I've been looking around and haven't find someone in the same situation as I am, so I'm making my first question here.

About 1 1/2 month ago my neighbor's cat gave birth to 4 kittens in my basement. We don't know exactly when they were born, but we found them 5 1/2 weeks ago and 1 or 2 days later they opened their eyes. We took care of the mother, giving her food and water and after she started leaving the den we spent some time with her close to it.

This weekend the neighbor took 3 of the kittens to new homes and we had already decided to keep 1 of them the day we found them.

Since the mother was away from the den more often than not and the kitten stayed there alone, we took it inside the house on monday afternoon. The kitten spent the day under the bed (which I learned is common) and sometimes her mother came to the glass back door of the kitchen and started meowing. The kitten was too afraid to leave my room and meowed back from my door, but as soon as someone moved she went back under the bed.

At the evening we sort of felt bad for the mom as she was meowing all around the house and gave back the kitten and they stayed around this back door on a covered outside area of the house.

We left the house and when we came back at night the mother was meowing again and we couldn't find the kitten. After searching all monday night and the mother meowing through the night, yesterday morning we found the kitten under a canvas covering some stuff on a kind of "covered roof terrace" that we have.

Fearing what could happen with this adventurous kitty we took it back inside my room again. She spent part of the day under the bed again and when her mother meowed on the door she meowed back by my door or from under the bed. At night she started going to the glass door and meowing face to face with her mom. As far as we can tell the kitten slept through the night in my room, only starting to meow to her mom at the early morning.

Today we let the kitten with her mom again some time, blocking the exits, basically confining the kitten to this covered outside area and inside the house (the mom can jump the blocks). She tried to drink some milk and they played and ate some dry cat food and drank water together.

Since we never had a cat I don't know if what we're doing is right, given the circumstances. Should we keep letting them have some time together during part of the day and separate them for most of the day and all night, even though they meow for each other and see each other through the glass? I don't know if this can harm them psychologically, especially the kitten. Will the mother eventually just "abandon" the kitten? When the mother goes away the kitten comes back to my room and she has improved a lot more than I expected. She plays with a paper ball I gave her and last night she was exploring my room and even slept by my feet, played with me and let me pet her a little.

Sorry for writing almost a book of backstory, I really tried to trim it down a lot, but I also wanted to give as much information as possible and sometimes I'm very wordy.

Thank you in advance.


1 Answer 1


The main reason the mother comes back for her kitten is that the kitten is not weaned. That is, it is not finished with drinking her mother's milk and is not ready to handle the bigger world. If that world would be the wild.

For a long time it was normal to separate a kitten from its mother from 6 weeks on. It is about the time they can start to learn to eat and drink on their own. And, not unimportantly, be house trained. So it will work.

But the last few years, say after 2000, there has been a change. People started to notice that cats (and dogs) have a time of socializing. That is, learning form their mother when they do not strictly need them for food alone. And it tends to help the kittens (and puppies) to stay a while longer with their parents. To my knowledge it is for kittens about 12 weeks. Can be longer or shorter (about 10 weeks).

In my opinion it's a decision between giving the mother and kitten as much time together as they can get (good socializing) and / or teaching your kitten that she has a new house. I think you can do both at the same time.

In the next weeks you will see that your little kitten will learn to trust you and will depend less on her mother. In the end her mother might 'abandon' her, but seeing they live quite close, they might keep a good relation between them.

Oh, your kitten will develop quickly and can jump about as well as her mother in at the most 8 weeks.

Most of all, have fun! Kittens are great!

*Don't forget to de-worm, vaccinate and in a while (around 3 months) neuter your bundle of joy, it will increase her quality of life and her life span!

  • Thanks for your answer, really appreciate it. So, should I let them have some time and then close the door and separate them? The mother is really outdoorsy (she was a stray that the neighbor took care of) and I fear she would want to take her baby away, and I also want an indoor cat. When we did this today the mother went away after some time and the kitten came back to my room and is sleeping until now (about 4 hours) and the mother didn't come back yet. I was thinking of taking her to the vet this week or the next for the de-worm and vaccination, is this a good timing? Thanks again!
    – Gregório
    Apr 25, 2018 at 19:50
  • 4
    I think you are doing just fine. Just call the vet for information on vaccination and de-worming. You should be able to do the de-worming your self, those are small tablets. And it is probably a good idea to read up on cat behaviour :) Apr 26, 2018 at 8:37

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