Weaning a Maine Coon kitten from its mother is the transfer of a kitten to self–feeding and adaptation to life without a mother cat. The age of 10-12 weeks is considered the most favorable for this. By this time, the Maine Coon kitten can already do without mother’s milk, goes to the cat tray on its own and licks itself, and its psyche is stable enough to move to a new place without harm. How to prepare a Maine Coon kitten for this difficult event?
SWITCHING TO SELF-CATERING
In the first days of the Maine Coon kittens’ life, the cat feeds them with a special «primary milk» – colostrum containing a large amount of antibodies (especially IgA and IgG) and contributing to the development of the cubs’ own immunity. Under normal conditions, kittens continue to feed on mother’s milk for up to 1.5 months.
However, already at the age of 4-6 weeks, you can gradually accustom a Maine Coon kitten to self-feeding, offering him a little wet food. When choosing a diet for a pet, it is important to understand that cat’s milk is a high–calorie product containing 2 times more protein than cow’s, rich in macro- and microelements, vitamins and essential fatty acids necessary for the growth and development of the Maine Coon. Of course, the food offered to the kitten must also meet all of the above qualities.
At the age of 7-8 weeks, dry food can be added to the diet of a Maine Coon kitten, completely abandoning mother’s milk. It should be remembered that during this period of life the kitten is especially vulnerable to infections, since its own immunity has not yet been formed, and the antibodies contained in mother’s milk are no longer received. In order to provide maximum support for the kitten’s immune system during this period of life, dry food that contains dry colostrum, rich in antibodies and contributes to strengthening intestinal resistance and the development of immunity, is perfect.
From the age of 8 weeks, a Maine Coon kitten can be completely transferred to dry food feeding, but it is no less advisable to continue combined feeding. The amount of both feeds should be determined according to the instructions for determining the total caloric content of the diet. It is extremely important to provide the kitten with constant access to fresh water, regardless of whether you feed it with wet or dry food.
Up to 12 weeks of age, a Maine Coon kitten must be fed 5-6 times a day. So that your pet does not feel hungry and can approach the bowl as many times as he needs, it is more convenient to use dry food, since it can stay fresh much longer. However, to diversify the diet and provide the pet with a sufficient amount of moisture, it is useful to keep both a kitten and an adult cat in the diet and wet food.
After you take the Maine Coon kitten into your home, it is important to feed the pet with the same food for some time as before weaning from the mother. This will help him adapt to a new place and reduce the risk of gastrointestinal disorders.
To adapt to life without a mother in a new place, a Maine Coon kitten needs to pay a lot of attention: stroking, «talking», playing. It’s not a bad idea to accustom him to the fact that there are other people who also will not cause harm, but on the contrary, will give him pleasant emotions. If possible, involve all family members (apartment residents) in communication with the kitten. It will be useful if you get to know and play with your future pet even before he is weaned from the mother cat. So the kitten will treat you with great confidence, and it will be much easier for him to get used to a new place of residence.
GETTING USED TO THE TRAY
Up to the age of 4 weeks, the Maine Coon cat carefully takes care of her kittens and licks their feces. But when kittens reach this age, there is a need to accustom them to the tray. Most often, this is not too problematic: if you put a tray in the same room with kittens, they will quickly begin to repeat after their mother – to go to the same tray. The main thing here is to keep it clean and change the filler in time. Remember that no cat will want to go to a dirty tray, and it will be much more difficult to wean a Maine Coon kitten from the habit of walking by. In addition, it will be much easier for the kitten to adapt to your home if, at least at first, you use the filler for the tray to which he is used next to the mother cat.