When Can Kittens Leave Their Mom? What’s The Ideal Time?

when can kittens leave their mom

Most people choose to adopt a kitten so they can get used to the new surroundings at an early age. However, there are a variety of factors that can impact your kittens personal and social growth, including how early you take away your kitten from their mothers. So when can kittens leave their mom? What is the ideal amount of time that kittens should spend with their family before you take them away to a new home?

So, when can kittens leave their mom?

The ideal time to isolate a kitten from their mom is generally anywhere between 12-13 weeks. Prior to this time period, they need to remain around their mom to live on their healthy milk and to develop positive life skills from their siblings.  It ensures the kittens will have maximized their biological and behavioral growth.

when can kittens leave their mom
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What’s The Problem With Taking A Kitten Earlier?

To fully comprehend why it is not advisable to separate a kitten from its mother too early, it is necessary to study some essential fundamentals of a kitten’s development:

  • Kittens must be breastfed to grow properly
  • Kittens can feed from their mother for about a month when they are raised. Mother’s milk contain all of the nutrients which kittens need for proper development and growth.
  • Whenever the mother is missing, kittens can need specialized milk to replace their mother’s milk. Which, moreover, is rarely perfect. Inquire with your nearest vet for even more knowledge regarding this.

Why is socialization necessary for kittens?

Social interaction for kittens with their mother and siblings is very important. Kittens must socialize and practice how to communicate with various people, pets, and experiences during this phase. The social interaction cycle aids them in maturing into healthy and content feral kittens.

when can kittens leave their mom
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Separating kittens from their devoted mother isn’t always a pleasurable experience. The mother-kitten bond is extremely close, while the same can be said about the relationship that exists between adopted siblings. Kittens must stay with their caring, sweet mother until they are weaned.

Weaning Period

Kittens must stay with their mother until weaning is done. Weaning is the process of slowly introducing a kitten to adult food from its mother’s milk. As per the ASPCA, kittens are exclusively fed by their mothers until they are around four weeks old, while weaning sometimes persists once they are approximately 10 and 11 weeks old. Kittens need their infant formula to stay strong and healthy. Kittens usually start consuming normal food about the age of eight weeks.

Personal Growth

Another reason why mothers and feral cats should never separate kittens at an early age is because of personal growth. Aggressive behavior, basically a form of violent play which requires a lot of chomping down, punching, jumping, chasing, and sometimes even scratching, is among kittens’ most recognizable hobbies.

Mothers are able to discipline their kittens and prevent them from developing these aggressive behaviors. Kittens acquire much knowledge during this period,  like using the litter box and interacting with many other cats, animals, and humans. The majority of what kittens experience comes from watching their mother.

Kittens under 8 weeks can undergo a lot of stress if taken away from their mother too early. Introducing them to a new environment too early can make a lasting impact that can be irreversible. As a result, we advise against rehoming kittens under the age of eight weeks. In reality, many kittens who are separated from their mothers or litters too soon develop behavioral issues and face stress at a young age.

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Grooming

Besides knowing how to play comfortably, getting bonded pairs and a mom cat around allows kittens to understand how and when to groom regularly, which is important in the feline environment.

According to the research, queen cats start cleaning their kittens as soon as they are born. Kittens also begin cleaning their bonded pair more about the age of six weeks. This behavioral trait not only promotes health and orderliness and helps to establish a strong bond and relationship between both the little mates and is known as allogrooming

Mothers groom their kittens because it is a sign of affection. Mother cats clean their kittens as soon as they are born, to remove the newborn smell since it may bring out predators. They are doing whatever is necessary to protect their little kittens from harm. Mothers are also known to lick their babies bum, to stimulate their bottoms and promote urination and bowel movements. It is also known that mothers deal with stomach issues during this time since they on occasion swallow fecal matter and urine. 

What Happens If the Mother Isn't Present?

If the mother cat is not present for whatever reason, kittens will need human assistance to develop at this young age. The goal is to replicate as much as possible the actions of a mother cat. Many shelters would either bottle-feed their kittens, use a cat milk substitute or a surrogate breastfeeding cat to help feed and interact socially with the kittens.

However, bottle-feeding a kitten may not always be the same experience for a kitten as opposed to drinking milk from their mothers. Mother cats teach their newborns basic skills which people are unable to match. Bottle-fed kittens take a lot of time to care for. Additionally, young kittens will need to be cleaned regularly since they are unable to groom themselves until they get older.

when can kittens leave their mom
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What Happened If a Kitten Is Separated Too Early?

A kitten’s safety may be compromised if separated from its mother and placed in a new home very early. The first few days of such a kitten’s existence are essential because of its physical growth and wellbeing.

Since the amniotic fluid or foods throughout the mother’s milk is essential for healthy bone density, healthy skin, and full organogenesis, weaning a kitten too early can increase the possibility of your kitten having additional health complications later. Quick food additives and other medical treatments may be needed if a kitten is separated from its mother too early.

Regarding health problems, kittens who have been separated from their mothers very soon after birth may develop behavioral issues. Mother cats instill valuable lessons to their babies and emit soothing secretions. A kitten who is separated from its mother too early may struggle to adapt to its new environment. Being raised by a mother and bonded pair is a significant aspect of cat socialization.

The kitten will grow up to be afraid, skittish, or even violent if it does not receive proper social interaction at an early age. It also is possible that it doesn’t understand how to interact with the other cats.You’ll have to devote a lot of time to deal with a kitten that didn’t get enough time with its mother and bonded pair. This will assist it in adjusting to its new surroundings and learning healthy habits.

Kittens who are separated from their mothers very early may also have difficulty cleaning them without knowing how and when to remove their feces throughout the cat box, playing too aggressively, not learning how to hunt and gather, or exhibiting other behavioral problems.

A kitten who has been separated from its mother very early may struggle to adapt to its new surroundings and company. Being raised by a mother and bonded pair is also an essential aspect of cat social interaction. Before the socialization process, the kitten can grow to be still afraid and timid.

When Can Kittens Leave Their Mom? What's The Ideal Time?
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When is a kitten mature enough to leave?

Should you trust a breeder who brings you a four kitten or insists clients may get him home as soon as you expect to be paid? Probably not. In ideal circumstances, a kitten will leave its mother at the age of around twelve months; however, it will never leave its mother well before six weeks. Are you interested in why?

In the early stages of a kitten’s existence, three factors are critical:

  • Nursing must come to an end gradually. Healthcare should usually end between 8 and 10 days of age. Healthcare will take quite a long time and may not be completed for another 12 weeks.
  • The social interaction cycle lasts anywhere from two to eight weeks. And that is when cats grow more than any other, so the mother or bonded pair has to be an integral part of that learning process.
  • Kittens regularly play alongside the adopted siblings until they are 8 – 12 weeks old, at which point object activity slowly takes over.
When Can Kittens Leave Their Mom? What's The Ideal Time?
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Conclusion: When Can Kittens Leave Their Mom

Kittens must be placed in their new homes at the age of 12 weeks. Whereas some cats can be taken home quickly, the longer you wait until they are 12 or 13 weeks old, the better off they will be. Having allowed your kitten to spend more time with its mother and bonded pair improves its probability of developing a social and healthy cat in the long run.

To keep reading more posts like this, check out my blog The Quintessential Guide

When Can Kittens Leave Their Mom? What's The Ideal Time?
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