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How long do kittens nurse for?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I've never had newborn kittens before.I'm just curious what others experiences are.I looked online and it said 5 weeks or so.My little ones are 12 weeks and still nursing about twice a day,and bugging their mama more than that lol.Nessie,the mama,doesn't seem to have a problem with it.The babies are eating regular food and using the litter box and everything,and they all seem perfectly healthy.I'm glad she is so close with her babies.We're keeping them so they'll be with her hopefully for a very long time.I couldn't picture giving them up,they are so sweet.I'm sure when Nessie is ready she will wean them,I'm just wondering if this is unusual.Thanks!

post #2 of 9

Had to reply to this, because I just had a discussion with my mom about this, as I was thinking kittens naturally weaned around 6 weeks.  Isn't that what you always hear?  But my mom reminded me that our cat growing up, a stray who found us while pregnant, had just one kitten and that kitten nursed until we re-homed her....at around 8 MONTHS.  Who knew some cats practice clw--or i guess klw? winky.gif

post #3 of 9

i have to reply to this as well. we recently took in 2 kittens from a litter down the road. when we got them, the kittens were about 10 weeks old. they both nursed their mother (for the last time) right before we took them home.


a couple days later, and to this day -- a month later, they continue to nurse from our MALE GOLDEN RETRIEVER. i'm talking, attached to something down there (boy dog nipple?), pushing with their little kitten paws and sucking with their mouths. i took a picture.

post #4 of 9

usually mom will wean them when she is ready. It's safe around 6-8 weeks.  Only nursing a couple times a day sounds like "comfort" nursing IMO.  

post #5 of 9

My mom's small petite tabby got pregnant by what must have been a maine coon.  When the kittens were 8 weeks old, I took her in and got her spayed.  The kittens continued to nurse until they were at least 3 months.  It was really funny to watch because these were BIG cats.  They were the same size as her at that age.

post #6 of 9

We found a mother cat and 5 kittens.  We gave away 4 of the kittens when they were 8 or so weeks old.  We kept the mother and one kitten.   She nursed until she was well over 6 months.   I don't remember exactly, but I think she stopped before she was a year.  By the end, the baby was pretty much the same size as the mother.

post #7 of 9

If left to their own devices, kittens will nurse for months, sort of like many human children will nurse for years if allowed.  Many mammals practice EBF, so to speak.  :)


We once picked up a stray with several kittens.  We gave most away by the time they were 10 weeks old, but kept one kitten and the mother for ourselves.  That kitten nursed for about 16 weeks or so.  He ate solid foods and only nursed for short periods at a time as his mother allowed.  She pushed him away (or would get up and walk off) when she didn't want him to nurse, so she did actively wean him.  We just didn't interfere with the natural process.


The real reason kittens nurse only for 6-8 weeks is because of human intervention.  Since they are capable of eating solid food, people go ahead and remove them from their mothers to place them in homes.  But 6 weeks is still a bit young - even the Humane Society won't place kittens until at least 8 weeks old.



post #8 of 9

My cat nursed her kittens until we sent them to new homes at 12 weeks, and she nursed the kitten we kept until 5 months! I was really surprised because I thought the kittens would be weaned when they were eating solid food... I'm glad cats are such good mothers!

post #9 of 9

As a teen I had a mama cat and her 2 kittens. One kitten weaned at about 3 months old. The other was still nursing 2 years later. No idea if mama still had milk after being spayed but it was just adorable to see that big boy nursing on his petite mama. Mama would knead the air and pur loudly as he nursed!

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