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post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I am not sure if this is the right forum for the message but there was no "Just had kittens" forum here... So we just had kittens. And my question is, how long until we can give them away to people. I've heard 8 weeks. Is that right?
post #2 of 15
Kittens are supposed to stay with their mother until they are at least 10-12 weeks old for many reasons. Before they are fully weaned, which occurs by about the 8th week of life, they drink milk from their mother. By doing this they receive passive immunity from the mother. This protects them from disease and illness temporarily until their immune systems are strong enough to protect them. The mother also nurtures her babies, giving them the love, attention and warmth that little kittens need. They also learn a lot from their mothers. Around the 6th week of life, the kittens and mom will start to play together. This will teach kittens how to hunt, fight, how to be a well-behaved social animal, how to jump, balance, and so on.

And never, never give kittens away for free. By that I mean never advertise them as "free to a good home". There are too many sick people around that just wait for an opportunity like that. I have heard too many horror stories of what terrible thing can happen to the little ones. If someone is really interested they are more than willing to spend a nominal amount on the adoption. Also, be sure to thoroughly scrutinize each and every person looking to adopt your babies.

Hope this helps and good luck
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks a lot for the advice! We are not going to give the kittens away to strangers. Hopefully, we have enough friends
post #4 of 15
Also, might be a good idea to have mom spayed - but that will have to wait until 2 weeks after the babies are all weaned since the milk has to dry up. There might be a chance that she goes into heat before her spay date - so please keep her in doors!! ....and yes, they can spay if she is in heat!
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Yes, definitely spayed. She has been indoors since we picked it up from the street. She was already pregnant then but we didn't notice until a couple of weeks later when her tummy got bigger
post #6 of 15
I know what you mean - been there !!

Thanks for taking her in and takingsuch good care of all of them.

How many kitens are there and what do they look like? Have you named them yet?

You know, we are very fond of pictures here - hint,hint, hint!!!
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
...well, i wasn't there for the kittens. my girlfriend said there were 7 of them and they were all doing fine as well as their mom. it just happened last night so there's no pictures yet (she didn't want to flash at Daria - our cat - afraid she would disturb her). there will be pictures - might take longer since i don't have a digital camera... and we haven't named them yet...
post #8 of 15
I like your username
post #9 of 15
Here are the developmental stages for the kitten. Thought you might want to know what to expect.

Kitten Development

The first twelve weeks of a kitten's life are very important developmentally speaking. During this time period the entire litter should stay together with mom so they can learn the rules of being a cat! This section will take you through what the stages are that the kittens go through and what they will learn during each one. Right after Birth and The First Week Kittens are born blind and deaf and thus will rely on their sense of smell to find mom and nurse. For the first few days after being born a kittens main role will be to eat, sleep and be groomed by mom. At this time you should pretty much leave the kittens to mom, there should be no need to handle them and you should actually try not to handle them unless absolutely necessary. Between the fifth and tenth day of life the kittens' eyes will begin to open and the kittens will begin to see their new world. They may try to walk once they can start to see but they will be very, very clumsy; this is normal. Don't worry about cleaning the maternity box or cleaning the kittens, mom will do all of that. Kittens should weigh about 3-4 oz at birth and kittens should gain about 3 to 5 oz. a week (you may want to keep a diary of each kitten's weight to make sure he/she is gaining weight properly). Mom might start to move her kittens around the house if she is not happy with the placement of her maternity box. This is an instinctual response in the mother cat to try to keep her kittens safe. If she does this do NOT move the kittens back to the box. This will only upset and alarm mom as she will think her kittens are missing! For now abide by mom's wishes.

The Second and Third Week
At this point the kittens should be able to see and will start to be able to hear. They will start to wander and walk around but will be very off-balance. Don't worry though, they will get better very quickly. Follow the mother's wishes, but you will probably be able to start handling the kittens. Don't try to overhandle them and if the mother ever gets angry with you for handling her babies too much stop immediately. The kittens should still be nursing from mom and pretty much getting everything they need from her.

Medically you should talk to your vet about deworming and vaccinations. Many kittens are born with worms and need to be dewormed or else they will become very sick and can die. Many kittens need several dewormings subsequent to this one so make sure you discuss deworming and a deworming schedule with your vet. The kittens will also need the FVRCP and rabies vaccinations so also be sure to ask your vet for a vaccination schedule as well.

The Fourth and Fifth Week
Your kittens will be learning to walk fairly well during this time period and can probably start to use a litterbox. Make sure that you have a special and distinct box for the kittens (smaller and shorter than the mother's); you can keep this box somewhere close to the maternity box. The mother should teach the kittens how to use the box. Let her do the teaching and just make sure to keep the box very clean.

Let the teething begin! Kittens will start to get their teeth around this time period as well. The mother will not like this new growth while she is nursing and will thus start to reduce the kittens nursing time. Put some food and water bowls near the maternity box for the kittens. Just make sure that they aren't directly near the litterbox. You will want to feed the kittens a high quality kitten food (you can feed a combination of wet and dry at this point). If unsure of exactly what to feed ask your vet what food he recommends for the kittens.

The Sixth and Seventh Week
By the end of this time period all kittens should be completely weaned and eating food from their bowls. Each kitten should be about a pound in weight now. Over the course of the next 5 weeks or so you can start adding in less and less moist food to the kittens' food. By the 12th week they should be eating all dry kitten food.

Kittens and mother will also begin the all important act of playing. Play is very important for proper socialization of the kittens so let them play and explore! Just like a child the more the kittens play and explore the more they will grow mentally and intellectually! Also keep handling the kittens as much as the mother allows. This will help them get used to their human counterpart and become better pets.

The Eight and Ninth Week
The kittens will continue learning and exploring at this point and will be typical 'kittens' - curious about everything and getting into everything. Allow them to explore, play and make sure to keep handling them as much as the mother allows. You will start to see what the kittens are going to look like a little better. Their eye color and coats will become very evident at this point, and this will probably be their final eye color and coat color!

The kittens are still learning a lot from their mother and should not be sold or separated from the mother or litter quite yet.

The Tenth to Twelfth Week
The kittens will now start becoming a little more independent from each other and from mom. They may still need some final vaccinations but once that is taken care of they should be fully vaccinated, healthy and completely socialized. It is at the end of this time period, and only at the end of this time period, that you can consider having the kittens adopted into new homes
post #10 of 15
good luck with your kittens!!! I have three that will be 12 weeks old tomorrow and two that are between 13-16 weeks
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
thanks a lot!
post #12 of 15
Glad you found us! As you can see, there are lots of very knowledgable people here. Helen has already given you excellent advice. When you have pics, feel free to post them in the Cat Lounge!

(And when you or friends and family have questions about how to get those kittens to stop scratching the furniture or whatever, the Behavior Forum is great, too!!!!)

post #13 of 15
Hey, especially due to your mega-informative post Helen, I am moving this over to Health and Nutrition.
post #14 of 15
Hey, what do I do when the people I got mykitty from aren't as knowledgable. I got my kitten at 6 weeks. I know that is what most people think is a reasonable time as they are weaned. I also know, that breeders won't let them go till between 8 and 12 weeks but to get the info to the general public and get them to abide is another thing. Is there a thread dealing with raising kittens without a mother? Although, it is a little late for me as Chewy is already 12 weeks old (Sun).
Sorry, just had to ask.
post #15 of 15

Don't know but here is a great website that explains all:

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