How Long Can A Mother Be Away From Her Kittens?
Have you been worrying about your cat leaving its kittens every now and then?
Or do you want to adopt a kitten and don't know when a kitten can be separated from her mother?
Are you afraid that the kitten may not do well without its mother? Found a stray kittens and don't know what to do?
Here, we will discuss about all your doubts regarding how long a mother cat can be away from her kittens.
Mother Cat is Loving!
A mother cat loves her kittens as much as we humans do to our children. A cat mother's presence is necessary for a proper development of kittens both nutritionally and socially.
Being a mommy cat around, helps newly born kittens to regulate their body temperature and provide them with food, love and affection. Moreover, the babies will grow in a secure environment cause a mom knows what's best for her children.
But due to some reasons, mommy cat can wander off sometimes leaving her kittens behind. She can leave her kittens for a few minutes at a time for a visit to the litter box or to eat and drink. As the baby grows older, the mum will spend more time away from her kittens.
How long can a mother cat be away from her kittens?
Well, the amount of time a mother cat spend away from her kittens depend on the age of the kittens. To a new born baby, a mother cat will always be with them most of the times than with a toddler one.
Let's look and compare between the timeline of kittens' growth during which mother cats will go away for long time.
For a cat who has just given birth to her little ones, will stay with them the most. She will be out from the nest only to eat, drink or litter and inspect any possible danger.
During this period, beside food, new borns are fully dependent on their mum for their physiological mechanism like regulating body temperature and stimulation of potty.
So, leaving a litter can along with food and water nearby will help out mommy cat with nursing her babies properly.
3 to 5 weeks old cat
Now the babies eyes are fully opened and can walk short distances. Mother cat will stray for a longer period of time. Even though she will come back and nurse her children for a shorter period of time.
Babies will also want to explore around the nest but mother cat will always look after them.
6 to 8 weeks old cat
At this time period the mother cat will start to wean her infants. She can bring a prey from the outside and make her little ones to feed on them. The cat owner can assist the mother by providing mashed foods.
The amount of time spent away will increase to some hours. But she will always come back and protect her kittens.
8 weeks onwards
The babies are young at 8 weeks and start learning basic skills from their mother. Although mother cat will be away from her kittens spending large amount of time being alone, hunting or playing outside.
She will impart feline skills like littering, hunting meowing etc to the babies.
During this period, human interaction can also help them with socializing.
Above 12 weeks, they become an adult. But if you want to separate a kitten from its mother, wait until it is 16 weeks older.
In those extra months the adult cat will develop feline skills fully and will become more of a confident one.
Things you shouldn't do.
Now that we know that its normal for a mother cat to leave her kittens frequently, lets discuss about things you should not do during those times.
Even though a new born baby is always looked after by her mom, you shouldn't leave the babies unattended. A frequent weight check up and inspection of fleas in the nest would be better.
If you have just found stray kittens and you are willing to take it home, don't. Their mother might be nearby hunting. Instead you can keep an eye on them.
Wait for the mommy cat to return for a day or two. If there is no sign of a mommy cat, you can take them home.
Having momma around is very necessary for tiny kittens. Not only does it offer them safety and emotional support, it also helps their mental growth and helps prevent traumatic childhood experiences.
A mother cat can certainly feel sad if her young ones are snatched from her, and the same goes for young kittens. So, it's best to not separate the duo for too long.