December 5, 2023

Pet Life Today

Professional Pets Experts

When Can Kittens Leave Their Mom? Here’s What a Veterinarian Recommends

woman holding small kitten

lady keeping smaller kitten

kali9 / Getty


  1. On This Web site

    • When Can a Kitten Leave Their Mother?

    • Weaning Kittens

    • What Happens If Kittens Are Weaned Too Early?

    • Can Kittens Keep With Mother Permanently?

Wee kittens, with their lil’ mews and waddly walks, just make us want to maintain them as before long as they’re born and under no circumstances allow go! However, it is crucial to respect and abide by their normal progress approach. So when can kittens leave their mother?

Renee Rucinsky, DVM, DABVP(F), is the owner of Mid-Atlantic Cat Hospital and Feline Thyroid Centre in Queenstown, Md., as very well as the 2022 president-elect of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. She tells Day by day Paws that for quite a whilst, “kittens will need to be all over their siblings and mom to study boundaries, how to interact with others—and how not to be irritating!”

Here’s how the timeline will work.

When Can a Kitten Depart Their Mother?

Ideally, kittens need to bond with their littermates and Momma Cat (referred to by breeders as the queen, which would seem absolutely correct) for eight to 10 weeks. Rucinsky suggests if siblings are adopted jointly, they can occasionally shift on at 7 weeks old, but in a excellent globe, the complete spouse and children would stay jointly for at least nine months.

At 7 weeks old, kittens have currently expert lightning-rapid advancement:

  • At beginning, their ears are folded on to their head but commence to spring up following about just one 7 days.

  • In the beginning born blind, they will open their eyes inside two months and ought to be crawling all around this time, way too.

  • They start out producing itty-bitty tooth at 3 weeks outdated and getting cautious upright ways.

  • Momma Cat works by using her tongue to educate them how to self-groom when they’re 4–6 weeks outdated, and they are eager to perform, pounce, and commonly be additional spunky kitten-like now.

  • In just six to 8 months, kittens cease nursing, as their baby tooth are in position and they are completely ready for strong foods.

Connected: How to Figure out Your Kitten’s Age and Abilities Week–by–Week

“Developmentally, the time time period between 4–7 months [old] is crucial to a lifetime of becoming feline superior citizens. If Momma Cat will not instruct them manners then, or if they are not exposed to persons in the course of that time, it truly is so a lot more challenging to have these kitties be well mannered and well-modified,” Rucinsky says.

She provides that when they go away the litter too soon, or if they’re solo infants, they really don’t develop critical social competencies and normal behavior cues as they would from being in the total team.

The American Animal Clinic Affiliation (AAHA) and the American Affiliation of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) take note in their life stage suggestions that whilst kittens frequently inherit the persona of their father (also known as the tom), they study almost everything else from their mother. This incorporates accepting foods, toilet routines, and “worry response” to human beings and animals.

According to the recommendations, the “sensitive socialization interval” for kittens—experiencing new matters and assembly new people today and animals—begins when they are 2–3 months aged and lasts right up until they are 9–10 months outdated.

Weaning Kittens

Unless of course you are fostering stray kittens and have been bottle-feeding from the start out, relaxation confident Momma Cat has this changeover phase underneath control.

How very long do kittens nurse? Rucinsky says approximately five to 6 weeks, with the frequency and amount of money progressively lowering as they discover how to consume sound food items. The weaning process depends on what is actually out there for the kittens to consume and “how considerably the mom tolerates irritating babies attempting to nurse!”

Connected: Is Your Cat Possessing Difficulties Nursing Her Kittens? She Could Have Mastitis

But as early as 4 weeks outdated, the little scamps develop into far more curious about what their mother eats, and she’ll press them absent. When this occurs, give Momma Cat a relaxation and assist with kitten weaning by setting out small bits of specially-formulated kitten foodstuff: a 1-to-3 ratio of heat drinking water to dry kibble or canned food. You can expect to want a regularity like great oatmeal mush. Talk to your veterinarian about how to program these feedings, but the common method is frequently referred to as “advert libitum,” which usually means “as generally as needed or wanted.” This may possibly be about four instances everyday.

Make a feeding area absent from mother with foods on a flat saucer so kittens can take a look at and of course, participate in with—and in—the food. They’ll before long recognize mom’s kitchen area is closed and these eats are all there is. She’ll likely nudge them alongside involving naps as they get the cling of it. Nevertheless, kittens can’t leave her just yet, as they’re absorbing some of these other critical behavioral techniques, but this stage is their start toward independence.

What Takes place If Kittens Are Weaned Much too Early?

How can you assistance a cat weaned way too early? It depends on the timeline. For instance, if you have a household litter and one thing comes about to Momma Cat in that critical four to seven week window, you will develop into a surrogate cat with all the parenting skills appropriate absent, such as bottle feeding and stable meals introduction, litter teaching, and socialization.

Linked: Kitten Treatment 101: From Delivery to a Yr Old

Constant socialization allows lower aggression, stress, and concern in orphaned kitties by acclimating them to their siblings, other people today, and animals. Without a mom to swat absent inappropriate antics, you can expect to have to count on good reinforcement training procedures supported by aids such as treats, pats, and toys to retain them on the right observe. A cat habits guide can stroll you by way of the method. This will make it a very little much easier for kitties to undertaking into the entire world further than 7 months previous.

Yet, kittens leaving their mom much too early could possibly create some minor behavioral repercussions that turn into component of their character. “If for some reason a kitten is weaned way too early, they may perhaps have some tendencies to consider to nurse on material or fluffy items, sort of an oral fixation sort of detail. It’s harmless most of the time and just helps make them truly feel soothed,” Rucinsky says.

Can Kittens Keep With Their Moms Their Whole Life?

Rucinsky notes that it’s good if kittens improve up and stay with mother. Momma Cat, on the other paw, could prefer a different arrangement!

Similar: One particular Very simple Strategy to Decide the Gender of a Kitten

“Sometimes cat moms want their young ones to improve up, go to higher education and leave the nest, but over-all, everyone can continue to be collectively,” Rucinsky says. “Also, some personal cats may possibly want much more independence. There’s not definitely a ‘best’ scenario with mother cats and kittens.”