How long does it take for a kitten to forget its mother?

Mama cats and their kittens have a very special bond. From the moment her kittens are born, mama cat will feel an immense sense of motherly love towards her babies. It’s hard to imagine that one day soon they’ll actually ‘forget’ each other.

A kitten is dependent on its mother

For the first few months of the kitten’s life, they’re very dependent on their mom. Kittens should NOT be separated from their mothers earlier than their 8th week. If kittens are separated too early, there’s a big chance that they will not grow up to be well-adjusted cats. 

Kittens who are taken away from their moms too early will not only suffer from nutritional deficiencies, they will also most likely suffer some behavioral problems. That’s because kittens learn how to be good kitties from their moms.

When her kittens are taken away from her, mom cat will actually start crying out.  It could be because she’s looking for her lost babies, or she’s come back into heat again (cats get really loud when they want to make kittens). 

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The longer the time she was able to spend with her kittens, the lesser time mama cat will actually need to move on.  In a few day’s time, mama cat will go back to her normal happy, care free self.

While the idea of never seeing your mom or child again is such a cold, and downright horrific for us humans, cats don’t really feel the same way. While mama cat and kitten do care for each other, it’s only natural for kittens to one day become fully independent from mom. 

This is why mama cat will start to wean her kittens and by week 12, they’ll be fully ready to move on to their new forever homes.

Keep the kitten entertained

Once the kitten is in her new home, they might miss their mom and siblings. For a bit, they will meow and cry out. This loneliness is normal. Keep your kitten engaged and entertained by spending with them – although do teach them when is the appropriate time to play. 

Cats are naturally nocturnal so train your kitty to play with you during the day time but nighttime is for sleeping.

One of the best ways to keep your kitten from being lonely is to adopt at least one of their siblings too – if you can accommodate more than one new kitten. Cats are not group animals, but they will appreciate having a friendly and familiar companion in their new environment.

Another way for a cat to seem like they have “forgotten” their mama cat and brothers and sisters is when they are taken away from their mother and siblings too long – long enough for their scent to become unfamiliar, they’ll start treating these family members as strangers. 

This is because cats rely so much on their sense of smell. A great way to see this in action is by taking one of your cats to the vet. When you come back, the cat who was left at home may be confused by all of the new scents on your other cat and assume it’s a whole new cat. It’s truly fascinating.

How to comfort my crying kitten?

The first step to stopping your kitten from crying is to make sure that they are alright.  If your kitten is hurt, contact your vet.  If and once you’ve checked that they are indeed, not in any sort of pain or illness, consider if they are hungry or cold. 

If they are, feed them or give them a warm bottle of water wrapped in fluffy fabric.

If the issue is none of the above, the most likely reason as to why your kitten is crying and how you can comfort them is that they are lonely.  As much as you can, play with your kitten.  Let them experience as many new things as possible to keep them entertained and engaged.

After you’ve done all of these, but your kitten is still crying – sometimes it’s best to teach them that crying out won’t always give them what they want.  Also, consider that some breeds are just naturally more talkative than others.

How to comfort a mourning mother cat?

After your queen (mama) cat has lost her kittens, either by death or by adoption, if you notice drastic changes in their behavioral patterns, it’s good to consider if your cat is going through a lot of grief.  While your cat is mourning, they may start becoming louder than normal, lessen or increase their food intake or change their sleeping pattern.

While you might feel the need to rush to your cat with help, sometimes, the best thing to do is to give them the time and space to mourn.  Don’t force attention on your cat if they don’t want it, but encourage play as often as you can, and accommodate them when they desire your companionship.

However, if you notice changes that are severe enough to be harmful, please consult your vet.

What do I do if my kitten has separation anxiety?

Adapting to a new house and new people (and creatures) can be so stressful for kittens.  Help them out by making sure the space they will be occupying is kitten proof – safe, relaxing and convenient for your new kitten.  Introduce your kitten to the other members of the family gently and slowly.

In due time, it is very natural for kittens to, as they say, leave the next.  While mama cat and kitten may show signs of missing each other for the first few days, as soon as their scents wear off, they’ll eventually move on and become ready to take on the rest of their lives.