How Old Do Kittens Have To Be To Give Away – A Guide For A New Cat Fostering


As I mention in the articles on cat mating, cat population may cause the trouble to other animal societies. Even you decide to let cat mate, you should consider finding a new home for adopting your kittens. Many people they prefer fostering a kitten to having him/her from the queen, then your kittens would be their future lovely fur-ball.

However, the question now is whether you should send the new-born cat to the new home as soon as they were born. When is the right age for cat adoption? Actually, there is a considerable debate of when it is appropriated to separate a kitten from their mother and allow them to live in the new home. If you are worry about that matter, there is a summary of things you need to know about cat adoption.

12th week - Ideal time for cat adoption

All kittens are adorable, and you would think that the younger the kitten, the more mind-meltingly adorable it would be. While this may be true, adopting a kitten before he's old enough to leave his mother and litter mates could result in health issues and behavior problems. Most breeders and legitimate pet stores will only offer kittens for sale as young at 8 weeks, with some waiting until 12 weeks of age.

While the ideal adoption age may vary somewhat from breed to breed, and even among individual kittens within a breed or a litter, most kittens should not be taken away from their mothers before 12 weeks of age, and a kitten should never be separated from its family before it is 10 weeks old.

Waiting three months to adopt is worthwhile because it will increase the likelihood of having a happier and healthier cat in the long run. This assures that the kitten is ready to be separated from his family and can tend to all of his needs without assistance. Moreover, when kittens are separated from their mothers and siblings too early, they suffer extreme anxiety, and in some cases medical problems so severe that they can die from them.

Problems with Early Adoption


Kittens that are taken away from their mothers too early can suffer from a variety of psychological and health problems because they miss out on critical emotional, mental, and developmental milestones that occur at 6-12 weeks of age. The following are some common problems afflicting kittens that are adopted before 12 weeks of age.

Poor Immunity: A kitten’s immune system develops between 8 and 12 weeks, and a kitten less than 12 weeks old has not received its full set of required vaccinations. A mother cat’s milk provides antibodies that protect the health of her kittens.

If they are prevented from nursing before their immune systems have become strong, kittens are more likely to succumb to a wide variety of illnesses, particularly respiratory conditions.

Rushed Weaning: Kittens shouldn’t be weaned suddenly. Rather, weaning should be a gradual process in which they alternate between nursing and eating cat food, slowly increasing the amount of cat food consumed and decreasing the nursing time until nursing ceases altogether. 

At 6-8 weeks of age, kittens are not ready to stop nursing. Usually, a mother cat will begin denying opportunities to nurse between 8 and 12 weeks of age, and thus the kitten learns to deal with frustration in a natural way. Kittens that are taken from their mothers too soon miss out on this natural process and are more inclined to develop behavioral problems as a result of low frustration tolerance later on.

Kittens taken before 8 weeks of age may suffer from diarrhea as a result of sudden weaning and a too-rapid shift to solid food. This condition can be life-threatening, as kittens will quickly become dehydrated and lose weight rapidly. Even if they don’t develop severe diarrhea, kittens taken too early often become malnourished and fail to put on weight.

Litter Box Problems: Litter box training usually occurs between 6 and 12 weeks, and this is also a gradual process. A kitten taken too early will either not be litter trained or may have inconsistent litter box habits. This, combined with the stress of losing its family too early, can cause a kitten to develop lifelong bad habits, such as avoiding the litter box completely or using it inconsistently.

Neurotic Behavior: While many people seek younger kittens because they mistakenly believe that an older kitten won’t bond with them properly, the reality is that older kittens have no problems bonding with new humans. A younger kitten may bond with a person as well, but it is often a neurotic bond in which the kitten is terrified of being left alone and needs to have its surrogate mother in sight at all times. Kittens adopted too young are more likely to suck on fabric, people’s earlobes, or their fur, and they tend to run and hide when they see unknown people.

Poor Socialization: Kittens are socialized between 4 and 14 weeks of age, and it is during this critical period that they learn which behaviors are appropriate. Kittens taken too early are more likely to be hostile and aggressive toward people and other pets. They often get along poorly with other cats because they have never learned to interpret feline body language, having missed out on the longer socialization process that they should have had with their families. Overall, they are more insecure and less tolerant.

Our advice


If you decide to give your kittens away, you should ask your friends and family if they're interested in adopting the kittens. It may be easier to place the kittens if you find people you already trust. If no one's showing interest, begin asking coworkers or neighbors. You can also ask the veterinarian to recommend people who are looking to adopt kittens. Try to ask around in person before advertising. While social media makes it easy to advertise kittens, it may be harder to find a reliable, trustworthy person to take them.

If you are a cat foster, the idea advice is taking a caution of backyard breeders and pet shops. Backyard breeders are not professionals; rather, they are people with little knowledge of cat breeding issues, such as the need to screen for genetic problems that may afflict certain breeds. 

In addition to increasing the risk that kittens will suffer from horrendous genetic defects and illnesses, backyard breeders often don’t know how to properly socialize kittens, and they tend to adopt them out too young, which can lead to a lifetime of physical and psychological problems. Backyard breeders can usually be recognized by their failure to register their kittens, keep them until at least 12 weeks of age, or participate in cat shows.


Importantly, the eight-to-twelve week period is a critical time for a kitten’s health development. This is the time when the immune system is taking over from the immunity gained from mother’s milk to immunity gained from vaccinations. This is also a process and does not happen overnight.

 If you are the parent of the mother cat, you are responsibility for her new-born kittens. The process of taking care of the kitten is surely not smooth and easy, but it is worth to be their nannies. You will know that feeling whenever it comes. Let’s have a beautiful pet life!

2 thoughts on “How Old Do Kittens Have To Be To Give Away – A Guide For A New Cat Fostering”

  1. I never give my Bengal or Oriental kittens away earlier than 3 month-old age. It is true they are too young to leave their mommy.

  2. My mother cat was only 10 months old when she had her kittens I was told it was a male and I never had a cat before so I have had to learn a lot real fast and due to losing my job she has never been to the vet and I have finally found employment so I wanted to know how old should the kittens be to get there first shots and how can I keep the mother from getting pregnant again till I can afford to have her fixed? And what age should the kittens be fixed because I may be to attach by 12 weeks lol one is female orange with white stripes and the other two are clacio males and look like twins and they are so adorable

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