If you are anything like me, the first time you came across a new born kitten you certainly were excited at the same time confused about how best to handle such an obviously young, almost naked, eyes tightly shut, alien looking animal. What fascinated me more was the fact that my kitten did not look much like a cat!
Many times, concerned people tend to pick up kittens left alone by mothers who have to leave the litter once in a while to go forage for food. Most find out the hard way that a kitten is best left with its mother if it is to have a shot at surviving. Then come the question.. what age can kittens be separated from their mother?
A cat can start having kittens from when she is 6 months old and her gestation period last for 63-65 days.
Newborn kittens are usually born with closed eyes weighing only a few ounces. They totally depend on their mother for food, warmth and stimulation. The mother cat knows instinctively the needs of her kittens and she does everything to make them comfortable.
Two weeks after birth their eyes and ears starts to open and they begin to sense and feel their environment more. At 12 weeks the kitten begins to explore and investigate his environment. He starts to play with his siblings.
From 24 to 72 weeks the kitten is mature enough to be independent and actively live as a member of a group.
Kittens like every mammal baby need their mother’s milk from birth to 12 weeks of age. The first set of skills learnt by a kitten must be learnt from its mother and siblings as it relates with them. Scientists believe that if a kitten doesn’t learn survival skills from its mother during its first 8 weeks of life, it may never learn them anymore. Therefore it is very important to allow a kitten spend some time with its mother and siblings until it has learnt to socialize and is comfortable eating solids.