When Can Kittens Leave Their Mother?

Sometimes there comes a point when there are just too much kittens in the house, that no matter how you hate to let them go, you will have to get some of them adopted.

Most likely, you will end up thinking, when can kittens leave their mothers? What will happen if the kittens leave their mothers much earlier than they should? Don’t leave and let’s find out!


Factors Affecting Kittens Leaving Early

There is a very special connection between a momma cat and her kittens.

We have to first understand the importance of the presence of a momma cat for her kittens; then we can say that is the moment when can kittens leave their mothers already. Actually, there is no definite time. It all depends on these factors:

1. Early stages of development

A kitten’s primary need the moment they get out of their momma cat’s womb is nourishment. Nourishment come from their mom’s milk. This is very important for their development, aside from their incapacity to consume any other type of food yet. This is why newborn kittens are very likely to die if there is no momma cat to breastfeed them.

We mean to say that nursing should not have a sudden stop. This will greatly affect the kitten's development in so many ways. It does not also mean that nursing would not stop (Although to some cats, they wouldn't stop nursing especially if there are newborn kittens all the time), it just means that there has to be a gradual decrease in nursing. You can do so by slowly introducing baby cat food to your kittens. 

2. Sense of security

Aside from nourishment, the special bond between a momma cat and kitten results in a kitten's feeling of security, love, and safety. Together with the mother cat, you can raise a friendly cat by allowing them to explore life with the guidance of their mothers.

3. They gotta learn what they gotta learn

Spending their early stages of life with their mothers will gradually let them learn the things they have to learn to become a proper cat. As they grow older, the momma cat will slowly introduce them to the cat way of life – from hunting to climbing to pawing to pouncing, to grooming, to almost anything a cat should be learning.

4. Proper Socialization

Part of a kitten’s development stage is proper socialization. Proper socialization means a kitten being able to mingle with its littermates, other kittens, and soon enough, other cats. In this stage, the momma cat will help them develop the necessary socialization skills in order to properly communicate with other cats. Somewhat like a Good Manners and Right Conduct class, but this time – cat edition.

What happens when kittens get separated from their momma cats early?

Now, with all the benefits of a momma cat and kitten bond, what will happen to kittens who get separated from their mothers? They lose the chance to experience all of the above-mentioned benefits of having a mom.

Some kittens could die from being malnourished. While some survive, they can become stray or feral, with hopes of a kind-hearted human to adopt them. They may not be as well-equipped as those kittens who have had parents during their early stage of life. But of course, this is not always the case. There are also instances wherein kittens may survive and may still develop as kittens with momma cats do.

By experience, kittens who are weaned too early from their mothers feel much attachment to the next living thing that will give it a proper home. Purrents who adopt stray kittens and take care of them would share how these kittens are much more affectionate and clingy.

The answer

With all that has been said, a kitten can leave their mothers as soon as they are able to fend off for their own. This does not mean that they have to be adults to be able to do so. There will be no exact age and time for when a kitten can be weaned, but there are indicators.

Perhaps the most basic indicator would be when the kittens are able to eat and drink on their own. When they no longer seek their momma cat’s milk. From there, they can learn other functionalities once you expose them and give them another cat companion to learn from.

Round Up 

This is a common struggle among purrents who already have a lot of cats. Sometimes you would also see stray and abandoned kittens, and you can’t help but wonder about their survival. So here you are, I hope you’ll be able to get some things off your mind after our discussion!

Rebecca Welters

Yes, I am that weird cat lady with 200 cats and live in the darkest corner of the city where no one dares to go! Joking! But I am a cat lover and have 2 Ragdoll cats called Toby, he's 3 years old and Dory, she's 8 years old. I'm 36 years old and live in the quiet town of Washington.

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