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How soon can a kitten leave its mother

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08-11-2008, 10:53   #1
Josie G
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I'm getting a kitten and want some advice. I've had kittens before who've grown into happy healthy cats and I picked them up at about 6 to 8 weeks old.

But I'm concerned because I've read that taking a kitten before 12 weeks can affect its development, (mentally and physically), even though this hasn't been my experience previously.)

Does anyone know how much truth there is in this? I don't think the owner would want to keep it for 12 weeks anyway.

Josie G
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08-11-2008, 11:03   #2
liza D
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8wks or when they are weened is best, don't take one unless it is able to eat on it's own. If you get a female it will have to stay in until it is spayed as they have their first season at around 3mths.
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08-11-2008, 11:04   #3
savbaby
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josie G View Post
I'm getting a kitten and want some advice. I've had kittens before who've grown into happy healthy cats and I picked them up at about 6 to 8 weeks old.

But I'm concerned because I've read that taking a kitten before 12 weeks can affect its development, (mentally and physically), even though this hasn't been my experience previously.)

Does anyone know how much truth there is in this? I don't think the owner would want to keep it for 12 weeks anyway.

Josie G
most advice is 12 weeks, i got my kitten at 10 weeks but would never accept one younger. just because they can eat on thier own does not mean they are ready to be taken away from the comfort of mummy cat!
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08-11-2008, 11:10   #4
lubylou12
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8 weeks ive always let them go at that age if they are eating and using litter tray
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08-11-2008, 11:13   #5
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Originally Posted by lubylou12 View Post
8 weeks ive always let them go at that age if they are eating and using litter tray
and using the settee as a scratching post ps did you sort it
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08-11-2008, 11:13   #6
Moonbird
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The older a kitten is the better, if you take one too young you run the risk of it not being properly weaned and not tolerating food well.

I have just fostered a tiny kitten of 5/6 weeks with the most terrible diarrhoea, she was skin and bone, after a vet visit by her new owner the vet thinks that she must have been passed on at 3/4 weeks of age, she has since been quite ill, but thankfully at around 8 weeks is now better and eating normally.

I currently have a kitten who is around 9 weeks now, I have had her here since she was 7 and the same sort of problems.

Please don't take a 6 week old kitten no matter how cute, I know that they pull on the heart strings but it really is cruel to them, they still need their Mum, and although they may be eating food the Mum will still be feeding (now and then) and keeping them clean.

The kittens also need to be with their Mum and other siblings till much later for social and emotional development, animals taken from their family too soon tend to be the ones less confident and sociable with their own kind, and the ones that bite/scratch too hard in play.

Would the owner keep the kitten till 10 weeks if you paid for it's upkeep perhaps?

And yes please have the cat spayed at the right age, there are just to many cats and kittens needing homes, please don't add to the problem, people want kittens for the "cute factor" (I don't mean you don't take it personally) then when they pass that stage they kick em out and don't want to know....I would be heart broken if My cat had kittens and that happened to any of mine because of my selfishness at liking kittens!
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Last edited by Moonbird; 08-11-2008 at 11:17.
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08-11-2008, 11:17   #7
liza D
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I have had a google for you Josie, have a look at this site all the advice you need. www.geocities.com/turbo502002/kittens-en.html.

I have to admit i was wrong( though it kills me to do it. )
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08-11-2008, 12:37   #8
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6 weeks is too young for kittens really, unless there is a pressing need for them to be homed (like them being orphaned or rejected).

The earliest I'd send kittens home is 9 weeks, and that would only be if I was sure that the kitten was strong and healthy and ready to go (and is going somewhere that they can have lots of attention from humans or other cats (not going to someone who is going to leave them alone for long periods of time either). Most of my litters go at 12 weeks or older, just to allow them to be strong enough to withstand the stress of being moved away from their littermates without it affecting their health too badly.

If the kitten isn't ready to go then I'd keep hold of them for as long as it takes for them to be ready (which in some instances is another week or two, in others is longer especially if they are held back by health problems).

My litters are left with mummy until they're weaned fully (up in the peace and quiet of the attic) then they start making guest appearances downstairs, starting to get used to the normal household noises, the dog and the other cats. By the time they're 8 weeks old they're usually downstairs full time, allowing mummy to dry up her milk ready for spaying and them to grow and be comfortable with the rest of the litter to play with.

When I comment that I have lots of kittens about the place, none of these litters result from my cats- there are still far too many unwanted kittens and unplanned pregnancies in the cat world and too many people who are prepared to abandon pregnant or nursing queens when they can't be bothered to rear the babies. Please be responsible and spay or neuter your kitten when they reach the appropriate age (which is accepted to be around about 6 months by most vets these days).
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08-11-2008, 12:58   #9
angellic
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I got my first kitty at 6 weeks old (I didn't know any better) the poor thing was a nervous wreck it use to run and hide behind tv and sofa. We couldn't handle it at all. We had to crate it so it didn't go hide somewhere and we wouldn't be able to find it or get it all. Sadly she passed away I think she was more like 4/5 weeks old to be honest she couldn't eat could only have milk
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08-11-2008, 13:00   #10
lubylou12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angellic View Post
I got my first kitty at 6 weeks old (I didn't know any better) the poor thing was a nervous wreck it use to run and hide behind tv and sofa. We couldn't handle it at all. We had to crate it so it didn't go hide somewhere and we wouldn't be able to find it or get it all. Sadly she passed away I think she was more like 4/5 weeks old to be honest she couldn't eat could only have milk

awwwwww shame on the people who gave her away so early, i bet you were so upset

my cat is pregnant and her babies wont be going
1- b4 8 weeks
2-b4 they are eating well and getting fat little tummys
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08-11-2008, 13:06   #11
Moonbird
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angellic View Post
I got my first kitty at 6 weeks old (I didn't know any better) the poor thing was a nervous wreck it use to run and hide behind tv and sofa. We couldn't handle it at all. We had to crate it so it didn't go hide somewhere and we wouldn't be able to find it or get it all. Sadly she passed away I think she was more like 4/5 weeks old to be honest she couldn't eat could only have milk
Poor little thing, it must have been awful for both you and her, I wonder how her litter mates fared, at least you tried...many just leave them with a plate of meat and let them get on with it.
People seem to think that if they can manage to eat a little food they are ok to go but it is not so easy I'm afraid.
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08-11-2008, 13:11   #12
angellic
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I'd never have another cat after losing willow it was horrible
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08-11-2008, 13:18   #13
lubylou12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angellic View Post
I'd never have another cat after losing willow it was horrible

awwwww hun dont let it put you off,
ive lost 3 cats
1- died of cats aids, i blame myself for not getting him done, he was my first
2-got killed by a fox, i found her and it wasnt pretty, i was gutted
3-got run over on my rd, i found her on way to docs, she was completly flat, i sat next to her on rd and just cried

but then again i have had my male charlie for 7 years and hes been ran over twice, he both times he survivied but was very close to death, he my baby and i will be inconsolable when i loose him, and i have grace, and elvis too, love em alll and miss my other babaies
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08-11-2008, 13:37   #14
mojo1
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I got Billy at 5 weeks, his mother was a farm feral and had been run over by a tractor. The week before I got him he was living in a cardboard box on somebodies balcony, being fed adult food and no water.

I took him on and got him eating properly and he's turned into a beautiful loving cat, with health problems. He has had bladder crystals that nearly killed him when his kidneys started to fail and he is seriously fat, a matter we've tried to control with the assistance of vets to no avail. He's also very prone to infections as his immune system is so weak.
He's nearly 10 now and has cost me the earth in vet bills, all money well spent. His social skill are strange, he's become very humanised as I was his mother and he learned behaviours from me rather than his mum and brothers and sisters.
I wouldn't be without him, and he hates being parted from me to the point that he wont eat.
I've just got a kitten from medusa and the difference in behaviour between him and Billy as a kitten is amazing. Harry is a cat through and through, where as Billy was and is a baby.
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08-11-2008, 19:23   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonbird View Post
The older a kitten is the better, if you take one too young you run the risk of it not being properly weaned and not tolerating food well.

I have just fostered a tiny kitten of 5/6 weeks with the most terrible diarrhoea, she was skin and bone, after a vet visit by her new owner the vet thinks that she must have been passed on at 3/4 weeks of age, she has since been quite ill, but thankfully at around 8 weeks is now better and eating normally.

I currently have a kitten who is around 9 weeks now, I have had her here since she was 7 and the same sort of problems.

Please don't take a 6 week old kitten no matter how cute, I know that they pull on the heart strings but it really is cruel to them, they still need their Mum, and although they may be eating food the Mum will still be feeding (now and then) and keeping them clean.

The kittens also need to be with their Mum and other siblings till much later for social and emotional development, animals taken from their family too soon tend to be the ones less confident and sociable with their own kind, and the ones that bite/scratch too hard in play.

Would the owner keep the kitten till 10 weeks if you paid for it's upkeep perhaps?

And yes please have the cat spayed at the right age, there are just to many cats and kittens needing homes, please don't add to the problem, people want kittens for the "cute factor" (I don't mean you don't take it personally) then when they pass that stage they kick em out and don't want to know....I would be heart broken if My cat had kittens and that happened to any of mine because of my selfishness at liking kittens!

I am that new owner and the vet thinks she is 7/8 weeks now and I think Its much better to have a kitten leaving its mum around 10/12 weeks. Tawny our kitten has had some problems due to her poor start in life and i would never want to put another kitty through that. She has just started eating kitten food and has fresh chicken and fish . She has goats milk to drink which has built her up
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10-11-2008, 16:13   #16
Josie G
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Thanks for all the advice - much appreciated. My friend had a kitten from the same mother and I think it was only 5 weeks old (which makes me think that the owner won't want to keep mine too long), but she's eating kitten food, drinking and using the litter tray no problem. I still think I'd like mine to stay with her mum until she's 8 weeks old though.
I've got my own business and work from home, so she (her name's going to be Molly), won't be on her own - I'll probably end up with her on my desk!! I can't wait - I've really missed having a cat around for company cos my man works nights. My last cat died a couple of years ago at 19 years old, so I must have been doing something right!
Josie
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10-11-2008, 18:56   #17
katkin
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I have been fostering (but she's staying here forever, let's be honest) a semi feral 5-6 week old baby (Aimee), who came to me with cat flu and all manner of bugs. No idea who the mum was, no sign of the siblings either, she was found outside huddled next to a wheelie bin on a freezing cold October morning in an area where a cat-killing dog roam the streets - it doesnt bear thinking about .

In normal circumstances, I would not recommend anyone should adopt a kitten so young but we had no choice with this little mite - she needed medical treatment and plenty of TLC - and had obviously been on her own outside for a while - she had a hearty appetite, in spite of her illness.

She is still a scrawny little thing and a weakling - it's going to be a long time before she is up to full strength and so far, she's not been well enough to be vaccinated or chipped. She's had a poor start in life and she is very wary of people - she isn't as fussy or loving as (all but one of) our other cats - she's more like our old moggie Minty, who was born to a semi-feral cat as a single kitten - she's always been a scaredy, timid moggie, terrified of her own shadow and reluctant to mingle with our other cats. Fortunately, Aimee is a feisty little girl, so there's some hope she won't be anti-social like Minty, just never much of a lap-cat.

She is a sweetheart, but 5 weeks is really way too young for a kitten to leave its mum - up to as old as 12 weeks, kittens learn a tremendous amount from their siblings and mum, and are far less likely to have health issues or personality issues if allowed to stay with mum and co up to that age.

The other little nutcase I'm fostering, Elle, is the other extreme - bouncy, big and bold, the last of a litter of three- she needs to learn some table manners, but she's going to make someone very happy when she does get adopted.

Last edited by katkin; 10-11-2008 at 19:07.
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