Having a new kitten at home is exciting- you cannot wait to train and care for it! But then you start to notice some queer habits, such as biting objects constantly and even nibbling on your hand. This article aims to shed light on what might be the cause and what happens if kittens are separated from their mother too quickly.
Effects of Separating a Mother and Kittens Too Early
1. The kitten could suffer from health problems.
Just as a human mother’s milk is the best for her baby, a mama cat’s milk is best for her litter. A mama cat’s milk contains antibodies that the kittens need to protect themselves from health issues. However, if they are separated too early, it makes the kittens vulnerable to illness and diseases.
Mother cats wean their kittens naturally at around eight weeks old, but if the kittens are separated prior to this, they won’t be able to get all the nutrients they need to grow strong and healthy. According to Hannah Shaw, the Kitten Lady, kittens that are weaned too early should be bottle-fed with a formula for kittens. However, this is still not enough for kittens to acquire the antibodies that they need.
2. The kittens are more prone to behavioral problems.
Kittens learn to be calm and feel safe when they are with their mama. If they are separated too soon from their mother, they may experience behavioral issues. They tend to be more shy or fearful unless they become properly socialized. Fearful kittens tend to run away and hide when approached by humans that they do not know.
Cat experts recommend that these furballs should have interaction with humans around 10 to 12 weeks old so that they will learn not to be fearful. Kittens that are exposed to people and other animals, like dogs, during their first few months grow to become confident and dynamic cats. If you own a cat that was separated from her mother too soon, you can still gain a kitten’s trust with a little patience and care.
3. Kittens are more prone to aggression such as biting and rough play.
Kittens that were separated too soon from their mothers tend to engage in rough play and can bite hard enough that it draws blood. This means that they were not able to learn the appropriate way to play with their littermates or humans. This teaching is done by their mothers, who give soft bites and pull their claws in in a non-hurtful way.
Playtime teaches kittens how far they can go and when to back down. They learn to use their skills and tools, such as sharp claws and teeth, correctly. Take heart- behavioral and aggressive tendencies can be treated with the proper training and patience. Kittens weaned before eight weeks are more likely to have aggressive behavior toward other cats and humans. To correct this, be sure to expose an orphaned kitten to other kittens in her first few months of life.
4. These kittens are more prone to litter box problems.
Kittens are so-called “little copycats” because they imitate everything that their mama does. A litter-trained mama cat is more likely to have litter-trained kittens as well. However, this won’t happen as easily if the kittens and mama are separated too soon. You can still teach your kitten to use the litter box with a little help and patience.
How to Help Your Kitten If It Was Separated Too Early
Being separated from their mother too soon could be traumatic for kittens, so you have to be extra gentle and try to calm your new kitty. Cat experts recommend that having a foster queen, or a mother cat that gave birth recently, is ideal for your kitten to provide her physiological needs. If this is not feasible, you have to seek veterinary assistance. Keep the kitten in a warm, safe spot at home and provide her with proper nutrition so she will grow healthy and strong.
To properly socialize your kitten, handle her gently for at least 15 to 40 minutes each day so she gets used to human touch and interaction. Teach your kitten social skills, raise her to become affectionate, and also provide limits. Provide lots of playful simulation and interactive play, just like she would get with her littermates. Observe and get to know your kitten’s temperament, and give it the chance to become accustomed and secure in its environment.
If your kitten manifests aggressive, fearful, or other unusual behavior, consult your veterinarian or have her checked by a cat behaviorist.
What is the earliest you can take a kitten from her mom?
The earliest that you can take a kitten from her mom would be when it is around four weeks old. In a normal setting, the average age for weaning from the mother cat and introduction of solid food is when a kitten is around eight weeks old. If you want to adopt or bring home a kitten, the ideal age is around eight to twelve weeks old.
Kittens should normally stay with their mothers until they are at least eight weeks old. If they are separated from their moms too early, they are more prone to behavioral problems and become more vulnerable to health issues. Kittens weaned too early are also more likely to become aggressive and experience litter box problems.
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