. How Old Should A Kitten Be When Going To A New Home?





















OCD:
Obsessive compulsive disorders in cats come in several forms of behavior which can stem from several reasons. In a study,
environmental and social stress were found to be factors causing OCD in cats. Cats that have been inbred or weaned to soon
were found to be more prone. The most common signs of OCD in cats are sucking and chewing on blankets/clothes, earlobes,  
fingers, and or even other cats
. Sucking is lack of early socialization by being taken away from their mother at to young of
age. The cat's earliest pleasurable experience is suckling at his/her mother's teat. Even after weaning the kitten may return
to suckle as a form of comfort behavior, he/she tries to reproduce this experience by sucking.  

WEANING:
It's not just an event that happens overnight, it's a process. They don't  just start eating food in one day. They eat a little food,
nurse, eat, nurse, eat & so on. Eventually they eat more than they nurse and then stop nursing altogether.

When left to their mothers they'll eventually stop allowing the kittens to nurse, as with most cats this starts occurring
naturally around 8 weeks. However, this process is very important, it teaches the kittens to learn to deal positively with
frustration and denial. As the mother starts refusing to allow the kitten to nurse which they very much want to do so, she
teaches the kitten how to cope with  frustration. Kittens who do not learn this lesson may develop behavioral problems, such as
eating and/ or litter box problems, which most kittens at age 6 to 8 weeks aren't consistently using their litter box very well
yet.

So weaning is not simply a matter of getting the kitten to eat solid food, it's an important time when the kitten begins to
assert its independence from its mother which needs to be a gradual process.

PROBLEMS WITH SOCIALIZATION & BEHAVIOR:
People often express a desire to have a younger kitten because they are afraid that the kitten will not bond with them if older.
This is simply not true, the older kittens bond with their new family just fine. Cats do not have nor do they need to establish
their place in a "pecking order" like dogs/etc. This is a myth that needs to be dispelled so that kittens will have the
opportunity to learn from their mothers and be as healthy and stress-free as possible when they do go to their new loving
home.

It's true, that when kittens are separated at a young age from their mothers they will often bond to a person as a surrogate
mother. This may seem cute but it's not healthy. Such kittens will often suck on blankets, clothing, buttons, earlobes, or even
on themselves. They may become dependent upon humans to the point that they become fearful or neurotic when left alone.
Most commonly however cats that are deprived of proper socialization don't learn how to be with other cats. This makes them
especially inappropriate as pets in a multi-cat household.

The kitten socialization phase will start around 4 weeks of age, and continue up to around 12-14 weeks of age. Kittens will
learn to explore their world through this period under the comforting & guidance of their mother & siblings, how to interact
with other cats/etc. They learn how to recognize and interpret cat body language quite literally, a kitten who misses out on
this important social step may not learn how to "talk" to other cats. It's also during this time period when the kitten needs to
be exposed to people in a very good positive way too!

THE KITTEN AT TWELVE WEEKS;
At 12 weeks of age most kittens are now weaned, and have had adequate socialization with mother and siblings and have
been started on their series of shots and de-wormed and has been handled daily and have learned to explore their world
around them and are happy and confident, which should carry them throughout their life. This may vary from cat to cat or
even from breed to breed.

The most important thing to remember is:   It's the kitten's future & well-being, that drives the decision of what age to place
each kitten, not finances or simply just the desire to have a younger kitten for whatever reason. You will have a kitten only for
a short time, but the cat may be with you for many years to come. You may find it personally disappointing to allow the kitten
a little more time with its mother when you had hoped to have it earlier, but it will make a difference to the mental, emotional,
and physical health to the kitten throughout its entire life and you will have a healthier, happier, feline friend because of
it!       ;-)
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