What Happens When A Kitten Is Removed From Its Mother Too Soon
If a kitten is taken from its mother and sent to a new home too soon, there can be some serious health consequences. The first few weeks of a kitten’s life are essential for its health and body development. The colostrum and nutrients in the mother’s milk are responsible for strong bone development, eye health, and full organ development, so if a kitten is weaned too soon, you could be increasing the risk of your cat developing more health issues later on. A kitten removed from its mother too soon may need nutritional supplementation and other veterinary care early on in life.
In addition to health concerns, behavioral issues can arise in kittens who were removed from their mothers too early in life. Mother cats teach their kittens’ lifelong lessons and give off calming pheromones. Kittens who left their mothers too soon may have trouble grooming themselves, not know how to bury their waste in the litter box, play too rough, not know how to hunt for food, or have other behavioral problems.
Who Can I Turn To For Help
Before you dive in, make sure you have a veterinarian lined up so you know who to call in case of illness. You may also benefit from connecting with other caregivers, even if only online — mentorship changes everything! Connect with the kitten community and youll always have someone to turn to for support. Some good places to start might be by meeting people through your local shelter, or joining an online group such as the Orphan Kitten Bottle Feeders group on Facebook.
Beware Of Backyard Breeders And Pet Shops
Backyard breeders are not professionals rather, they are people with little knowledge of cat breeding issues, such as the need to screen for genetic problems that may afflict certain breeds. In addition to increasing the risk that kittens will suffer from horrendous genetic defects and illnesses, backyard breeders often dont know how to properly socialize kittens, and they tend to adopt them out too young, which can lead to a lifetime of physical and psychological problems. Backyard breeders can usually be recognized by their failure to register their kittens, keep them until at least 12 weeks of age, or participate in cat shows.
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When Can Kittens Be Adopted Heres How To Know When To Bring A Kitten Home
Many creatures need the care and support of their mothers in their earliest weeks, and cats are no exception. At most shelters and rescues, kittens can be adopted starting at 8 weeks. Breeders will often wait until the kitten has been with their mother for at least 12 weeks, with many breeders waiting until 14 weeks.
Thats because there are many perks to sticking around their furry family members. One of the biggest: socialization. When kittens stay with their mother and other littermates, they learn how to play appropriately and how to communicate with other cats, says Bruce Kornreich, Ph.D., DVM, DACVIM, director of Cornell Feline Health Center at Cornell Universitys College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, New York.
In other words, this is how cats learn to be a cat. For instance, mothers and littermates help teach their kittens the difference between a hard bite and a soft one. If a kitten bites their littermates, a lot of times their littermates squeal or meow, and then they run off, says Marci L. Koski, Ph.D., a certified feline behavior and training consultant and owner of Feline Behavior Solutions in Vancouver, Washington. Thats a lesson: OK, I cant bite that hard or when I do this with my claws, it hurts. Mother cats will also walk away when their kittens play too rough.
Kittens also pick up other valuable behaviors from their momhow to bury their waste, how to hunt for prey and how to groom themselves, Koski says.
Helping The Mother Cat Manage Separation
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Q How Old Do You Think Someone Should Be Before Theyre Not Allowed To Adopt My Mom Is 78 And Active But I Do Wonder If She Is Making A Good Decision Taking In A New Cat After Hers Died I Dont Want To Be Responsible For Another Pet If Something Happens To Her
A. The benefits of having animals in our lives are both scientifically proven and something we know in our hearts and souls. Animals are good for us, and thats undeniable. I do recognize, however, that we are not always good for animals, which is why shelters and rescue groups try so hard to screen out adopters who are not well suited to having a pet and why they work to find the perfect pet matches for those who are.
Ive written before about groups denying pet adoptions to families with children or not allowing small pets to be adopted to families with large ones, and in this case, my position is the same: I am not in favor of hard-and-fast rules when it comes to adoptions. I know that shelters and rescue groups have the very best of intentions in setting up their adoption policies, but I much prefer to see each pet and each potential adopter considered as an individual. I would rather see guidelines than rules, and thats because in my more than 30 years of practicing veterinary medicine, I have seen so many people who cared so much for their pets that theyd do anything for them. I know that among those people were pet owners who would not have been seen as ideal adopters in many cases.
Supplies You Will Need For Newborns And Young Kittens:
- Kitten formula such as Just Born or KMR . The liquid formula is best to use if you are not sure what to do.
- Feeding bottles and several nipples .
- Eye dropper or syringe in case the kitten will not eat from the bottle.
- Several bath towels for bedding and cleaning kittens.
- Kitchen food scale for weighing kittens .
- Digital rectal thermometer
- Have Emergency Veterinarian or Veterinary Clinic number on-hand.
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What To Do With Stray Kittens
While these steps are easy to take when dealing with a breeder or adopting from a shelter, what can you do when you find a stray kitten? Here are a few steps you can take to help give the kitten his best chance at survival and a happy, healthy life:
- Examine your surroundings. Just because you see a kitten or litter of kittens alone doesnt always mean the mother has abandoned them. She is most likely out looking for food. If the kittens are in a safe place, keep your distance and take note of any signs of malnourishment, neglect, or danger:
- Do they appear to be well-fed?
- Is their fur matted and dirty?
- Are they in a safe, dry environment away from any roadways or predators?
Here at Pleasant Plains Animal Hospital, we take pride in educating our clients on how to best care for their pets and the animals with which they may come in contact. For more information or for a list of resources for helping stray kittens, contact us today.
What To Feed Kittens
Growing kitties need a healthy diet, so stock up on a brand-name kitten or cat food. If youre not sure which type to pick, ask your veterinarian for a recommendation.
Kittens also go crazy for cat treats but dont go overboard since treats can contain a lot of fat and sugar. You can also offer your kitten healthy pet-safe fruits and veggies. Be sure to cut them up into small bits or cook them until theyre soft to help avoid choking.
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Adopting A Cat Or A Kitten Which Is Better For Me
How wonderful! You are thinking about adopting a cat or kitten. Even more wonderful is that youre doing your research before making a big decision, one that will last up to 20 years or so! Theres no denying that kittens are absolutely adorable. Their baby faces, tiny paws and noses, and silly antics seem specifically designed to make us swoon in their presence. Adult cats though, well they have lots of seduction techniques too! So how do you decide which is better for you, your lifestyle now and possibly decades into the future? Here are some questions you can ask yourself and your family or housemates to help you decide.
1. Are you okay with kitten messes?
Kittens are babies. They make messes! They naturally want to play and explore and in doing so, they tend to knock things over and get into things they shouldnt, like that potted plant you forgot to give to your neighbor when you got a kitten! They sometimes havent quite figured out how to eat or drink out of a water bowl without spreading it all around the floor, and they sometimes get really enthusiastic when digging in their cat litter combine the water activity and the litter activity and you can imagine the cleanup! Young adult cats can get into things too, but kittens really excel at making messes! If you want to adopt a kitten, you and everyone else in your home should be willing to laugh at how creative they were with the potting soil, and dont mind the clean-up and constant kitten-proofing of your home.
Consider The Older Cats Health Issues
When I agreed to take Prince Albert home, I asked a family member of his former owner what veterinarian he had been taken to. Soon, I took him there for a complete check-up and to learn his past history. I learned that his glazed-over apparently blind eye was not a cataract but was most likely from an injury.
I also learned that his blood work was good, his organs were working well, and that he could live a much longer life. Oh, great, I thought, especially when I got the vet bill for $160. Im stuck with this old, incontinent cat till death do us part. And I was just trying to do a favor.
A new, pampered life for Prince Albert
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How Am I Ever Going To Say Goodbye To My Foster Kittens
Kitten rescue isnt about collecting cats its about saving lives. As hard as it may be to give up a foster, remember that there are dozens more waiting in the wings that will desperately need rescue, too. Goodbye is the goal of fostering — it’s your parameter for success. Rather than feel sad, take time to celebrate what an incredible impact you have made! You’ve saved a life, and your brave selflessness will allow you continue to save lives!
Watch my “Foster Failing” video to find out why it’s important to say goodbye to foster kittens!
Is It Expensive To Foster
Veterinary care is usually provided when fostering through an animal shelter or rescue group, and many groups also provide some or all of the supplies needed to feed and care for the animals. Do your research and chat with your local organization in advance to determine your total out-of-pocket cost…you may be pleasantly surprised! If you do have to cover some of the expenses, it’s easy to set up an Amazon Wishlist and ask your friends and coworkers to pitch in.
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I Am Considering Adopting A Cat But Was Told I Should Adopt Two Cats Why
Cats are family-oriented and usually live with their relatives. Cats will sleep together, share common feeding areas, and groom one another within family groups. For this reason, cats often do well adopted in pairs.
However, there is a caveat to this statement. Studies have shown families who adopt two kittens from the same litter are far more likely to keep those cats in their home long-term than families adopting a single kitten.
Most adult cats, in contrast, are not very tolerant of other adult cats outside their family group. When adopting an adult cat, it may be best to add only one cat to the family.
The Best Age For Taming Feral Kittens
by Mike Phillips, NYC Feral Cat Initiative
Taming, or socialization, is needed when kittens have had no positive interaction with humans and are so frightened or aggressive that they cannot be handled at all, or at least not safely. If you want to easily tame feral or undersocialized kittens for adoption, there is a narrow window of opportunity between four and eight weeks of age.
Kittens under two months old usually can be socialized very quickly using food as an incentive to befriend humans because they have not yet developed the strong fight or flight instinct of older kittens. Often within a day or weekend of work they are comfortable being handled by humans and will quickly adjust to the atmosphere in the cage setting of a busy store or adoption facility. After two months of age, the combination of age, gender, genetics, and life experience of the cat will determine whether a cat might be easily tamed for adoption or will need a prolonged period of work to be at all comfortable around humans. Predictions of time needed to tame an older kitten or cat are hard to make when all these variables come into play.
Why is it so easy to tame kittens under two months of age?
Internal and external cues encourage a mother cat to wean her kittens and teach them to survive on their own between four and eight weeks of age so she can regain her condition for the next breeding cycle.
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Why Cant I Bring The Kittens And Their Mother Indoors
Even if your home is very nice, a mother cat may become so stressed by being confined in the new environment that it impacts her health and her ability to care for her kittens. Community cats thrive in their outdoor home and the mother cat has likely chosen an ideal space to raise her kittens, so there is no need to intervene.
Can Kittens Drink Milk
Itâs a little-known fact that most cats are actually lactose intolerant. While drinking milk is so beneficial for the growth of kittens, they should ONLY be drinking milk from their moms or kitten milk replacer. You may also hear some people recommending goatâs milk â but vets will say otherwise. To be safe, just stick to kitten milk.
Just like humans, kittens need their moms not just for sustenance and comfort but also as their first teacher. If it can be avoided, please donât separate mama cat from her kittens until at least they are 8 weeks old, but preferably older.
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What Is The Ideal Age To Adopt A Kitten
According to New Jersey Holistic Veterinarian Dr. Judy Morgan, kittens should remain with their mother and litter mates until 10-12 weeks of age. Other sources, such as the Australian RSPCA recommend 8 weeks, or use a weight limit of two pounds. This seems to be a common guideline for US shelters, which list adoptable cats as young as 2 months of age.
Some shelters offer pre-adoption programs, which invite pet parents to meet and adopt young kittens before they are ready to leave their mother cat, then wait a few weeks until their new kitten is old enough to come home.
How Much To Feed A Kitten
You should talk to your veterinarian about your particular kittens nutritional requirements. Some cat parents prefer to keep dry food out for their felines to nosh on whenever they like, while others prefer to give meals at specific times. For set meal times, you can follow these guidelines:
- Little kittens 6 to 12 weeks old: 4 meals a day
- Older kittens 3 to 6 months old: 3 meals a day
- Adult cats: 2 meals a day around 8 hours apart
Any canned food leftover in your cats bowl should be thrown out after about 30 minutes. Also, make sure your kitten has plenty of fresh water on hand around the clock.
If you have a kitten who is snubbing the food bowl or not eating enough, you can ask your veterinarian for tips on managing the situation. They may suggest offering your finicky friend chicken or turkey baby food for a little while or adding warm water to the kitten food.
Keep in mind that loss of appetite can indicate an illness. Cats and kittens may mask or hide symptoms, so its good to be on the lookout for this and other signs your cat is sick. Contact your veterinarian if you notice anything concerning.
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