So your pregnant furry baby has given birth to babies of her own. All the little kittens are so cute and fuzzy just like mama cat – but there’s one thought at the back of your mind. As much as you want to, you can’t take in all of these kittens yourself so you start to consider giving them away. The question now is how are you going to do that without hurting mama cat? Will she be sad when you take her babies away?
You’ll be glad to know that for cats, it’s completely normal for the kittens to leave the nest. That is, of course, after they have been weaned. After around four to five weeks after giving birth, mama cat will start to wean her babies.
She does this by teaching them how to hunt and find their own food. She’ll start limiting their suckling – she’ll growl at her kittens if they try to nurse from her to encourage them to find food somewhere else – like the food bowl. This is also the time when mama cat will start to teach her kittens how to clean themselves properly.
You can help mama cat with this process by providing the kittens with kitten food. Kittens require wet food until their teeth start growing out. When that happens, they can start chewing solid food.
If you have a bigger litter size or mama cat is not producing enough milk for all the kittens, feeding the kittens with kitten milk from week three, or even week two will give them that much-needed nutritional boost. It must be noted that you should NEVER feed your kittens cow’s milk as this will give them diarrhea. Pour the kitten milk on a shallow dish, and dip your finger in it to encourage the little ones to lick off the milk. Another thing to note is you should NEVER push your kittens nose into the milk. If they inhale the liquid, this could give them lung problems like pneumonia. Let them be mess and step on their dish. It’s much safer for them to lick the milk off of their paws anyway.
When the kittens are ready, you can start combining a bit of wet cat food to their milk. Little by little at a time, till it’s all wet food. Feed them three to four times a day. Make sure their food is in room temperature. After a little while, kittens will start preferring canned food to their mom’s milk. By their 8th-10th week, they should be ready for regular dry cat food – just be sure they have access to water so they don’t get dehydrated. Once all of your kittens are eating solid food, they’re ready to go to their forever homes away from mama.
By the 7th week, mama cat will be ready to part ways. However, mama cat will most likely start house crying for a couple of days after the last kitten is gone. It’s completely normal to feel for your cat at this time. But cats are not people. They do not feel the way we do. Mama cat’s role as a mama is over after she’s finished weaning her kittens at the 12th week. The reason why your cat is crying is because she’s in-heat again. At this point, it’s good to consider if you should spay your cat.
When can you start separating mama cat from her kittens?
You can start separating mama cat from her kittens as early as week 7. However, it is highly recommended to wait till the 10th-12th week as that will result in the kittens being more socially adjusted.
If mama cat’s kittens leave earlier than the 10th week, her “grieving” period when she looks for her kittens may last a bit longer, but not significantly.
What happens if a kitten gets separated too early?
It is of the utmost importance that kittens DO NOT get separated from their moms too early. 7 weeks at the earliest, but 10th – 12th weeks is ideal. If a kitten is weaned too early, this can result to them developing health issues later on in life. The nutrients they get from mama cat’s milk is essential to their bone development, eye health, and full organ development.
Aside from health reasons, kittens separated from their moms will not be able to learn how to groom themselves properly, will have problems using their litter boxes and how to bury their waste, may play too rough, or some other behavioral problems.
For mama cat’s sake, it’s best to separate her from her kittens after the 10th week.
After separation, mama cat is sad. What do I do?
If a human mama is separated from her human child, no matter how old the child is, she WILL be upset about it. Such is not really the case for cats. When her kittens have moved out, mama cat will look for them for a few days, but after that, she’ll be back to normal.
So don’t feel bad when you eventually have to separate mama cat from her kittens. Once all of her kittens have been successfully weaned, by week 10-12, they’re ready to move on to their forever homes.