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Why do people give kittens up too soon?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Why can you get kittens from 6 weeks? I'm planning on getting a kitten in the next 3 weeks or so, and I've read here and heard from friends that getting one before 10-12 weeks has negative effects. I don't want to take any chances, so I plan on getting one at least that old.

But my question is, if there are negative effects from getting them too soon, why can you find lots of kittens from 6 weeks up? Some of them that I've found are coming from people who know a lot about cats and have raised multiple litters. The Purina website says to get kittens no later than 8 weeks or they're harder to train. Even some pet shops and shelters around here are advertising kittens younger than 10 weeks and saying that they're ready to go home. Why do they do this?
post #2 of 28
I guess its each to their own really, maybe because people want to buy kittens when their small and are easier to sell?
post #3 of 28
I think that when you are seeing kittens offered from too young an age it is by people who really don't know enough about it - for example if they didn't know enough to have their cat spayed (no offense to anyone with kittens due, accidents do of course happen even with the best of intentions!) then I wouldn't expect them to know how long the kittens should stay with mum.
post #4 of 28
Between 6-10 weeks old, ALL kittens are very cute and that's what the people/pet shop are counting on to find homes. Ideally its the WORSE time to get them regarding social/mental and physical health.

Kittens will nurse up to 3 months old (I let my queens decide when to stop). From 6-10 weeks old kittens learn social skills regarding siblings, adult cats, other animals in the house. When you deprive them by letting them go early, you may have social and mental problems and some physical ones.

Pet shops get their "stock" from puppy/kitten mills or backyard breeders who don't care where the kittens wind up. And the pet shops don't want to keep the kittens too long or the social/behaviorial problems will be worse.

That is why they claim "harder to handle" - because they are not socially able to handle something other then a little cage.

Case in point. My husband lived on a farm - they used to give away the kittens by 8 weeks old. The last 2 batches of kittens born before everyone had been neutered/spayed were kept till 3 months old and socialized in the house and handled a lot more. My husband remarked how much better these kittens were when going to the new homes.

CARING people keep the kittens and help them become good companions; the rest simply do not care what happens.
post #5 of 28
Sometimes it's because people aren't very knowledgeable about cats and don't realise how much kittens learn from mum and siblings as they grow up. They think that as soon as the kittens are eating cat food they are ready to go to their new homes. In other cases people just don't want to have to pay to feed them for any longer than necessary, and sometimes it's like Goldenkitty says - kittens are very cute at about 6 weeks and some just want to appeal to prospective owners who think kitten = 6 weeks and that a 13 week old kitten is too old

Sometimes rescues have legitimate reasons for rehoming a bit earlier than ideal since they need to free up space for other cats and in some intstances the kittens may have been orphaned and hand reared. Or they may consider that the kittens are going to be better socialised in a new home than in a pen at a shelter.
post #6 of 28
everyone else pretty much answered the same as I was going to say, but I just wanted to add that many shelters just want to get those kittens out of there. In shelters, where there is a ton of stress and illness already, that is the IDEAL place for these animals to get sick and die. So the plan is as soon as they hit 8 weeks, get them out of there and adopted. The mother isn't going to do a ton with them when they are all stuck, overcrowded in a tiny steel cage anyways.
post #7 of 28
I am probably going to get some flak for this but I adopted my kitten Tucker from a BYB
In my defense I was uneducated at the time and just thought that I'd stumbled onto one heck of a deal
I wanted a specific breed,Ragdoll, and after searching for a rescue/retired cat for a long time I found a listing on Craigslist for Raggie kittens,e-mailed the lady and bought my baby boy. Only 200 dollars, what a deal...I thought.
Tucker was supposed to come home at 10 weeks then she wanted me to pick him up at 8 weeks so I grudgingly agreed. Picked him up and found out he was only 7 weeks
Supposedly he was on solid food but wouldn't eat for me and lost a lot of weight. I cried alot, it was an awful experience
I resorted to force feeding him KMR ... Eventually I discovered that he loves fancy feast and was able to put his weight back on and his growth returned to normal.
He hadn't been socialized well and it's taken months to gain his trust. He's really loving now.
Also because of early seperation he tends to bite harder than my other cat, he didn't have time to learn manners from his Mom. He's finally gotten to the point where he will start to bite, I tell him NO and he stop's...usually.
I wouldn't give him up for anything but I also learned a great lesson...kittens need time to mature with their Mom's and that if something seems to good to be true, it probably is
post #8 of 28
I got lily at 7 weeks and alfie has only just turned 6 weeks the day i picked him up but her was a very adventrous kitten ( god knows why i chose the hyper one of the bunch!) out of his big litter so we had no problems with him settling in or any thing
post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 
Wow, that seems so young. They didn't have any problems training, or behavioral problems?
post #10 of 28
^^ depends what you mean by behavior problems i've not had litter training problems with either, alfie claws the wall hence why i bought him the huge cat tree worked so far fingers crossed!
post #11 of 28
Princess was 8 weeks when we got her. She came from a friend who's parents let their cat have "one litter". They didn't know any better. I was 8, and I knew she was too young. But they had already given away two of her siblings, and they wanted to get rid of the rest.

She always had some weird neurotic issues. Patches mothered her for a couple weeks, which I think helped. Princess had only been barely weaned, so she was still wanting to suckle. Patches allowed this for a little while, then "weaned" Princess herself.

She was never properly socialized with other cats though. She had "little cat" issues for the rest of her life and was quite mean to most other cats (except Patches, who would whack her a good one if she dared to try). I think she needed more time with her mother and with her siblings.
post #12 of 28
^^ ^just reading that made me think- alfie used to suckle on tassels of my pillow and some tassels on my top for a little while maybe thats why he was doing it
post #13 of 28
There are a lot of reasons that kittens should not go so young. Socialisation and health as well as bite inhibition.

Yes backyard breeders do the wrong thing, and yes that is where pet shop kittens come from as well as the accidental backyard breeders who has just one litter.

Backyard breeders who are in it for the money want the kittens gone, the money in their pocket and their cat calling again, ready to be mated again. They don't care about you or your kitten. They want the money, so quick get rid of the kittens, no worry about vaccinating or desexing and they really don't care if the kitten will be a good pet, why would they, they have their money.

My registering council makes it quite clear that kittens are not to go until they are at least 10 weeks old. Personally I keep them until they are 12 weeks as this means they are a good weight for the early desexing. No kitten leaves my property undesexed. But then I breed for the love of cats not the abuse of cats.

Think long and hard before you support a backyard breeder.
post #14 of 28
Mosi was 14 weeks before I brought him home and he's beautifully socialised and confident. Even the vet commented on how sociable he was The registering bodies for pedigree cats over here recommends that kittens don't go to their new homes until 13 weeks of age. That's so that they can be properly socialised, litter trained etc by the time they go to their new homes but also so that they can have their vaccinations done before they go (normally done at 9 and 12 weeks).

Jaffa was 8 weeks when I got him and his brother. I think he was ok at that age but he came from a shelter where he was in a pen with his 2 brothers all day so he was probably better off at home with me. He is very timid though and I think he missed out a lot with early socialisation. 8 weeks is as young as I think is acceptable for kittens to go to a new home unless there are exceptional circumstances, eg hand reared and no siblings (or siblings going to new home together).
post #15 of 28
I think most people who have a litter of kittens give them away too early because they don't know any better, because the new owners don't know any better and demand to get their cute little kitten as soon as possible (which is definitely not in their kittens best interest), and some people just know they have bred a litter of kittens even though there are so many cats without a home, and they are worried they won't be able to "get rid of" the kittens once they are not as cute as they are at 6 weeks anymore. And when kittens are really small they just lie in the nesting box, drinking free mothers milk and having their little butts cleaned by mom, but when they get a little older they start eating and using the litter box (food and litter cost money), they have accidents outside the litter box, will maybe damage some furniture when they start moving around and haven't learned to use the scratching post, around that time some people suddenly decide it's time for the kittens to go to their new house

Ernesto and Mimosa are farmcats if you would believe it, a friend of my mom who owns a farm gave them to us. When we went to pick them up they were about 7-9 weeks (they couldn't be more specific then; "ehrm.... we think they were born when the cows were still inside") because we were first time cat-owners who didn't know any better and the farmer had scared us with his stories about the dangers to kittens on his farm (one of their siblings subsequently drowned and another was run over). They did develop some behavioral issues. Especially Mimosa, she can be very insecure and because Ernesto knows that he picks on her a lot. We are working with a feline behaviour therapist on this, it's her opinion as well that these problems were caused by seperating them from their mom and siblings too early. I think a lot of people accept feline problem behaviour as "normal" by the way, because most people are used to the behaviour of cats that have left their mom too early.

Flynn and dEUS came to us at 3 and 4 months, and they followed us around, crawled on our laps and slept in our bed since the first moment they got here. They are not "harder to train" then other cats, if anything they seem to be more wellbehaved with both humans and other cats. Ernesto and Mimosa both love them even though they can hardly stand eachother.
post #16 of 28
It really depends on the kitten and the situation, I suspect. I got my baby girl at 6 wks old and because I already had a 4mo old kitten at home that was trained, he took over training her and she's turned out great now! She is going on 4 mos old.

As far as health concerns, I wouldn't know much about that but I suspect there is a reason they suggest allowing the mother to nurse for a certain amount of time. But when they are being sold or adopted out, they are already seperated from mum and would be better off in the care of an individual that researches and tries to meet their needs, IMHO.
post #17 of 28
It takes a LOT of work to raise one of those kittens that was taken too young from their mother and litter mates.

My 2 oldest cats (now 3 years old) were only 5 weeks old when the shelter here picked them up (they picked up mother too). They seperated all the kittens from Mama immediately, even though the kittens were not litter trained, could not eat solid food, were not even weaned...

Well, it was a rough first few weeks, let me tell you. I had to feed them special formula and use a blender to mix it with kitten chow so it was a soft mush they could eat easily, litter train them, teach them to wash themselves using a warm, wet cloth after they were done eating, they had to sleep by me because they did not produce enough body heat on their own, the list goes on and on. The female weighed 10 ounces and the male weighed 12 when we got them. They were very, very small. The shelter gave them wormer and they were too young for it, the female especially got very sick from it and I wasn't sure she would live. Luckily, she did.

They turned out very well. They are very gentle cats who do not bite or even use their claws while playing, are normal sized, and do all the normal cat things, but it could have easily gone the other way and they could have ended up with all sorts of social and health problems. The only odd thing is the male kitty still tries to suckle on my shirt sleeves now and then because he was taken away from his cat-mom much too early.

I know have an 8 week old kitten , so while he is a few weeks older and a bit more robust and able to eat dry food well, he's still very young and needs Mama, so I have to be substitute mama for him now too.
post #18 of 28
Molly and Polly were from the same litter but I got Molly at 6 weeks and Polly at 7 weeks. Neither of them have any behavioral problems. They are balanced and socialized and good with people and other animals.
BUT 6 or 7 weeks is not ideal to me. A lot of people just don't understand that the time the kittens (or puppies for that matter) are with the mother is not just about weaning but about development and learning.
post #19 of 28
apart from everything else written here which is true-For a 4 or 6 week ol or any too young age,imagine how traumatic to suddenly be snatched from yr litter mate and warm mum to a strange place,new people and smells.The world is new as it is,that would be stressful.Apaprt from the fact you have just been weened -which in itself is said to be highly stressful for baby animals.
post #20 of 28
I have 3 cats. The oldest, she will be 16 in August,, was only 4 weeks old when i got her. The people assured me she was 8 weeks old. Ididn't know any better and brought her home. The vet is the one who told me. She had some unusual problems to start with. Mommy had not taught her about the potty box - so I did. Mommy hadn't taught her about butt cleaning - so I did. It was quite an experience. She grew into a normal loving kitty. My boy who is 8 now was alos brought home at 4 weeks. Again, I was told he was the proper age. Different owner this time. We wondered about him but his litter mates were all of a good size. The vet told me this time too. He is now an 18 pound pile of fur. His only problems were wanting to nurse all the time. He had a favorite blanket but would whatever was handy. Even now occasionally he willstill nurse.
post #21 of 28
I once got two kittens from a kill-shelter. They were tiny, runted 3-4 weeks old, could fit in the palm of my hand with room to spare! They were in the "kill cage" and slated to be put down very soon because of their coloring and sickliness. I took them home with me and was it ever a chore! They knew nothing about using a litterbox, dry catfood, playing with toys, climbing. I had to feed them formula and wetfood and build up to dry food (eventually they turned into little piggies!), I had to put their paws on objects and move their bodies to teach them to climb, bat at toys, etc. They were thin as rails, stuffed to the gills every form of worm imaginable, one kitten had it's whiskers shaved off, and the other had an abscess in it's leg, plus a world record amount of earmites. They eventually survived but were never "normal". The boy cat hated the house and when given the opportunity, merrilly adopted the barn as his haunt and has a grand time tearing up the outdoors. He tolerates people but prefers to be a loner. The other cat became desperately attached to a little boy that visited and refused to leave his sight. I ended up giving her to him to prevent an feline breakdown when he left. She is now living it up in Florida, absolutely worshiped and adored by her new family. Which is a good thing, because I could not litter train her to save my life and the new family ended up putting chicken wire around their beds to keep her from using them a dumping ground. Then and only then did she use a litterbox, and then as a last resort.
post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley45 View Post
Why can you get kittens from 6 weeks? I'm planning on getting a kitten in the next 3 weeks or so, and I've read here and heard from friends that getting one before 10-12 weeks has negative effects. I don't want to take any chances, so I plan on getting one at least that old.

But my question is, if there are negative effects from getting them too soon, why can you find lots of kittens from 6 weeks up? Some of them that I've found are coming from people who know a lot about cats and have raised multiple litters. The Purina website says to get kittens no later than 8 weeks or they're harder to train. Even some pet shops and shelters around here are advertising kittens younger than 10 weeks and saying that they're ready to go home. Why do they do this?
Ignorance and/or greed. I got Persi at 7 weeks of age from what I thought was a responsible breeder because he had champion parents. I just did not know any better. And the strange thing is, I found The Cat Site the very same day I brought Persi home and started reading about how NOT to get kittens that young. You can imagine how this made me feel.
post #23 of 28
6 weeks!! i didn't even know it was...LEGAL...to sell them that early!:
post #24 of 28
George and Addie were 5 weeks when we got them. I did know better, but the mother's owner would hear none of it. Either we were taking them or they'd be "on their own". I took both for their own good, originally having intended to rehome them (my bf will hear none of it....once an animal comes in, he's too attached to give it away lol). Having each other helped them out. They were litter trained to some degree and were eating solid food, so it wasn't too much more work. As soon as we were able (ie after they beat off roundworm and had their shots), we got them together with our other cats, who have taught them a lot. They're very affectionate and docile when held. I wasn't happy about how young they were, but they were better off with us.
post #25 of 28
I got a kitten on Friday that turned 8 weeks 1 day later. The kitten was being fostered by a co-worker who worked closely with the local animal shelter. The shelter visited our workplace to find homes for rescued cats/kittens. Now that I am reading this thread, I realize that the kitten must have been removed from the mother too soon. When she got to the shelter, she was in a cage with her other siblings, but I don't know if she spent a lot of time with them. I can tell she spent a lot of time with humans because she was very lovable from my first contact with her. Her only issue right now is getting to know my two male Shih Tzus. She really holds her own with them. My dogs are crated during the day and we plan to keep the kitty in the bathroom until we can train her to stay off of kitchen counter tops and tables. We plan to let her have free reign of the house when she gets older.
post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley45 View Post
Why can you get kittens from 6 weeks? I'm planning on getting a kitten in the next 3 weeks or so, and I've read here and heard from friends that getting one before 10-12 weeks has negative effects. I don't want to take any chances, so I plan on getting one at least that old.

But my question is, if there are negative effects from getting them too soon, why can you find lots of kittens from 6 weeks up? Some of them that I've found are coming from people who know a lot about cats and have raised multiple litters. The Purina website says to get kittens no later than 8 weeks or they're harder to train. Even some pet shops and shelters around here are advertising kittens younger than 10 weeks and saying that they're ready to go home. Why do they do this?
It was not until after I brought Persi home at age seven weeks that I read on here that I should not have. The strange thing is is that the cattery was researched and Persi has champion parents on both sides. I had told the lady I wanted another cat and when I went over to pick it up, it was gone. That's how much and how fast she wanted to sell them. I "settled" for Persi, the greatest cat I have ever had. I am just glad he turned out so good, bringing him home so soon. I have no idea what the motive was but the woman that sold me Persi acted like she wanted to get rid of those kittens as fast as possible.
post #27 of 28
I got Prue at what i now think is about 4 weeks old. She was able to fit in my hand and was VERY sick. The lady told me she was moving, and had to get rid of everyone, and Prue was the only one left. she was in a corner by herself, all huddled up and not really responsive. I knew she was sick, but i knew i was better then the life she had, so i took her. Made a quick vet trip, and found she had worms, but couldnt find the reason for the lethergy. I took her home, made a liquid lunch of wet food mixed with KMR, and syringe fed her every 2-3 hours. I had to teach her to walk again, use the litter, clean herself. She is now a loving, 2 year old that weighs in at about 9 lbs.

I learned my lesson, and would never get a kitten that young again, and i jsut think that ppl do it to either make money, or count on the cuteness to get rid of them, poor things.
post #28 of 28
I think I've been fortunate in the past. We once got a kitten from a neighbour (who's son was my friend), but I'm not sure how old the he (the kitten) was. Maybe 6 weeks, maybe 12 weeks. Regardless, I think he grew up as well-adjusted as he did because his mom, who was an indoor-outdoor cat (that's how she got pregnant in the first place), would wander down 2 houses, to our back door, and would cry until we brought Grizzly out. Then she'd groom him and love on him and even try to take him back to her house before we'd stop her. So in a way, Grizzly still got his socialization lessons from mom.

We got Willow 8 years later when Grizzly disappeared (he, too, was an indoor-outdoor cat, and was eventually caught in someone's cat trap and disappeared). Willow was 6 weeks old, and our first indoor-only cat, and she grew up...odd... She's skittish, nervous, anxious, flies off the handle real easily, etc. Fortunately she does have good bite inhibition (thank goodness for small favours, eh?). We got Buffy 2 years later, when Buffy was a 4 week old orphan. Her mom and litter came to the vet hospital (I think they were strays), but they were all sick and all but Buffy ended up dying. The day after Buffy lost her family, she came to our place (screaming like a banshee, might I add). She was still on milk formula, but I praise the heavens that we had Willow. You might not think that this poorly-socialized, territorial, SCARY cat would be a good role model for Buffy, but surprisingly she was. She doted on Buffy, groomed her and taught her and loved her, and Buffy grew up well-adjusted. Granted, Buffy "inherited" some of Willow's odd quirks, and she's a stubborn little knucklehead, but she loves people and attention and is extremely intelligent. And, as a plus, having Buffy just happened to really mellow out Willow. She's now calmer and less territorial (though she doesn't hesitate to kick ass when she thinks Buffy's being threatened by my dog or a stranger, lol).

Personally, I think 12 week kittens (and puppies) are cuter than 6 week olds. So you get the kitten twice as old than if you'd gotten her at 6 weeks, but you'd get the 12 week old either way and she won't be 6 weeks old forever. Before you know it, a month has gone by and she's getting older and older, and you don't even remember what it was like when she was 6 weeks old. 6 weeks or 12 weeks, you get your kitty in her kitten stage for MONTHS, six weeks extra or six weeks less means nothing as a result. And by waiting just a month longer, you get a more well-adjusted, friendly, loving kitty that won't make you grow more grey hairs over the next few years, lol
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