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Hi @AlleyCatRescuer

I bred Persian cats until fairly recently and now have several adult retiree Persians. Personally I'd be getting the mother tested for PKD and perhaps PRA as soon as possible unless you know for certain that she is clear of these. It's easy to do, just a swab from inside her cheek, and I recommend sending it to Langford Veterinary Diagnostic Labs. You'll get the result within a week usually.

You asked specifically about weaning the kittens. Firstly forget about it until they are at least 4 to 5 weeks old. They may start to show an interest on their own or you may need to encourage them, but make sure it is well mashed but not flattened down. A low dish, such as a saucer is best as Persians struggle to get into the edges of taller bowls. Persian kittens are messy eaters and will need washing after meals. Their mum will help but they will stain and end up sticky and stinking because of the food. You will probably end up washing the other end too!

Weigh them frequently as while all kittens can go downhill very quickly, Persian kittens seem particularly prone to this, and I weighed mine daily until they were a month old, then switched to weekly. They will stop eating at the drop of a hat if they feel even slightly off colour.

I realise here that I am making it sound like they are a nightmare to raise, when actually they were an absolute joy to have, but they are quite delicate as babies. Get them used to being brushed now. I used a small soft bristle brush and small comb, and would gently wipe a damp cotton pad across their face to get them used to having their eyes cleaned.

I am happy to answer any other questions you may have as and when they arise.
 

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We know very little about mums history other then bought at 5 weeks old and she's under a year so we will get her tested ASAP to make sure she doesn't have PKD or PRA!
If she has either of these would testing the kittens become a priority too?
PRA is resessive so the kittens would need to inherit the gene from both parents to be affected.
PKD however is dominant so the kittens only need to have inherited the gene from one parent to be affected.

For PRA you could just test mum, and if she tests clear you don't really need to test the kittens for that disease. If however she tests as a carrier or affected (the latter being unlikely as presumably her eyesight ok and most affected cats are blind by 17 weeks of age) then then you may wish to test each kitten to see if they are clear, carriers or affected as this would have an impact on future care.

For PKD it's worth testing them all. The disease is there from birth, but the rate at which it progresses differs from cat to cat, but most are in end stage kidney failure by 7 years of age.

I would say just test both mum and dad as that would be cheaper, but obviously the situation isn't conducive to that.
 
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