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Kitten adoption age

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I've noticed that 6-8 weeks seems to be a quite normal adoption age for non-pedigreed kittens here. I find it kind of strange, since here in Finland "cat-aware" people (not meaning most people) insist on a minimum of 12 weeks.
IMO kittens learn a lot from their siblings and mother during those few extra weeks. Earlier separation can lead to inability to "talk cat", understand limits of playful aggression and urinating outside the box.

I see this daily in my bunch: Usva is a rescue taken too early from her family and she is a lot more aggessive player, insecure, clingy and initially not really in the know about being a cat. Milla came to us 15 weeks old, Tilli and Timotei 12 weeks old, and their social skills are far above Usva's.

Opinions, anyone? If the consensus proves to be pro 12 weeks, would it perhaps be a good idea to friendly recommend this age limit somewhere on TCS, since most people honestly assume that 8 weeks is OK for cats, because it's enough for dogs?
post #2 of 10
I do agree completely with you, but Im of course from Sweden, your brotherland...

The only exception may be feral cats - if they are getting a home - adopted permanently or a good fostering home.
As the best socialization age is 2-7 weeks. Ie, feral kittens taken in this age are easy to get fully domesticized, taken in later it is more difficult - although still possible!

These small ex ferals could preferably have some kind domesticised cat - female or neutered male - as fosterparent.

But to have the small in cages at a shelter - nay, then it is better they are with mom and siblings still feral...

And domesticized cats do easily bind to a new owner without any problems as 12w or 15 weeks or older. No problems.
post #3 of 10
I agree that 12 weeks is better. However, as a person in cat rescue, I can tell you that people like kittens. And if they are 12 weeks old, people still want them, but as they get 4-5 months old and start looking more like cats, they are less likely to be adopted. And no matter how sweet or cute the kitten, they are not all adopted. (My Garfield and Festus are just two examples of perfectly good kittens who were never even considered for adoption, despite going to many shows.)

We show our kittens at Petsmart or Petco on saturdays. I was there once when we had motherless kittens who were about 3 weeks old. They obviously were not available for adoption, but people did ask. We do allow adoptions at 8-9 weeks, but often will allow someone to choose the kitten, then send it back home with its mother for another week or two.

I am new to cat rescue, and was educated by TCS about the positive effects of allowing kittens to grow up a few more weeks with their Mommy.
post #4 of 10
My vet told me that here in Maine it is against the law to sell kittens untill they are at least 8 weeks old.Same with puppies.
post #5 of 10
8 weeks is the law in most states.

I agree that they should ideally stay with Mom until at least 12 weeks, assuming Mom isn't feral. But kittens who are living outdoors need to be brought in ASAP regardless of age, and depending on space considerations, the kittens' ages, and how freaked out Mom is by being indoors, it is often more realistic to separate them from their mother and hand-raise them.

But Beckiboo is right - people like kittens, the tinier the better. My kittens who have mothers stay with her until they are 8 weeks old or weigh 2 pounds and big enough to be spayed/neutered, whichever is later. But I do let people who are well qualified and experienced take younger kittens when the kittens do not have mothers. I am certainly not the only person in the world who is able to take care of a 5-week-old kitten, after all. But when someone takes a younger kitten, I make them sign a contract stating that they understand that I retain ownership of the kitten until after he has been spayed or neutered (usually around 12 weeks old), and at that time they will be able to sign an adoption contract and the kitten will be theirs officially.
post #6 of 10
I prefer mixed breed kittens to not go to a new home until 10 weeks minimum - to make sure they are weaned, litter trained, and have reasonable house rules known
post #7 of 10
Almost all the kittens we get into our rescue are orphaned and we let them leave at 8 weeks although there is no law here (I assume) because kittens can leave as early as 5/6 weeks in shelters. Even though it is best to wait, people don't want to adopt older kittens. The older they get the less of a chance for them to be adopted, which is sad. But I find most of them we get in since they are already orphaned adjust very well, very quickly.
post #8 of 10
I think you will find that most TCS members agree that 12 weeks is the ideal age. Many posts here advise people of that. However there are reasons why sometimes kittens are separated from momcat earlier, maybe because of their or her health, or because the kits are found abandoned or lost.
post #9 of 10
I think that kittens should be at LEAST 8 weeks, but preferably 10-12, and big enough to be spayed or neutered before someone adopts them.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Ferals and orphans are an exception, of course. How ever I don't completely agree that just because most people want a cute too young kitten means that they should be humoured, I believe that they should rather be educated on the matter. There are two sides to this of course: In shelters it is naturally a priority to get the kittens adopted in the first place, no matter what their age.

StefanZ: A toast to mutual Scandinavian friendship and co-operation.
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