Raising an abandoned or orphaned 4 week old kitten may feel like an exhausting full-time job, more so in the beginning when they must be frequently fed throughout the day. However as the day goes by and now that they are in the fourth week of their lives, things may finally start to feel a tad bit easier for you.
Not only do they not need to be fed as often as in the first two weeks, they have also become stronger and more active. This is when the fun begins. However, your job of caring for them is far from over.
Taking care of orphaned or abandoned kittens may be exhausting, but we cannot deny the fact that it is also incredibly rewarding. Now that they are learning to properly balance themselves and walk more often, you may crack a smile every single time you catch their glimpse as they roam around.
At this point their heads are larger than their entire body, which is the reason why they wobble their way around. As their curiosity and activity increase, so is your responsibility.
Caring for 4 week old kitten: what you should know
With the kitten start walking and roaming around their surrounding, one of the first things you must do is evaluate any harmful plants as well as items and chemical products around the house. Consider relocating the plants and storing the aforementioned products and items in a compartment or somewhere they cannot reach in order to eliminate the risk of harming them during their exploration. Other than that, you must also evaluate the house for small openings to avoid their accidental escape.
Another aspect worth noting is, while four week old kittens are still nursing, the weaning process must be started at this stage. This is important as they need to eventually make the move to solid food, and four weeks is the ideal age for you to introduce them to kitten food.
Mother cats typically start the weaning process by the end of their third week, but at four weeks they are still allowed formula as long as it is in addition to kitten food or homemade gruel.
Other than starting the weaning process, another task you have at hand is introducing them to their litter box. While cats do not need to be trained to use their litter box, they must still be introduced to their litter box from early age. That way they will understand the appropriate place to urinate and defecate.
Caring for 4 week old kitten: how to wean the kitten
Encouraging your kitten to start eating and stop suckling come with quite a few challenges. However, as challenging as it may be, it can definitely be done. If there is one thing you should never do, it’s to abruptly change their diet. Slow and steady always wins the race when it comes to these lovely creatures. The fact that they are still nursing may make you wonder how often you should give them formula, in that case a good rule of thumb is to give them 8cc for every ounce of their bodyweight.
Alternatively you may give them 104cc (13oz) of milk, given to them 3 times a day. This is of course aside the obligatory introduction to food (also referred to as “gruel”). Homemade gruel is essentially a mixture of either high-quality dry kitten food or wet kitten food and their formula with a little bit of warm water. To make the gruel using high-quality dry kitten food, you must let the kitten food sit in warm water for a while. Once softened, mix it with milk replacement formula.
To get them to try, place a small amount on your fingertip and let them smell it. Once they come closer, slowly move your finger toward the food bowl. Your kitten will follow you and will soon start lapping up the gruel. Gradually over the next few weeks, thicken the homemade gruel until the kitten is finally starting to eat plain kitten food.
Caring for 4 week old kitten: how to introduce litter box
When it comes to using the litter box, cat owners really hit the jackpot as cats do not require a proper litter-training unlike their canine counterpart. However, a little introduction is needed. Fortunately, this introduction process is as easy as taking the kittens and placing them inside their litter box in order to let them smell the box and get used to it. Your kitten may dig around the litter box for a while or shun the litter box by hopping out of it.
If your kitten is among those that hop out, simply take them and place them back in the litter box in an hour. Continue to introduce them to it after meals and in the morning, and every time you think they are about to urinate or defecate, gently place them in their litter box to do the job.