How Soon can Kittens Leave their Mother?

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: July 16, 2020
How Soon can Kittens Leave their Mother?

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Many people prefer to adopt a kitten so they can get used to living in their new home from a young age. However, before separating a kitten from their mother we must take certain factors into consideration so they can have the best physical and psychological development.

In this AnimalWised article we're going to explain how soon kittens can leave their mother, as well as the reasons behind this time frame. Continue reading to find out more!

You may also be interested in: When Can a Puppy Leave Its Mother?

How soon can kittens leave their mother?

The best time to separate a kitten from their mother and siblings is when they are 12-13 weeks old. This is because they will need to stay with their mother to feed on her nutritious milk, as well as stay with their siblings to learn valuable social skills. This way, we make sure that the kittens will have the best physical and physiological development possible.

Why we should not separate a kitten prematurely

To truly understand why it is not good to separate a kitten from their mother too soon, it is essential to review some basic aspects of a young feline's growth:

Breastfeeding kittens is essential for their proper development

Once kittens are born they will be breastfeeding from their mother for about one month. This milk has all the nutrients and minerals that kittens need to properly develop and physically grow.

In some cases, when the mother isn't present, the kittens will need a special milk formula to replace their mother's milk. However, this is never ideal. For more information about this formula, ask your local veterinarian.

The importance of kitten socialization

Another important aspect is socialization with their mother and siblings. This is a very important time for kittens to socialise and learn how to interact with different people, animals and environments. The socialization period helps them become stable and happy adult cats. This is why it's best to adopt them after they have had the opportunity to learn important social skills from their family.

How Soon can Kittens Leave their Mother? - Why we should not separate a kitten prematurely

Tips for separating a cat from their mother

From 4 weeks of age your keep will begin weaning, this is when they will begin to transition into eating solid food. To learn more about this period, we encourage you to also check out our article on weaning kittens.

Nevertheless, during this period they will continue to need and depend on their mother. It's not until they are 8 weeks old that they will begin to eat solid food exclusively and on a regular basis.

Once the kitten is two months old, we can offer them a variety of solid foods, combining wet and dry food. Learn more on our article about the best diet for cats. During these first months the kitten will also be learning valuable social skills by interacting with their care givers, siblings and mother.

Lastly, once the kitten is 12-13 weeks old, they will be ready to be adopted as they will not suffer any nutritional deficiencies nor psychological traumas. This is because by this age the both the mother and kitten will understand that they are now growing up and independent. With that being said, taking care of a kitten takes lots of time and patience as they require lots of attention. We encourage you to check out our article about caring for kittens to learn more.

As they grow, you'll begin to litter train them, play with them and socialise them with new people, animals and different environments. Remember to also take them to the veterinarian for their regular check-ups and keep up with their vaccination schedule.

If you enjoyed this article and found it useful, we also encourage you to watch our video on how to care for a kitten.

If you want to read similar articles to How Soon can Kittens Leave their Mother?, we recommend you visit our What you need to know category.

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Beverly Moore
Thanks for the info
Administrador AnimalWised
You're very welcome Beverley!
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