a draft-free and warm place.
Don’t Bathe a 3-Week Old Kitten
It is not recommended to bath a 3-week old kitten. You can only bath it when it is absolutely necessary. If you must bath the kitten, make sure the temperature of the kitten is normal. This means it has to be 90-degrees Fahrenheit or more. If your kitten has fleas, then the best option you have is flea combing.
If you must bathe your kitten, it is recommended that you use a small amount of Lemon Joy. Lemon Joy is safe for kittens, and the citrus in it kills fleas. Do not use flea shampoos on a 3-week old kitten. After bathing the kitten, use a towel to dry the body as much as possible. After drying the kitten, put it back in the box. Do not use a hair dryer on 3-4 week old kittens.
3-week Old Kitten Feeding
Daily weight gain is a sign that the meal you are feeding your kitten with is meeting the nutritional needs of your kitten. Kittens should gain an average of a ½ ounce on a daily basis or four ounces on a weekly basis.
If you notice a kitten does not eat enough in one feeding, increase the feeding frequency. Better still, you can go back to that kitten after feeding the others to give it one more chance to take more food.
Never Overfeed a Young Kitten
Overfeeding your kittens is one thing you shouldn’t do. Some kittens will continue to eat and eat provided they are offered food. To feed your kittens properly, you need to stick to the guidelines and instructions on the container of kitten formula.
When a kitten is between the age of three and four weeks, you can start weaning the kitten with baby food. A 3-week old kitten can be fed with beef, turkey, or GERBER chicken. They can also be fed with canned food mixed with KMR.
Tips for Bottle Feeding 3-week Old Orphaned Kittens
- Kittens must not be cold. They can’t properly digest food when they are cold.
- Combine two parts water to one part powdered Kitten Milk Replacer (KMR). Do not give your kitten a cow’s milk. Also, make sure they are all on the same formula.
- You should feed kittens 30 ccs or two tablespoons of formula per four ounces of body weight in a space of twenty-four hours.
- A 3-week old kitten should be fed every three to four hours. If you notice that your kitten sleeps for longer periods during the night, don’t wake them up to feed.
- If your kitten is weak or doesn’t eat much, you should feed it more frequently.
- Make sure the kitten is flat on their belly or leaning forward while feeding.
- Make sure the formula is warm (around 100-degree Fahrenheit), but not hot.
- Hold the bottle at an angle of 45-degree while feeding.
Defecation and Urination Stimulation
Mother cats are responsible for grooming their young ones to stimulate defecation and urination on a regular basis. However, when rendering a 3-week old orphan kitten care, this responsibility is yours. Young kittens cannot go through this process alone. They need your help to be able to defecate and urinate. Hence, this is a very important aspect of 3-week old kitten care.
Before and after every feeding, you should gently rub the lower abdomen of the kitten. You should also rub the rectum and genitals with a cotton ball dipped in a fragrance-free baby wipe or warm water. Ensure you rub only to get the kitten to eliminate because if you overstimulate that area, it will be irritating.
Watch out for lingering dirt and chafing. In the process, don’t allow the kitten to get chilled. Kittens should defecate at least once a day. They should also, almost always, urinate during every stimulation. You should stimulate your kittens until they are over 3-weeks old. Once they get to about four weeks old, they can carry out this process of eliminating body wastes on their own.
The Social Life of 3-week Old Kittens
When kittens are three weeks of age, they need exercise to enhance circulatory and muscular development. They also need to learn some social skills at this age. If they are not orphaned, they will start to learn from their mom and play with their littermates. It is also advisable to start regular daily handling of kittens for them to get used to contact with people.
To help your kittens develop socially and physically, you must teach them how to play. You also need to give them that freedom to play. For orphaned kittens with no mom to groom them regularly, you need to always keep them clean and teach them to groom.
Playing with them is a bit daunting, but someone has to do it to make sure that they are well socialized and friendly to people. They will learn how to socialize faster with their mom and littermates if they have them. This is one reason why you need to pair single, same-age kittens when adopting them.
3-4 week old kittens will start exploring and playing around their environment. At this point, you need to provide them with stimulation and toys in their cage. You can provide them with paper towels, cardboard rolls, pipe cleaners, and traditional kitten toys to play with.
Taking care of a 3-week old kitten is just like taking care of an infant. You need to put in so much effort. The training and teaching process also needs a lot of time and patience. Your 3-week old kitten needs more attention to cope very well at such age.
Your kitten is your sole responsibility. Hence, you need to know how to take care of it in order for it to grow into a healthy, pretty cat.